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

Andy Vandervell




Our Score:


AMD and HP have been wise not to call its latest collaboration a netbook. Why? Partly because it plainly isn't a netbook, it has a 1,280 x 800 resolution display, but mainly because, had they taken this view, we'd have probably told them to insert their new product up their preferred organic orifice - we've seen more than enough netbooks already, thanks! Don't get us wrong, netbooks are lovely as far as they go, but the endless feature creep (optical drives, HD video etc…) only goes to prove that what many people (not all) wanted all along was a notebook, albeit a smaller and cheaper one, not a crippled mobile device.

Enter the HP Pavilion dv2. It's the first not-a-netbook notebook (we'll come up with a proper term later) to feature AMD's Athlon Neo; a new processor and platform designed to bridge the gap between netbooks and the ultra-expensive ultra-portable notebooks like the Sony VAIO TT, Toshiba Portégé R600 and Dell Latitude E4200. It's a smart move on AMD's part, since there's clearly a demand for such a machine - a point reinforced by Intel's move to join in with its CULV (consumer ultra-low voltage) processors. Until these arrive, however, AMD and HP, which has six months exclusivity on the Athlon Neo, have the market to themselves.

Before we delve any deeper into the nitty gritty technical details, though, we should take some time to admire the wonderful chassis that HP has created for the Athlon Neo. HP has long been nipping at the heels of Apple in computing design and we dare say that were HP to have a similar disregard for affordability, it could give Apple a real run for its money. Thankfully, HP makes machines for every man and the dv2 is a prime example of its prowess in this regard.

Despite the slight overabundance of glossy black plastic on the lid, screen bezel and…well…everywhere really, it combines very effectively with the faux-chrome accenting and HP's funky imprint designs. This impression is further aided by the sleekness of the chassis. At its thinnest the dv2 is just 23.7mm thick, the only blemish being the battery protruding ever so slightly downward at the back.

Yet, despite being so thin, this isn't an unutterably light machine. At 1.7kg it does weigh less than most 12.1in notebooks like the similarly priced Samsung Q210, but then the Q210 boasts a proper Core 2 Duo processor and an integrated optical drive - something the dv2 lacks. Instead, you get a smart external USB DVD Rewriter drive that, despite its modest size, weighs a comparatively heavy 434 grams.

It's also interesting to note that our version of the dv2, the dv2-1030ea, which features discrete graphics, has a hefty 90W AC adapter; despite the fact the entry-level machine with integrated graphics and the top of the range model both get smaller 65W adapters. We can only assume cost reasons dictate this, but that doesn't make it any less irritating - more so, in fact.


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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