I got my new laptop yesterday, Friday 30 October. As you know from my previous posts; here and here, I got my new HP Pavilion dv7 2114eo as a replacement for my old HP dv9074ea which broke down for the third time due to the same error. Despite my problems with my former laptop, I really liked it and was thoroughly satisfied with its performance. Although it was purchased in 2006 it ran Windows 7 beautifully and were able to run a game like Call of Duty decently. Since it went down for the same error for the third time, I was issued a replacement PC; a brand new HP Pavilion dv7-2114eo. Being a gadget and tech lover I was really looking forward to un-boxing, setting up and testing my new machine, and I could hardly wait for it to arrive.
In this review I will cover the following;
– Windows 7 – installation process and compatibility
|Processor, operating system and memory
|Operating system installed
||Genuine Windows® 7 Ultimate (64-bit)
||AMD Turion X2 Ultra-mobile technology ZM-82 / 2.2 GHz ( Dual-Core )
||(2 x 2048 MB)
||Supports up to 8 GB DDR3 memory
||1000 GB (2 x 500 GB)
||SATA Hard Disk Drive
|Hard disk drive speed
|Optical drive type
||Lightscribe Super Multi DVD Writer (+/-R +/-RW) with Double Layer support
||Create silkscreen-quality disc labels direct from your PC with LightScribe: Just burn, flip, burn.
|Memory card device
||5-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader for Secure Digital cards, MultiMedia cards, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, or xD Picture cards
||Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
|External I/O ports
||4 (4th shared with Esata port) USB 2.0, 1 HDMI connector, 1 eSata + USB connector, 1 VGA port, 1 RJ45 ethernet connector, expansion port, 2 headphones-out, 1 mic-in, 1 IEEE 1394, Consumer IR, cable docking connector
|Video capture interface
||IEEE 1394 FireWire® Interface
||1 ExpressCard/54 Slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
||17.3” Diagonal High Definition HP LED Brightview Display
||1600 x 900
|Graphic subsystem name
||ATI Radeon™ HD 4650 Graphics
||Up to 2815 MB total graphics memory with 1000 MB dedicated DDR3
||HP Pavilion Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone.VGA low-light
||HP Mobile Remote Control
|Speakers and microphone
||Altec Lansing speakers with integrated subwoofer
||Full size keyboard with integrated numeric keypad
||Touch Pad with On/Off button and dedicated vertical Scroll Up/Down pad
|Power supply type
||90 W AC Power Adapter
||8-cell Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery
|Dimensions / weight
|Product dimensions (W x D x H)
||27.7 cm (W) x 41.26 cm (L) x 3.5 cm (min H) / 4.32 cm (max H)
|Package dimensions (W x D x H)
||450 x 160 x 345 mm
||8995,- NOK – approx $1500
The specs shows off a fairly decent laptop with a good processor, a good GPU, lots of storage and a potentially great screen. The screen resolution should have been higher though, real HD would have been nice. The machine was originally delivered with Windows Vista Home Premium (x64), but I wiped the C drive and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on it as soon as I got it. But that is all based on numbers, how does it work in real life?
Prior to setting the machine up and being able to test it, I had to unbox it. A moment I truly savored and enjoyed. For me at least, it is not an everyday occurrence to get a new laptop. Here are some pictures of it, courtesy of Hp.com;
Front side; showing off the espresso wallpaper as well as the 2 phone jacks and the microphone port.
The Espresso imprint on the lid, with the glowing hp logo
Front and left side;
Front and right side;
Left side with the VGA, HP expansion port, RJ45, HDMI, eSata (+USB), USB and card reader.
Right side with the DVD writer, 2 USB ports, the Kensington lock and power connector. (The picture has two additional ports which are not present on my model)
The machine has got the glossy (fingerprint prone) black Espresso finish with a discreet circle pattern. The lid has a glowing HP logo (taking a cue from Apple) and with the silver lined edges it gives the machine an elegant and eye-catching look. As with the previous Pavilion notebook models there are no ports on the rear side, everything is placed either on the sides or on the front as shown in the pictures above.
The keyboard, which is a full size QWERTY keyboard with a numeric pad, is comfortable to use with just about the right resistance and responsiveness. It looks great and seems to be of good quality. The touchpadThe Altec Lansing speakers are placed above the keyboard, and there you will also find the quick launch buttons. The latter are way better in this iteration than they were on the dv9074. Much more responsive, without that annoying clicking sound and placed further away from the keyboard itself, avoiding the accidental clicks. The speakers themselves deserve some additional recognition: The sound is quite good, and with the subwoofer found under the laptop they are doing a very decent job indeed. They will in no way replace external speakers, but you get quite good sound straight out of the box.
The screen looks just great, although the common problem with viewing it from the sides are still there. That said; how many people tend to work or watch a laptop at any given time? One – exactly. And he tends to be right in front of the screen – and there there are no problems. The one issue I have with the screen, is the fact that they haven’t gone to full HD. 1600×900 is a great resolution on this screen, but I see no reason why they haven’t made it 1080p.
