The Bottom Line
- Above Average Battery Life
- Larger Hard Drive
- Lacks Blu-ray
- Large Number Of Preloaded Applications Clutter System
- AMD Phenom II N850 Triple Core Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-8500 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA+ (1600x900) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.8" x 1.5" @ 8.2 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, MediaSmart, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - HP Pavilion dv7-4170us 17.3-inch Desktop Replacement Laptop PC
Storage features are both good and bad compared to previous models of the Pavilion dv7. On the one hand, the system comes with a larger than average 640GB capacity hard drive. This provides it with roughly 30 percent more storage space. The downside is that the drive spins at a more sedate 5400rpm rate that does impact performance. The more disappointing aspect is the lack of Blu-ray drive that is found on the Intel based model for a standard dual-layer DVD burner. It would be nice to see HP offer Blu-ray on the AMD models as well.
Graphics are another aspect of the Pavilion dv7-4170us that falter compared to the Intel based version. It uses the same 17.3-inch display that features a 1600x900 native resolution. This falls short of 1080p HD resolutions but since there is no Blu-ray drive it isn't as much of an issue. The area that suffers is the graphics processor. Rather than using a nicely balanced Mobility Radeon HD 5650 processor, it comes with a budget focused HD 5470 model. This provides good performance with HD media but it doesn't have quite the same level of 3D performance. As a result, the dv7-4170us really isn't capable for gaming beyond casual titles at lower resolutions.
Even with the reduced price, HP has retained the brushed aluminum exterior that was added in the previous revision of the Pavilion dv7. It gives it an improved level of feel over the typical plastic exterior and is nice to see in a laptop under $1000. The keyboard layout and trackpad remain the same for both good and bad. The keyboard is comfortable to use but the unified trackpad design is problematic when using the lower right and left corners for clicking.
Unlike many companies that have decided to use smaller six cell batteries to help conserve on weight, the Pavilion dv7-4170us comes with a much larger nine cell battery pack that has a 93WHr rating. In DVD playback tests, this allows the laptop to run for nearly three hours which is well above average for this class of computer but still not up to the marathon running times of the much more exensive Apple Mac Book Pro 17.