Based on the new ATI Neo platform, will the HP Pavilion dv2 have enough draw to create a new niche between ultraportables and Netbooks?
When we first saw the 12-inch HP Pavilion dv2 at CES 2009, here’s what we noted. At first glance, another glossy HP laptop with an AMD processor may induce yawns, but when we learned this was the first system to use AMD’s new Netbook-like Athlon Neo platform, our ears perked up.
AMD sees room for systems with slightly bigger screens than Netbooks, and that cost slightly more. The Neo is intended to be a kind of step-up from Netbook CPUs, such as the Intel Atom and Via Nano, offering a little more processing power for a little more money, and is targeted at slightly larger systems: 12-inch laptops instead of 9- and 10-inch ones.
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Taking some design cues from the rest of HP’s current Pavilion lineup, the dv2 has a mirrored touchpad, imprinted swirly design on the keyboard tray, and a high-gloss finish. But unlike other Pavilions we’ve seen recently, this model trades the traditional tapered key keyboard for one with flatter, more closely spaced keys–similar to what you’d see on Apple and Sony laptops, or HP’s Mini 1000 Netbook.
Processor 1.6GHz AMD Athlon Neo MV-40
Memory 4GB, 800MHz DDR2
Hard drive 320GB 5,400rpm
Chipset ATI RS690
Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3410
Operating system Windows Vista Premium
Dimensions (WD) 292 x 240mm
Screen size (diagonal) 12.1 inches
System weight (Weight with AC adapter) 1.72kg (2.1kg)
That keyboard is comfortable and easy to use, but the narrower overall width (as in the case of Netbook keyboards as well) takes a little getting used to for touch typists. As in other current HP laptops, the touchpad’s mirrored surface isn’t quite slick enough for our tastes–there’s a little too much drag on the finger, forcing us to dial up the pointer speed in the system settings.
The slim Pavilion dv2 is thinner than other low-cost 12-inch laptops we’ve seen–the Samsung NC20 and Dell Mini 12 (powered by the Via Nano and Intel Atom processors, respectively)–and is only slightly thicker than a high-end ultraportable like the Lenovo IdeaPad U110. The end result is that the HP dv2 looks like a more expensive machine than it is.
The 12.1-inch widescreen LED display offers a 1,280 x 800 native resolution, which is standard for most screens between 12 and 15 inches in size. It displays Web pages and documents better than a Netbook’s typical 1,024 x 600 resolution can, and is also well-suited for watching 720p HD video content.