12 Apr REVIEW: HP Pavilion dv3 Laptop
HP’s slick, all-purpose portable puts up a good fight against Gateway’s similar UC7807u, but its performance is only middling.
The budget-minded Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dv3 laptop gets a lot of things right in its design and delivers just the right amount of style–not to mention supplying all the right ports to get your multimedia mobilized. But it also has enough drawbacks to keep me from wholeheartedly recommending it.
To hit its appealing $888 price (as of April 8, 2009), the dv3 ships with AMD’s 2.3GHz Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core Mobile ZM-84 CPU. That configuration, combined with 4GB of RAM, adequately but unimpressively runs the 64-bit flavor of Windows Vista Home Premium. The dv3 earned a mark of 68 on WorldBench 6.
For context, consider the slightly bulkier Gateway UC7807u. Aside from being half a pound heavier and having a comparable price, the UC7807u closely resembles the dv3 in style and purpose. But the Gateway crushes the HP in performance tests, notching a score of 84 in WorldBench 6, thanks in part to its Core 2 Duo T6400 Mobile CPU (2.0GHz, 800MHz FSB, 2MB L2 cache) and 3GB of RAM. On the other hand, the dv3 stands its ground in the stamina department, lasting an impressive 5 hours, 24 minutes against the UC7807u’s approximately 3.5-hour battery life.
With the dv3 (and with the Pavilion dv2, for that matter), HP embraces high-definition resolutions. Capable of 1280 by 800 pixels, the Pavilion dv3 has a glossy coating that helps images pop (and yes, there will be some sunlight-induced glare as a result). But as with the dv2, as you push the brightness up, you’ll be surprised that it’s still delivering an acceptable, viewable image. It just makes some colors on the brighter end of the spectrum seem a little more subdued.