failing like never before


HP dv2910us (dv2700) – Build Quality and Design

(The beginning to my review of the HP dv2910us (dv2700) can be found here)

--- Exterior Design

The lid of the laptop features HP's "Imprint" finish, which is basically just a lot of cool swirly grayish lines on a shiny black background. The finish is surprisingly durable, despite being an absolute fingerprint magnet (I suppose that's why HP includes a wipe-cloth with the laptop); my roommate had an HP laptop with the same finish that remained scratch-free throughout the school year, even though I once dropped a ladder on it. The base of the laptop is made of a very solid, dull, black plastic. While there is some slight flexing in the lid, the base is as solid as can be. All in all, the exterior design is quite attractive (at least to me it is).

---Ports (this bit can get boring, but it has to be done)

Along the left side of the laptop, are the following ports, moving from left to right: s-video, VGA output, Expansion Port 3 (used for connecting to HP's special docking station), Ethernet, USB, 4pin firewire, ExpressCard/54 slot (which normally contains the included IR remote), and below the Expresscard slot is a 5-in-1 card reader (SD, MMC, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, and xD). There is also a Kennsington lock port at the base of the lid on the right side.

Along the front edge of the laptop, moving from left to right again, we have: blue indicator lights for power, battery, and hard drive activity, a wireless switch with an indicator light that glows blue when active and orange when inactive, an Infrared receiver for use with the IR remote, a 1/8 inch microphone input jack, and two 1/8 inch headphone jacks. The dual headphone jacks is a nice touch, and useful if you're watching a movie on a plane with a friend. While the placement of the audio output jacks is nice for headphone useage, its a bit of a pain for use with external speakers since you then have an audio cable running around the front of the laptop.

On the right side, there's a Lighscribe dual layer DVD burner (which, on the dv2911us, is simply a DVD burner), followed by two more USB ports, a RJ-11 port (that nobody is ever going to use), followed by a power jack that glows blue when plugged in.

The backside contains nothing but the lid's hinge.


Opening the lid, we're greeted by the glossy, 14.1, 1280x800 LCD screen. I myself favor matte screens, as they're easier to view in a brightly lit environment, but I cannot deny that the glossy screen looks quite attractive when viewing a movie in the dark. On the top bezel of the screen, is the integrated webcam, flanked by two little microphone pick-ups.

The keyboard of the laptop is quite good, although I feel that it could benefit from a little bit more travel. The keys are made of the same black plastic as the bottom of the laptop case, and while not tacky, they are by no means slick. One of the main reasons that I chose the dv2910us over a 13.3 inch Toshiba, was because the Toshiba had sticky keys that flexed at the slightest touch.

Above the keyboard is a row of lit, touch-sensitive media buttons. There is no way to modify the sensitivity of the media buttons, but I find them to already have a good sensitivity. And above the media buttons, stretching from one end of the laptop to the other, is the Altec Lansing speakers. While better then normal laptop speakers, they're not the greatest and are lacking in bass.

The touchpad is decent, but nothing to write home about. There is a little tiny button right above the touchpad, built into the black bezel, that when pressed, can deactivate the touchpad. I've never used it, but I guess it could be useful for people using an external mouse.

The keyboard is surrounded by a nice gray plastic, that hardly flexes at all.

---And More Stuff

My sister has a slighter older version of the dv2700, I believe its a dv2500, and she's toted her HP laptop around the world for the past year and yet it remains in startlingly good condition. While not as durable as the old IBM thinkpads, the dv2910us shouldn't have any problems with being shuttled around to classes on a college campus.

The manufacturing quality is also quite good on this lappy, so props to HP. I know that they are a lot of horror stories floating around, about badly manufactured laptops, but the model I recieved is in perfect working order. I have taken the oppertunity to test the screen for bad pixels and checked all the I/O ports, and have found them all to be working fine.

Comments (15) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Looking forward to your forthcoming writeups on the dv2910us. Saw your “Laptop Search” post… Black Friday 2007 I ended up picking up a Lenovo X61s and have been very pleased (though I did cave in and splurge for a Plextor PX-608CU portable DVD drive which I’ve used only a handful of times). Screen’s big enough for me, but S-video or DVI out would have been nice to plug into our TV. Latest Ubuntu kernel update seems to have fixed the gyroscope and hard drive active-protection feature so now I can even be on the distro’s default kernel package again.

