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HP Pavilion dv7-4035sa review

Barry de la Rosa
4 Mar 2011
HP Pavilion dv7-4035sa
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
600
inc VAT

The 17in screen and high quality keyboard are tempting but there's no excuse for such poor performance or the unusable touchpad.

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Specifications

17.3 in 1,600x900 display, 3.7kg, 1.8GHz AMD Phenom II X3 P820, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

HP's dv7-4035sa has a 17in screen and a dedicated graphics card, as well as a triple core AMD processor. It's fitted with two ATI graphics chips: one is an older 4250 part integrated onto the motherboard, while the other is a dedicated 5470 chip that supports DirectX 11. Both can handle HD video decoding. The idea is that you can use the dedicated graphics cards for playing games with the laptop plugged in, but when you're on the move you can switch to the integrated graphics chip to save power.

This logic is undermined by the fact that the 5470 isn't that powerful a chip: a score of 20fps in our Call of Duty 4 benchmark means that you'll have to turn down graphics quality settings to get playable frame rates in action games. Older games, or those optimised for network play such as World of Warcraft, should be fine.

Using the low-power 4250 gave four hours battery life instead of three, which is a significant improvement but still isn't that impressive. In any case, few people are likely to want to lug this 3.7kg laptop very far from a mains socket.

The dv7-4035sa scored poorly in our benchmarks, getting 57 overall and scoring only 58 in the single-threaded image-editing test. Although this is plenty for office and web use, it's not so promising for creative tasks such as photo and video editing. Laptops at this price that are built around Intel Core i3 and i5 processors manage scores of between 79 and 93.

HP Pavilion dv7-4035sa

Build quality is superb. The khaki-coloured case is made from a metal alloy with a smart pattern etched into its surface, which feels sturdy and partly explains the laptop's weight. Inside, the design is tastefully unadorned, and the only indicator lights are on the relevant keys, such as Caps Lock. There's a numberpad on the right side of the keyboard, and the flat, isolated keys have a crisp, light action.

Sadly, the dv7-4035sa's touchpad is the same flawed design as on the HP dv6-3065ea. The left and right click buttons are simply marked out by a T-shaped line drawn on the touchpad. Because the whole thing is a just a single surface, we often found ourselves moving the mouse pointer when trying to double-click, or clicking on something when we meant to move the pointer. It's a shame as otherwise it's a large and responsive pad, but in its current form it's virtually unusable.

The 17in screen has a 1,600x900 resolution that gives significantly more desktop space than 15in laptops with 1,366x768 resolutions. While it seemed dimmer than other LED-backlit screens, contrast and colour accuracy were better, especially where flesh tones were involved.

The screen is probably the biggest attraction in this package, with the decent keyboard coming in second. The dual graphics chip setup is a waste, though, as the dedicated card isn't powerful enough and there's not much need for a power-saving integrated chip on a 3.7kg notebook. Performance is poor considering the price, and the frustrating touchpad is the last straw. The Dell XPS 15 is only a little more expensive, but it's far more powerful in both 2D and 3D and a joy to use.

Basic Specifications

Rating**
ProcessorAMD Phenom II X3 P820
Processor clock speed1.8GHz
Memory4.00GB
Memory slots2
Memory slots free0
Maximum memory8GB
Size37x415x274mm
Weight3.7kg
SoundIDT HD Audio
Pointing devicetouchpad

Display

Viewable size17.3 in
Native resolution1,600x900
Graphics ProcessorATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470
Graphics/video portsVGA, HDMI
Graphics Memory512MB

Storage

Total storage capacity500GB
Optical drive typeDVD+/-RW +/-DL

Ports and Expansion

USB ports4
Bluetoothyes
Wired network ports1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support802.11b/g/n
PC Card slotsnone
Supported memory cardsSDHC
Other portseSATA (shared with USB socket), minijack audio output, minijack microphone input

Miscellaneous

Carrying caseNo
Operating systemWindows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore optionrestore partition
Software includedCorel PaintShop Photo Pro X3, Corel VideoStudio Pro X3, CyberLink DVD Suite Deluxe 7, Microsoft Works 9 SE

Buying Information

Warrantyone year collect and return
Price£600
Detailswww.hp.co.uk
Supplierhttp://www.laptopsdirect.co.uk

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