HP Pavilion zv5000z review: HP Pavilion zv5000z

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.7
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Battery life: 7.0
  • Service and support: 6.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Excellent mobile performance; wide-screen display; wonderful sound; decent battery life.

The Bad Bulky and heavy; maximum performance lags behind that of similarly configured laptops.

The Bottom Line The Pavilion zv5000z delivers cutting-edge performance, making it a good low-end gaming laptop.

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Despite the name, you won't catch any z's computing with the HP Pavilion zv5000z-series laptop. Thanks to an AMD Athlon 64 CPU and Nvidia GeForce4 440 Go graphics chip, the surprisingly affordable zv5000z stands near the head of the class in mobile performance and offers acceptable gaming performance. It also has a 3.5-hour battery life and runs cool to the touch. But multimedia capability is where this desktop replacement really shines. The 15.4-inch wide-screen display and the superior-sounding Harman Kardon speakers make for an excellent movie-viewing experience. For the price, it's hard to beat. At 14.25 by 11.5 by 1.75 inches (W, D, H) and 10.36 pounds, including the AC adapter (8.7 pounds without), it's no dainty travel companion. But the HP Pavilion zv5000z-series laptop is ruggedly constructed and mobile enough for its desktop-replacement role. The silver-and-dark-gray color scheme and the sloped front edges give the zv5000z that distinctive HP styling. The keyboard has a softer feel than we like, but we had no trouble typing on it, and there are no pigmy-size keys to destroy your typing rhythm. The touchpad is smoothly responsive and features a scroll area on its right side that's mildly serrated for easy identification.

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The zv5000z's USB drive port is HP's answer to the floppy drive. HP's USB drive can be inserted into the drive port on the zv5000z.

The HP Pavilion zv5000z's front panel is dedicated entirely to sound and includes volume-up, volume-down, and mute buttons, plus a pair of wonderfully melodious Harman Kardon speakers. HP has put enough air behind them so that they actually produce a decent amount of bass--no headphones required for this notebook. The bottom of the HP zv5000z has two large thermal ports and one fan drive, both of which keep the unit quite cool--a nice departure from the average AMD notebook, which tends to run quite warm.

Connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports, headphone and microphone jacks, a mini-FireWire port, an S-Video output, a VGA out, a parallel port, a four-way flash-memory card reader, a single Type II PC Card slot, a 10/100 Ethernet, and a V.92 modem. There's also a port dedicated to HP's proprietary USB Digital Drive--basically a plug-and-play SD card reader. However, it's largely redundant considering the ubiquity of USB thumb drives and the four-in-one reader that's already onboard.

The HP Pavilion zv5000z is highly configurable and ranges in price from $1,149 for a low-end setup to more than $3,000 with all the bells and whistles. Options include an Athlon 64 in either 3000+ or 3200+ flavors, 256MB to 2GB of memory, and 40GB to 80GB 4,200rpm hard drives. Three displays are offered: a normal aspect 15-incher with 1,024x768 resolution or wide-screen 15.4-inchers with 1,280x800 or 1,680x1,050 resolutions. You'll have to crank up the font size or the Windows DPI setting to comfortably view text with the latter display, but it's great for oversize spreadsheets and movies. Nvidia's GeForce4 440 Go, with 64MB of dedicated memory, handles the graphics chores.

/sc/30790834-2-200-DT3.gif" width="200" height="150" border="0" />
The zv5000z's wireless LAN control lets you join the network at the touch of a button.

Choices for filling the HP Pavilion zv5000z's left-side drive bay are a 24X CD ROM drive, an 8X DVD-ROM drive, a DVD/CDRW combo drive, a 2.4X DVD+RW/R drive, or a 4X DVD+RW/R drive. Wireless options run from plain 802.11b to 802.11g and Bluetooth. HP also includes a handy on/off button above the keyboard on the zv5000z, which is useful when you aren't using your network connection and you want to conserve battery power.

In addition to offering a choice between the Windows XP Home or the Pro operating systems, HP includes an unusually useful bundle of software: InterVideo's WinDVD 4.0 for movie playback and WinDVD Creator for movie authoring; Muvee's excellent automated video producer, AutoProducer; a three-month subscription to Norton AntiVirus ; HP's own ImageZone photo-handling software; and Microsoft Works .

Mobile application performance
The HP Pavilion zv5000z won the mobile-performance race by a comfortable margin among our desktop-replacement threesome. This is one of the first laptops we've tested that features AMD's new Athlon 64 processor. The Athlon 64 offers many improvements over the Athlon XP, including a larger 1MB L2 cache and new instructions that help applications run faster. The zv5000z's 180 score is 21 percent faster than that of the Hypersonic Aviator AX6 and 33 percent faster than the eMachines M6807's, with its slower 1.8GHz Athlon 64 3000+ processor. The M6807 finished last, about 11 percent behind the Hypersonic Aviator AX6.

