HP Pavilion DM4 Beats Edition (DM4-3002ea) review

A powerful 14in laptop that can handle some light gaming, but there are better 15in models

18 Feb 2012
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
800
inc VAT

Specifications

14 in 1,366x768 display, 2.0kg, 2.5GHz Intel Core i5-2450m, 6.00GB RAM, 750GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

HP’s partnership with Beats Audio has already spawned a special edition version of its high-end Envy laptop, but until now there were no mid-range models with Beats branding. Enter the DM4, a 14in laptop small enough to take on the move, decked out in Beats black and red.

HP Pavilion DM4 Beats Edition (DM4-3002ea)

The menacing colour scheme looks even better in the dark, when the keyboard tray is illuminated by red LEDs. The keyboard itself is very comfortable to type on, thanks to the full-size well-spaced keys. HP still insists on repurposing the function keys for its own multimedia shortcuts, but this can be turned off in the BIOS.

The touchpad, previously a pitfall for many HP laptops, is a little on the small side but still perfectly usable. A double-tap to the top left corner will disable it if you prefer to use a mouse, and the two separate buttons below it are easier to use than the single bar we often see on HP laptops.

HP Pavilion DM4 Beats Edition (DM4-3002ea)

The 14in screen's 1,366x768 resolution is just about large enough to work on two documents side by side, but it’s better suited to full-screen web browsing and watching 720p video. There’s a reasonable amount of tilt and viewing angles are wide, although the glossy screen finish made working under office lighting or in direct sunlight a pain. However, it helps colours appear vibrant and the high contrast ratio made pictures look sharp and detailed.

Considering the Beats branding, we were expecting slightly better sound quality from the DM4 than on other mid-range laptops – the downward-firing stereo speakers were reasonably crisp and the tiny integrated subwoofer helped with bass, but realistically you wouldn’t want to use them for much more than watching YouTube videos.

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