Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavillion dv2308TX
- Altec Lansing speakers, LightScribe DVD burner, twin headphone ports
- Viewing angle of screen, battery Life
Although there are flaws to be dealt with, the Pavilion dv2308TX still offers some nice features, and at this price we have little reason to complain.
Price$ 1,699.00 (AUD)
The HP Pavilion entertainment range has been a favourite for some time. It was one of the first notebook ranges to include high-quality speakers and other media related features, such as a LightScribe DVD burner and twin headphone jacks. The dv2308TX is one of the cheaper models in the range, which still benefits from all the accoutrements, but lacks the raw power. The Pavilions aren't without their problems, however, and issues that should have been ironed out a several refreshes ago continue to plague this notebook.
The Pavilion dv2308TX offers an Intel T5300 Core 2 Duo 1.73GHz CPU with a meagre 533MHz front side bus (FSB). The usual 1GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM is installed and the system relies on a basic NVIDIA GeForce Go 7200, so don't expect it to play games except the occasional 2-D style puzzle or simple 3-D title.
We ran our usual array of performance tests, but unfortunately the results weren't too hot. However, with this system it is acceptable, as you're not paying a premium price for the dv2308TX. Unlike the T5300 CPU used here, with a 533MHz FSB, the majority of Intel Core 2 CPUs have a 667MHz FSB and the latest platform offers a speedier 800MHZ FSB. It's not a huge factor in the speed of the notebook but it does make a noticeable difference when testing.
In our WorldBench 6 benchmark it scored a total of 64, a fairly average result, but enough to handle everyday, personal usage, such as surfing the web, checking emails, tying up Office documents or as a home jukebox. Although it will have few issues when playing music, getting your CD library on there may take some time. Encoding is a function primarily handled by the CPU and the slower processor really lagged in this test. We took 53 minutes worth of WAV files and converted them to 192Kbps MP3 files. It took the HP Pavilion dv2308TX 162 seconds to complete this tas;k, a fairly slow result.
The man downfall of the Pavilion range is its battery life. Based on its marketing we'd expect the Pavilion dv2308TX to be used for watching DVDs on the road as one of its primary functions. Yet, in our DVD rundown test, where we drain the battery by looping a DVD, the HP Pavilion dv2308TX only lasted 75 minutes. This isn't necessarily bad by comparison to all other notebooks on the market, but there are definitely better performers out there and for a notebook with such media aspirations it's a shame.
What it lacks in speed it makes up in style and features. The black and silver chassis is inlaid with what HP call an in-mould design; a fingerprint style wave of lines which makes this notebook just a little more funky than most. The aforementioned Altec Lansing speakers produce a nice sound, though this is becoming less exclusive, with many manufacturers realising the need for better sound and boosting the quality of their speakers. Audio is still a little tinny, but for a budget model we weren't too disappointed.
Although the system has Windows Vista Home Premium installed, which includes Windows Media Center software, HP also ships its notebooks with QuickPlay software, HP's own media player for music, DVDs and photos. Quick access to this application and a range of media controls, such as play/pause, forward and back, and volume, can be found just above the keyboard.
A 120GB hard drive is installed, which will accommodate most people's storage needs relatively well. A LightScribe DVD burner is also present, which will play DVD movies, burn dual layer discs and will even label special discs using the LightScribe technology. The Pavilion dv2308TX has both VGA and S-Video out, so watching movies on a larger monitor, projector or TV can be easily done. In this situation the included media remote comes in handy, and it slips neatly away in the Express Card slot when not being used.
As for using the notebooks own LCD, it does the job, but it isn't among the best we've seen. The native resolution is 1280 x 800 and it offers a clear image with good contrast, but brightness levels are a little low when maxed out and the viewing angle isn't ideal. This has always been the case with HP Pavilion notebooks, which is somewhat irritating for an "Entertainment" orientated notebook.
The Pavilion includes some other useful features, such as a 1.3 megapixel Webcam for video chat and has a 5-in-1 media card reader supporting SD, MMC, MS, MS-Pro and xD cards, making it simple to copy your digital photos over. A total of three USB 2.0 ports are available and one mini FireWire port is installed, as well as the aforementioned Express Card slot. There's also a port replicator if additional ports are required.
For networking the system has a 10/100 Ethernet connection, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth and a 56k modem.
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