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
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.
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||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||379 x 258 x 45mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo T6500|
|Motherboard chipset||Intel PM45|
|SODIMM sockets free||0|
|SODIMM sockets total||2|
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Graphics chipset||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530|
|Graphics card RAM||512MB|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||1|
|Hard disk usable capacity||466GB|
|Internal disk interface||SATA/300|
|Hard disk||Toshiba MK5055GSX|
|Optical disc technology||DVD writer|
|Optical drive||LG GT20L|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||1,000Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|Wireless hardware on/off switch||yes|
|Wireless key-combination switch||no|
|PC Card slots||0|
|USB ports (downstream)||4|
|PS/2 mouse port||no|
|9-pin serial ports||0|
|Optical S/PDIF audio output ports||0|
|Electrical S/PDIF audio ports||0|
|3.5mm audio jacks||3|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||yes|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||yes|
|Smart Media reader||yes|
|Compact Flash reader||no|
|Pointing device type||Touchpad|
|Audio chipset||IDT HD Audio|
|Speaker location||Above keyboard|
|Hardware volume control?||yes|
|Camera megapixel rating||0.3mp|
Battery and performance tests
|Battery life, light use||3hr 0min|
|Battery life, heavy use||1hr 14min|
|Overall application benchmark score||1.10|
|Office application benchmark score||1.21|
|2D graphics application benchmark score||1.19|
|Encoding application benchmark score||0.94|
|Multitasking application benchmark score||1.06|
|3D performance (crysis) low settings||45fps|
|3D performance setting||Low|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit|
|OS family||Windows Vista|
|Recovery method||Recovery partition|
|Software supplied||CyberLink DVD Suite, Microsoft Works 9|