on January 29, 2011
I purchased this product in Jan 2011 at a local retailer. It was under $800. It matches the MacBook Pro almost feature for feature, but at 1/4 the price.
It is blazing fast! It played Crysis without the first hiccup. Adobe Lightroom is instant. Microsoft Office 2010 programs load before I can get my finger off the mouse button. Six generous Gigs of RAM take care of all the tasks for which I use this computer. It is almost a desktop replacement.
The ATI graphics is good, and the Beats audio is rich. The bass response can be a little too much when external speakers are hooked up. It seems to be optimized for headphone and built-in speaker listening. This is easily adjusted with the Beats control program in the system tray.
The camera built in at the top of the screen is the almost as good as the MacBook Pro's camera. It is light years ahead of the cheap webcams I've seen on the other laptops at the store. It accurately accounts for the available light in the room and has a sharp picture.
The 17.3in. screen is ample, bright, and crisp. The color response seems to be good and it has no perceptible blur. It has the glossy surface, so we get a little deeper blacks, but also a little glare. I must say that it is not bad about glare, however. It has not been an issue under several different lighting conditions. It's really just not a problem.
The fingerprint reader... this thing is really nice. I was worried that this would be some cheesy gee-whiz gadget that would be more trouble than it's worth. I didn't expect to use it. I was wrong. It has a very intuitive control panel that comes up the first time you swipe it. It can control your computer login and also can be used for each website at which you login. It works with Firefox, as well as Internet Exploder. The nice thing is that my kids can't get around it. They've hacked my password a couple of times, but this thing won't let them in. Very well done HP.
The keyboard is not backlit! What's up with not having a backlit keyboard!? Every laptop at this performance level should have a backlit keyboard! I actually took a star off for it. If you don't think it's a big deal, try using it in a dark room. I touch type, but I need a little help with which key combo is for the special functions (volume, brightness, etc). I will say that the island style keys are fantastic. No double key presses! This is way better than the older style of laptop keyboards. Very well done. And, unlike MBP, it has a numeric keypad. I use it all the time in my work, so I really appreciate that.
The trackpad is large and requires just the right amount of pressure so as to be easy to push, while not being prone to accidental pressed. In fact, I type thousands of words per day and have not accidentally hit it yet, though my hands rest across it. It uses multi-touch and scrolls and zooms accurately and smoothly. This has been tweaked by Synaptics and finally gotten right. Good job guys.
The Aluminum case on this model makes for a very nice finish. The HP logo on the back has a mirror looking background when the computer is off. When it is on, the logo lights up just like the Apple logo does on MacBooks. The aluminum case also turns the entire shell of the laptop into a giant heatsink. This monster stays cool under every task except heavy 3D gaming! This is the coolest laptop I've ever used. I ran the internet and MS Office 2010 for hours without it getting more than barely warm on my legs. The custom LASER etching is also a nice touch. I would personally like to see HP offer a textured aluminum case. This would help out with grabbing and holding, like when pulling it out of a case or bag. Again, well done HP. I also have to add here that I like the very simple monotone layout of the unit. All lights are simple white and small. The entire keyboard area is black (both keys and background). The rest of the case is simple aluminum, and a black thin border around the monitor. The only thing different is the lockout indicator on the touchpad. It glows red when the touchpad is disabled. BTW that's done by tapping the top left corner three times.
The speed of this beast is really good. HP has a little bit of bloatware on it, which is constantly updating, calling home, or popping up suggestions or reminders about things. I'm about to remedy this shortly. If it will run Windows 7 as fast as it is running it, Linux must really fly! I'm sure none of the gadgetry works under Linux, but I'm about to find out about that too. Actually, the Hackintosh guys need to get OS X working on this box. That would be just right. 6GB of RAM and a 640MB HDD with drop protection is pretty good for a laptop. There are plenty of ports too. Two USB on the right. Three USB on the left, one of which doubles as an eSATA. Headphone and mic are on the left, as well as ethernet and VGA. There is a card reader on front-left and the Blu-Ray is on the right. Power is on the right. One point of real weirdness is that the power and drive activity LEDs are on the right side rather than in the front. Who made that decision? that is one of the strangest things I've ever seen.
