HP delivers yet another strong notebook with the thin, lightweight, and feature-rich Pavilion dv2500t, a travel-friendly thin-and-light machine that gives users multimedia amenities, solid endurance, and fingerprint security. Add 3G mobile broadband to the mix and you have a productive and fun machine that will keep you connected and entertained on the go.
Weighing in at 5.6 pounds and measuring just an inch thick, the Pavilion dv2500t features HP's trademark high-gloss Imprint finish with Radiance design, which adds a subtle, eye-catching pattern to the notebook. Although the aesthetic isn't as awe-inspiring as it once was--mainly because other vendors have started copying it--it's an attractive system. We liked the nicely sized touchpad with a built-in scroll strip, fingerprint reader, and quiet-click mouse buttons. The full-sized keyboard flexed a bit too much for our liking, but we're fans of the illuminated multimedia controls that sit above them.
We enjoyed our Chinatown DVD on the 14.1-inch (1280 x 800-pixel resolution) widescreen display; colors were solid, and the viewing angles were excellent from all but the most extreme angles. An HDMI port is included for outputting video and audio to a HDTV or high-def monitor. Unfortunately, HP doesn't offer an HD-DVD drive upgrade for this model. On the plus side, the optional ExpressCard TV tuner ($130) delivers both high-definition and analog signals.
Like most notebook speakers, the Pavilion dv2500t's lacked sufficient punch but got the job done. We liked that HP built in two headphone jacks, which makes sharing audio with a friend on a plane easy. Video chatters will like the built-in 1.8-megapixel webcam and microphone, which made Skype video calls a breeze. Video quality was solid in rooms with a fair amount of ambient light, although colors are a bit washed out when compared with videoconferencing in the MacBook's iChat.
Although the Pavilion dv2500t's MobileMark 2007 score of 170 was slightly below average for a thin-and-light notebook, the 2.2-Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor kept Windows Vista Ultimate running smoothly, whether we were surfing the Web, listening to music, or working in multiple documents. The system's 3DMark03 score was an impressive 4,476, thanks to Nvidia's GeForce 8400M GS graphics processor (with 64MB of video memory). That's more than double what we typically see from this class notebook, making this system suitable for light 3D gaming. This was borne out on our F.E.A.R. test as well, where the dv2500t averaged 70.3 frames per second in autodetect mode but dropped to an unplayable 9 fps with the game's settings maxed out.
Given the Pavilion dv2500t's discrete graphics, it offered decent battery life. The system's six-cell battery held a charge for 3 hours and 1 minute. Although that's more than an hour below average for a thin-and-light notebook, this configuration also includes a 12-cell battery, which should double that runtime. The 12-cell battery adds an extra 9.8 ounces to the travel weight and a bulge to the back of the system. (If you want just the 12-cell, it's a mere $20 upgrade at the time of purchase.)
The Pavilion dv2500t makes hotspot hunting a thing of the past, courtesy of integrated Verizon Wireless EV-DO Rev. A mobile broadband. On our tests, we were able to download a 1MB file at a brisk 664 Kbps; the connection also delivered a decent upload speed of 201.4 Kbps. The system's 802.11a/g/n Wi-Fi moved data along at a rate of 19.4 Mbps from 15 feet away from our access point and 17.1 Mbps from 50 feet--above average for this class.
HP includes Adobe Acrobat Reader 8, Roxio Creator 9 Basic, a 60-day trial of Symantec Norton Internet Security, a 30-day trial of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007, and LightScribe, which lets users etch images directly onto CDs and DVDs with their notebook's optical drive laser.
Priced at $1,811, the HP Pavilion dv2500t strikes the right balance between productivity, performance, and fun. We suggest opting for Vista Home Premium and just the 12-cell battery, which would save you $240 without sacrificing performance. The system's lightweight, stylish design and anytime, anywhere connectivity make it a notebook that both the casual user and professional will appreciate.