With the power the dual-core platform brings to the table, today's laptops handle everything from standard browsing and office to full blown 3D gaming and HD-quality video playback. Keeping this in mind HP has refreshed its mid-level 8000 range with HP DV 8216TX built on the Core Duo platform.
Build & Design This laptop is elegant, and looks quite smart thanks to the two-tone color scheme. The weight, coupled with firm hinges and a unique shape, along with toughened plastic, gives it a good, solid, chunky feel. Another feature “desktop replacement” you will appreciate is the full-size 101-key keyboard with a proper numeric pad. The keys are well spaced out and firm enough with a good tactile response. Located at the top of the keyboard, are the Media Function and Volume Control keys backlit in soft blue that makes for easy viewing especially while working in the dark. This is probably the best keyboard we've ever seen on a laptop. Considering the laptop is a desktop replacement it weighs 3.6 kilos, which is pretty hefty considering that a higher-spec Dell Inspiron 9400 weighs in at less than 3.5 kilos.
Screen The screen on this laptop is just the right resolution and size. It is a large 17.0 inch Widescreen running at WXGA+ 1440 pixels x 900 pixels resolution which provides a lot of screen space for multi-tasking users. The screen utilizes a dual-lamp system with Brightview technology (which is basically an anti glare coating) that deflects external lighting thereby reducing eyestrain and fatigue. The screen also showed an uncanny ability to resist those weird color patterns that form up when you put pressure on a TFT.
Speakers and Sound The laptop has built-in Altec Lansing speakers that are best termed as tinny, and nowhere close to the 2.1 speakers built into the Dell Inspiron 9400. They lack volume, and the bass sounds distorted.
System Performance The processor on this laptop is a T2300 Dual core processor which is rated at 1.66 GHz. While performance enthusiasts would probably have appreciated the faster T2500 processor, the T2300 packs enough power on its own. It can easily handle intensive apps such as Photoshop even as you perform other tasks such as email browsing and listening to music. The new processor system also reduces the boot-up time by a great margin. One thing that users are sure to appreciate, (and that adds weight to the laptop) is the fact that this laptop features a dual hard drive system. This laptop ships with two 80 GB 5400 RPM drives for a total of 160 GB of storage. This is a fairly deluxe feature, as one can store quite a bit of music and video in 160 GB.
For those who want more space, 120 GB drives are also available so the system can be upgraded to a max of 240 GB. The system ships with 1 GB of DDR2-667 system memory which is more than adequate for making the most of games, multimedia, multi-tasking, and even apps like video editing. If you still feel hungry, you can always pop an extra SO-DIMM and upgrade it to 2 GB. One area where the laptop leaves you wanting for more is the graphics.The Geforce 7400 Go is a letdown when compared to the 76xx or the 78xx series utilized by competitors like Dell, Lenovo or even ASUS. While it can adequately run games such as ‘Fear' at medium settings, you'd find it difficult to run almost any new DX9 game at the display's native resolution. Considering the fairly hefty specification sheet the machine holds, HP should have equipped this with a more powerful Geforce 7600, if not the 7800 (with the 7800GT/X as an option). This would have made it possible to run games like Oblivion and Hitman Bloodmoney.
Benchmarks: In order to measure and compare the laptop performance, the following benchmarking programs Super Pi, PCMark05 and 3DMark06 were run. a) Super Pi SuperPi is a number-cruncher that lets you calculate the value of pi up to 16mn digits. It is used to stress and benchmark CPU and memory. We calculated the value of pi till 2million digits over three iterations. In this test, the 1.66 GHz Dual Core processor was able to pull off the test in 1 min 29 seconds which is fairly decent when compared to peers.
b) PCMark05 PCMark05 is a good indicator of overall System Performance. The PCMark05 results for this laptop clearly exposed the poor graphical performance of the Geforce 7400 Go system, which resulted in a rather mixed score of 3507 PCmarks.
c) 3DMark06 This is a pure 3D Graphics and CPU benchmarking tool which pushes the graphics capabilities of a Laptop or a desktop to the limits. Here the GeForce 7400 Go stands exposed
with its very poor score of 800 3DMarks.
Expansion Fairly expandable, this laptop comes with: * 1 ExpressCard/54 Slot * 1 PCMCIA Type I/II 32-bit card bus * 1 IEEE 1394 Firewire Port * 4 USB 2.0 ports * TV-Out (S-video) It also features HP's own proprietary docking connector for further expansion.
Data Connectivity The HP DV 8216TX is fully equipped for both wired and wireless communication. For wired connectivity the normal RJ11 and RJ45 jacks are present for dialup and 10/100 LAN connectivity. Wireless connectivity is handled by the integrated Wi-Fi. The laptop also has Bluetooth v2.0 EDR support which happens to be the latest Bluetooth specification. File transfers between mobile phones with BT 2.0 and the laptops were very quick.
Battery Being fairly low as far as graphics specs are concerned has a few advantages when it comes to battery life. The laptop averaged a little over 3 hours in normal usage, and 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours with heavy usage, which is still about 30-40% better than the Dell Inspiron 9400.
OS and Software In a rather strange move HP has shipped the DV 8216TX with the Windows XP Home Edition leaving no room for corporate domain connectivity. This is a major drawback as the target audience of the laptop is the corporate sector. Other drawbacks also include a ton of software most of which are shareware.
Recovery The laptop also came with a separate ‘Recovery' Partition. This partition cannot be accessed from within Windows and can be accessed only on boot-up by pressing F11. This makes the process of recovering a malfunctioning system a smooth experience. Recovery time is also cut down as there is no need to swap media in and out.
Conclusion Overall, this laptop has been a mixed bag. Barring the underpowered graphics, the machine is impressive in its specifications and performance. Shipping at a cost of Rs 84,000, it delivers decent value for money to those looking for a competent laptop with oodles of storage for multimedia tasks, but serious gamers should look elsewhere.
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