At the age of 15 I decided my at the time desktop computer (a rather outdated Packard bell) didn't have enough juice for the programs, games and software I wanted to run. It also didn't have the mobility that a laptop would have and I started needing to take it to school to use in class. I started looking around various stores looking for something powerful but that has a unique design and style. Upon looking on Comets website I found one that caught my eye. The next day I popped into my local comet store just to check it out in person. I instantly fell in love with it, before even checking out the specs again, and so I checked out the money I had in my bank account and went in and purchased it 2 weeks later for the price of £559.99.
Under that price it also included 1 year's manufacturer warranty. Then on top of this I bought 2 year comet protection for £189.99. So in total £749.98 but with comet you can pay off the protection in quarterly amounts which was handy, seeing as I only had a part time job. Unfortunately they didn't have any left in stock apart from the display model so I was told I had to wait 3 - 5 working days for one to be sent to my home. One of the longest waits of my life!
Finally it arrived! I was so excited I just wanted to rip it open. I sat the parcel on dining room table and sat down, ready to delve in. It felt like a birthday come early. I removed the gray postage packing which revealed a light brown cardboard box with the HP logo on the side and lid with the words HP Pavilion Dv7 on the side and lid to.
I cut open the plastic tab and lifted up the cardboard lid. First thing I noticed was a few plastic wallets with booklets inside. This was my manufacturer warranty information and comet protection information. It also included leaflets for Microsoft office student 2007 and Norton Anti Virus protection.
Underneath the leaflets was a thin foam mould I removed this and this revealed a dark brown plastic wrapping. I pulled this out and carefully placed it on the table. I could immediately feel the weight of the laptop and it was quite a bit heavier than I expected. Underneath this was a few more plastic bags sealed in their own moulds to stop them from moving during transport. This was the power brick fairly average in size and of average weight and the adaptor cable. This was of a very good length as I could use it from one end of my bedroom, living room and dining room. Back to the un-boxing. I cut the safety seals on the plastic wrapping of the laptop and pulled the wrapping away to reveal a crisp clear black top.
-Checking out the Design-
The first I did after removing all the packaging was to gently brush my hand over the top of the pavilion. It was so smooth and I actually couldn't believe I had it. A laser etched design of swirls is onto of the lid and are an iconic symbol of the pavilion range from HP.
I slowly lifted up the lid to find a HP screen protector/keyboard protector cut to fit on top of the keyboard. I moved this away to reveal the laptop. The un marked glimmering screen looked astonishing I just couldn't wait to start video editing and editing photos on that. Then the keyboard, a black keyboard slightly sunken into the main body of the laptop all slightly curved for maximum comfort and finished with a hint of gloss for an even nicer view.
Above the keyboard is the power button with a backlit light effect. Next to this is a black space however when the laptop is turned on this turns into a touch screen effect to adjust volume, mute volume and enable/disable wireless. However on other models media playback buttons can be found.
Built in speakers can be found running along the top of the keyboard and below the power and touch screen buttons. The holes in the body to allow sound out have been so well placed and minimized that when using the laptop or evening just looking at it they flow with the rest of the design and become almost invisible.
Below the keyboard are the silver track pad and the right and left click mouse buttons. To the left and right of the track pad is a few silver swirls laser etched again into the body of the device. A HP media smart advertisement sticker can be found to the left of the track pad but can be carefully but easily removed from the laptop, although a little rub with a wet wipe may be needed to removed any sticky residue left over. Then on the right are a windows Vista Logo sticker and a safety notice sticker. Again the safety notice can be removed but I just left it and the windows sticker there.
On the left hand side of the laptop starting from the back is a VGA port for use with external monitors and another display port. From that there is a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired internet access and connecting to a wired network. From that is a built in HDMI adapter for connecting to a HD TV or HD Monitor. We then come to an eSATA connector and USB 2.0 connector. Finally beside these is a multicard reader and light to that flickers to show a card is being used. On the right hand side of the laptop there is another two USB 2.0 female ports and DVD RW/DVD-RAM disc drive with Lightsrcibe compatibility and finally the power adaptor input.
