I am actively in the market for a new computer. The notebook that I have been using for the last five and a half years is slowly capitulating to the inevitable. The HP Pavilion ZV5000Z was a screamer back in the day, and the 1600 x 1050 15.6 inch wide screen was truly a revelation in hi rez. Software bloat, however has rendered the beast almost useless. The latest was the 3.0 version of Thunderbird (Mozilla e-mail client). The 2.x version that I was on was mostly sufficient, but the 3.0 version, just seems to take 10 or 20 seconds for every click.Frankly, I think that part of the problem is my windows xp os. I have not re-installed windows xp for at least three years, and so most of my performance problems probably relate to registry bloat. This machine is not capable of virtualization, as it cannot hold more than 1GB of ram. I like the HP Pavillion series for two primary reasons. 1) I can buy exactly the configuration that I want (from http://shopping.hp.com). While I end up spending more up front, I spend less than if I bought a “store model” and upgraded.
2) They have the best consumer grade docking solutions on the planet. For about $135 (149 retail) – you can get a docking station, with its own power supply, so you don’t need your portable power adapter, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and an adjustable stand so that you can elevate the notebook screen to eye level. The dock has better speakers, and ports for ethernet, extra monitor, usb, and a media bay for a large HD. The generic usb docking solutions do not provide power, so one either needs to invest in a second power supply, for home use so that one can simply dock and connect two cables to get connected. And none of them come with a stand, so at a cost of 60 for the dock, 70 for the power supply, and another 40 for the stand, and 50 for the wireless keyboard and mouse totalling $210 HP has an awesome deal, and true convenience. I would probably pay the extra money for a macbook pro if they had a real docking solution, solving both connectivity and power so that a single connection could really engage the entire machine. Sony has one, but the stand is inferior, and the overall cost is at least three hundred dollars north of where I want to be. So congrats to HP who appears to have earned my business again by maintaining an innovative consumer grade notebook option that suits the way I work. I am looking at a dv4i with an i5- 430 2.53 ghz dual core cpu, 6gb ram, a 500GB hd, and the beloved docking station, with a 1TB personal media drive for under $1200. I’ll be sure to let you all know when I decide to pull the trigger.