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A Solid Multimedia Notebook From HP

Using The HP Pavilion DV4000 Notebook

The DV4000's outer case inspires confidence. I wouldn't drop it too many times, but it should be able to survive a few falls onto carpeted floors. When the notebook is open, a stiff frame around the display makes it very difficult to flex the screen and distort the image. The clamshell case has a set of mechanical latches to hold it closed. The good news is that these latches, unlike those on many portable computers, are easy to open using an unusually large rectangular button that sits boldly on the notebook's front edge. All you have to do is push the button. There's no need to struggle to slide a small switch-like button to one side or the other. I love clamshell computers without any kind of closing latches at all, but HP's latch-based solution is the next best thing.

When the DV4000 is closed the case's fit and finish is excellent in the front and back. On the sides, however, there are noticeable .0625" (1.6 mm) gaps between the display part of the case and the keyboard part. No spacers fill this void so with a little pressure on the top of the keyboard part of the case, the display part flexes downward to touch the keyboard part. I don't think this will cause serious damage to the display, but a spacer or two on each side would have been nice.

With all that real estate to work with, HP didn't have to work too hard to create a good keyboard for the DV4000. The keys are well spaced and the layout is more like a full size PC keyboard than what you often find on a portable computer. The keys have a nice snappy feel to them as they travel downward, though there is very little of the reassuring click sound I like in my keyboards.

The mouse touchpad is large and more responsive to touch and movement than those on many laptops and notebooks I've used. Given this responsiveness and the DV4000's very good display I was less likely to loose track of the mouse as I moved it around the screen. Also, compared to most other portables, the left and right mouse buttons are gigantic. I didn't find myself hunting for the buttons as I often do with other mobile computers. All of this improved my productivity and kept my fingers from quickly tiring.

HP's Pavilion DV4000 has a very good keyboard, touchpad and mouse buttons. The five buttons behind the keyboard are for playing DVDs.

Both the Pavilion DV4000 and the Qosmio G25 give their enhanced graphics controllers a great stage for displaying their prowess. The G25's 17" (43.18 cm) wide screen ultra, ultra bright display is magnificent at its top resolution of 1440 x 900. The DV4000 has a nice 15.4" (39.1 cm) wide screen 1280 x 800 display. As you'll see later the G25 is both much brighter and has significantly greater contrast than the DV4000, but the DV4000 has enough brightness and contrast to suffice in most viewing situations including in deeper outdoor shade. Both the DV4000 and the G25 are well suited to playing DVDs. As you might expect, the Qosmio's sound and picture are better than the Pavilion's, but most will find the DV4000 more than adequate as a DVD player whether they use its own display or feed the notebook's video signal to a TV monitor.

The Pavilion DV4000 has a very comprehensive array of connectors, buttons and card slots. Here's a quick graphical rundown.

On the front from left to right: status lights and IR port, left speaker, left mouse button, button to open clamshell case, right mouse button, right speaker.

On the left side from left to right: AC adapter jack, modem and LAN connectors, expansion connector, 2 USB 2.0 ports, Firewire port, memory card slot (see Features), PC-Card slot (top), Express Card slot (bottom).

On the right side from left to right: DVD/CD drive, headphone and microphone jacks, 2 USB 2.0 connectors, monitor output, S-Video output jack, security lockdown cable slot.