Great Graphics and gaming
Great sound (adjust for external speakers)
Great Keyboard (why is it not illuminated!?)
Lots of memory
Plenty of ports
Clean, monotone, simple design and layout (well done)
on February 27, 2011
I am a happy owner of this laptop. Here are my notes on it after using it for few days..
- Cool!! Only warm after hours of video. For non-video intensive application, it is just slightly warm on upper left part of the laptop. Amazing !! The fan is quiet but it is not silent. How can HP run AMD Quad Core with little heat?! I spent $1000+ to build a Home Theater PC 7 years ago... So I know how difficult to keep the heat down.
- The Microsoft movie maker, word+excel (limited function) are useful, all other Microsoft application are very basic! Lucky HP provides Corel VideoStudio and PaintShop Pro apps. The HP MediaSmart is not bad, it handles most of your multimedia needs.
- The Cyberlink DVD/CD burning apps is also very basic.
- To create a recovery DVD, it took 6 DVD discs and about 3 to 4 hours..... Each DVD is about 4GB, I wonder what is on these 24GB !! You can only create it once. Don't start it before you go to sleep, or you will need to stay up for 4 hours.
- The LED 17.3" screen is very nice. Video and pictures look very nice on it. It is also very cool to touch. But you can't use it in front of a window. The screen is quite reflective.
- The blue ray drive is a little slow, or may be the software is slow. It takes about 1 to 2 minutes to start a blue ray movie. But the HP Blue Ray player software has an easy interface.
- HDMI connection to TV is very easy. I played Avatar on it, it is my first blue ray disc. Very clear and beautiful color. Better than DVD even on my 720P (not 1080p) 50" TV!
- The hinges of the screen is very tight. I can not open the screen with one hand.
- The multi-touch mouse pad is good. I can use two fingers to scroll and zoom.
- The finger print reader is so easy to use. It is also very accurate. Any member of my family can just swipe one of their finger and switch to his/her account on the window.
- USB 3.0 with SATA - wow, I have not tried them yet, but I am sure they are fast.... The built-in multi card reader is very convenient too.
- When charging the battery, it is making some noticeable "shhhhh" noice until it gets to 85% or higher. And it recharges quickly. It seems than the recharge light is Amber when it charging and change to white when it finishes. The charger is warm to touch.
- The webcam is in HD mode with left and right mic. When in use, its white LED turns on.
- The Fences software group the desktop icons into smaller windows. It is not bad. When you double click the desktop, all icons disappear. Then double click to get them back.
- The audio is very good for a laptop. It has a subwoofer on the bottom of this laptop :-) Of course, it can't replace your external speakers with external subwoofer.
- I also like the Desktop Gadgets. There are many free and good apps from the web. I recommend the talking clock, zCalendar, WeatherBug, and couple radio apps.
I wish I can run Google Honeycomb 3.0 on this laptop. It would be even faster. M.S. Windows tends to slow down the more you use it. It just collects more and more garbage and makes its register huge with a lot of mess. I need to find a good clean up software for it.
Don't forget to install some type of anti-virus and auti-spy software. There are some good free one out there.
There are not many blue ray laptop out there. This unit is one of the best deal for a 17.3". I checked the smaller 15.6" model at Amazon, it is only $50 less. So which one do you choose ? The same model with Intel iCore 5 is about $200 more w/ 6GB memory.... Hummm, I chose AMD quad cores :-)
That is all for now.
One month update: My mistake. I checked the spec again recently, the USB is 2.0 (not 3.0 ;-()... So I reduce my rating by half star.....
