HP Pavilion dv6-1240ea review

An excellent laptop, that's keenly priced. As long as you can live with its glossy, eye-catching looks it's a very good buy

5
Price when reviewed 
699

At first glance, the HP Pavilion dv6 would appear to be the very antithesis of the dour business laptop. Boasting flashy looks, a glossy screen and enough chrome-effect highlights to dazzle a footballer’s wife, it's not exactly shy and retiring. Look at the reasonable asking price, though, and the fashion-conscious crowd might be willing to cut the HP a bit of slack.

In fact, it's a rather attractive devil in its own quirky way, and there are plenty of nice touches, such as the glowing HP logo on the lid, and the curvy, smoothly contoured physique.

Rugged good looks

And whatever you think of the looks, build quality is a step above many of its rivals. The base feels strong and sturdy with only the slightest hint of creak, and while the lid is a little more flexible, it still feels capable of fending off the odd knock on its travels. The DV6 might be made of plastic, but its sharply-chiselled, sturdy frame doesn’t suffer for it in the slightest.

You won't be in a hurry to familiarise it with the great outdoors, though. At 2.84kg the DV6 is a hefty beast, and with the 4,200mAh battery providing just three hours of light use away from the mains, it’s a laptop destined for use in and around the house rather than on the road.

Start to use the HP, though, and its qualities will be enough to keep many prospective purchasers riveted to the spot. The 500GB hard drive provides ample room for a huge collection of movies, music and games and, handily enough, HP provide a miniature remote control to make the most of its media-playing aspirations. Neatly, the remote control docks away in the ExpressCard/54 slot when you’re not using it, and just pops out when you fancy kicking back and enjoying the dv6 at a distance.

And when it comes to less-exciting pastimes the keyboard is also very, very good. There is a little flex in its base but it’s not enough to ruin the dv6’s ergonomic charms. The slightly concave keys feel comfortable under the finger and, to its credit, HP has squeezed in a numeric keypad without compromising the layout.

Stealing the show

The 15.6in screen might be good, but it’s not quite as impressive as what’s come before. The 1,366 x 768 resolution seems to be becoming the new standard for many laptops, but it really doesn’t leave a great deal of space for working with lots of applications at once.

We also noticed a slight green tinge across the panel, a trait that left whites looking a little murkier than we’d like. But the HP’s display is by no means sub-standard. Indeed, compared to many of its competitors its ample brightness and good contrast leave it with its head held up high.

And elsewhere the DV6 puts in a great performance. The 2.1GHz Intel processor is nowhere near the top-of-the-line, but its twin processor cores and ample clockspeed keep Vista ticking along nicely enough to earn a score of 1.10 in our application-based benchmark tests.

Turn your attention to more entertaining pursuits, and the HP has even more to offer thanks to its ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530 graphics chipset. This isn't the last word in gaming power, but it does do enough to smoothly dispatch the demands of our Crysis tests with an average of 45fps in low settings. For the occasional gamer, the HP is more than man enough.

Conclusion

It might not earn a perfect six overall, but the DV6 is an affordable, high-quality desktop replacement that makes a great case for itself. And, when you consider that it costs just £608 exc VAT, most people will find it decidedly easy to put up with those flash-Harry looks.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions379 x 258 x 45mm (WDH)
Weight2.840kg
Travelling weight3.4kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo T6500
Motherboard chipsetIntel PM45
RAM capacity8.00GB
Memory typeDDR2
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
Graphics card RAM512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs1
HDMI outputs1
S-Video outputs0
DVI-I outputs0
DVI-D outputs0
DisplayPort outputs0

Drives

Capacity500GB
Hard disk usable capacity466GB
Spindle speed5,400RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskToshiba MK5055GSX
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveLG GT20L
Battery capacity4,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a supportno
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
802.11 draft-n supportyes
Integrated 3G adapterno

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
eSATA ports1
PS/2 mouse portno
9-pin serial ports0
Parallel ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks3
SD card readeryes
Memory Stick readeryes
MMC (multimedia card) readeryes
Smart Media readeryes
Compact Flash readerno
xD-card readeryes
Pointing device typeTouchpad
Audio chipsetIDT HD Audio
Speaker locationAbove keyboard
Hardware volume control?yes
Integrated microphone?yes
Integrated webcam?yes
Camera megapixel rating0.3mp
TPMno
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 0min
Battery life, heavy use1hr 14min
Overall application benchmark score1.10
Office application benchmark score1.21
2D graphics application benchmark score1.19
Encoding application benchmark score0.94
Multitasking application benchmark score1.06
3D performance (crysis) low settings45fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
OS familyWindows Vista
Recovery methodRecovery partition
Software suppliedCyberLink DVD Suite, Microsoft Works 9

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