Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 7: More Mobile Stuff

HP Dv2000t Notebook

In last year's Holiday Buyer's Guide, we waxed eloquent about the great combination of features, functions and price in the entry-level HP Pavilion dv1000t multimedia notebook. This year, we're pleased to do it all over again, with the latest entry-level models in HP's equally well-designed and built dv2000t series.

There's a lot to like about this notebook PC, which features a 14.1" (358 mm) wide-screen LCD, a slim 13.9" x 9.3" x 1" (353 mm x 236 mm x 26 mm) profile, and a relatively light weight of 5.3 lb (2.41 kg). Its components are packed inside a sleek black plastic case, inscribed with wavy lines like those in a Zen pebble garden. With prices starting at just over $600, it's also pretty attractively priced, but expect to spend extra for more powerful processors and more RAM.

When it comes to configuring one of these notebooks, you'll also find yourself faced with a wide array of options. Both AMD and Intel models are available, featuring various AMD Sempron and Turion models on the one hand (including several dual core Turions at speeds from 1.6 to 1.8 GHz), and Intel Celeron, Core Duo, Core Solo, and Core 2 Duo models on the other. Display options feature 1.4 WXGA 1280x800 resolution, with Widescreen and BrightView models available.

In AMD models, the graphics card is an Nvidia GeForce Go 6150; Intel models can opt for either the Intel 950 graphics chipset or an Nvidia GeForce Go 7200. Memory capacity tops out at 2 GB of DDR2 RAM, with 512 MB as the standard configuration in the form of dual 256 SO-DIMM modules. The default hard disk is a 40 GB 5,400 RPM SATA drive, with upgrades up to 120 GB available in 20 GB increments thereafter; a free upgrade to 60 GB is offered as we write this piece.

The default optical drive included is a DVD/CD-RW combo drive, but various double-layer DVD burner options are also available; these include inexpensive upgrades to the DVD/CD burning software included with the unit. On the Intel side, a free upgrade to the PRO/Wireless 3945 ABG chipset is currently available, which includes Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g, and Bluetooth in a single package. AMD units feature 802.11 b/g and Gigabit Ethernet standard, with a/b/g and a/b/g plus Bluetooth options also available.

HP also goes out of its way to offer interesting and valuable software bundles. The company allows buyers to choose from a variety of basic productivity and security programs at no extra charge, with low-cost upgrades to more full-featured packages also available. The basic free bundle offers lots of useful stuff to all buyers as well; see the HP listings for Intel and AMD models for details. And for $130, optional TV tuner cards and remote controls can turn this puppy into a full-blown Media Center notebook PC for those who want that functionality.

All in all, we find the dv2000t to be a worthy successor to the dv1000t. It has better performance, more features and increased storage and capacity, while selling for about the same prices we saw for last year's model when researching the 2005 buyer's guide.

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