I also noticed that the function keys are not "normal". Each function key can do 2 things. Its multimedia control is the primary function. If you need the F1 to F12, you need to hit and hold "fn" key first. Since I use this lap top mostly for entertainment, so I like it :-) As a result, I add half star back to my rating :-0
If you need the F1 to F12 functions very often, then you may want to think about it...
Few days ago, I connected my laptop to a 21" external LED monitor and I noticed that this laptop screen is not "white" enough. Again, it is ok for entertainment (kind of like movie mode in my projector). But if you need a very white color (like some graphic design), then this may concern you too.... But I did not notice the difference in whiteness and brightness until I put them side by side.
After using this laptop for a few months, I still love this laptop. The finger print reader makes it easy for a few people to share this computer. The LED display is very nice now. I found the option to brighten the display. This is a perfect systems for multimedia usage. I can watch about 2 Blueray movie before recharging it. Performance is still great for most day to day application, like internet browsing, MS Office, movie maker and more.
on March 31, 2011
I bought this laptop after years of using a Sony Vaio laptop, and I'm very pleased with the laptop so far. Is it the best laptop out there? No, but it has some excellent features and you get a great amount of bang for the buck.
The finger print reader as others have mentioned really works, and is extremely easy to use. It doesn't lag (there are no fake screens that pop up pretending to show a scan of finger prints or anything of that sort), you just swipe and it accepts or rejects immediately. And in a nanosecond, you are signed in, which I found to be of great use, because I hate turning automatic sign-ins on for a lot of programs on the computer. It may not sound like much at first, and when I bought this, I thought it was something that I'd probably never use, but once I've tested it out, I'd definitely use it for messengers, skype, and some internet passwords.
The screen is very large, bright, and gives you a wide viewing area. Now part of it might be because I'm coming from a Vaio, but I really like the large screen to watch movies or TV shows online, as you don't have to sit right beside the computer to get a good picture. The screen does have a bit of glare, but I use this computer mostly in my home and school. When exposed to light, you can see your reflection sometimes, although if programs are open, it's a lot harder to tell unless you are specifically looking for it.
The touch pad is a bit tricky. I like the large surface area of the touch pad, easier to navigate pages that way. But it runs into a couple of problems. One is the multi-touch feature. To zoom in and out on a screen, you bring together or move apart your fingers (exactly how you zoom on an iphone). Now, that alone would've been fine itself. But to scroll down a page, you have to use two fingers and slide both fingers down at a similar rate. What this creates is confusion for the system, because the system has to recognize if you are moving your fingers apart or if sliding down. So that part of the feature actually lags sometimes, which can get hard to take. And sometimes you are just going to zoom when you wanted to scroll down, and vice versa. It's not a manufacturing problem, since both aspects of the features work fine when done correctly, it's a design problem because it creates confusion for the system and causes it to lag. They would've been much better off if they just had something similar to what Sony had, and just have the scrolling feature be activated by moving your fingers up or down at the end right side of the touch pad, sort of where you would see a scroll bar on internet pages. But it's a small thing, not that big of a deal, and the more people get used to it, the problems will fade IMO. But it could've been better. The biggest problem with the keyboard? The left and right click buttons. First of all, they are on the same level as the touch pad, separated by a small bump, so a lot of times you actually have to look down to see if it is the button area. I saw some reviews around the internet saying it was pretty hard to press down, which I didn't think was the case. However, the button area itself is part of the touch pad. So when you move your finger to the left or right click button, you need to press straight down. If your finger moves, so does the cursor. You will end up clicking the wrong things at first, unless your fingers move straight down. I don't really see the point of having touch pads that extend out to the buttons, especially when the touch pad already had ample size. For left clicking, you are almost better off just tapping twice on the touch pad than trying to use the button.
The graphics on this are excellent, and the processor seem is very good. A lot of pages pop up really fast, and it also has excellent memory.
Another thing I like about this, is that the battery extends out from the bottom, to create lift for the computer. This puts the keyboard at an angle, (sort of how you put up those stands on the back of your desktop keyboard, but done by the battery itself here) which makes it easier to type when it's on a flat ground. This also helps keep the temperature of the unit down as well, as it creates ample space for air to flow through.
