With its wavy-pinstripe imprint and glossy-black accents, the dv2500t carries forward the designer HP Pavilion look. Polished to an almost pearlescent sheen, the touchpad looks more like a minor work of art than a pointing device. Improvements include a move up to the Intel Santa Rosa processor family and some tweaks to the ports to introduce more high-definition capabilities. But the screen is still more reflective than most, and there's almost no point in choosing the standard six-cell battery, since its life is so short.
Underneath the glam, the dv2500t is well equipped, albeit with one fewer USB port (a total of two) than its predecessor, the dv2000t, supplied. HP has replaced the third USB port with an HDMI connection for watching high-definition output on a similarly equipped TV.
Our US$1439 (as of 9/12/07) review unit was a pretty good deal, offering a few more features than comparably priced all-purpose competitors had. It came with a fingerprint reader and Webcam (each $25 extra), the top-of-the-line 160GB hard drive, and an 8X dual-layer DVD burner with laser label-etching capability. A preinstalled copy of Microsoft Works 8 is standard.
The dv2500t is great for kicking back with your favorite CDs and DVDs. HP's instant-on QuickPlay button launches music, movies, slide shows, and videos without requiring you to turn on the notebook. The backlit, pressure-sensitive panel at the top of the keyboard lets you adjust volume and tracks with an easy tap of the finger. The stereo sound doesn't match that of a Toshiba Qosmio or a similar high-end multimedia notebook, but it's still pretty good.
The notebook's 5.5-pound weight makes it an appealing travel companion. To stay in touch on the road, HP offers integrated Wi-Fi 802.11n and Bluetooth ($45 for both and included in our test unit's price). Integrated mobile broadband was not an option at the time we tested, but a $189 Verizon ExpressCard (not included in our price) was. HP currently offers a Pavilion dv2500t Broadband Wireless series, which starts at $1200 and has integrated WWAN connectivity.
Pavilion screens are bright and sharp--and annoyingly reflective under some office lights. The dv2500t's 14.1-inch screen is the perfect size for getting most types of mainstream work done; just remember to tilt it away from the overhead fluorescents.
Performance was a mixed bag, with good speed but less-satisfying battery life. Equipped with a top-of-the-line 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 CPU and 2GB of memory, the dv2500t earned a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 79, four points ahead of two other similarly configured notebooks and five points ahead of the average mark of 74 for all of the all-purpose notebooks we've tested. It played 3D games at a competitive average of 42 frames per second.
Battery life was disappointing, with the standard six-cell lasting just 2.5 hours, almost an hour shorter than average. A Pavilion dv2000t we reviewed last year ran more than 7 hours with an optional 12-cell battery. Though our testing methods have changed since then, it's a fairly safe bet that the battery upgrade is still well worth the extra $49, providing the added benefit of raising the wedge-shaped keyboard to an even more comfortable typing angle.
All in all, Pavilion fans and converts alike should be happy with the dv2500t, as long as they opt for the better battery.