Connectivity, on the other hand, is predominantly excellent. Starting on the left edge you’ll find S-Video and D-SUB, which is then followed by a socket labelled Expansion Port 3 for use with a docking station, Ethernet, HDMI and a four-pin FireWire. These are followed by the 54mm ExpressCard slot, with the 5-in-1 card reader below that adding support for Secure Digital (SD), MMC, xD, Memory Stick and Memory Stick Pro formats.
Moving to the front of the machine you’ll first notice the status lights, which have two sets of symbols on the lid and inside the notebook showing what each of them stand for. Next there’s a wireless on/off switch, with an infrared receiver, microphone jack and dual headphone sockets completing the set.
Finally, on the right edge, most of the space is taken up by the optical drive, which we’ve already covered. However, there is space remaining for the only two USB ports, a modem port and the DC-in. Indeed, if one were to have a criticism of the connectivity it would be the lack of a third USB port. Moreover, those that are present are quite close together so any large devices would likely block the second port, though this is nothing a USB hub couldn’t solve.
The Fingerprint Reader is neatly tucked away in the right hand corner out of the way but easily accessible too. Also well integrated is the touchpad, which is finished in glossy and smooth black and recessed slightly into the chassis. We also like the aforementioned on/off button and the spring mounted mouse buttons, though these are an acquired taste and many still prefer those that click instead.
Of course, another important aspect of any notebook is its display and here the dv2699 is solid but not really outstanding. A native resolution if 1,280 x 800 is par for the course and a glossy finish gives it a crisp and clear quality, but it’s not an especially colourful or vibrant screen and the viewing angles are average at best. Overall, though not bad, it doesn’t quite live up to the very high standards set by the rest of the machine even if it won’t disappoint the majority of users.
And, when we speak of high standards, one must mention the excellent speakers. In films, dialogue is crisp and clear and though they’re obviously not bass heavy, explosions and other loud effects are dealt with competently. Much the same can be said of music, with all sorts of styles rendered very well and with a surprisingly convincing soundscape. It’s certainly an improvement over the likes XPS M1330, whose speakers are one the few low points.