Startup time is also relatively short (especially if you have finger print sign-in for the Account page on Windows) and everything seems to run smooth on this. There isn't any lag on the operating system, and it's very quiet.
One thing you do have to take into account is weight and size. It weighs a good amount, so it's not quite as handy, or atleast seems to me. And since the laptop is large, you might have a bit of trouble using it on planes unless you sit in Business class or above. Not sure it's going to fit on the tray table in economy class, especially since you need to angle the screen up in most cases (hence you need to move it towards you to swing the screen back a bit). I haven't tried it, so it's not something definite, but I'd imagine it'd be somewhat tough to do. But this also isn't really a frequent flyer computer, more of an entertainment laptop, so I guess not too many people are going to be concerned. You sort of have to sacrifice handiness for larger screen and keyboard I guess.
The webcam on this works wonderfully, and the beats audio is really good. And there seems to be a lot of depth to the audio as well. I was used to pretty much setting the volume on high when I'd listen on my old laptop with headphones on, whereas now I set it somewhere around the 30% mark and hear just as fine.
The design is excellent as well around the computer and has a really nice feel to it. I like having a number pad, and there are buttons for audio located on the function key-bar. The up and down key is a bit small, which isn't much of a problem for me since I'm not huge into gaming, but since this is a gaming computer, I thought it was a bit lacking. The vertical length of the up and down key combined is the same as the left or right key alone. Think of it as 3 keys side by side, but the middle one was cut in half horizontally and separated into the up and down key. For pretty much everyone used to playing games, you go by touch and feel with the keys, and after all these years, you move your fingers up from the left or right key to go up, and laterally to use the down key. Gaming wise, I think that's a major flaw, even if it's a small difference. However, the number pad also has the arrow keys, surrounding the #5, so I'm assuming more people are just going to use that instead.
There is no backlit keyboard, but if the computer is on, the screen itself provides enough light to see the keyboard, IMO. Another good feature is that, once you go into battery mode, the graphics card changes to one that uses less power, to ensure that you are saving batter power. It's done automatically, which is a great feature because most of the time, I'll just be browsing the internet when I'm using the battery, so I don't need the utmost graphics. You can switch it to the higher resolution graphics if you want too.
In review, I love this computer minus a few minor problems. The processor speed, quality of the picture, the outward design, finger print reader, webcam, number-pad, noise level, elevated stand, audio, and startup time are great on this. The negatives include the left and right click button issues, the small up and down button, and that the zoom and scroll functions can be tricky to perform due to a design oversight I guess. I'd recommend this computer to pretty much anyone, since it's miles and miles ahead of say the Vaio (which also is way more expensive). It's not perfect (which is why I only rated it a 4), but for the price, I think it's an excellent computer.
on May 3, 2011
I'll just start by saying that HP are known for making very good quality computers, i won't argue with that. I got this same very laptop at office depot, only with 6 gigs of ram, which changed nothing. The AMD Phenom II x4 P960 is definitely the slowest processor out, why? Well the processor was designed as a power saving processor to utilize energy more efficiently. So what happens is with all single core applications(which dual cores utilize), this computer does not. Say your converting a video using an AVI to VSO program. Well it will take about an hour or more depending on the size of the file. I have an Acer 7741Z-4815 which has the pentium dual core with 3mb of L3 cache, and a 2.0 processor and as far as regular use, leaves this thing in the dust. Converting is faster(if your into that sort of thing), anywhere from 38 minutes or less depending on the size of the file. I've done a 2 gig file in around an hour. With this machine is would take about 3 hours. That's just unacceptable for a computer of this price and hype. The speakers also sound horrible, and the beats audio is a horrible sounding joke. The speakers are placed in front, (with no surround), and they sound like they are going to blow even with the adjustments you can make. What ever happen to just good old altec lansing?
