HP Pavilion G6 review
The HP Pavilion G6 isn’t exactly the most glamorous laptop of the bunch. The basic and somewhat dreary grey plastic chassis isn't exactly inspiring, but there are some pretty decent components housed within such as a relatively speedy quad-core processor and a dedicated graphics card too.
First on offer here is the quad-core AMD Llano A8-3520 CPU, running at a 1.6GHz clock speed, which can be turbo boosted and increased to 2.5GHz for added performance in single-threaded applications. Pair this with the 6GB of RAM too, meant it completed our multimedia benchmarks with an overall score of 40. Obviously, this isn't exactly record-breaking, it’s still plenty fast enough for your typical application and general web browsing too. If you plan on using more performance hogging multi-threaded applications, such as Adobe Photoshop, you should notice a significant boost over a dual-core processor when using the HP Pavilion G6.
While the processor itself has integrated graphics buried inside, HP hasn't shied away from adding a pretty impressive dedicated mobile graphics card. The Radeon 7450M within has just 1GB of video memory but can work with CrossFire mode with the onboard GPU to create a surprisingly powerful mobile gaming combination. In our Dirt 3 test for instance, the G6 managed a relatively smooth 38.1fps, which while quite an old game now, was relatively surprising. Obviosuly, don't expect the G6 to run anything new at a decent framerate though, it's best to be used to run your old game collection.
Initially, we did expect its battery life to suffer a bit, especially considering its processor and graphics card, but the G6 coped surprisingly well, almost hitting six hours away from the mains. You’ll need to stick to light tasks, such as image editing, but unlike other quad-core laptops we’ve seen, there’s still potential for working on the move. Obviously, this isn't the highest scoring battery test we've completed, but it should suffice for laptop use on the go.
During our lengthy time with it, we quickly noticed that image quality was actually surprisingly good for a budget laptop. There was ample amount of brightness and colours were reasonably vivid, although viewing angles were fairly basic. It has a limited amount of screen tilt and a glossy finish, so we noticed light reflections a lot more on the G6 than on competing laptops.
The keyboard isn’t exactly the prettiest out there, but it does the job well. The flat keys are grouped tightly together, but because they’re full size, it didn't feel all that cramped when typing. Of course, in typical HP fashion, the function keys have been repurposed as multimedia shortcuts, but this can be disabled if you'd like.
We didn't have any any qualms when using the touchpad, even if it is a bit smaller than we’d have liked. It’s nice and sensitive enough to quickly navigate the desktop, with its raised surface making it fairly easy to find using your sense of touch alone if you’re working in the dark. Also quite handily, a double-tap to the small recessed corner disables the touchpad should you prefer to use a mouse, although this can sometimes be miss-pressed on occasion. The buttons directly below it push in rather far before they register a click, but at least they make an audible noise so you can tell when you’ve pressed them in far enough.
Unsurprisingly, there aren't any USB3 ports to be found here, but otherwise the G6’s connectivity is reasonable. Three standard USB ports, a multiformat card reader and a DVD optical drive are of note, but there’s also audio input and output jacks and an Ethernet port, as well as HDMI and VGA video outputs too.
Compared to the much more stylish HP Pavilion DV6, the G6 is something of an ugly duckling, albeit one with significantly more powerful components inside. However, when it comes to real-world tests, there isn’t very much separating the two. If you have multi-threaded applications that can make the most of its quad-core processor then the G6 may perform better, but the cheaper DV6 seems a better buy overall. If you can still find one to pick up, it's definitely worth a shot, especially considering its cheap price. Still undecided? Check out our Best Laptop 2016 buying guide to help you choose which laptop is best for you.
|Processor clock speed||1.6GHz|
|Memory slots free||0|
|Sound||IDT HD Audio|
|Viewable size||15.6 in|
|Graphics Processor||AMD Radeon 7450M|
|Graphics/video ports||VGA, HDMI|
|Total storage capacity||750GB|
|Optical drive type||DVD+/-RW +/-DL|
Ports and Expansion
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100|
|Wireless networking support||802.11n|
|PC Card slots||none|
|Supported memory cards||SDXC, MMC|
|Other ports||minijack audio output, minijack microphone input|
|Operating system||Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit|
|Operating system restore option||restore partition|
|Software included||Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition|