Field report: My new HP Pavilion dv8-1220eg Entertainment Notebook-PC

This year’s August was a happy month for me: New employer, new girl and  a brand new Notebook. During the first days of this month I enjoyed the privilege of obtaining an HP Pavilion dv8-122eg. Being described as an “Entertainment Notebook PC” by the manufacturer, this device fulfills almost all expectations. But as nearly everything amazing this thing got a prize.

By saying that I do not mean the high costs only but also the negative aspects of this notebook.

The negative things first
When you buy a new notebook you have to make a decision: What do I want to spend, how do I want to use that thing and what should it be able to do? Should it have a big screen or shout it be lightweight?

I clearly made up my mind. I wanted to have a desktop replacement which should have a big screen, a good GFX card, a fast CPU and a large keyboard with a separate numpad.

After having read countless raticles and reviews I finally bought the HP Pavilion dv8-1220eg. The prize was around 1500 Euro (yes, not US-Dollar, it is really that expensive :D) plus 89 Euro extended warranty in addition. So all together I spent around 1600 Euro, but I got an awesome notebook and 3 years pick up guarantee in exchange.

Since you can buy a new notebook for around 300 Euros already, this is quite a high prize. An high-end gaming PC only costs around 1200 Euros, for example. So 1600 is much.

Speaking of the negative aspects, I have to mention that this thing is so large that I was not able to find a bag for it. Yes, there are 18.4” bags for notebooks, but well, they are too expensive for me. So I looked at my friends’ homes and at the office… nothing found yet. I tried to carry it around in a smaller notebook bag, but I wasn’t able to close it properly, which resulted in me carrying this thing around with two hands all the time. How funny this must have looked to the other passers-by in the subtrain.

When I was sitting in a McCafé during daylight and browsing the Internet for free, I noticed that the display was not clearly readable all the time. The daylight and light from the McCafé was reflected pretty strong, which clearly gave me a hard time recognizing everything all the time on my screen.

Being a huge device, this HP Pavilion weights much. I am too lazy now to look it up in the internet, but it is more than any other notebook (except the Alienware stuff maybe) I saw before. For me, this is not a disadvantage since I do have some muscles like every other human being 😀 I never knew why the high weight of a notebook counts as a disadvantage since people are also able to carry around their shopping bags… (especially women after their shoes shopping tours), so for me this is no problem. A cool device has to weight much! Yeah, awesome 🙂

The next and last disadvantage at the same time is the battery life time. Jesus Christ, this huge screen and strong GFX card really drains life from the ZPM.. sorry, the battery (Stargate fans might get this joke). I was aware of that when I bought the HP Pavilion, but I thought I could reconfigure some stuff in order to get less things running which results in a longer life time per cycle. But well, when you are watching a movie, you should be glad if the battery lasts long enough to see the end of the movie. I am talking of around 90 minutes here, depending on how bright your screen is and how much runs in the background. Maybe you are able to tune this thing so you can watch for around 100 – 110 minutes.

When you only browse the internet (with both Bluetooth and WLAN deactivated), the battery should last for 2 hours. But well, you shouldn’t visit too many flash-based websites… Recent news about Apple products claimed that the battery lasts much longer when flash is not even installed.

But that’s it! No more disadvantages to mention here. From now on I will tell you some stuff which will blow your mind, because we are speaking of a mobile device and not some high-end gaming PC.

(PS: The battery life time disadvantage thing doesn’t count, really. Every desktop replacement got that problem.)

(PSS: Speaking of disadvantages.. I  just remembered that the surface of the HP Pavilion might become pretty warm and the fans may be loud when you play games.. but well, you don’t hear this noise anyway when you have sound turned on.)

Good, better, best
I bought this device not because I needed it, I bought it because it is cool, high-end, state-of-the-art and because I wanted it. It is clearly a toy, not a tool. It is luxury, not something you should take as granted.

When my last tower PC got overheated and the graphics card decided to melt down and play “I-am-a-vulcano-and-smoke!”, I made the decision to only buy notebooks from now on. I wanted a desktop replacement which could be carried around easily, without having to move a screen and a PC separately. I began looking for a device with one of the best mobile GFX cards, a good sound system (my device got an own subwoofer at the bottom :D), a large screen and a separate numpad on it’s keyboard.

