"Great bargain"on by richteral
Pros HP design & quality.
Cons Slightly too big & heavy for frequent travel.
Summary Having had a top-flight Pavilion for nearly six years, HP was a natural choice. Although I had planned for a higher-spec, more travel-friendly DV3 or 4 models, the opportunistic U.S. price of $500, pre-Windows 7, was irresistible (plus I did not like much the cold, metallic-looking touchpads on the DVs). This is a fast machine even with Vista (Pavilion XP average running processes: 40; Vista: 70), starting up briskly. There is a full keyboard with separate numeric pad, which may be useful, but the Enter key(s) is slender, not enlarged over two rows which would be preferable. The keyboard may feel a little flimsy but it works well, being fully responsive and precise. The Function buttons at the top are ever so diminished in size compared to the rest, yet even they do not seem to pose an obstacle, so the lot must have been thoughtfully designed. The only objection goes to the Num.Lock; it may work erratically, switching itself off at times, but this no doubt is a Vista problem. Like others, I find it impossible to have it turned on permanently, i.e. as of startup.
I have an issue with the touchpad, although it works fine and I have not used a mouse yet. It is its positioning off-centre to the left, as if it were meant for left-handers. It should have gone by half its width to the right to become comfortable for the majority population.
The bright screen provides detail in abundance and reads very well. Obviously, gloss has its drawbacks under certain lighting conditions, with reflexions possibly marring the picture. The lid is shiny impressive black, with fingerprints showing easily and the danger of scratching naturally looming. Again, part of the elegant design and current trends; with the lifespan in this case estimated at 3 - 4 years, a bit of wear-and-tear is going to be par for the course and unobjectionable. A protective sleeve is a must.
USB slots as well as any other in- and outputs are arranged on the sides; nothing is at the back, while mike & headphone jacks plug in conveniently from the front. Battery life works out at about a couple of hours. Processor speed as well as RAM are perfectly sufficient for my needs (office; web; pix). Photos do take a while to load from large files, and I have not tried a complex photo editor like the GIMP yet.
On the whole, a good performer in standard computing tasks, nicely laid out and great looking. HP proprietary software that comes automatically bundled in may have its uses in places while not so at other times. It often doubles what MS provides with Vista, albeit with a twist. In due course, some of it will be dumped to make the system lighter on resources and hopefully even faster. At the purchase price, things cannot get much better than this.