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HP Pavilion dv9000 review: HP Pavilion dv9000

Home users who want their laptop to double as a home entertainment center will love the high-end (and high-def) features on the HP Pavilion dv9000t.

Michelle Thatcher
Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops

Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.

5 min read

A true desktop replacement, the HP Pavilion dv9000t measures 15.2 inches wide, 11.7 inches deep, and 1.6 inch thick, and it weighs 7.8 pounds. That's too bulky to carry around with you every day, but it is smaller than both the Dell XPS M1710 and the Gateway NX850XL.

7.9

HP Pavilion dv9000

The Good

Beautiful design; bright, crisp display; complete set of A/V controls, ports, and connections, including an HD-DVD drive; long battery life; touch pad on/off button; excellent software.

The Bad

Display resolution could be higher; media controls provide audible feedback when pressed.

The Bottom Line

Home users who want their laptop to double as a home entertainment center will love the high-end (and high-def) features on the HP Pavilion dv9000t.
With the HD-friendly Pavilion dv9000t, HP shows that it continues to take entertainment seriously when designing its laptops. The latest iteration of the desktop replacement incorporates a bevy of high-end components, such as a Core 2 Duo processor, discrete Nvidia graphics, and a built-in HD-DVD drive, into its lightweight case. Add in the dv9000t's sleek design, with its echoes of consumer electronics devices, and you have a system that will look as good in the living room as on the desktop. While the new processor didn't add up to the greatest performance we've seen (that distinction belongs to more gaming-oriented systems, such as the ), the HP Pavilion dv9000t is a great choice for home users who want their laptop to double as an entertainment system.

Key features on the entertainment-oriented Pavilion dv9000t are the built-in HD-DVD drive and the accompanying 17-inch wide-screen display, features that put it in direct competition with the Toshiba Qosmio G35-AV650. With a native resolution of 1,440x900, the Pavilion dv9000t's glossy screen is good for watching high-def content, though we'd prefer a finer 1,920x1,200 resolution, as found on the Sony VAIO AR series. It's a small quibble, though: in our--ahem--extensive movie-watching tests, we found that the screen produced rich colors and sharp details, and there's plenty of screen real estate for traditional computer work, as well. Like all Pavilion laptops, the dv9000t includes a row of light-touch buttons above the keyboard that launch the media player and provide volume and playback controls; a somewhat annoying, high-pitched beep lets you know when you've pressed a button (the beep can be disabled in the system BIOS). Altec Lansing stereo speakers, located above those controls, deliver decent sound, though we prefer the speakers on the Qosmio G35.

For less cinematic pursuits, HP includes a built-in 1.3-megapixel Webcam above the display; two built-in microphones on the display bezel eliminate the need for an external microphone while videoconferencing. Like almost all desktop replacements, the Pavilion dv9000t's keyboard is full-size and includes a 10-key numeric keypad. The somewhat compact touch pad includes a scroll zone, and we love the touch pad on/off button, which is handy when you want to use an external mouse.

The dv9000t has a typical array of ports and connections for a desktop replacement, and they're well distributed and clearly labeled. You get one four-pin-FireWire and four USB 2.0 connections, plus a VGA out, an S-Video out, a 5-in-1 media card reader (Secure Digital, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MultiMediaCard, and xD), and a slot for the latest ExpressCards. In addition to a microphone jack, there are two headphone jacks--great for sharing movies and music with friends--one of which supports S/PDIF output. Networking options include an Ethernet jack, a modem, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The aforementioned HD-DVD drive is also a double-layer DVD burner with LightScribe, which lets you burn your own labels onto compatible discs.

Our Pavilion dv9000t preview unit ran on Windows XP Professional, but the default configuration for consumers will include Windows XP Media Center Edition. HP bundles a decent amount of software with the system, including the Microsoft Works 8 productivity suite, basic photo-editing software, and applications for disc viewing and burning.

We tested an early build of the HP Pavilion dv9000t that featured a 2.16GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7400 processor; however, that processor will not be offered on the system in the near future (for now, the dv9000t will top out with the 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200 chip). The rest of our configuration included 2GB of fast 667MHz RAM; two 100GB, 5,400rpm hard drives; and an Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 graphics card with 256MB of dedicated VRAM. This configuration, with the 2GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, costs $2,394; rebates and discounts currently available on the HP site shave $200 off the price. On CNET Labs' application benchmarks, the Pavilion dv9000t fell right between a Dell XPS M1710, configured with a slightly faster processor and hard drive, and a Gateway M685 with a previous-generation processor and less RAM. When it comes to battery life, though, the dv9000t triumphed: its battery held out for 3 hours, 19 minutes--longer than both the Dell's and the Gateway's and above average for a desktop replacement.

HP backs the Pavilion dv9000 with an industry-standard one-year warranty; the cost to extend the term to three years is a reasonable $85. Toll-free telephone support is available 24/7 during your warranty period, and the HP support Web site includes one of our favorite support features: real-time chat with a tech rep. If you want to troubleshoot problems yourself, you can search through the site's thorough FAQ database.

Application performance
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
iTunes 6.0.4.2 AAC-to-MP3 conversion (seconds)  
Photoshop CS2 performance (seconds)  
Gateway M685
224 
445 

BAPCo MobileMark 2005 battery life
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2005 battery life (in minutes)  
Gateway M685
169 

BAPCo MobileMark2005 performance
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
BAPCo MobileMark2005 performance  
Gateway M685
280 

Find out more about how we test Windows laptops.

System configurations:
Dell XPS M1710 Core 2 Duo
Windows XP Media Center; 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7600; 2GB DDR2 SDRAM PC5300 666MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7900 GTX 512MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 100GB 7,200rpm
Gateway M685
Windows XP Media Create; 2GHz Core Duo T2500; 1GB PC 5300 DDR2 SDRAM 666MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7800 256MB; Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 80GB 7,200rpm
HP Pavilion dv9000t
Windows XP Pro; 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo T7400; 2GB PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB; Fujitsu MHV2100BH 100GB 5,400rpm (2)

7.9

HP Pavilion dv9000

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 9Performance 7Battery 0Support 6
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