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HP Pavilion dv6-1133ea review

Barry de la Rosa
10 Jul 2009
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
452
inc VAT

A classy-looking laptop, with excellent build quality, a comfortable keyboard and respectable all-round performance.

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Specifications

15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 3.1kg, 2GHz Intel Pentium Dual Core T4200, 4.00GB RAM, 250GB disk, Windows Vista Home Premium

The dv6-1133ea is HP's latest laptop in its Pavilion line.

Like previous models it has glossy, piano-black surfaces with abstract silver patterns, and a subtle pinstripe all over. A smart and sturdy chrome strip runs around the edge of the case, which helps protect the ports from knocks. Its classy appearance isn't just skin deep, either; it also feels sturdy and well made. A good example is the optical drive tray, which doesn't rattle in its slot like most.

The impressive build quality extends to the keyboard as well. The keys look shiny but feel slightly rubbery, so your fingertips catch them firmly as you type. We felt they were the perfect size and shape, and the layout is standard, with a nice chunky Enter key. There's even a number pad, although it has slightly smaller keys than the main keyboard. The LED-lit symbols above the keyboard are the touch-sensitive multimedia shortcuts.

Rather than a matt-finish touchpad, HP has opted for a shiny chrome design. It works surprisingly well, unless your fingertips are moist, in which case they can stick to the pad. The buttons are large and have a light action, and the whole touchpad assembly is slightly recessed, so you can easily locate it by touch.

The screen has a glossy finish, so it's not ideal for use near strong light sources or outdoors on a sunny day. It's reasonably bright with good colours, although not as good as some LED-backlit screens we've seen recently, such as that on Dell's Studio XPS 13.

The sound is surprisingly good for a laptop: it's not as beefy as you'd get with external speakers, but it's crisp and clear, and could easily fill a small living room. Another bonus for multimedia buffs is the little Media Center remote control. This cleverly tucks away into the ExpressCard expansion slot when not in use.

If you want to connect this laptop to a larger display, there's HDMI for outputting video and audio to an HD TV. There are all the other features you'd expect as well, including four USB ports, a memory card reader and Gigabit LAN. Like many cheaper laptops, this one doesn't have built-in Draft-N wireless. There's no Blu-ray drive fitted, either, just the usual DVD writer. A 250GB hard disk is expected, but should be big enough for most uses.

Its 2GHz Pentium Dual Core T4200 processor is notably quicker than many laptops around this price. In addition there's a dedicated graphics chipset, an ATI 4530, which produced a score of 15.4fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark. This isn't fast enough to play the latest games at optimal settings, but by lowering the resolution and disabling anti-aliasing you'll be able to run most modern games smoothly. It makes this laptop a good choice for anyone that plays strategy or adventure games from time to time.

Our current Budget Buy, the Blu-ray-equipped Acer Aspire 6530G, costs under £500. The dv6-1133ea may lack its HD movie capabilities, but it has other advantages, such as its sturdier construction and superior application and gaming performance. If you like to play the occasional game and don't plan on investing in Blu-ray discs, it's a better choice and also deserves our Budget Buy award.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****
ProcessorIntel Pentium Dual Core T4200
Processor clock speed2GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory4GB
Size41x379x258mm
Weight3.1kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad
Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption idle25W
Power consumption active49W

Display

Viewable size15.6 in
Native resolution1,366x768
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity250GB
Optical drive modelHL-DT-ST GSA-T50L
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL DVD-RAM

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Total Firewire ports1
Bluetoothno
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g
PC Card slots1x ExpressCard/54
ModemNo
Supported memory cardsSD, MMC, Memory Stick Pro, xD
Other ports2x minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows Vista Home Premium

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£452
Detailswww.hp.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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