Given the dv3-2050ea we're reviewing here has a cheaper CPU than the Samsung Q320 or dv3-2055ea it should be a little slower, but we weren't expecting massive differences. For the most part this is the case, with the difference between the HP and the Samsung hovering around 10 per cent, though the gap between the two HPs is generally smaller. A faster hard drive appears to be the source of the Samsung's advantage over the two HPs, but in general all the systems are well matched.
In general this system will cope perfectly well with photo editing and normal everyday multi-tasking; even a little video editing should be okay. However, if you want to edit HD video from camcorder or process RAW files from a DSLR, for instance, you'll probably want to look at something a little more powerful such as the Dell Studio XPS 13.
Our MobileMark 2007 battery benchmarks continue to show comparable performance, but the HP's have a definite advantage and both HPs deliver near identical results. Indeed, in the Productivity segment they are identical, with both producing an excellent four hours and ten minutes - 40 minutes more than the Samsung. Ultimately all three still offer very good battery life, but the two HP's are a step above.
To our minds, though, this still leaves this version of the dv3 in an awkward position. It's definitely a very good machine, that much is obvious, but for just £50 more the dv3-2055ea version offers a slightly faster CPU, a significantly larger hard drive and Draft-N Wi-Fi - all desirable options. And, on the other side of the fence, the Samsung Q320 is £90 cheaper, is faster, also has Draft-N Wi-Fi and offers decent battery life, too, making this the hardest of the three to recommend.
Just like its more expensive cousin, the HP Pavilion dv3-2050ea is a very accomplished and well featured laptop. Performance is good, without being mind blowing, while battery life is excellent. However, it doesn't quite represent enough of a discount over its stable mate or enough extra value over the Samsung Q320 to earn an award.