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Continuing my foray into the “untouchables”–or non-touchscreen mobile computing solutions–I have for you a handsome and modestly priced young hopeful. It goes by the name: HP Pavilion Dv6 Laptop. It’s affordable. It’s curvaceous and is quite the temptress, with that attractive umber complexion. It definitely looks like a high class offering. So let’s see if it can walk the walk, shall we? Is it a best durable college laptop? If you’d like to compare with another high-quality laptop, you’ll want to read our Sony 15 inch Vaio series 15 laptop review.
This top-rated Windows laptop has its configuration shipped to the heavily fortified GR compound, weighs in at a powder soft sub-$600. The guts include Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, 2nd gen. Intel Corei3-2330m (@ 2.2GHz 3MB Cache), 6GB DDR3 systme memory, 640 GB 5400rpm hard drive, Intel HD Graphic 3000, 6-cell lithium ion battery, standard HDMI-out, four USB ports (2x 3.0 and 2x 2.0), 15.6″ HD LED Brightview display (maxing out at the lowly 1366×768 res.), SuperMulti 8x DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer support, HP Truevision HD Webcam with digital mic, 802.11b/g/n WLAN and a nice full-sized standard keyboard complete with number pad.
The specs for the Dv6 place it squarely below both the Samsung Series 9 and the HP TouchSmart 520, each recently reviewed this month. Futuremark’s PCMark 7 benchmark results show this to be the case as well. The HP Dv6 ranks in with a score of 2025 next to the Series 9’s score: 2184 and HP’s TouchSmart 520 score: 2498.
Lets park those numbers under the rug for a spell. The Dv6 is more a love letter to those who favor form over high function. It’s as striking for the laptop class as the Samsung Series 9 is for the Notebook-near-Ultrabook class. As I mentioned above, this unit is a highly stylish umber color. The lid is a true metal alloy and shines with an illuminated HP logo. The entire unit, looks elegant with a modest yet solid weight to compliment its premium feel. For a light weight laptop, check out our Lenovo Lavie Z review, which is a truly easy to carry laptop because of its almost feathery feel. The touchpad is backlit and features multitouch functionality, just like the Series 9. Unlike the series 9, the Dv6 clearly outlines the left- and right-click buttons where the Series 9 left them to meld into the touchpad. The touchpad itself, is backlit and offers a small function in the upper left corner. Double tap this to disable the touchpad, in case you accidentally brush it while typing and/or in case you attach a USB or Bluetooth mouse.
Key spacing on the keyboard is adequate and comfortable and I do appreciate a full number pad. The inclusion of which has widened and elongated the unit so you have plenty of room to rest your wrists. Each key feels solid with no give and there is little slippage against the matte finish. HP also reversed the way Function keys work with F1-F12. For example, users must press Fn+F1 (same for F2-F12) to activate F1. Yet the function keys work all on their lonesome. This is also appreciated. I use the Function buttons far more than I do the F- keys on any given laptop. So it helps to access them without any simultaneous button pressing.
Things turn a bit southward where the display is concerned. There is nothing considerably off-putting about it. But like the Series 9, the resolution is definitely underwhelming at 1366 x 768. It’s time for manufacturers to bump up that standard. If the unit can pipe 1080p over its HDMI-out (which it can), then I definitely want something, close to that when I’m flying solo and untethered to a 1080p monitor (1600 x 900, anyone?) This is really the only point I can take away from the display. Others have thrown stones at the contrast ratio and nitpicked at the brightness. I have no quarter in that dollar. The display seem largely adequate, despite the ho-hum resolution. HP is quite the tech sculptor–the design and aesthetics are primo!
But don’t hand that nice salesperson your coveted cash, just yet. If you want to game on the go, then you should go somewhere else. The Dv6 model we digested, is not your new mobile gaming box. Some DiretX 9 games will offer mildly playable performance. But really, this just isn’t the slab upon which you want to to lay your 3D applications. If you’re the obsessive type, determined to cram a square peg in a triangle hole, then some concessions can be made for slightly better gaming performance. You can lower game settings and drop that already snore-inducing resolution to something god-awful, like 1024 x 768. Even then you will need to turn off the in-game eye-candy, such as anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion and texture quality–depending on which game you plan to disappoint yourself with. However, if you want a laptop that performs optimally for screen and touch responses when playing games, you should consider the HP Split X 2 review.
I say, don’t even try. General use and movie playback is the HP Dv6’s bread and butter. Grab an HDMI cable and pipe that video to a large HD screen and you’re golden. The unit even includes 2x headphone/speaker jacks, which is great for silently watching a flick with a friend.
The HP Dv6 is a fine laptop for its sub $600 cost of entry. It could use a better screen resolution, but it does sport HDMI-out. So you’re not always confined to Low-Res Country. Gamers should recognize the limitation to their needs as well. All that said, HP has a gorgeous-looking solid-functioning addition to their mobile computing library, with the HP Pavilion Dv6 Laptop.
Bottom Line: The HP Pavilion Dv6 is a good, responsive laptop. Its good looks will “Wow!” you, even if its performance won’t. The Dv6 handles movies well, feels nice while in use and will help you get things done on a budget. Just don’t expect major league performance.
You can buy the HP Pavilion Dv6 Laptop at Amazon for $539.99.