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HP Pavilion dv6-1240ea review

Verdict

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

Review Date: 7 Sep 2009

Reviewed By: Sasha Muller

Price when reviewed: £608 (£699 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

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.

Author: Sasha Muller

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User comments

Grat bit of kit, how do I get one?

Having read the review I am really interested in getting one of these. However... they are not available from Amazon or other online retailers and after phoning the HP Direct sales line they tell me its not in stock to buy from them and they can't tell me who has stock. They best they could offer was to "Google the part number".
Long live the direct sales channel I say!

By Hayden on 9 Sep 2009

Grat bit of kit, how do I get one?

Having read the review I am really interested in getting one of these. However... they are not available from Amazon or other online retailers and after phoning the HP Direct sales line they tell me its not in stock to buy from them and they can't tell me who has stock. They best they could offer was to "Google the part number".
Long live the direct sales channel I say!

By Hayden on 9 Sep 2009

DV6-1240SA

Hi there

For some reason there are two identical part numbers doing the rounds for this laptop.

One is DV6-1240EA and the other DV6-1240SA. The EA is seeming strangely elusive...

There is a solution, however. Pop DV6-1240SA into Google and you should find links to PC World and Dixons popping up straight away. :)

By SashaMuller on 14 Sep 2009

dv6

hi there, i have one of these laptops, though slightly different spec... it has a 2.2 amd turion x2 instead of the intel, and only a 320gb hard-drive. so far, i've had only one problem with it, and that is that DoW2 will not play on it as it says the graphics card is incompatible and i should install a new driver, though i can't find the actual card on the ati site. other than that, it's worked fine for the 2 months i've had it, and it'll be getting a windows 7 install when it arrives :-D matt.

By marshal_matt on 22 Oct 2009

I wouldn't recommend this laptop!

hi, i've been looking around for anyone with the same problems as me but am yet to find anyone :S i have had 3 hp pavilion dv6's sinse christmas and each one has broken in the same way! my first one started losing pixels after the 2nd week then something went wrong with the os and it never turned back on properly. my second replacement dv6 seemed to be better but after another 2-3weeks it lost loads of pixels in the top right hand corner. obviously i was not happy so i sent it back and they replaced it again! this time it has lasted me 4ish months but again i have lost a pixel in the top right corner :( hp dont seeme to have a complaints email address and i've had enough of ringing staples for a replacement! anyone got any ideas? :(

By k0braz on 10 May 2010

keyboard problems disaster

What ever you do, DO NOT buy an hp laptop. They have a terrible keyboard problem, which is very well known. See http://tinyurl.com/3a52kz8
amongst other places!

By jamesbrooke on 14 Jul 2010

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