HP Pavilion dv7t

After my rant about Lenovo I figured I should follow up with a brief post about what I bought to replace it, which is an HP Pavilion dv7t. Overall I’m very impressed–it’s a really nice laptop for the money and lightyears better than the Lenovo G770.

If you don’t feel like reading my Lenovo rant, bottom line is the G770 I bought was very crashy and Lenovo wanted another $179 to fix a brand-new computer that hadn’t ever worked well.

Rather than fund Lenovo’s nonsense I decided to spend that additional money on a different computer and I’m very glad I did. Since Costco has an awesome 90-day return policy on computers I ordered the HP (also from Costco–they had a good deal and in addition to the great return policy they extend the manufacturer’s warranty by 2 full years) before returning the Lenovo, so I had the HP and Lenovo side by side while I reinstalled all my software and transferred files.

The HP is built so much better than the Lenovo it’s not even funny. The Lenovo is all really cheap plastic, whereas the HP is mostly metal. The screen on the Lenovo is really crappy (washed out and grainy), while the HP has a nice, crisp, bright screen. The keyboard on the Lenovo felt really cheap, but the HP is very solid to type on. Even the touchpad works much better on the HP; the one on the Lenovo was jumpy and sometimes non-responsive.

To put this in perspective, the Lenovo before tax was $650, and the HP was $799 (the HP was on a $200 off deal at Costco right after the first of the year). And remember that to get the G770 working I would have had to pay Lenovo another $179, and that would have bumped the price of the Lenovo up to about $30 higher than the HP.

To be fair, here’s what the Lenovo had that the HP is missing:

  • Blu-Ray (don’t really care, but I do have an external Blu-Ray drive anyway)
  • Bluetooth (solved with a $20 micro Bluetooth USB adapter)

And here’s what the HP has over the Lenovo:

  • It works without costing me another $179
  • Screen, keyboard, and general build quality are vastly superior
  • i7 processor instead of i5
  • Better graphics card
  • This “beats audio” stuff that’s in the HP actually DOES sound damn good. It’s not all marketing hype. I use external speakers anyway but the built-in stuff sounds pretty amazing for a laptop on its own. There’s a nice little speaker bar above the keyboard and cut-outs for bass on the bottom of the machine.
  • Fingerprint reader (meh, doesn’t matter to me, but hey it’s a feature the Lenovo didn’t have …)
  • It works (bears repeating)

My only complaint with the HP thus far is the fan is pretty loud when it decides to kick into high gear, but I haven’t looked into whether or not that’s a configurable thing. They do have some “cool sense” thing that may need some tweaking. When the fan’s not running the machine is nice and quiet.

So there you have it, for $149 more I got a much, much nicer machine and I don’t have to pay extra to get it working.

I still prefer System76 for my higher-end machines but for a budget laptop I’m quite pleased with this HP, and would never, ever recommend anyone buy anything from Lenovo. Their low-end laptops are pure crap whereas the lower-end HPs, if this one is any indication, are still of very high quality. Inexpensive without being cheap.

Lastly, kudos to Costco for having such a great return policy. Lenovo wouldn’t take the G770 back because I was past the 21 day return policy even though the machine never did work right. Costco lets you return for any reason for 90 days, which saved my bacon because otherwise I would have been stuck with the junky Lenovo. (My only regret is running the thing over with my car and subsequently setting it on fire would have made for a fun and very cathartic YouTube video.)

Good riddance Lenovo. Never again.

Using Logitech Unifying Receiver on Linux

I recently got a Logitech Performance Mouse MX as well as a Logitech K350 Keyboard. Both these devices use Logitech’s new Unifying Receiver, which is a great concept and since the receiver is so small it’s ideal for a laptop setup.

Unfortunately if you have two separate devices that both use the unifying receiver the devices need to be paired to a single receiver using software, and of course there’s no Linux version of the software.

Once the pairing of the devices with the unifying receiver is complete, however, it doesn’t rely on the software to work. What this means is if you’re using separate devices with a unifying receiver on Linux you can first configure the devices on Mac or Windows, and then plug the single unifying receiver into Linux and it will work.

A Linux version of the software would be nice but if you have a Mac or Windows computer laying around this is a handy workaround.

Time Machine Problems After Snow Leopard Upgrade

I finally got around to upgrading my Mac Pro desktop to Snow Leopard a
couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t reconnect my Time Machine backup drive
until late last week. When Time Machine fired up it would endlessly hang
while starting the backup, or hang on a “clean up” operation, or in some
cases would crash the Finder entirely and force me to have to reboot the

My backup drive was connected via firewire, so on a whim tonight I
reconnected it via USB. So far no problems. I searched around a bit and did
find several references to firewire problems after Snow Leopard upgrades,
so I’m hoping that was the culprit. Just thought I’d post this in case
anyone else was having similar problems.