HP Pavilion dv6 review

Not without its foibles, but good value for a high-performance laptop

Darien Graham-Smith
28 Jun 2010
5
Price when reviewed 
699
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The 15.6in Pavilion dv6 bears HP's characteristic black and chrome livery, and to be honest it looks a bit showy in a laptop of this size. The numeric keypad at the side of the keyboard is uncomfortably squished as well.

But from a technical standpoint the Pavilion dv6 looks good. All the important features are here - USB, eSATA, Bluetooth and so forth - and they're joined by FireWire and a full-width ExpressCard/54 slot. The Altec Lansing speakers are lacking in low frequencies, but they go pretty loud, with a clarity that's unusual for notebooks. The only slight disappointment is the screen, which seems a little lacking in vibrancy.

Inside, the dv6 enjoys a 2.26GHz Core i5-430M partnered with an Nvidia GeForce G105M GPU. There's 3GB of RAM - plenty for typical desktop use - and a nice big 500GB hard disk, with a fast spindle speed of 7,200rpm.

As our benchmarks show, that's a pretty persuasive formula. With an overall 2D score of 1.53, the Pavilion dv6 is a strong performer for desktop applications. The GPU has a certain amount of 3D power too, delivering 42fps in Crysis at the lowest settings - twice as fast as Intel's HD Graphics, though there are other laptops with more powerful GPUs.

With its lightweight 4,200mAh battery we didn't expect the dv6 to last long away from the power socket, but light-use performance was surprisingly strong, with the dv6 racking up a respectable 3hrs 55min of life. Under heavy use, though, it lasted only 57 minutes.

For that reason, road warriors may want to look elsewhere, as will gamers or purist aesthetes. But if you're seeking a laptop for a mostly desk-bound role, the HP Pavilion dv6 is a powerful, feature-packed system, and when you look at the price it's obviously a good deal.

Warranty

Warranty1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions378 x 258 x 42mm (WDH)
Weight2.750kg
Travelling weight3.3kg

Processor and memory

ProcessorIntel Core i5-430M
Motherboard chipsetIntel HM55 Express
Memory typeDDR3
SODIMM sockets free0
SODIMM sockets total2

Screen and video

Screen size15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal1,366
Resolution screen vertical768
Resolution1366 x 768
Graphics chipsetNvidia GeForce G105M
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 capacity465GB
Spindle speed7,200RPM
Internal disk interfaceSATA/300
Hard diskHitachi HTS725050A9A364
Optical disc technologyDVD writer
Optical driveHP GT30L
Battery capacity4,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT£0

Networking

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

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switchyes
Wireless key-combination switchno
Modemno
ExpressCard34 slots0
ExpressCard54 slots1
PC Card slots0
USB ports (downstream)4
FireWire ports1
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 readerno
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
Fingerprint readerno
Smartcard readerno
Carry caseno

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use3hr 55min
Battery life, heavy use57min
Overall application benchmark score1.53
Office application benchmark score1.42
2D graphics application benchmark score1.52
Encoding application benchmark score1.35
Multitasking application benchmark score1.84
3D performance (crysis) low settings42fps
3D performance settingLow

Operating system and software

Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS familyWindows 7
Recovery methodRecovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software suppliedMicrosoft Works 9

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