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HP Pavilion DM4 review

Tom Morgan
28 Sep 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
570
inc VAT

Decent performance and a great design, but the keyboard is a bit annoying

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Specifications

14 in 1,366x768 display, 2.0kg, 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

If you want a laptop that's comfortable enough to work off on a daily basis, yet light enough to carry around, HP's Pavilion DM4 certainly looks attractive. With a 14in screen and attractive, yet compact, bronze-metallic chassis, the D4 weighs 2kg. It might not be as light as an ultra-portable, but comes with other benefits such as an internal optical drive and more powerful internal components.

HP Pavilion DM4

Before you even turn on the DM4, it’s clear that design has played a big part in its creation. Aside from the power button, there are no multimedia keys or LEDs to detract, giving the laptop a pleasing minimalist look. The contrasting black keyboard and touchpad complete the look, making this one of the nicer looking laptops we’ve seen recently. This simplification hasn’t had too much of an effect on connectivity, as you still get a DVD re-writer, a combined USB/eSATA port, two further USB ports and a multi-format card reader.

HP Pavilion DM4 left

Previous HP laptops suffered from an overly sensitive touchpad, but we were very happy to find almost all the problems have been ironed out for this latest model. Instead of physical buttons, pressing down anywhere on the touchpad will register a click; right clicks are only recognised at the bottom right, but anywhere else will activate a left click. There was none of the jumpiness we’ve experienced in the past, which made the DM4 a delight to use.

The keyboard was more of a mixed bag. Each key produced a satisfyingly firm action with plenty of tactile feedback, but HP's reconfigured function keys quickly became a source of frustration. Because each one has been repurposed as a multimedia key, you have to hold both the fn and alt keys to use standard Windows shortcuts. If you use shortcuts a lot, this could soon become annoying.

HP Pavilion DM4 keyboard

It’s a shame that the keyboard isn’t perfect, as there’s a decent laptop underneath. A dual-core Intel Core i5-2410 running at 2.3GHz, 4GB of memory and a 500GB hard disk are all good to see in a 14in laptop, which is usually the domain of underpowered low voltage components. In our multimedia benchmarks, the DM4 managed a decent overall score of 44, although this is slightly slower than scores we've seen from similarly-priced 15in laptops.

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