HP dv5t laptop review: The first place to look for value and performance

Worthy of the HP name. A home run. Some minor quibbles, but so much to like I highly recommend it.

Previously in my laptop buying guide, I suggested HP as a good manufacturer to consider for bang-for-the-buck. Case in point, this HP dv5t laptop with 15.4″ screen.

Starting at $579 (list price) it offers plenty of features, many not even found on higher end models, at a reasonable, almost too-good-to-be-true, price. Even better, with the holiday discounting going on now, it’s not uncommon to find the dv5t laptop on sale for 15-30% off list.

Part of the Pavilion line up, it slots in the middle, above the Compaq Presario and below the premium HDX lineup. And although they bill it as an “entertainment” model, it is unquestionably an all-rounder capable of handling any business or productivity chore, without any over-the-top gaming aesthetics added to the case.

I was able to spend some time with a dv5t putting it through its paces. Did it deliver on the HP name? And how would it compare to other choices including Dell, Lenovo and Sony?

  • HP dv5t Pavilion Laptop
  • Rating
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Thumbs up
  • Excellent keyboard and display. Good performance for the price. Quiet operation. Well built with attractive case design and bronze imprint.
  • Thumbs down
  • Spaceship lighting that can’t be dimmed or turned off. Average battery life. Highly reflective screen. Uneven balance when used on lap.
  • Mike says:
  • “Worthy of the HP name. A home run. Some minor quibbles, but so much to like I highly recommend it.”
  • Price
  • Starting from $579. As tested $1,023 list.
  • Category
  • Gadgets and Tech

The test set-up

My review model arrived via drop ship direct from China in a non-descript, compact brown box with simple HP logo. It was easy to un-pack. Although the contents were encased with simple sleeves and cushions it seemed less protected than I expected for a journey around the world. Still everything was in pristine condition.

I followed a simple start-up guide, inserted the battery. Then I opened the lid and pushed the power button and it came to life. I like it when gadgets come charged and ready to use.

My test configuration shipped from the HP Home & Home Office store was well configured:

  • HP dv5t Pavilion Series Laptop
  • Bronze style finish and imprint
  • 15.4″ WSXGA+ BrightView Infinity 1680×1050 Display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo T5800 (2.0GHz)
  • 4GB DDR2 System Memory
  • 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 9200M GS
  • Webcam
  • LightScribe SuperMulti 8x DVD+/-RW
  • Intel NextGen Wireless N Minicard with Bluetooth
  • High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Genuine Vista Home Premium 32-bit

Nice features indeed, especially the upgraded display which bumps resolution up to 1680×1050, great for viewing multiple applications and windows at the same time. I chose a modest processor, however, to keep price down. You can upgrade it to something like the P8400 which is a popular choice for more horsepower, however it adds $150 to the price.

Regarding the finish, I chose Bronze. The standard Chrome finish it just too bright for my tastes, and captures light reflections all over the place.

Before taxes, this configuration lists for $1,023.99. However, you can find it on sale often for 15-20% typically, and by the time you read this, I expect even bigger holiday and post-holiday promotions.

First impressions

The dv5t felt solid out-of-the-box. Everything is well engineered with good build quality. The edges of the case are nicely rounded, as is the perimeter of the keyboard. The weight felt ok, not too bad considering it’s a 15″ model, but certainly not as portable of course as my 14″ ThinkPad.

The bronze finish is nicer than I expected adding a nice design touch to the case. A small imprint repeats across the lid and inside without distracting. The keyboard is color matched.

The lid requires two hands to flip open and the hinge is solid with nary a squeak. The infinity display option, I suppose like an infinity pool, runs from edge-to-edge, and looks fantastic. Although I can see myself starting back in the highly reflective screen. More on that later.

Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 11,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Watch us on Amazon Prime or subscribe to Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.