Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion dv3000 (dv3021TX)
- Stylish, understated design, quality speakers and WXGA display, performed well in majority of our benchmarks
- Not suitable for high-end gaming, only two USB ports
The Pavilion dv3000 (dv3021TX) will not disappoint its target audience of business users and multimedia enthusiasts. With the exception of hardcore gamers, it will please anyone on the lookout for a new, flashy notebook. Recommended.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Hewitt-Packard's Pavilion range has always struck a nice balance between style and functionality. This latest offering — the dv3021TX — has proved to be no exception. With its impressive array of components and sleek good looks, not to mention a tasty sub-$2000 price tag, it is one of the better all-purpose notebooks on the market. Gaming enthusiasts, however, will be let down by the underpowered graphics card, though this is somewhat to be expected.
Alongside its hipster rival Sony, HP is the Gucci of the notebook world. Each model off the Pavilion production line is worthy of a catwalk unveiling — which is to say, they're sleek, showy and occasionally pretentious. Thankfully, the dv3021TX keeps the 'swank-factor' down to stylish minimum, with its subtle iron-mesh lid appealing to all types of users. The glowing HP logo adds a touch of class and it is complemented by a reflective silver interior.
All up, the design draws attention to the notebook without being overly obnoxious. It will suit a business briefcase as thoroughly as a media geek's desktop. Our only reservation concerns the lid's susceptibility to fingerprints (the bane of all glossy notebooks). Fussy users will need to keep a cleaning cloth handy — you're definitely going to need it.
The dv3000 is more than just a pretty (if occasionally smudged) face. As we have come to expect from the Pavilion range, this notebook comes packed with an impressive array of components and features. The version we tested was equipped with an Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 (2.4 GHz) CPU with 2GB of RAM, plus a NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M graphics processor suitable for basic gaming. The inclusion of 160GB hard disk space should ensure all your storage needs are covered.
In our benchmark tests, the dv3021TX gave an impressive showing. In WorldBench 6, which assesses processing speed and overall performance, the dv3021TX received an average of 86. This is a very solid result that should see the notebook handle most day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat, including Internet browsing, media playback and word processing (it will also run Vista's complex Aero interface glitch-free). The unit is equally suited to more processor-intensive work, too, such as photo editing and video encoding. This makes the dv3021TX an enticing choice for users who want to balance business and entertainment needs in one machine.
When it comes to gaming, the dv3021TX fared considerably less well, thanks to its entry-level graphics card. In 3DMark 06, the notebook scored an uninspiring 922. This will rule out the majority of modern action games, with F.E.A.R. and Crysis refusing to run even at their lowest settings. Less ambitious games should pose no problems though (think MMORPGs and strategy games); older titles will naturally run without a hitch. This is supported by the notebook's score of 7774 in 3DMark 2001.
The dv3021TX's 13.3in WXGA display was more than serviceable during testing, offering good contrast and excellent viewing angles. While the usual reflectivity issues cropped up in bright environments, we found them to be less problematic than usual. The inclusion of two headphone jacks is a nice touch, allowing you to view DVDs with a buddy. If you prefer a headphone-free approach, the Altec Lansing speakers are of the premium-level quality one would expect.
Connectivity-wise, the dv3021TX is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand it includes an HDMI, Firewire and USB/eSATA combo port, all of which are convenient for the multimedia fan. But on the other hand, only two USB connections are included. This is quite stingy, even for an ultra-portable unit, and may require you to splurge on a USB hub. The dv3021TX is also equipped with a five-in-one media card reader, but no ExpressCard/54 slot. A fingerprint reader, an inbuilt digital microphone, wireless 802.11a/g/n networking and a 1.3-megapixel webcam round out the usual feature set.
In our final test, we ran down the battery by looping a DVD to assess its staying power in taxing situations. The dv3021TX's battery held out for 103 minutes. This is a satisfactory result for an all-purpose notebook and will see you to the end of most feature-length movies.
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