HP Pavilion dv2-1030ea - 12.1in Thin & Light Notebook - HP Pavilion dv2-1030ea

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


Now, anyone with a little experience in using notebooks will know that lots of heat and noise generally impacts battery life. It's no less true of the dv2. It doesn't help matters that HP has chosen to use a relatively low capacity 41 Watt-hour, four-cell battery. In the MobileMark 2007 Productivity benchmark, for instance, the dv2 only just managed to creep past two hours. In the DVD benchmark, meanwhile, where we ramp up the brightness to get worst case scenario results, playback came to an end after a mere 83 minutes.

As far as we're concerned this is fundamental failing for the dv2. At a bare minimum an ultra-portable should be able to achieve three hours under reasonable usage conditions, but it only just passes two hours. It's a pretty poor effort, one that could've been easily avoided with the inclusion of a decent six-cell battery. Fine, it might have upset the dv2's sleek lines, but it would make it considerably more useful and, given the choice, we'd take a better battery over the bundled optical drive that in today's digital world is becoming increasingly less important.

It's a failing made all the more disappointing by the decent performance of AMD's Athlon Neo processor. It might not be a speed demon and its single-core means it's not great at multi-tasking, but in single threaded applications it's noticeably quicker than Intel's Atom and this makes for responsive and snappy performance. Moreover, as our PCMark Vantage results show, it isn't embarrassed by the Sony VAIO TT, despite it sporting a dual-core processor and an obscene price tag. Indeed, it's only in the very CPU intensive TV & Movies segment where a sizeable gap in performance opens out, with the HP being 45 per cent slower.

Another benefit the Athlon Neo can claim is HD video playback. At 720p the processor can deal with things without assistance, while the discrete graphics can be called upon to process 1080p video should the need ever arise. HP has even mooted releasing a Blu-ray drive as an optional extra, though this seems like a niche concern to us.

As does gaming, which makes us wonder why the dv2 comes lumbered with a fairly substantial graphics chip. Yes, the 512MB dedicated video memory and discrete graphics may allow you to eek out a few more frames per second, but when it's the difference between completely unplayable and just unplayable (or offensively ugly and just plain ugly) is it a benefit worth the downsides? When those downsides are poor battery life, excessive heat and excessive noise, we'd argue not.

It's this that represents the nub of our issues with the Pavilion dv2. While we love the concept and ideas that have gone into it, it just misses out where execution is concerned. Had, for example, AMD chosen to use its latest generation chipset with superior integrated graphics, or HP bundled a higher capacity battery, we'd be looking at a machine that might have run cooler, lasted longer and been a lot better for both. As things stand, though, it doesn't do enough to dissuade us from waiting to see what Intel and nVidia - in the form of its ION platform - have in store, or, for that matter, rule out more powerful and similarly priced notebooks like the Samsung Q210.


Despite outstanding design and an excellent feature set, the HP Pavilion dv2 is let down by its disappointing battery life and some poor decisions in regards to specification and bundling. There's lots of promise here and if you're happy to invest in an extra battery this is a smart and practical machine, but it's not quite the genre defining product it could have been.


April 17, 2009, 3:23 pm

i think you should add "left 4 dead" to the laptop gaming benchmarks.

Brian ONeill

April 17, 2009, 6:09 pm

Does look nice, but at this price you would be better going for the dell xps 1330.

It seems the perfect lightweight 12 inch laptop is yet to be build. The dell 12 has potential, but it will probaully be a year before they get it right, with a nice ssd, led screen and and a good chipset.


April 17, 2009, 6:28 pm

don't really get the point of this. it's not cheap like an apire one and it's way too underpowered for 𧼐. i got my 13 inch HP DV3 for 𧼚 and that's centrino 2 with a P8400 and 3GB of RAM and only an inch bigger. this just seems like the kind of netbook that Apple would make although maybe for a 𧴜 more.


April 17, 2009, 7:16 pm

I think the term you're looking for is sub-notebook? That's what they are usually classed as in publications.

Andy Vandervell

April 17, 2009, 7:35 pm

@darkspark88: It seems the most logical term, but then netbooks were called "sub-notebooks", so there's grounds for confusion there. Fundamentally, all this is an ultra-portable notebook with a single-core rather than a dual-core processor. Does that make it below (sub) a notebook? I don't know. This is still a notebook form-factor after all.


April 17, 2009, 7:44 pm

"One area where the dv2 easily surpasses a netbook, however, is in its connectivity - purely for the fact it has an HDMI output"

I just bought a Dell Mini 10 and that has HDMI.

Andy Vandervell

April 17, 2009, 8:26 pm

True, but the Mini 10 is the exception rather than the rule.

Lance Uppercut

April 17, 2009, 8:51 pm

What about Neatbook?

And I want royalties if it takes off . . .


April 18, 2009, 12:02 am

@ ravmania - are you happy with your hp dv3 (3***?), because i'm not, really. great performance, in my opinion, couldn't really ask for more from a lappy this size. but rather poor battery life, fingerprint magnet, glossy keyboard (who thought a glossy keyboard was a good idea?), rubbish glossy screen and pretty shoddy build quality. plus i paid a tenner more from my local store. plus the "faux chrome" scratches too easily to reveal a sickening beige unpainted plastic.


April 18, 2009, 3:36 pm


I've got a DV3507ea. Mine's the brown one and fingerprints aren't really an issue. The keyboard is a bit annoying sometimes as you can't see what the letter on the key is from some angles. Definitely a flaw but one I can live with. Glossy screens are annoying but then that's pretty much most laptops these days. At least it's an LED screen though and it looks great when watching some HD video. It is a bit delicate I must admit. I haven't scratched the chrome but there is some flex when you squeeze the machine. Overall I'm very happy with it though. For the price there wasn't another 13 incher around that compared spec wise. And the brown one does look great with the imprint finish. Just gotta be gentle with it.

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