HP Pavilion dm4 review

15 Nov 2010

Nice design, excellent battery life, and a surprising dose of power, all for a reasonable price

Price when reviewed: 
650(£650 inc VAT)
5

The dm4 is HP's latest mid-range addition to the Pavilion range. With a price of £553 exc VAT, it aims to blend power, portability and style without hurting your wallet, and our first impressions on taking it out of its box were positive.

There's no denying the visual appeal of the dm4, pretty much a direct physical scaling of the rest of HP's dm range. The design is thoughtful and has just enough flair to make you sit up and take notice: subtle etchings run across the chassis, and the inclusion of a dash of colour is tastefully done. The barely lilac finish differentiates the dm4 from the crowd without overdoing things.

At 14in, it's nice and petite too, the ideal compromise size for a traveller who wants things as usable as possible. Yet, despite the delicacy of the design, we're pleased to report that the chassis is made of tougher stuff. The base is solid as a rock, and although there's a little screen flex, the metal of the lid feels durable.

HP Pavilion dm4

This robustness doesn't come without its drawbacks, however, since it costs the dm4 some of the portability you might expect from a laptop of this size. It weighs just shy of 2kg, which isn't unforgivably heavy, but it's a compromise worth bearing in mind.

The Pavilion dm4's keyboard is of a good quality. It looks neat and the keys are smooth and crisp to the touch. The Scrabble-tile design also means it won't harbour rogue toast crumbs or dust.

Regrettably, the touchpad isn't so hot. It's generally responsive, but the cursor is prone to lurching around when resting a finger on either of the buttons. Despite the whole touchpad being clickable, your clicks only register in the marked button zones, which can be frustrating.

Details

Price ex VAT £553
Price inc VAT £650
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 5
Performance 5

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 341 x 228 x 25mm (WDH)
Weight 1.900kg
Travelling weight 2.5kg

Processor and memory

Processor Intel Core i5-430M
RAM capacity 3.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 14.0in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset Intel HD Graphics
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 320GB
Optical disc technology DVD writer
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

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

Other Features

Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
FireWire ports 0
eSATA ports 1
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
xD-card reader yes
Pointing device type Multitouch touchpad
Speaker location Front edge
Integrated webcam? yes
Fingerprint reader yes

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 7hr 45min
Overall application benchmark score 1.57
Office application benchmark score 1.54
2D graphics application benchmark score 1.54
Encoding application benchmark score 1.38
Multitasking application benchmark score 1.82
3D performance (crysis) low settings 16fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
OS family Windows 7