Performance analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Mobile application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 performance rating  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6

SysMark 2002 performance
Despite its excellent mobile performance, the HP Pavilion zv5000z scored nearly 10 percent slower than the Hypersonic Aviator AX6 in our maximum performance tests; this was probably due to the Aviator AX6's faster 7,200rpm hard drive. The HP Pavilion zv5000z's drive spins at a slower 4,200rpm. Still, the zv5000z manages to best the eMachines M6807 by about 6 percent. That's not surprising given the fact that the HP Pavilion zv5000z's Athlon 64 3200+ 2GHz processor is about 6 percent faster than the eMachines M6807's Athlon 64 3000+ 1.8GHz processor. These performance scores are weak compared to high-end Pentium 4-based systems. However, AMD claims that most of the applications used in SysMark 2002 benchmark are tailored to take better advantage of the Pentium 4 than the Athlon 64. HP's Pavilion zv5000z offers excellent maximum performance for running these office and content-creation apps.

Maximum application performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo SysMark 2002 rating  
SysMark 2002 Internet content creation  
SysMark 2002 office productivity  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6
HP Pavilion zv5000z
eMachines M6807

To measure maximum notebook application performance, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's SysMark 2002, an industry-standard benchmark. Using off-the-shelf applications, SysMark measures a desktop's performance using office-productivity applications (such as Microsoft Office and McAfee VirusScan) and Internet-content-creation applications (such as Adobe Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver).

3D graphics performance
The HP Pavilion zv5000z's 3D gaming performance is hamstrung by the company's decision to outfit it with an aging Nvidia GeForce4 440Go 64MB. Not that the zv5000z's 6007 3DMark score is bad, it's just that that number is not even in the same league as results from the Hypersonic Aviator AX6 or the eMachines M6807, with their state-of-the-art ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB GPUs.

3D graphics performance  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6

To measure 3D graphics performance, CNET Labs uses Futuremark's 3DMark2001 SE. We use 3DMark to measure desktop-replacement notebook performance with the DirectX 8.1 interface at the 32-bit color setting at a resolution of 1,024x768.

Find out more about how we test notebooks.

System configurations:

eMachines M6807
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 3000+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2060AT 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Pavilion zv5000z
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440Go 64MB; Toshiba MK8025GAS 80GB 4,200rpm

Hypersonic Aviator AX6
Windows XP Home; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm

Despite exceptional mobile performance , the HP Pavilion zv5000z still manages very good battery life--a mere minute less than the slower Hypersonic Aviator AX6. Both systems use a large-capacity, 14.8V, 6,600mAh (98WHr) battery to give them their long runtimes. The eMachines M6807 also managed good battery life, but it was held back by its smaller 14.8V, 4,400mAh (65WHr) battery. The HP Pavilion zv5000z is the complete package when it comes to mobile use, offering not only exceptional unplugged performance, but hours and hours of it.

Battery life analysis written by CNET Labs assistant lab manager Eric Franklin.

Battery life  (Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark 2002 battery life in minutes  
Hypersonic Aviator AX6

To measure mobile application performance and battery life, CNET Labs uses BAPCo's MobileMark 2002. MobileMark measures both application performance and battery life concurrently using a number of popular applications (Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, WinZip Computing WinZip 8.0, McAfee VirusScan 5.13, Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1, and Macromedia Flash 5.0).

System configurations:

eMachines M6807
Windows XP Home; 1.8GHz AMD Athlon 64 3000+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 333MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Fujitsu MHT2060AT 60GB 4,200rpm

HP Pavilion zv5000z
Windows XP Professional; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; Nvidia GeForce4 440Go 64MB; Toshiba MK8025GAS 80GB 4,200rpm

Hypersonic Aviator AX6
Windows XP Home; 2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+; 512MB DDR SDRAM 400MHz; ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 64MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB 7,200rpm

HP provides a one-year warranty on the zv5000z, with a two-year extension available for $180. Hardware and software telephone support is toll-free and available 24/7 for the length of the warranty. The company's printed documentation offers concise setup and operating instructions, but despite plentiful software downloads and FAQs, online help is a somewhat different story. We couldn't find a manual download for the zv5000z, the product info at www.hpshopping.com lacks important details, and the link to support for the zv5000z was buried on a list of no less than 679 notebooks--yes, 679.

To find out more about how this product's warranty really stacks up and what you should look for in terms of service and support, take a look at CNET's hardware warranty explainer.

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Where to Buy

HP Pavilion zv5000z

Part Number: CNETHPZV5000Z Released: Feb 1, 2004

This product is not currently available. Click here for HP's latest offerings

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Feb 1, 2004
  • Resolution 1024 x 768 ( XGA )
  • Installed Size 256 MB
  • Weight 7.7 lbs
  • Optical Drive CD-ROM
  • Graphics Processor AGP - NVIDIA GeForce4 440 Go - 64 MB DDR SDRAM
  • CPU AMD Athlon XP-M 3000+ / 1.6 GHz