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HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx review: HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx

The sleek design and good performance of the HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx makes it a solid contender, but don't plan on removing the power cord any time soon.

Alex Kidman
Alex Kidman is a freelance word writing machine masquerading as a person, a disguise he's managed for over fifteen years now, including a three year stint at ZDNet/CNET Australia. He likes cats, retro gaming and terrible puns.
Alex Kidman
3 min read

Design
If we were challenged to come up with a single word to describe the HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx, that word would inevitably be "shiny". It's shiny from its metallic looking keyboard and touchpad to its piano-black gloss bezel and back cover. That shiny aspect is undeniably enhanced by the fact that this desktop replacement notebook is big (35.7x25.9x3.49cm) and rather agonisingly heavy at 2.65kg. Expect it to make a thump when you plop it onto your desk, and don't plan on picking it up all that quickly.

7.7

HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx

The Good

Great touchpad and keyboard. Clear screen. HDMI output.

The Bad

Ordinary battery life. Pointless glowing logo.

The Bottom Line

The sleek design and good performance of the HP Pavilion dv5-1050tx makes it a solid contender, but don't plan on removing the power cord any time soon.

HP's taking a gamble on consumer tastes when it comes to designing a system this glossy. Some will love the idea, while others will find it impossibly blinged out, and we can't help but wonder if, like a lot of initially shiny products, it won't look rather scratched and naff a few years down the track.

The dv5's other shiny feature is the touch-sensitive panel that lies just underneath the screen hinge, and controls simple multimedia playback functions via a light-up panel. HP refers to this as a "Magical Chrome" Media Runway, just in case you liked marketing speak.

Features
Truly, what you can get for a moderate amount of money in the notebook space is pretty impressive these days. Your AU$1,599 buys you a Centrino 2 Core 2 Duo P7350 2GHz processor, 2GB of memory, 2GB of DDR2 RAM in a single stick — the dv5-1050tx tops out at a potential 8GB, although the 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium that's pre-installed won't address that much — along with 320GB of hard disk storage. Graphics are handled by a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT, while optical duties are taken care of by a SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support. Being that it's an HP product, Lightscribe compatibility is also built in, although we can't see that being much of a selling point per se.

The display on the dv5-1050tx is a 15.4-inch WXGA (1,280x800) panel, and with an HDMI port, it's also possible to pump that out to a larger LCD or plasma display. Other connectivity options include four USB 2.0 ports, memory card reader, VGA, FireWire, Modem and gigabit Ethernet. On the wireless front, Bluetooth and 802.11n is supported, along with the still curiously outdated IR port.

Like the rest of HP's new line-up of notebooks, the dv5 features a logo that lights up when the notebook switches on. On the dv5, it's slightly down and to the left of the case, and like similar logos on Apple notebooks (and the totally weird Sony Vaio CS series), it's completely pointless for the end user, and no doubt a nice bit of brand advertising for HP. Still, HP likes to tout it as a feature, so it must be a worthwhile feature — right?

Performance
As desktop replacement notebooks go, we found a lot to like about the dv5. We don't normally mention touchpads unless they're woeful (and sadly, many of them are), but the dv5 bucks this trend, with a reflective touchpad that's responsive and well placed. The keyboard is large and has excellent travel, although we did find it a little warm to the touch after only a little usage. The dv5 is really too big for actual lap use, but we imagine it's another unit that would warm your pants rather uncomfortably if you did.

On the benchmarking front, the dv5 scored well, with a PC Mark and 3DMark score of 5,312 and 4,382 respectively. We'd expect good scores out of the hardware HP's put in the dv5, and on that score, it didn't disappoint.

However, we were left concerned about battery life. Big desktop replacements don't often spend much time not tethered to a power cord, but it's a nice facility to have every once in a while. Unfortunately, you wouldn't want to stray too far away with the dv5, which only managed a very ordinary one and a half hours in our DVD battery run-down test.