HP Pavilion dv6 review

28 Jun 2010

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

Price when reviewed: 
639(£639 inc VAT)
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £544
Price inc VAT £639
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 378 x 258 x 42mm (WDH)
Weight 2.750kg
Travelling weight 3.3kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-430M
Motherboard chipset Intel HM55 Express
Memory type DDR3
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Nvidia GeForce G105M
Graphics card RAM 512MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 500GB
Hard disk usable capacity 465GB
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Hitachi HTS725050A9A364
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Optical drive HP GT30L
Battery capacity 4,200mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch yes
Wireless key-combination switch no
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 1
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 4
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel 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 no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Touchpad
Audio chipset IDT HD Audio
Speaker location Above keyboard
Hardware volume control? yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 3hr 55min
Battery life, heavy use 57min
Overall application benchmark score 1.53
Office application benchmark score 1.42
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.52
Encoding application benchmark score 1.35
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.84
3D performance (crysis) low settings 42fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied Microsoft Works 9