HP Pavilion dv5 and Linux …

I bought a brand new machine about a week ago and had it shipped to Australia which is where I was going to meet up with it. It’s a HP Pavilion dv5 series with all the trimmings. I will first talk a little on my initial impressions on the machine and the build quality etc, and then I will talk about my experience with loading Ubuntu Hardy 8.04, Kubuntu Hardy 8.04.1, PCLinuxOS 2007, Vixta Linux, Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10 and Xubuntu 8.04.1.

My initial thought when opening the lid of the laptop was “WOW”. Its a beautiful machine with a nice silver and black face. It was not an overly heavy machine even though its a 15.4″ screen and the thickness is also acceptable.

This model packs a high-end AMD X2 CPU, with a 250 GB HDD and 3 GB of RAM plus a nice ATI graphics card with 512MB dedicated RAM (goes past 1GB of RAM with Hypermemory) for all your graphical needs. When I turned the machine on and went through the Vista setup and arrived at the HP personalization wizard I was struck with the thought that someone went through a lot of trouble to make this machine seem very personal to the owner.

After performing all the initial setup steps I began taking a closer look at the build of the machine itself. Overall its ok even though there are some things that would seriously bother me if I had to work on this machine.

Yes, it may look pretty … as long as no one is touching it … otherwise it turns into a mirage of smears, smudges and dust all combined. This is very, very annoying, for me at least, as I constantly am aware of the dust attracted to the machine just by static alone, and then every single finger mark just adds to the build-up of visible body oils on the laptop. Give me a non-gloss exterior any day please — oh and a matte screen as well so I can use the bloody thing in the daytime — ha!

Plastics Quality
The plastics are pretty acceptable all around however the sides of the machine seem much less refined than the top palmrest area. The palmrest also forms a “lip” over the sides in some places which is can be bothersome. I would really like to have seen HP put a better quality material on the sides of this machine as it is quiet deplorable for such a nice item overall.

Optical Drive
It is such a cracking annoyance to get the drive ejected without actually bending your head around and making sure you really press the eject button with a good bit of force. Why oh why can’t they figure something out here!? I thought it would be super to have a hotkey function for ejecting the drive .. something like what Mac’s have.

Wifi button
In this model the wireless button is a touch button. I would much rather have a simple but imho more functional button like in previous models. It was simply too hard to know if the wireless was turned on or not.

Battery Life
It was totally not cool. In Vista the battery lasted for about 1 hour. Even though it is a 4 cell battery it should have given a bit more, or it should have been shipped with a 6 cell at least.

Screen Lid
I closed the lid and tested out applying some pressure to it. Well … it was very saggy … or maybe it felt that way because I am used to the Thinkpad which actually gets stronger with applied pressure. But yeah … it was scary to see the lid give way like that — VERY scary!

Overall Conclusion:
The HP Pavilion dv5 is a sleek-looking, high-powered and well-priced … umm… laptop. (I was thinking “toy”, but that’s a bit extreme – ha)
Its got a lot going for it, except real quality of materials throughout and of actual build. This makes it not a laptop that I would personally use — even if given one for free I would try to sell it or swap it for something a little less showy and a lot more durable.

I will post again about Linux on this machine… laterz


One Response to “HP Pavilion dv5 and Linux …”

  1. Mohamed MST Says:

    Thanks so much for this!!!

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