The HP Pavilion dv9790ea is the top of the range of HP’s Entertainment series of laptops, a large-screen model that would make a good desktop replacement model if you haven't got space for a full-size PC.

Inside you'll find one of Intel's newer Penryn processors, a Core 2 Duo T9300 model running at 2.5GHz, and a healthy 4GB of RAM. Although it's equipped with powerful components, its performance score was a little on the low side. Running our real-world WorldBench 6 test it only managed to achieve a result of 69 - reasonable, but not particularly earth shattering.

The HP Pavilion dv9790ea’s gaming performance follows a similar theme. The nVidia GeForce 8600M GS only managed to run the strenuous FEAR test at 19fps, which isn't bad when you consider some laptops struggle to achieve double figures, but it’s also not something to write home about either.

Its suitability as an entertainment machine is similarly a little mixed. The HP Pavilion dv9790ea’s large 17in screen is great for watching movies on, but its resolution of 1,440x900 pixels means it will be slightly downscaling 1080p high-definition material to fit the display.

You do get a digital TV tuner with the HP Pavilion dv9790ea, though, so you can use the included Windows Media Center PVR application to record TV programmes to your hard drive. There's also plenty of storage space available - with 500GB to play with, you won't need to worry about running out of space for some time.

Like many desktop replacement models, its battery life is short. The HP Pavilion dv9790ea only managed to keep going for just under an hour and a half running our battery test. It's also a little on the heavy side to carry at 3.6kg so only really suitable for short distance travel.

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HP Pavilion dv9790ea : Specs

  • 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB HDD (2 x 250GB)
  • 17in (1440 x 900) screen
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce 8600M GS
  • Bluetooth
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
  • 3 x USB
  • 1 x FireWire
  • DVB-T tuner
  • fingerprint reader
  • memory card reader
  • Express Card slot
  • 8x8x8x4x4x5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 24x24x16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 396x285x42mm
  • 3.6kg
  • 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T9300
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 4GB DDR RAM
  • 500GB HDD (2 x 250GB)
  • 17in (1440 x 900) screen
  • 512MB nVidia GeForce 8600M GS
  • Bluetooth
  • gigabit ethernet
  • 802.11a/b/g/draft-n
  • 3 x USB
  • 1 x FireWire
  • DVB-T tuner
  • fingerprint reader
  • memory card reader
  • Express Card slot
  • 8x8x8x4x4x5x (DVD-ROM/-R/+R/-RW/+RW/-RAM)
  • 24x24x16x (CD-ROM/-R/-RW)
  • 396x285x42mm
  • 3.6kg

OUR VERDICT

The HP dv9790ea offers decent performance, but its benchmark results were below expectation for the CPU/GPU/RAM, and a lack of HD facilities limit its future entertainment potential. However, the asking price of £1,299 is reasonable for a large-screen model.

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