Construction: Field Tested
Charger – The charger for the ZE2000 is fairly small compared to other notebooks its size. Since the power port is on the side of the notebook though, we were a bit surprised to see it use a straight power connector. The best design is to have the power port on the back side of the notebook with a straight power plug. A straight power connector plugged into the side of the notebook only means that if there isn't enough slack, your power connector might have its cable kinked in a certain direction after a while. In the long run, this might make the wiring come loose.
Display – HP chose a 15.0" XGA widescreen display that is capable of native 1024 x 768 with 11 brightness settings. All of the brightness settings seem to be spaced the same unit of lumens apart (battery and AC levels are the same). If at all possible, you should stick with the highest setting, which makes the images on the display look great. At the lowest setting, the dimness of the notebook is still enough to use in a dark room, but it will be a strain on the eyes quickly after an hour or two, in our opinion. With many 15.0" displays, an XGA native resolution can seem almost unnatural, like a low res picture blown up. This doesn't happen to be the case with the ZE2000. The display is beautifully bright and has good clarity. The only downside to this is that you are limited to 1024 x 768. Personally, we are more comfortable with anything 1400 x 1050 and above since we multitask a lot, but for the average computer user, tasks like word processing, e-mail, etc. will suit this notebook just fine.
Fan - Just about all fans on current and reasonably current notebooks use a variable speed design, which allow for low speed on low CPU usage/heat and vice versa. The fan on the ZE2000 is probably one of the quietest that we have come across for its size. Spinning at max speed has the volume of a low whirl. Typically, it cuts in and out and doesn't remain on max for more than a few seconds. You would have to be listening in a quiet room to hear the noise. The hard drive read/write heads actually makes more noise than the fan.
Heat – Because this is a value notebook geared toward a lower price range, the components are not the highest offerings from HP. This means that performance isn't going to be as high as some other notebooks, but the ZE2000 won't get as hot either. The only place on the notebook that gets remotely warm is the bottom and upper left side. This is where the hard drive and CPU are located. The chassis covering the hard drive gets warmer than the CPU, but it doesn't get warm enough to be irritating. Overall, the temperature stays fairly cool or barely warm.