Thursday, April 15, 2010

HP Pavilion dv6t (NZ599AAR) review

Quick specs
  • Intel Core i7 Q720 1.6GHz
  • 2x2GB DDR3 RAM @ 667MHz
  • 2.5" 7200RPM 500GB SATA HDD
  • GeForce GT 230M w/ 1GB RAM
  • 15.6" 16:9 LED (HP Brightview) screen (1366x768) w/ 1.3MP webcam
  • Intel 5100 802.11 AGN wifi
  • LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVDRW w/Double Layer
  • 8800MAh 95Wh battery
  • Weight 6.34lb (2.87kg)

The HP laptops in the Pavilion series all have pretty much the same design. The laptop is well built and feels solid all over. It's got the trademark HP engravings on the cover and on the palm rest and it looks really nice.

Ports and layout:
The laptop has all its ports on the sides and personally i consider that a design flaw on a desktop replacement such as this. Most things that get cables plugged into them (usb, network, power, video, etc.) should be on the back because when you have all of them connected everything just looks more organized. Being constricted on 1 side (back) is better than being constricted on 2 (left and right).

On the right side we have: optical drive, 2 USBs, kensington lock and AC. Placing the optical drive on the right side of a laptop is not a wise choice. Most people are right handed and when using an external mouse you have to move it out of the away when inserting or ejecting a disk. It should be on the left side in my opinion.

On the left side we have: VGA, expansion port, network, HDMI, USB/e-SATA port, another USB, 1394a, SD/MMC/MS Card Reader and 54mm Express Card slot. I think the VGA port has outlived its usefulness and should be replaced at least by a DVI port.

The mic in and headphone jacks are located on the front right side of the laptop. The speakers are placed above the keyboard and provide good sound quality.

The laptop has a 15.6" LED (HP Brightview) glossy screen, 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1366x768. On top it has a 1.3MP webcam with good video quality and 2 microphones. The screen looks bright and colorful offering good viewing angles but being glossy you can use it as a mirror when dark surfaces are displayed.

This is how bright the screen is compared to a Dell XPS-1645 (on the left) that has a RGBLED display, both on maximum brightness:

Keyboard and touchpad:

The touchpad is medium in size with 2 large buttons on it and a scroll area on the right side. There's also a button above it that disables it completely, presumably for gaming when you're using an external mouse. As with all consumer HP laptops these days, the touchpad is super-glossy and sticky so it's very hard to use (good luck dragging-and-dropping). I don't know why HP keeps using them as this is the laptop's biggest flaw.

The keyboard is solid with large easy-to-type matte keys. As you can see it's even got a numpad. The layout is good with separated directional buttons but i wish they were bigger.

Battery and AC adapter:
The laptop came with a 8800MAh 95Wh battery. I don't know if it's a 9-cell or 12-cell but HP claims a 6-cell would lasts 4.5 hours. I highly doubt these numbers as the specs on this laptop will probably burn through the battery in a few hours at most in high performance mode. As you can see in the pictures the battery sticks out and raises the back of the laptop almost an inch off the table.

The power adapter is quit big too, definitely not the most portable one.

The laptop comes with windows 7 home premium 64-bit. Out of the box, it's quite fast. It boots from power-on to login screen in 42 sec. Shut down takes 11 seconds from clicking the button to power-off. Going to sleep takes 5 seconds and waking up - 2 seconds. The OS and all the bundled software take about 27gigs and the recovery partition is 13gigs.

Windows experience index:
On AC power in "High Performance Mode" - 5.9

Super PI for 1mil and 8mil (on AC power):


On AC power in "High Performance" profile - 7065
On battery power in High Performance" profile - 7072

On AC power in "High Performance" profile - 6792

On battery power in "High Performnce" profile - 6810

Wi-fi speed (on AC power):
Tested on Asus RT-N16 b/g/n wireless router at a distance of 5 feet (2 meters).

On 802.11g it averages to 1.8MB/s - aprox. 30% link utilization

On 802.11n it connects at 144Mbps and averages to 10.1MB/s - aprox. 65% link utilization

What's in the box
Battery, AC adapter, manuals.

- great specs
- great bright screen
- solid matte keyboard with numpad
- good build quality

- low resolution (1366x768) glossy screen
- very sticky hard to use touchpad
- big power adapter

HP has been making consumer laptops like this for a few good years now. They stick with their proven unique design and upgrade to the latest and greatest components. The end result is a fast and solid computer that should provide great performance for any type of activity, gaming included.

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