HP Pavilion dv5t

By Dana Wollman
Tags:notebook computers,notebook computersHP Pavilion dv5t notebook computers,HP Pavilion dv5t notebook computersnotebook computers HP Pavilion dv5t notebook computers
With a subtly glimmering lid, island keyboard, and a bright display in an intriguing new size, the 14.5-inch HP Pavilion dv5t (starting at $699; $1,024 as configured) is one of the most attractive laptops you can buy right now. And with 7,200-rpm hard drives offered standard, you can expect fast performance from this Core i5 machine. HP also includes a Blu-ray drive in this configuration, which explains the relatively high price. However, a few quirks, including a temperamental touchpad, dampened our enthusiasm for this student-friendly thin-and-light.


The dv5t resembles HP’s higher-end Envy notebooks, which is to say it also looks similar to a MacBook Pro. To keep costs reasonable, HP constructed this laptop from plastic, not metal, but the classy champagne hue is similar to those bronze Envys (you can also buy it in Black Cherry, which looks black, and Sonoma Red, a cranberry shade). Although the dv5t isn’t made of metal, it has a similar finish since it pairs a matte lid with a fine, metallic print on top. The result is a finish that glimmers like a metal surface, but doesn’t reflect light or attract fingerprints the way a glossy chassis would. 

Underneath the lid is where the dv5t really starts to resemble a MacBook Pro. While the chassis and palm rest are champagne-colored, the keyboard is black, and arranged in a chiclet-style layout (the space between the keys is also black). Beneath the keyboard resides a large, 3.9 x 2.6-inch touchpad that doubles as a giant, clickable mouse button. Also like a Mac, the dv5t has no buttons above the keyboard, save for a discrete power button; rather, all of the multimedia keys are built into the top row of the keyboard.

The dv5t weighs 5.2 pounds, which is reasonable for a notebook this size. Because the screen measures 14.5 inches—an industry first—this laptop is easier to carry than a more unwieldy 15.4- or 15.6-inch laptop. Then again, it’s 1.2 inches thick, whereas many notebooks are an inch thin. Still, we generally like the this size display for home users who are looking for a little more portability from their system without sacrificing screen real estate.

Keyboard and Touchpad

 The dv5t’s backlit, chiclet-style keyboard isn’t just attractive, it’s also comfortable. Resting our fingers on the soft keys felt natural, even if the right Shift key is undersized (we couldn’t tell while touch typing). Although it wasn’t distracting, we could see and feel the keyboard panel move beneath our fingers as we typed. Still, we scored a decent 81 words per minute on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test, and quickly raised our score to 88 wpm after some more hands-on time.

hppavilliondv5t_touchpad_shTouchpads have recently been HP’s Achilles’ heel, and the dv5t is no exception. When we first started using it, the surface felt smooth, and the two integrated touch buttons were easy to press. In fact, we still like the giant button and the satisfying click it makes, but the touchpad became frustrating to use. Often, we would bring the cursor close to where we wanted to click, and then it would suddenly feel sluggish, making subtle movements with the cursor take effort.

The touchpad also supports multitouch gestures, although pinching two fingers to zoom is considerably easier than panning back out.