Finally on the front of the laptop is three buttons that flicker whilst the laptop is on and performing tasks, loading a disc. Whilst on the other side is a headphone jack and microphone input and another input that can be used as both. Using standard apple headphones I have always received high quality sound playback using these.
-The First Start-
I plugged in the power cable and turned the laptop on. It began booting windows vista and booted it up very quickly. I can't remember the exact boot time but it was around 30 seconds to a minute I believe. Upon entering my personal information and the general setting up of the laptop I was in. Everything working it even picked up my wireless network straight away asking if I would like to set up my wireless network.
I had a look around, a few links to websites such as eBay.co.uk were on the desktop and some game demos preinstalled from HP. Also included was a 60 day trial for Microsoft Office Student 2007 and a 30 day trial from Norton Anti Virus. A range of HP media software for webcam, video playback, laptop maintenance and other things.
-General Use First 4/6 months-
When first using it like whenever changing or using a new keyboard was a bit awkward at first but within around 10 minutes I didn't feel any difference and was very comfortable with typing. There was just enough body space for me to rest my palms on to quickly type with ease and comfort.
When using the track pad I found it fun at first, although its plain even surface can be a little rough and hard to use to move the mouse at times. Like pulling your feet along a laminate floor. When using the left and right buttons they were very responsive and still are today, but you can also tap on the track pad instead of using the left button. I also noticed when using the scroll on the track pad from time to time it wouldn't pick up part or all of the movement and wouldn't move the screen and instead I would see the mouse moving around the screen. I didn't like this and after around 3 or weeks I ended up purchasing a wireless mouse to use just as preference and ease.
I didn't have to adjust the screen settings for brightness, contrast or aspect ratio. Blacks were black and colours appeared vibrant and crystal clear. The brightness was just right for me, even using it in darker lighting it still seems perfect however when using it in front of a window or outside, the screen affected very bad from glare I had to tilt the lid drastically into an uncomfortable position to be able to use it.
Because it is a media entertainment laptop I was egger to start listening to music and watching HD videos. HP media start smart video and audio playback software wasn't too great and I ended up using VLC and iTunes. However the picture quality was amazing with again blacks being true blacks and HD video being true HD. The audio playback was also impressive; at full volume music could be heard throughout the house just from the laptop alone. I like almost all varieties of music and with all these different genres I found no crackling or issues with playback on full volume.
For the first few months battery life was brilliant averaging around 6 - 7 hours per charge. However HP has a nifty function that allows for switching between power modes: Power Saver, HP Recommended and High Performance.
-Six months to now-
So after around 6 months of almost every day use the laptop was going great I had started to fill up the 250gb hard drive so boot time had become a bit longer but the massive 4GB or RAM was still perfectly letting me run my memory eating programs such as photoshop and Sony Vegas. However one day when writing an essay the keyboard started feeling a little different. I didn't take much notice but then the left shift key and a few of the keys suddenly unclipped and popped off! I wasn't sure if it was me or the laptop. I rushed it to comet on the weekend and their technicians had a look at it and revealed the clips had came away with use and came away from the board, however they simply can't be clipped back on and so I had to send it off for a new keyboard to be fitted.
After a year that had been the only problem until i noticed the laptop getting extremely hot during use. I cleaned the fans and keyboard and used a compressed air canister to clear anything left but it still started heating back up again. I first noticed the keyboard getting hotter as I was typing then went to use the track pad and that was even hotter, I put my hand near the fan and it was like an electric warmer the heat coming out was shocking. I turned it off thinking it could be an electrical fault and took it to be looked at and it was reported in excellent working order. So I carried on using it, other people using the laptop also noticed the heat which can be fairly distracting. But this wasn't the worst part, an earlier problem occurred again. The left shift key, and right shift key had popped off as well as a few letters. I was so angry and took it back and comet again said the same problem had happened the keys had become unclipped. But they replaced it and the fans to solve the overheating problems and everything was working again.
