Special mention must also be made of the keyboard. Though many manufacturers have made great strides when in comes to notebook keyboards, this has to be one of the best yet. Keys have a smooth finish that’s very tactile and comfortable and this is also reflected in the key mechanisms, which spring back with a lightness and rigidity while also maintaining a good feeling of depth. This is matched by a near flawless full-size keyboard layout, with a decent size Return key and intelligently placed shortcut keys. It’s truly a joy to use.
Indeed, everything about the build and design looks and feels like quality. From the screen hinges to the excellent speakers, strong screen frame and ornate imprint design, it convinces through and through. This is continued, for the most part, when you look at what powers the dv2699. At its heart is an Intel Core 2 Duo T7500, which runs at a brisk 2.2GHz with 4MB L2 Cache and an 800MHz Front Side Bus. This is a very able processor and though one might be cautious with new 45nm Penryn CPUs around the corner, this will still be more than capable a year or more down of the line.
For support there’s the now obligatory 2GB 667MHz DDR2 RAM, configured in dual-channel mode using two 1GB modules. You also get a capacious 250GB 5400rpm SATA HDD, while graphics are provided by an admittedly superfluous 64MB nVidia 8400M GS. We wouldn’t expect a machine of this type to be gaming capable and it certainly isn’t, but if anything it seems unnecessary to bother with discrete graphics at all since Intel’s X3100 integrated graphics are more than capable when it comes to video processing. That said, nVidia’s Pure Video suite will give a slight edge when it comes to HD playback, so maybe the inclusion of the 8400 GS isn’t as frivolous as it first seems.
There’s naturally a DVD Re-Writer drive included and as is typical with HP machines it is LightScribe capable, providing support for CD/DVD label burning from the drive. One other notable feature is the inclusion of an HDMI port, adding quick and easy connection to a TV or HDMI capable monitor should ever the need arise. Other staples are present, with a 5-in-1 card reader, 54mm ExpressCard slot where you can house the provided media remote. A 0.3-megapixel webcam is also present, with array microphones built into the bezel either side of the camera.
There are, however, a few prevailing disappointments. A lack of Draft-N wireless is first among them and though there’s also no Gigabit Ethernet, that’s perhaps less essential. In any case, for what’s meant to be an ‘Entertainment PC’ it’s a small but significant let down to not see Draft-N wireless and this will probably rule out wireless transmission of HD video content. In addition, though it isn’t ubiquitous by a long stretch, it would be nice to see Dolby Home Theatre certified audio, since this certainly adds a lot of value to a notebook like this.