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HP Pavilion dv3-2055ea - 13.3in Laptop review

Andy Vandervell




Our Score:


If you're after portability and power then the 13in form factor has long been the best option. There have been numerous excellent examples in this arena over the last year or two, including the now discontinued Dell XPS M1330, the outstanding Sony VAIO Z Series and the latest iteration of the machine that arguably popularised the format, the Apple Macbook. More recently Samsung has provided another excellent value option in the shape of the Q320 and though the HP Pavilion dv3-2055ea we're looking at today isn't quite as cheap, it still offers excellent value for money.

This is largely thanks to an exceedingly generous feature set. Prices range from £750 to £800 and for this you benefit from a whopping 500GB hard drive, Draft-N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, discrete nVidia G105M graphics with 512MB dedicated memory and 4GB of RAM. Only the CPU is a little disappointing given it's not on the bleeding-edge of Intel's range, but nonetheless the Core 2 Duo T6400 runs at a reasonable 2.0GHz and offers decent all-round performance for most needs.

HP continues to impress with the connectivity on offer here. Starting on the left there's the power input, which also boasts a handy LED to indicate it's active, as well as two USB ports. An 8x DVD Re-writer with LightScribe support dominates the rest of the space.

On the front are line-in and line-out connections, which are accompanied by an IR receiver. This works with the provided 34mm ExpressCard remote, which is always a welcome addition. However, the placement of the IR input could be more convenient, since it points downward and is hidden beneath the front lip of the machine.

Connectivity is rounded off by a bevy of options on the right that comprise a 34mm ExpressCard slot, a 5-in-1 memory card reader, a combined eSATA/USB port, an HDMI out, the Gigabit Ethernet port and a VGA out. On the main body of the machine, meanwhile, is a fingerprint reader - something not often seen at this price point - while a webcam with dual-microphones is subtly integrated above the screen. Only a Blu-ray drive could improve this picture, but this is available in the dv3-2060ea for £879.95, which is still a pretty good price for a Blu-ray equipped machine with this spec.

Like so many laptops of late the dv3 range has moved to a 16:9 aspect display. Its 1,366 x 768 resolution does mean less vertical space than older machines, but the wider aspect is better for film viewing and also makes it easier to view documents side-by-side - a less advertised but arguably more useful benefit! Like many this is also an LED backlit display, so it's very bright, though the reflective finish won't help matters in bright sunlight. In normal light the image quality is good without ever being outstanding. Colours are nice and vibrant, black levels decent, and viewing angles reasonable. Small text could be sharper, but overall this is a good effort.


June 18, 2009, 2:58 pm

Nice bit of kit - I'll never buy HP again though after being one of the thousands of DV2000 series owners affected by the Nvidia solder problem (Laptops all started dying after approx 1.5 years). HP have lost a lot of loyal customers over the handling of that issue and i reckon regardless of how pimped their offerings are out of the box, in my opinion HP now have a questionable customer support record which should be taken into account when buying.


June 18, 2009, 4:18 pm

Looks ridiculous.


June 18, 2009, 4:21 pm

their last 13 inch (dv3500, which i have away at repairs) had horrid creaking issues over the right palm rest. and the viewing angles on the LED screen were... poor.


June 18, 2009, 7:26 pm


I will never go for HP again either. Horrible customers service!!! Seems they do not want loyal customers. I keep to Lenovo and Samsung from now on...


June 18, 2009, 7:46 pm

I find it interesting that so many people are complaining about HPs' customer service. I used to work for them in fact, and I can sympathize! It was pretty bad, but let's not kid ourselves, they're all the same in the end.


June 19, 2009, 3:17 am

i dont know about the overall issues mentioned above since i dont own one myself (thinkpad x31 if your wondering) but i was fixing a friends hp (dv5)the other day and the damn thing lights up like the blackpool iluminations


June 20, 2009, 7:54 pm


Thanks for great reviews! We are looking at HP dv3 2055 and Samsung Q320 for my teenage son. He wants to do some occasional gaming but not necessarily the very latest ones. Both have the same graphics card but the HP have 512mb of dedicated memory. Will that make any difference in performance when playing?


June 22, 2009, 6:09 pm

i actualy saw one of these "espresso" color machines in the store. Think glare on the screen is irritating? wait till you have to sit at a silly angle in order to be able to see the letters on the keys.... Who ever thought of this one is more a fashiondesigner than a laptop user


October 11, 2009, 6:45 pm

Quality review, after looking around at the equivalent rigs (Acer Timelines and Aspires) I'm looking at getting the dv3-2130ea. From what I can tell the only difference is no fingerprint reader for £40 cheaper. Anyone know otherwise?

gareth jones

March 9, 2010, 9:35 pm

I had a samsung cinema home kit £1K!! and completed one of their updates which then made half my Blurays not work.. as it was just over a year they said I had to fit the bill!! after THEIR updates... so think it is not just HP that are poor at long term customer service

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