So with an AMD processor and a good GPU plus 2 large HDDs you expect the fans to making some noise, right? Well, you are right on. The fans are going constantly and are making some noise. Less noise than my older laptop, but still much more than I hoped for when I got this machine. While playing a game or a movie you will not really notice it, but while working on your machine, like I was when I wrote this, I certainly picked up the sound.
Windows 7 – Installation process and compatibility
The laptop came with Windows Vista Home Premium with the normal mixture of trial versions of different software included. I contemplated removing the software I did not want and then to do an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 Ultimate, but decided against it. I have always advised clean installs to others, so I decided to follow my own advice. I prepped my memory stick according the instructions in my own complete guide on how to install Windows 7, and booted from it. I chose custom install, formatted the C drive and installed Windows 7 Ultimate on it. From the time I restarted until the Windows 7 desktop greeted me it took exactly 18 minutes, including the time it took for me to format and to enter my credentials.
HP had already put up their drivers for Windows 7 for this very machine, and I had downloaded them all. After installing them and I then went to the Device Manager to check the status, and was greeted with everything being ok, except for an unknown device;
After some digging around I found that this device has the hardware ID ACPI/HQP0004 and I have yet to find drivers for it. Hopefully HP will provide one soon…
UPDATE: Hp on 5 November had a Windows 7 Expert day over on their support forum, and they were quick to solve the missing driver issue for me. I was missing the driver for the HP Mobile Data Protection Sensor, an accelerometer that detects sudden movement and freezes the hard discs in order to protect them. For some reason that driver never showed up on my computer models driver home page, but I was given a direct link, and the problem is now solved.
So how does Windows 7 work on it. No surprises there – just great! Smooth, responsive and every way I would expect this OS to work on newer hardware. The only problem I encountered so far was when yesterday the wireless modem acted up on me. I thought my connection speed was slow, and tested it only to find that I had less than 1 Mb/s download speed. And given the fact that I have a 12 Mb/s line this annoyed me big time. After checking the router I decided that it was probably the driver that was the problem; I uninstalled the hardware, and reinstalled the drivers – and I got my 12 MB/s download speed again.
The Windows Experience Index for the machine looks like this;
The processor is obviously the weakest link scoring only 4.9 as opposed to the rest which scores around 6. Having stated that, it is time to test the performance of the system…
In order to test the performance of the system I ran it through some synthetic tests in order to see how it would perform when it came to gaming and desktop performance. I also ran a battery test to see how long this one would last, remembering clearly how poor the battery on my dv9074ea fared.
I have compared my results with my old laptop as well as well as two results from the Norwegian site Hardware.no; the very high-end and expensive Toshiba Qosmio X300 (ca 15000 NOK – $2500) and the Dell Studio XPS 16.
HP dv9074ea: 8265
HP dv7-2114eo: 17612
Toshiba Qosmio X300: NA
Dell Studio XPS 16: NA
HP dv9074ea: 3584
HP dv7-2114eo: 9982
Toshiba Qosmio X300: NA
Dell Studio XPS 16: NA
HP dv9074ea: NA
HP dv7-2114eo: 5901
Toshiba Qosmio X300: 10091
Dell Studio XPS 16: 4379
HP dv9074ea: NA
HP dv7-2114eo: 2969
Toshiba Qosmio X300: 3995
Dell Studio XPS 16: NA
I ran Crysis on Medium settings, screen resolution 1600×900 2x antialias just fine. No hick-ups or artifacts, which speaks volumes about this machines gaming capabilities.
This laptop comes up with some pretty decent results compared to the other ones. That the Toshiba comes up with better results should be expected, given the price and thus the included hardware. For me personally it is truly great having a new laptop as a replacement that is way better than what I had before. I can only say; HP dv9074ea R.I.P.
In order to measure the battery life I ran three tests; the first two with the utility Battery Eater Pro. The first test was in the so called Classic mode, which resembles full load with no power saving options enabled ie the minimum capacity of the battery. The second test I ran was in the Idle mode, which gives the maximum capacity as all power saving options are enabled. The third and last test I did was to close all programs and start playback of a DVD (Platoon) to see how long the battery would last.
Battery Eater Pro v2.70 Classic Mode 74 minutes
Battery Eater Pro v2.70 Idle Mode 190 minutes
DVD playback 90 minutes (not enough – pc was in balanced power mode)
So for graphic intensive tasks not nearly enough, but for ordinary work related tasks it should provide enough juice for getting the things done. That said, this is a desktop replacement and I at least will in 9 out of 10 cases always use it connected to the power grid. Although it would have made people look at me, I don’t see myself pulling this enormous laptop out on an airplane to watch a movie 🙂
All in all I am very satisfied with the dv7-2114eo. It looks great, is comfortable in use and packs all the power I need and then some. Being a casual gamer, this machine has more than enough gaming power to satisfy me. The downsides of it being the “non-HD” screen resolution, the constant humming of the fan and a battery that I hoped would perform better.
I have no problems recommending this machine to anyone interested in a multimedia desktop replacement system. For me this is value for money. Actually double so, since I did not pay one cent for this machine… 😉