I bought an HP Pavilion dv7 (dv7t-4100) a little less than a year ago (March, 2011)
It has been a big disapointment and I do not plan on buying an HP laptop again and can’t recommend that anyone else buy one either.
I chose the dv7 because I needed something with some processing power. My dv7 has anIntel i7 clocked at 1.87Ghz, with 6 gigs of RAM.
Update (January, 23, 2011)
The screw that was loose on the case eventually came out. Within a day the hinge near where the screw fell out of broke, and I could hear a piece of metal shaking around inside the case. The warranty expires at the end of March.
The HP support person I spoke with was professional in the way that a police officer who pulls you over for speeding is professional. He kept trying to get me to say that I had dropped, bumped or otherwise abused the laptop and warned me multiple times that if I sent it in and they found signs of abuse that I would have to pay for repairs.
Still, 50 minutes later and a box was on its way to my house. The box took 2 days to get here, 2 days to get to HP, and they must’ve fixed it that day because I got it back 3 days after that.
I had only complained about the hinge. The loose power plug and missing keyboard/worn off keyboard I had chalked up to wear-and-tear and didn’t expect them to fix under warranty, but they did.
So, do I love HP laptops now? No, but I’m happy with how their warranty service turned out, and hopeful that I won’t have these problems once the warranty expires!
The HP Pavilion dv7 Overheats
Unfortunately, the dv7 is inadequately cooled. When I start the computer temperature of the computer quicky reaches 75-78 degress (Celcius) and the fans are running loudly. As soon as I start a couple of desktop applications (Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird and a terminal) the temperature reaches about 85.
When I got this machine, I was excited because from time to time I rip VHS tapes (old homevideos) and convert them to DVDs for family members. The encoding process is long and slow, and I expected to benefit from all 4 cores.
Sadly, I can’t even run a video encoder at full speed on a single core without the computer overheating, and shutting down. The computer shuts down if it reaches 100 degrees. I have to run ffmpeg (or mencoder) at 55% CPU usage (of one core) in oder for the fans to keep up with the CPU.
I’m effectivly stuck with a single core 1.03 GHz (55% of a single 1.87GHz core) computer since I can’t use more than that at once. Extremely disapointing.
TIP: If you're in a similar situation, and you're on Linux, you can use the program cpulimit throttle a specific process or program. When I try to encode video on Windows (in iTunes) the computer overheats no matter what I do.
NOTE #1: This happens in both Windows AND Linux, so it’s not some weird Linux bug. I nearly always use my laptop on a hard surface — and I have to have it on something hard with great airflow if I want to even think about encoding a video.
NOTE #2: My fans and vents are clean. I can see through them to the fans, and have used compressed air on them anyways just in case.
The HP Pavilion dv7 Has a Low Quality Keyboard
I admit that I use my computer more than most people do. Between work and hobbies, it’s not unusual for me to be on my computer 10-12 hours a day, and often more.
This laptop however, is the first one that I have ever worn the letters off the keys. It is also the first one that I have ever had a key spring break during normal use.
Luckly the dv7 comes with a numeric keypad which I don’t use, so I took the keyspring from one of those keys and repaired my broken key.
Again, very disapointing
The HP Pavilion dv7 Case is Poorly Built
Within a few months of getting my dv7 I noticed that the screen wouldn’t stay in position. It would always settle back an extra inch from where I had pushed it. It turned out that the top plastic piece of the case was coming loose from the bottom piece, which in turn left the lid hinge a little loose.
I tightened the screw on the case, and have had to tighten it again every couple of months.
I’m Done Whining Now
I don’t want/need a replacement from HP badly enough to talk to someone in a call center. I’m just going to keep using this computer until it dies. I’m betting it doesn’t make it a year. My guess is that the threads for the case screw eventually wear out and the screen won’t stay up.
I have a rock-solid reliable P4 desktop computer (an HP, no less!) I can use if this thing goes, and next time I’ll buy something more reliable, like a Thinkpad or a Mac Book.
So, if you’re in the market for a laptop, use extreme caution when buying an HP Pavilion. You might not get as good of a machine as you expect.