A web cam is discreetly embedded into the lid of the notebook, with a blue light indicating when it’s powered on. The image and detail were decent but there was an annoying flicker effect and switching between 50Hz and 60Hz in settings made no difference.
Beneath the screen a grille effect hides the speakers, branded by Altec Lansing. As such I was keen to give them a good run out and fired up the DVD of Apocalypse Now. It dealt with the ensuing sound and fury with aplomb, drawing me into the action and drama. The display did a good job too with a convincing palette and a fair amount of detail in dark areas. Viewing angles aren’t marvellous though, so you’ll need to crowd round if it’s movie night.
Under the speakers is a array of oval shaped touch sensitive buttons, which fires up HP’s Quick Play application – a full screen media player, for DVDs and music. It’s perfectly functional, but it seems unnecessary when you have access to Windows Media Center, which is included in Windows Vista Home Premium, the operating system installed on the notebook. There’s no TV tuner built-into the notebook though, so you’ll need to go for an external tuner if you want to add one.
Around the edges of the keyboard HP has thoughtfully placed icons at the top, so you can find what you’re looking for. Thus, you’ll see that there are two USB ports on the right hand edge, a memory card reader that can accept SD, Memory Stick, MMC and unusually, xD. There’s an Express card slot too. However, it doesn’t indicate the third USB port on the left hand side, nor the mini Firewire port, the Fast Ethernet port, the expansion port for HP docking stations, the VGA output or the S-Video output. This is a good range of video options, so you could hook up to a projector or suitably equipped TV if you wished.
Accompanying the USB ports on the right hand edge is a modem port and a Lightscribe capable DVD Writer, so you can burn images directly onto the discs, which is a good extra. Towards the rear you’ll find the power connector, with a blue light surrounding it when plugged in.