The keys are nice, very smooth typing, and the feel of the computer is very very sturdy. The GPU, ATI 6370 is low level, mixed with another extra switchable gpu the ATI 4250, which enhances nothing for gaming performance. Also dual core designed games suffer poorly because this computer as i said doesn't utilize a lot of applications for use of all four cores. That's a shame, it they did it would be a great buy. Most people don't know or care about this, but me being a heavy user, i definitely do. But then again even boot up, regular web browsing, and regular applications coming up seems very sluggish. If you read other reviews that have this same processor, you will see the same comments. And the ratings are very poor. So not to sound like a hater or drop the bomb HP (because they do make some great computers), this just isn't one of them. Check out Office Depot and look at the G7 with the I3 Processor for only 599$, with a mail in rebate making it only 549$! Way better deal.
So sorry but this computer is like i said, one of the slowest computers i've had the displeasure of using. Your basically using a machine with a 1.8ghz processor that decides when and what it will use the other 3 cores for. But that you never know. Not sure why AMD made such a stupid decision, it enhances nothing. I'll stick with Acer, they never fail me, in the 14 years. Ever. Here are some games i tried with less than stellar results. :(
Devil May Cry 4(Older Game)-Low settings 37 to 28 fps on low setting.
Bioshock-Low 30's-Low Resolution Setting
Call Of Duty 4-about 29 on average-medium settings, 35 on low.
Black Ops-Low Settings around 22-( i turned off the 4250 and just went with the 6730 and that's still all it could do).
Dragon Age Origins 28 to 32-(same with this game)
This is not what the specs show for the 6730, so the only other thing i can think for the poor performance is the Processor as it says below.
****From Notebook Check Website****
The AMD Phenom II X4 P960 is a slow clocked quad-core CPU for laptops. Compared to the desktop Phenom II, the mobile Phenom II X4 offer no level 3 cache and are therefore compareable to the desktop Athlon X4 line. The slow clock speed allows the low powerconsumption (25 W TDP) but may lead to a bad performance in single threaded applications and games. The single thread performance should be between a 1.5 GHz and 1.8 GHz Core 2 Duo processor. If all four cores are used in benchmarks, the performance may reach the level of a Core i3 processor.
on March 26, 2011
I have no complaints about the execution of this system. The display is sharp, the sound is good, and the wireless networking is great. I'm not completely up to speed on Windows 7 yet, but that will come. The Blu-ray drive and the external SATA connector are nice, and I'll probably use all of the four USB ports. I withheld my highest rating for two reasons. First, the computer does not have a mechanical volume control, and I would like to be able to turn annoying Internet sounds off without fumbling for the desktop control. Second, and more important, the computer does not have a docking port. For a notebook computer to serve as a primary computer, it is an absolute necessity to connect it to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. I'll still use the computer a lot, but it isn't quite what I had hoped for.
on March 31, 2011
I spent a couple of weeks looking for a laptop to replace my aging iMac. I was about to settle on an Acer Aspire core i5 for $600 when I came across the DV7 at an Office Depot store. It was on sale for $729 so I set off to do some research about the Phenom II processor. I didn't find anything horribly negative so I decided to make my purchase.
Glad I did because the $729 price was the cheapest by about $100. Anyway, I got the computer unpacked and did the needed system updates then settled in to getting to know my new computer. Right off the bat I was annoyed by how much bloatware there was on this thing. I didn't see ANY of the speed the reviews talked about. This thing was SLOW. I got rid of the Norton stuff and the free trials. I then went to the HP assistant to look for driver updates, it found NONE. This was disappointing because I knew there was a new ATI video driver out. I had to install that manually, and when I did, the computer got fast again. I spent 3-4 hours making the recovery discs (6!) I'm hoping with these I can easily blow away the default install and just install Windows 7 and my drivers.
