- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

Hewlett-Packard Co. has been in the news lately for executive changes and up-and-down fortunes in the marketplace, but it’s important to remember that HP still has a few “tricks” up its corporate sleeve: This is a company with a heritage of innovation and solid products.

Such traits are evident in a new portable, the HP Pavilion dv4000, priced around $1,500 depending on configuration. This Windows XP Pro-based portable is hefty, at 6.5 pounds, but its heft is also shown in its capabilities.

This is a full-featured portable PC with a 15.4-inch “widescreen” display that will do more than justice to any DVD you tote along on a business trip. Its audio system won’t fill a concert hall, but will provide enough power to let you view “The Incredibles” happily — or give your presentation some added oomph.

And that DVD-playing drive will burn DVDs or CDs, letting you pass along data or presentations with ease. There’s even an ingenious, PC card-sized remote control so you can set up the unit as an entertainment device.

In short, the dv4000 is what used to be referred to as a “desktop replacement” notebook computer, one that has enough features to supplant a normal PC. My test unit arrived with one GB of RAM, an 80-GB hard drive, and 802.11 b/g wireless LAN and Bluetooth connections. There is an integrated digital media reader to let you pull images off a digital camera card. As I said, “desktop replacement” describes this unit very nicely.

Its performance, also, is rock-solid. On a recent trip, I had no trouble plopping it down at a conference and working away; in fact, its built-in wireless antenna did a better job, understandably, than that on a two-year-old Apple Macintosh PowerBook. There are a plethora of controls to easily mute the speakers, useful in a meeting, or kill the wireless antennas, helpful if you want to save power.

A full complement of software titles augments the system, including a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office, as well as Microsoft Works (a “lite” productivity suite that includes a version of Word and other features) and the Microsoft Money personal finance program. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer also is included, but I would replace that with either the new Netscape 8 or Mozilla Firefox as quickly as possible.

Ports on the unit include those for USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 peripherals as well as Ethernet and modem connections. You won’t be lost for communication options here. There is a six-cell lithium ion battery, standard, and a 12-cell battery can be ordered as an extra.

Because this is, really, a desktop replacement, I used it in settings where plug-in electrical power was readily available. At the same time, my sense was that you could expect two to three hours of battery life under even the most high-demand uses, if not more.

Overall, this system is an aesthetic delight in jet black tones that brilliantly focus attention on a crystalline display; go a bit larger than the 15.4 inch screen and you might want to put it in your living room, it’s that good.

For “road warriors” who want to unwind with a Netflix rental at the end of the day, for college students who need a solid machine for school, or for home users who want “big box” features without the, well, big PC box, HP’s Pavilion dv4000 is an excellent buy.

E-mail MarkKel@aol.com or visit www.kellner.us.

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