The textured touch

12Jun08

Finishing touch

In an ever-changing, ever-improving market, makers of consumer notebooks increasingly have to keep up in two different areas: of course, the central technologies area, to ensure their model is as good or better than the next competitor in the area of performance, but, as we have seen especially in the past few years, the area of aesthetic appeal and good design.

I’ll take this time to say that I favour Apple’s design. This has probably been recognised in a few other posts, but I do find the look of current-gen MacBooks, MacBook Airs, and MacBook Pros to be very appealing. This is a blog, and I have an opinion.

I may favour Macs for their design credentials, but it has been very interesting to see how PC makers have attempted to keep long-time Windows users from switching to ‘the other side’.

I’ve reviewed a few HP laptops now, and I’ve found them to utilise a variety of design techniques and fairly individual finishes to keep consumers on board. Just this evening I received HP’s new 13″ (now a rare size for HP) dv3000 Pavilion notebook. It’s far more sophisticated than the garish dv2800 Artist Edition just past, and, at that golden screen size and weight, I already consider it to be a viable competitor for the MacBook on design grounds.

Aaron Kok (aaron_kok on Flickr), Taiwan Press Club

A look at the HP dv3000

A very glossy black and silver theme is used on the dv3000, and, instead of pulling the eye straight in and yelling “look at me!”, it is a cool, calming look that looks and feels expensive.

From a glance across the room, the colours look just that – black and silver. However, getting close, you can admire the meticulous work that HP conducts to please the user only; a touch that isn’t necessary and probably costs HP more than they need to pay. However, seeing an individual finish, pattern, or texture is luxurious and the user will love it.

The dv3000 uses a crosshatch pattern. It wraps around the notebook on all of the usable, tangible surfaces. The lid, which looks solid black, is covered in a tiny, dark grey crosshatch; the keyboard surround and palm rest is a very glossy, bright silver, that is adorned with the same tiny pattern but a little more visible. It’s not obtrusive – not by any means – but it looks fantastic.

Consumers don’t want a grey box for a PC laptop, and if you don’t have an interest in Apple or it’s not viable to switch (and it is certainly not viable for many people), than something more individual is far more preferable than a generic machine.

Following HP’s lead, many other manufacturers are now looking at integrating patterns and even tangible textures into their notebooks. Flair and individualism, but not too much of it, is a step in the right direction.

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₁ HP dv3000 lid image: Aaron Kok, Taiwan Press Club

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