So far I'm very happy with my purchase, if I didn't have to do so much work to get it the way I wanted it I would have rated 5 stars.
on April 2, 2011
Absolutely no complaints. From what I was able to find, this is the only unit available with ATI graphics and a BluRay drive in the price range. Also, the construction of this PC is top-notch. Very solid and perfectly assembled. The metal (Aluminium) exterior gives the unit a nice look and seemingly better rigidity than similar machines with an all plastic body. Nice! I do not find any performance difference between the AMD quad and Intel quad processors, however I am not a gamer. Benchmarks show that the AMD performs at about 95% of the level of the similar Intel processor, so I don't see that it shoud be a big difference. I use this machine as a portable DAW running Cakewalk's Guitar tracks Pro and a couple of different Sonar applications. All run nicely with no quirks. I don't really use the internal speakers very often, but I can say that they are the best sounding internal laptop speakers that I have heard. The beats audio - IMHO no big deal, but certainly acceptable. BluRay discs play fine, and the display is beautiful. I would buy this again with no hesitation. A great PC at what I would call a more than fair price.
Amazon delivery was (as usual) spot on. Fast delivery and no fuss.
on February 27, 2011
This is probably the best deal on the net at 749 from Amazon but its never on the deal websites. But your not going to find a better deal on the internet any time soon. Get it! 17" screen, quadcore, plenty of memory and blueray. Sweet!!!!
on May 17, 2011
I was THIS close to purchasing the HP Pavilion with the AMD Phenom II X4 P960(1.8GHz) processor. .... but I went with the Acer AS7741G-6426 17.3-Inch Laptop instead. (it has a Intel Core i5 480M(2.66GHz) processor) Here's why:
The AMD processor has 4 cores that each function at a low clockspeed of 1.8GHz. This processor is designed for making a longer battery running time on the laptop or running several medium to low demand applications at the same time without lowering the overall computer speed.
I really don't need that. I will be using the computer to run some graphics programs (1 at a time) and some occasional gaming. These types of programs are usually designed to take advantage of only one or two cores at a time.
Therefore, for my needs the computer with the Intel Core i5 at 2.66GHz will knock the socks off of the AMD P960. (Plus the Acer comes with a better graphics card! ... although it doesn't come with a Blue-Ray DVD :( )
Go with the AMD Phenom II X4 P960(1.8GHz)/ HP Pavilion dv7-4270us if you need the following:
- Lots of work from the battery ... no access to a 110V wall socket. ... can probably go 4-5 hours off the battery
- Need the Blu-Ray dvd player
- Lots of medium to light applications running at the same time
Go with the Intel Core i5 at 2.66GHz / Acer AS7741G-6426 if you need the following:
- Run 1 higher demand application (ie... CPU intensive video game, 3D rendering program, DVD conversion, video editing etc ....)
- No need for long periods of just running off of the battery ... this will probably realistically only run 2 hours on the battery .. if that.
- High video demand ... this computer has a better video card (faster and more memory 1000Mb vs 500Mb)
There are other benefits and cons to each of these laptops. ... the HP probably has slightly better options such as keyboard keys, monitor resolution, microphone. .... But the Acer has a better CPU and better Video card (the real meat and potatoes) ... and the keyboard is going to work and the monitor still looks very nice.
on March 5, 2011
I received this HP on Wednesday, only one day after I ordered it from Amazon. (Great delivery!) It was out the box ready to roll and I appreciate that. I don't usually add a lot to my computer since this is just for writing (dissertation) and internet surfing. My files are kept on external hard drives. So far I have nothing bad to say about this computer and it is definitely fit to do what I need it to do. I agree with one review - I do wish it had backlighting on the keyboard. Of course, then it would look just like an Apple for less than half the price! No worries, I rarely write in the dark, and if I have to, I touch type so once I get my fingers on the home row, I'm good to go. Also, I have one of those usb spider lights that I can hookup and use if I had to type in the dark.
Very happy and so far very glad I picked this computer. I also got a great deal before the price jumped.