I looked at all models which came up with the help of Google and various notebook websites.. I looked at everything: Toshiba, Alienware, Dell… and after hours and hours of reading, researching, watching review videos and so on I found this treasure: The stylish HP Pavilion notebook.

HP describes it as an Entertainment PC, which clearly claims that this thing rules by being a notebook and as powerful as a good PC at the same time.

And HP is right. This notebook got very good test results all over the Internet and looking for something like “HP Pavilion dv8 problems” or other stuff which could point out that there could be problems with my favorite turned out almost no results, or at least only individual cases of human stupidity and failure.

I went to the shop next day and bought it.

The warranty includes a pick-up service. I extended it to three years for only 89 Euro.

The screen is so large that it can compete with small and middle-sized TVs. It is HD (!).

The keyboard is ok. I am not enthusiastic about it, but it is ok for typing fast. And since the keys are arranged the same way like they are on normal keyboards, you instantly get along with it. The separate numpad is simply awesome for daily notebook usage.

The CPU is a desktop processor, an Intel iCore7. It is fast, doesn’t get too hot and will be sufficient for the next 3-4 years. Definitely.

The graphic card is a NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 230M with 1024 MB dedicated RAM and up to 2815 MB RAM in total, when it needs to get some shared RAM. It is not the best card for notebooks, but also not the worst. I played Starcraft 2, Pro Evolution Soccer 11, Darksiders, Prototype and The Force Unleashed 2 on it. Sometimes you can turn the GFX settings on “Ultra” or “very high”, sometimes not. I often play with the highest resolution possible. Drawing a conclusion, I clearly say that this is not a replacement for a new high-end PCI Express GFX card for tower PCs. But it is still at least as good as a normal new middle-class GFX card. For me, this is enough. Every game looked awesome and well, how much can you expect from a notebook anyway when it comes down to gaming?

This thing got 8 GB DDR3 RAM. What else can I say? 🙂 *happy* It is enough for me. I am running my OS along with a couple of Linux VMs (servers) on it. My HP Pavilion got more RAM than many PCs which are currently in stores.

Speaking of the OS, the notebook was shipped with Windows 7. I love Win XP, but well, I already skipped Vista and at some point of time you have to switch. Since I also want to play games on this notebook and hate dual-boot stuff, I decided to let my Windows 7 installation live on my hard disk.

The HP Pavilion is equipped with two 500 GB SATA disks, each of them is able to achieve 7200 rpm. Clearly enough for a notebook, right? 😉

The sound is very good. The HP Pavilion is equipped with it’s own sub-woofer at it’s bottom which results in a very good sound experience while watching movies, listening to music or playing a game.

What else can I say? The notebook was also shipped with an antenna for receiving digital TV signals, a remote (!), some software (I didn’t even look at it), a 120 W power supply and some other stuff. The chassis got 4 USB slots, Firewire, external VGA and HDMI, an internal webcam and “LightScribe Blu-ray-ROM + SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double-Layer”. However, I wans’t able to run every DVD I got, even not the Battlefield 2 DVD. Unfortunately the DVDs itself are recognized, but not all files on them. Furthermore some DVDs I burned were “broken” and not readable – not even for my own notebook. Maybe I should mention that as a disadvantage.. but well, I only work with HDs and USB sticks anyway, so for me it doesn’t matter. Maybe for you it does.

I didn’t mention all details, so I highly recommend you look some reviews up if you are really interested in it. I now use this HP Pavilion for exactly three months and have had no problems so far. Of course, Windows 7 brings some disadvantages, like not being able to play all older games or lacking support for using all cores at the same time, but well. Don’t care really 🙂

So.. who should buy this heavy device?
Ehm, not an easy question. I think if you are looking for a decent desktop replacement you are making the right choice. If you are a gamer but can’t afford Alienware stuff or if you travel often and need something to watch all your movies and play the games, this is also the right notebook.

And by the way, the look is awesome. Google some pictures up 🙂

That’s it! I hope you liked my little HP Pavilion dv8-1220eg review and I was able to help you with your decision. If you have an questions, like how the quality of the chassis is or how cool the built-in media buttons are, just let me know. I will take the time and reply.