HP has been something of a revelation in recent months, releasing a number of great notebooks that have hit different price points but have always hit their target market firmly and squarely.
So it comes as something of a surprise to find the dv9341eu falls short.
The look is great and considering the bargain price, so is the build quality. The body feels solid and there is plenty of support holing the screen in place. Being a big machine, the keyboard has plenty of space and there is even room for a separate numeric keypad. The keys weren’t the most solidly built we’ve seen of late and while they were comfortable to use, there was a degree of rattle as we typed.
As a 17-inch machine with a widescreen Super-TFT panel, this notebook isn’t designed to be too portable, so the weight of 3.7kg shouldn’t be too hindering.
The 2-hour battery life we managed to get wouldn’t be great if it weighed half as much but for using out in the garden, or on the sofa as we did, it’s more than fine.
However, this machine is pitched as a desktop replacement or multimedia machine. The problem is: we just didn’t find it powerful enough for this kind of role.
Based around an AMD 1.8GHz Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-56 with 1GB of memory in support, we expected plenty of power and performance from this system and while, to be fair, it ran reasonably well, we didn’t feel as though it coped with when multitasking.
Things don’t get better with the graphics. We would expect from a multimedia machine – even at this price – to have an up to date GPU but the Nvidia GeForce Go 7600 is the previous generation and has been superseded by the 8400M GS, which is what you need as a minimum if you want to run any of the DirectX 10 games that are due out, as this older card simply doesn’t support DX10.
It’s not all bad news, as this machine may lack cutting-edge components but we found the built-in extras were a little more convincing of its multimedia aspirations. For instance, you’ll find Altec Lansing speakers built-in, sound quality is impressive and with a range of quick access keys to launch HP's own QuickPlay application, you can easily control movies and music.
If you're copying your files to disc, you can use the latest on-disc writing technology, LightScribe, as the DVD rewriter supports it.
The HP Pavilion dv9341eu offers good value for the price and its build quality will than satisfy most people. However, don’t come to this notebook expecting it to be anything special.
If your needs are simple, you’ll be happy but we expect, and want, a little more power under the hood from a machine as big as this.