- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2006

If spending the better part of $2,500 for a notebook computer that runs Windows seems a bit daunting as suggested here a month ago, how about forking out 11 percent less and getting more in return?

The Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dv8000z, which sells for $2,233.99 in the configuration I tested (before a $50 rebate), is a remarkable machine. You might tote this around work or school, but at roughly 7.5 pounds, this is really a desktop replacement system.

After powering up this 64-bit Windows powerhouse, driven by Advanced Micro Devices’ Turion 64 processor and 2 gigabytes of RAM, many will most likely notice what HP calls a “17-inch WXGA+High-Definition Ultra BrightView Widescreen display.” This is a big display screen that is so well lit, it can play high-definition (HD) videos with stunning clarity.

While viewing HDTV requires a digital tuner, currently not supplied for the dv8000z, viewing HD videos do not. There are a couple of clips from National Geographic videos preloaded on the machine, and playing them gives a very good preview of the kind of performance this computer can give.

Analog video looks equally stunning. As an HP official explained, this is the kind of machine a student could take to college, set up in a dorm room, and use as both a computer and multimedia entertainment center.

In this configuration, which includes 250 megabytes of hard disk storage, I’d probably want to add the HP docking station, around $300, which makes for better placement and viewing of the computer at home. It’s not mandatory, but a nice extra. The internal stereo speakers are quite adequate, but I’d add external ones such as the JBL “Creature” series, list price is $99.99, though often available for less, are an excellent choice.

The real beauty of the dv8000z is that it’s a full-featured, hard-working computer that many will find suitable for their needs.

The display is large and well lit. In HP’s word processor, I can see things far more clearly because of the “dual lamp” technology. The same holds for image viewing and editing. This is the kind of portable I wouldn’t mind editing photos with, because viewing them is so delightful.

Even the bean counters among us will find something else to like. Along with the full-sized keyboard, HP provides a built-in numeric keypad, along with extra page-up and page-down keys to make navigating spreadsheets, entering data and controlling some games easier. You can do that in a 17-inch portable and many makers add this while some, such as Dell and Toshiba, do not.

Finally, a 64-bit processor isn’t anything to sneeze at. When the next generation of Microsoft Windows arrives in 64-bit splendor, you’ll be ready for it, and the associated applications, which one imagines should run faster than their 32-bit predecessors.

The beta version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 also performed flawlessly here.

It’s a matter of individual choice, of course. However, after looking at the screen, hearing the sound and seeing the power built into this computer, it would be hard not to choose the dv8000z as the best of all desktop replacement computers.

E-mail [email protected] or visit https://www.kellner.us.

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