In what comes as a surprising move given its heritage, HP is beginning to make plays towards the fashion notebook market with the release of two products -- the Pavilion dv2000 and the Compaq Presario v3000.
Like its bigger brother, the dv2000, the v3000 is an extremely stylish notebook. HP has adopted an "in-mould" lamination technique (commonly found in luxury car interiors) to craft subtle pinstripe patterns into the chassis, which ensures greater protection from scratching and wear. From our limited time previewing the notebook we can confirm that the v3000 both looks and feels impressive.
According to Nicholas Lynch, HP Australia's Marketing Development Manager for Consumer Notebooks, "while functionality and performance are still key consumer purchase drivers, factors such as style and sophisticated aesthetics have become increasingly important".
Multimedia and entertainment was a key consideration for HP when designing the v3000. The most eye-drawing evidence of this is the row of touch-sensitive quick-launch buttons -- backlit by blue LEDs -- located just above the keyboard. These enable users to adjust volume, mute audio/video playback and launch HP's instant-on multimedia player feature.
In addition, the notebook boasts a 14.1-inch widescreen display, two omni-directional microphones for better quality VoIP calls, integrated Altec Lansing speakers and a 5-in-1 memory card reader.
The v3000 offers up an impressive array of ports, which includes S-Video for connection to a TV, three USB 2.0, one Firewire and an ExpressCard expansion slot. There's also a LigthScribe Super Multi 8x DVD writer for archiving your digital media creations.
Internally, HP has decided to go with AMD processors. Buyers have the choice of either a Sempron (1.6GHz or 1.8GHz) chip or a dual-core Turion 64 X2 (1.6GHz or 1.8GHz) chip. Multimedia buffs will no doubt choose the latter. Hard drive choices go up to 100GB, and you can fit the notebook with up to 2GB of DDR2 memory. Graphics acceleration is provided by an Nvidia GeForce Go 6150 chip.
Bluetooth, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and 10/100 LAN are all supported.
Being on the lower end of the multimedia notebook spectrum, the v3000 uses a fairly underpowered graphics chip, which means that the latest games won't run at smooth frame rates. DVD playback will be fine, but gamers should probably check out a higher-end offering such as the Pavilion dv2000 instead.
The notebook's weight of 2.4kg and dimensions of 334mm by 237mm by 39mm aren't hefty, but this is certainly not an ultra-portable notebook; you wouldn't want to carry it around in your backpack unnecessarily.
Windows XP is installed by default, but there's no option to include Media Center Edition instead.
An attractive multimedia notebook that won't break the bank.