Jack of All Trades
Last Updated Mar. 11, 2010By Joel Durham Jr.
Perhaps better known for their printers these days, Hewlett-Packard (HP) still makes a wide range of laptops to cover virtually every user, from the young creative-type who spends his days surfing the Web via Wi-Fi at Starbucks to the rich executive whose desk furniture costs more than the annual salaries of most of his employees. The Mini line, for instance, is a line of tiny netbooks starting at $269. The Pavilion notebook series is a more traditional, mainstream laptop line for home users and runs $599 and up. The higher end Pavilions cost twice that, and pack power for gaming and high-end computing. The ENVY line, meanwhile, can cost $1500 and up and is made for the user who wants it all. While their lower-end models are often criticized for unreliability and short life spans, but they are cheap and are ubiquitous at big box retailers everywhere. Here are some of best HP lines right now:
G60t Series: As Casual As Casual Gets
Starting at $479.99, this mainstream notebook is packed with all the equipment to get users online and productive at a great price. Targeted toward the budget-conscious consumer and the casual home user, the G60t features a 16-inch, 16:9 display driven by an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator chip. Some extras include a Lightscribe-enabled DVD drive, decent-sounding Altec-Lansing speakers, and a special offer of a free memory upgrade (from 2GB to 3GB). The G60t is backed by a 1-year warranty on hardware with real-time chat and email support.
Pavilion dm3t Series: Comfort and Mobility
This ultra-portable series is intended for the user who wants a good balance of power and mobility. Starting at $599, the Pavilion dm3t features up to 9.5 hours of battery life for extended outings, and it’s less than an inch thick and just over 4 pounds, so users can carry it along without straining their backs, shoulders, and necks. The 13.3” display is generously sized for an ultra-portable, and the low-light VGA webcam lets users video-chat from anywhere they can find an Internet connection. In case superior graphics are a must, the dm3t series offers optional 512MB Nvidia GeForce G 105M graphics for better multimedia than the low-power, shared memory Intel graphics chip. Note that, as is the case with netbooks, the optical drives (DVD or Blu-ray) are optional and external.
Pavilion dv8t Quad Edition Series: Gaming Power
This beefy computer is intended for gamers, power-hungry users, and computing enthusiasts. Starting at $1249, the dv8t offers quad-core performance at up to 1.73GHz (with Intel Turbo Boost performance that can go as high as 3.06GHz). Memory starts at 4GB and peaks at 8GB, so the user can expect excellent gaming or multitasking performance. The big, bright display is 18.4” diagonal, and its native resolution is an HD-friendly 1920x1080 pixels. The optical drive comes with Lightscribe, for label-making fun. Expect to leave this one at home, or lug it only to the occasional LAN party, as it weighs 8.77 pounds.
ENVY 13 Series: Executive Decision
The ENVY series is called that because owners of other laptops will be green with envy. This powerful, stately notebook is intended for executives on the go, who want superior performance in a design they can be proud to display. The ENVY 13 features lightweight casing that’s not quite 1” thick, 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo processor for speedy spreadsheets and lightning fast document handling, and ATI Mobility discreet graphics with 512MB of dedicated memory. The 13.1” display his HD capable, and features an 8ms response time for excellent media viewing. Expect the best, because the ENVY 13 starts at $1499.