Another issue regarding the display are some rather mediocre viewing angles and more severe reflectivity than you would expect on even a glossy screen. Actually, with any kind of ambient lighting, we’re pretty much talking about another mirror here. These factors combine to jump the display down from average to below par. For example, while text is sharp and it’s reasonable at distinguishing between grey shades, finding a viewing angle at which this is visible is challenging at best. All of which is not to say that the dv7 can’t provide a reasonable film experience, but you’ll have to sit directly in front of the screen in a darkened room to get the most out of it, making it difficult for more than one person to view the screen at once.
Moving onto the aural part of the experience, things look up considerably thanks to the Altec Lansing integrated speakers and subwoofer. This set manages plenty of punch, with convincing bass at very audible volume levels and little audible distortion at high volumes. While they are simply no match for the excellent harman/kardons on Toshiba’s Qosmio G50-115, they’re certainly more than adequate for notebook speakers.
When it comes to battery life, the dv7-1000ea also impresses despite being a ‘desktop replacement’. Its 8-cell, 73Whr battery was good for about two and a half hours of DVD playback at full brightness. In our multi-tasking productivity tests it lasted in impressive three hours and 36 minutes, besting both its 15.4in cousin and the Dell Studio 15. This excellence was matched in the lower intensity reading test, where the dv7 lasted for just over four hours. Consequently, this machine could take on light mobile duties, even if its weight, at 3.5 kilos, makes it anything but portable.
Overall, the Pavilion dv7-1000ea offers good looks, brilliant ergonomics, loads of connectivity, decent specifications and speakers and even above average battery life for a relatively small outlay. This alone would normally garner it a recommendation, unfortunately HP hasn’t conquered the main weakness of its Pavilion range since like its 15.4in bedfellow its display lacks brightness and suffers from prohibitively poor viewing angles. If you can live with this flaw it’s still an excellent piece of kit, but it’s worth seeking out a demo unit before taking the plunge.