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HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa review

Barry de la Rosa
30 May 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
340
inc VAT

It may look like a very smart netbook, but the dm1 is twice as fast and has good speakers; however its dim screen lets it down, and the atrocious touchpad means it misses out on an award.

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Specifications

11.6 in 1,366x768 display, 1.6kg, 1.6GHz AMD E-350, 3.00GB RAM, 320GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

It order to keep the cost and size of its Pavilion dm1-3100sa laptop to a minimum, HP has opted to fit it with a dual-core 1.6GHz AMD E-350 platform. In terms of performance, this processor is similar to Intel's Atom range.

HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa

For this dm1-3100sa, HP wants the laptop to be more than just another netbook, so you get 3GB of RAM and Windows 7 Home Premium. The 11.6in screen is also a step up from what you get with the average netbook, with a resolution of 1,366x768. Compared to the netbook norm of 1,024x600, the extra resolution (particularly vertical) means that you've got enough room to display all of Windows' dialog boxes, plus plenty of room for web browsing.

There are some problems with the screen. Its glossy finish is designed to make colours more vibrant, but we found that it picked up reflections very easily. It doesn't help that the backlight is quite dim, so the screen's not easy to see under bright lighting. Vertical viewing angles are quite poor, so you have to angle the screen carefully to get the best quality image.

HP Pavilion dm1-3100sa left

The dm1 uses AMD's "Vision" platform, a combination of processor and graphics chipset - which is part of AMD's Fusion line-up. The graphics chip is a Radeon HD 6310 with 384MB of dedicated RAM, but it's not very powerful, scoring only 11fps in Call of Duty 4. Even with graphical settings turned right down, you'll struggle to play any modern 3D game. It can decode HD video, however, and the screen's resolution is ideal for 720p video.

With an overall score of 11 in our benchmarks, the processor's not very powerful either. However, this laptop is still quicker than most netbooks and it felt responsive enough for word processing and web browsing. Battery life at just over seven hours is impressive and this laptop should last for most of a working day without having to be plugged in. Given it weighs just 1.6kg, you can easily carry this model with you everywhere you go.