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Jewish World Review
Sept. 19, 2008
/ 19 Elul 5768
Portable pleaser from HP
It's another one of those incomprehensible names Hewlett Packard dv5t
but the performance is nearly poetic.
Spend $1100 or so on this 15/4-inch display portable and you'll get a middleweight
traveling companion that'll rival many larger machines. It's not ultra-light, nor is
it ultra-heavy. Goldilocks might term it "just right."
And "just right" is kinda useful in portable computers these days: I keep hearing
about wild and wonderful things from this or that manufacturer (Dell Computer keeps
promising, but has yet to deliver anything to review), and then, a few months later,
the complaints and the wailing erupt: the promise of a portable is betrayed by poor
operation or execution of design. If you want some depressing reading, look at the
computer magazine surveys for product reliability.
I'm doubtful that many sad tales will be told about the dv5t, however. It seems
rugged, well designed and well thought-out. HP, as will be seen in several instances
later this year, is putting some effort and some thought into portable design,
ergonomics and usefulness. The touchpad on the dv5t does more than move a mouse:
slide your finger on the right edge, and you'll scroll up or down a page. There's a
Webcam built in the top of the unit's screen, and that makes it a bit easier to
The dv5t ships with Microsoft Vista Home Premium at least my test unit did. And
while the presence of Vista on a recent HP desktop, the TouchSmart, was a good part
of my disappointment, Vista on the portable at least does little harm. Cute Apple
Inc. ads aside, people are having real problems with Vista, and users aren't fond of
it. That said, Vista is all there is on this new portable, so I suppose we'll have
to suck it up and learn to live with it.
But the living isn't all that bad. I installed OpenOffice.org's productivity suite,
and Google's Chrome Web browser, and both performed well. The computer didn't hiccup
and operations were smooth.
I very much enjoyed the feel of this notebook's keyboard; again, it's a "just right"
kind of thing. Years of playing with such keyboards confirms that many have their
deficiencies. Now, though, the right combination of keyboard materials and designs
seem to be coming together more often. You can spend a fair amount of time pounding
away here and not get tired, nor would a new user likely find too many mis-typings
in their work.
The display, though not the largest on the market, is highly serviceable and bright.
I can see myself sorting and editing photos here, working with word processing
easily, and even kicking back to watch a movie or downloaded TV episode.
Then again, downloading entertainment may not be a necessity. Part of the $1,200
price tag is something I'd consider a worthwhile investment: a $100 HDTV tuner and
aerial, with a convenient suction cup to attach to a window pane. The picture is
stunning and, after Feb. 9 of next year, digital broadcasts will be the only
over-the-air TV available here in the U.S.
There are a plethora of options available for the dv5t, of which one, a $250 docking
station, will give you extra ports, raise the screen to eye level at a desk, and
provide a wireless keyboard and mouse. It's a nice way to make a mobile computer
into a home/desktop model.
I would also spend the extra $25 (included in my $1,200 estimate) and get the Intel
Wi-Fi adapter. The wireless coverage with this item is more than excellent, and well
worth the investment.
This is a portable suitable for college students (albeit those perhaps flush with
some summer-job cash) and certainly for many home users and home-business users. I
keep smiling when I see HP's portables, because they've yet to disappoint. Details
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JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com