With an SRP of £799 and low-key good looks courtesy of two HP Imprint designs, the HP Pavilion dv3-2055ea is a well-specified laptop that doesn't skimp in any particular area. At between two to four hours depending on the task, battery life could be better, but a larger cell will bump up the weight, and portability is one of this laptop's strengths.
Excellent baseline specification; compact and stylish; good selection of ports.
Middling battery life; 3D graphics only so-so.
If you spend a lot of time on the road with a laptop, you'll appreciate a model that can do more than just present PowerPoint slides and crunch Excel spreadsheets. Ignore its slightly frivolous epithet, and that's just what you'll get with the HP Pavilion dv3-2055ea Entertainment Notebook PC.
So-called 'entertainment laptops' are usually hulking brutes that can kick a desktop PC into touch, but the dv3-2055ea is a slender 13.3in portable that weighs a mere 2.24Kg. It's small and light enough to carry around with ease, in other words.
HP no doubt considers the 'entertainment' tag to be justified by the notebook's glossy screen and 16:9 aspect ratio. This is the same ratio as a widescreen TV, and it does a great job with DVD movies (a Blu-ray drive is an £80 option).
The 1366 x 768 resolution does a sterling job with documents too, and its panoramic aspect is perfect for viewing two documents side by side, or giving the big picture on a spreadsheet. HDMI and VGA ports also mean that the laptop can connect to any external display, HD or otherwise.
The other 'entertainment' credentials consist of a decent set of Altec Lansing speakers, and Nvidia GeForce G105M graphics. The latter are best suited to giving a leg up to graphically demanding applications rather than 3D gaming, unless you're happy playing at well below the screen's native resolution.
Otherwise, the dv3-2055ea is a solid proposition for anyone looking for a versatile and highly portable all-rounder. Its 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor is one of Intel's latest 64-bit chips (the T6400) and can take just about any task in its stride. HP generously supplies 4GB of RAM, but the laptop actually supports up to 8GB, though you'll need the 64-bit edition of Vista or Windows 7 to actually use that amount. Windows Vista 32-bit is installed as standard.
Add in a 500GB hard disk and the dv3-2055ea is an ideal laptop for video editing on the move, or housing a multitude of virtual machines if you need mobile access to a variety of operating systems. HP has even addressed any security concerns that may arise from carrying so much data around by including a fingerprint reader and an eSATA port for rapid backups to an external drive.
The wide 13.3in form factor also leaves ample room for a good, full-sized keyboard with a standard layout, and a large multi-touch trackpad complete with novel mirrored finish. The trackpad can be disabled with a small button that sits between it and the keyboard, which is handy if you're using the laptop with a mouse and are tired of accidentally moving the pointer when you type.