    Yesterday I ordered a dv2911us for the wife (Office Depot deal). Soon we’ll be a two-laptop family, though the HP will probably be pretty much hers and remain Windows-only :). Still I’ll be looking here for your experiences.

  2. Thanks! I’ve been puting off finishing my review for a while, bu I should be able to finish another section today.

  3. I just purchased this laptop but i didnt check to see if the headphone ports would work or not before i took off the virus the called vista. after installing xp, i tried the ports and they don’t work :[

    neither of them do, if i wiggle around the wire it does but it doesnt cut out the speaker and you have to wiggle it into a perfect position not even sticking all the way in : /

    do you have this problem?

  4. oh, and i have the dv2911us not the 2910

  5. Hey Adam,thanks for visiting my site! All my I/O ports are working fine, including both headphone jacks. I think your problem may be with the drivers in XP. You can try running the Ubuntu Hardy Heron live CD (download here, and then testing the headphone jacks that way. I tried testing everything under Ubuntu, and the headphone jacks worked.

    Just curious, does everything else seem to work under XP?

  6. ah, well, i never tested them when i had vista on it : /

    but i doubt it was the drivers because i was able to get sound out of them sometimes, it just sounded like a faulty connection internally.

    i’m still resisting linux atm. i’ve had xp since i was 12 and i’ve built so many computers with it, it just has a place in my heart.

    but i returned it today and got it swapped out for a brand new one that’s ports work this time, so hopefully xp wont kill them : /

    and to answer your question, yes, i didnt have available cards to test out the card reader but the driver installed fine. mousepad worked, and the little touch sensitive buttons worked even without the hp software.

    if you’d like, i can send you all the drivers in a zip if you would like to test it out yourself

  7. Nah, I think I’ll stay with Vista for now. I’ve already got my work cut out for me, installing and configuring Arch Linux, but thanks.

    Hope your second laptop works better!

  8. bah, tested out with vista and everything worked. put xp on and everything still works but when i plug the headphones in, sound still comes out from the laptop : /

    would you mind giving me a list of the drivers that you have?

    i have everything installed but two drivers that i have no clue what they are :[ it comes up as base system device and unknown device in device manager, so i’ll go through a checkoff list of what you have and see what i’m missing. that might solve my problem. please please please please :]

  9. Well I’m not exactly sure how well my drivers would help, since I’m running Vista, but the audio driver that came installed is Conexant High Definition SmartAudio 221.

    Also, you may want to check out this link: The dv2911us should have the same audio chipset as the dv2700t. I think.

    Best of luck!

  10. no, i have that driver installed fine. i got sound and everything. it seems that the headphone jacks are a completely different driver. can you list all the drivers you had to install for ubuntu?

  11. Huh, thats weird, either that or you got two bad units with the same problem. Linux drivers probably won’t help you, because I use ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture) which isn’t going to be running under Windows anytime soon.

    What audio driver are you using? Realtek? I’ve heard that HP has been really unsupportive of Windows XP ever since Vista came out, so I don’t know if you’ll even be able to get the right drivers that you need.

  12. nah, it checked out completely fine when i was running vista. the sound shut off fine when i plugged the headphones in and only played through the headphones. ran perfect.

    but there’s two unknown devices in device manager after installing xp that i can’t seem to find anywhere. oh well, i’ll just wait till someone finds a solution. till then, i’m downgrading xp to go to vista ultimate :[

  13. i’m using Vista and here’s how i got the speakers to cut out when i plugged in headset
    Control Panel
    Smart Audio
    under Voice enhancements
    click Speakerphone Internet Telephony
    click OK
    work for me ,not sure why…..

  14. Hey Rene,
    when you say ‘headset’ do you mean the type that plugs into the 1.8inch audio jack at the front of the laptop, or the type that plugs into the USB ports. I was always under the impression that the audio output was handled by the hardware, but I guess the software must be doing it.

    Thanks for visiting Rene!

  15. actualy i have got one but the strenage thing that there is the number hp pavilion dv2000 on the top of my screen.

    is this ok or what??

    is it dv 2000 or 2910 or 2700 ??

    plz, send me on

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