Even with a ¾ full hard drive windows was still working great, I chose to use and continue with Norton Antivirus and that didn't seem to bog down the computer either. At times when I have been using Photoshop, Dreamweaver and running multiple browser windows it has become a little sluggish. But during playback of movies and streaming content from the internet it has been perfect with almost no sluggish behaviour.
When I purchased an external 1tb hard drive the pavilion seemed to struggle a little copying/pasting to and from the drive through the USB2.0 port and at times almost crashed the laptop however I've used other drives up to 500 GB and had no issues what so ever.
After both warranties expired I decided not to renew them. In which after a month the left shift key yet again fell off and now the left button the track pad has became lose. I believe the track pad button is through general use however I have never quite understood the issue with the keyboard.
The overheating issue has also came back and now I have had to balance the fan holes over the edge of the desk else the laptop becomes very hot and shuts its self down which has been happening more often lately. But after 2 years of no service this is expected. The display has never changed over time and still provides a crystal clear image which has been perfect for my digital media courses.
The laptop has a built in wireless networking card (WLAN: 802.11b/g) but also comes with built in Bluetooth and Bluetooth file sharing software. The wireless connection is brilliant and I can use the laptop anywhere around the house. I also used the Bluetooth application a lot however after a driver update it began to not work at times so I tend not to use it anymore.
-VGA to external monitor-
I've been using an external monitor for the past year with this laptop via the VGA connector and the laptop has no problems running the external monitor and with no performance issues. I've also connected the speakers from the external monitor to the laptop headphone jack which I can also use to have playback through the monitor.
As part of my course I had to do a lot of video editing and burning these off to submit. HP's DVD burning software wasn't very effective so I ended up purchasing Nero 7 for my burning needs. I've stuck with this all the way through and never had any problems. The keyboard becomes hot when DVD burning is taking place and also using other programs whilst burning slows the laptop up however the burning speed is brilliant allowing for up to x16 burning speed.
I've recently upgraded to Windows 7 Home from Vista on this laptop and is has had no problems running it. I've been able to use all the Aero features and run higher grade software like Photoshop cs5 on windows 7 and still have the laptop run fine.
The laptop has a built in webcam which comes with its on HP webcam software to add effects and scenes to enhance your videos or video calling. However I've had a few issues transferring control from the Web cam software to programs like Skype and Windows live messenger but a quick fiddle in the options seemed to get things working fine. However the camera is around 1mp and so not very good quality pictures can be achieved with this.
I still use this laptop now and then however I've recently upgraded to a few different devices for different needs. But this was and always will be my first "proper" computer. It was always powerful enough to run all the software I needed including games however it had a bit of trouble with World of War craft on higher detailed settings. None the less this laptop is perfect for introducing your teens into their first laptops/computers and it is perfect for schooling and editing media and video.
The HD quality and sound playback are also brilliant so you are receiving an entire media package in one from HP with their software and the high standard of hardware used in this laptop. Even 4 years on I would still recommend this as a first laptop or an upgrade to a media suite.
I need a very flexible laptop. I use this for my business accounts and creating documents, also for studying and online gaming. This laptop can cope with having a large online game running and still have a couple of word docs open and other browsing windows. I have had it now for 18 months and it is still very fast at loading up (this is always one of my bugbears with any type of PC or Laptop!) In my recolection it has never crashed.
I work as a childminder and have 3 children of my own under 5 and have occasionally returned to my laptop having abandoned it to deal with the children to find the others have been playing with it. They have opened 10's if not 100's of windows and the system has coped with it. It also comes with a handy programme called magic desktop which is like a whole new desktop you can set up specifically for your children and only allows them limited access to the computer i.e no kids getting into control panel and messing it up! Also has a good quality and large screen so great for watching video clips on or dvd's etc.
Would recommend this laptop 100% especially if you want a versatile laptop that seems to cope with whatever you throw at it.