The high-deﬁnition (HD) format is becoming increasingly popular, especially as prices start to fall.
The HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea (£899 inc. VAT) offers Blu-ray in this compact 15.4-inch laptop at an aggressive price point.
Sadly, the screen only has a standard resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, so you won't be able to watch Blu-ray movies in their native format. That said, we found the quality of the screen to be more than acceptable.
The addition of an HDMI port does mean you'll be able to connect it to an external HD screen, though. The optical drive is, at this price, read-only, so you won't be able to write to HD discs. However, it supports standard DVD rewriting technology.
Unusually for HP, the graphics solution is better than an entry-level card at this price. You'll ﬁnd the latest nVidia GeForce 9600M GT GPU, which comes with 512MB of dedicated memory and is ideal for those looking to play games on their laptop. This card also supports HD, so makes a logical choice for use with the built-in Blu-ray drive.
The laptop itself matches the rest of the Pavilion line and has a high-gloss lid and a shiny silver interior.
The build quality is good, especially for the price but, at 3kg, the chassis is heavier than we were expecting it to be. As a result, this isn't the ideal machine for carrying around with you. This was borne out by a battery life of less than three hours, which is lower than we were expecting from such a laptop.
The keyboard is also silver and ﬁlls the centre of the main body. The keys are a good size and while it's not the ﬁrmest keyboard we've come across, it is comfortable to use.
When it comes to performance, we found this machine handled tasks with a fair degree of speed and handled daily tasks well. However, the Pavilion also proved to be a warm-running machine, getting noticeably warm to the touch on the left-hand side quickly after switching it on.
Features include a built-in webcam and a remote control for accessing HP's own media centre software.
Peripherals are well catered for as you'll find three USB ports, mini-Firewire and even an eSATA port, alongside the aforementioned HDMI connection.
Good value machine
The HP Pavilion dv5-1011ea is a reasonable machine at a more than affordable price.
The Blu-ray drive will no doubt be the main selling point, but we also found the graphics and performance to be better than we were expecting.
Battery life is poor, but if you're looking for a machine to use around the house, this is worth considering.