HP's newest line of high performance laptops now boast metal body parts, improved speakers, and thin, sleek designs. Do these laptops stand up to the test? Find out.
The laptop reviewed has the following specifications:
HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition customizable Notebook PC
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-560M Dual Core Processor (2.66 GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5470 switchable graphics [HDMI, VGA] - For Dual Core Processors
FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
FREE Upgrade to 640GB 5400RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
No Additional Office Software
High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard)
15.6" diagonal High Definition LED HP Brightview Widescreen Display (1366x768)
TouchScreen with HP TouchSmart's intuitive multi-touch applications (includes HP TrueVision Webcam)• SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support• Intel Wireless-N Card
Backlit Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader
dv6t comes standard with metal alloy lids, palm rest, and around the four edges of the entire computer. This design is only rivaled by the MacBook Pro's design which is cleaner throughout. The metal is brushed vertically, different from the MacBook Pro which is just a plain aluminum.
The major metal components also feature HP's new stream argento design, a chemically etched 'wave' style designed to turn heads over the MacBook Pro.
The dv6t hold more like a thin text book rather than a notebook. The device is only 1.20 inches thick. The thickness is considerably thickened when the oversized 9-cell battery is added see more in Battery section). Although, other users have reported that the oversized battery helps improve airflow underneath the device.
The laptops comes with three options for battery supply. The HP website claims the standard 6-cell battery to last for around 5 hours. Under medium browsing, you can expect about an hour less. The high capacity 6-cell battery will get you about a half-hour more than that under the same conditions.
The nine-cell battery greatly increases battery life at the expense of the thinness and weight of the laptop. The battery will last you at least six hours under medium browsing. Since the batty sticks out of the bottom, hot air from the vents and underside holes have more space to circulate. This is especially useful if you are going to be doing a lot of high-intensity work on your lap.
Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, and Touchpad
The keyboard is very similar to the one used on the current MacBook Pro (designed first by Sony). On the very left side of the keyboard is a row of quick launch keys, these keys are useful for quickly opening the calculator, email, and printing. These can get annoying when your are first using the laptop because your first instinct when reaching for the Ctrl key is to go to the very left of the keyboard. But you will get used to them over time.
The keyboard comes with an optional backlit keyboard and fingerprint reader. The backlit keyboard is very useful when typing in the dark. It reduces the need for your eyes to hangs from the bright screen to a dim keyboard. The backlighting works great in medium to dark lighting bunt it makes no difference in bright light or in direct sunlight (Not sure why you would need it then, anyways). The backlit keyboard is seems slightly less brighter than the MacBook Pro. Unlike the Mac, the dv6 does not have a luminosity sensor, the lights must be activated by a button on the keyboard.
The fingerprint reader is a very safe way to keep your passwords and Windows account log-in. The reader usually works on the first swipe. It adds a great deal of 'wow' factor to your laptop. Overall a great complement to a high-tech laptop.
The touchpad has received many criticisms from users, I'm not an exception. The entire touchpad includes the right and left click buttons. My grippe is that when you go to right-click with the touchpad, it frequently registers it as a movement of the mouse. The trackpad is larger than a normal touchpad but is not quite as big as the ones on the MacBook Pro.
The screens resolution is 1368 by 768 pixels, an aceptable amount for most people. Some complain that a laptop with other high-performance parts should have the option for a better screen. A probable reason that HP didn't put a higher resolution could be that HP was worried about battery life.
The laptop comes with an optional touchscreen. The entire screen is a capacitive, the same one found on iPhones, iPod touches, and many smartphones. The touchscreen helps compensate for the bad touchpad. Although it's not an essential feature for the laptop, once you've used the laptop with touchscreen for a few days, it's almost impossible to go back to using a normal mouse/touchpad. The touchscreen option also adds an infinity display to your laptop (edge-to-edge screen). This means that there is no plastic border around the device (a part that is standard on MacBook Pros). The border is at the same level as the rest of the screen. In between the screen and metal lid, the is a piece of touch rubber surrounding the screen. Computers without the touchscreen option will have a small plastic border (about 3mm thick) that surrounds the screen. On top of the extra usability of thee touchscreen, it adds a lot of 'wow' factor to your device.
The customizable laptops comes with a wide variety of CPU's and GPU's. The lowest CPU is Intel's Dual Core i5-460M (included in price), going all the way up to Quad Core i7-840M ($600 addition to the base price). The GPU varies from an Intel integrated HD graphics (included in price) all the way to a 1GB ATI HD 5650 ($100 addition to price).
The laptop used in the following tests was an medium setting i5-560M processor with an ATI HD 5470 GPU.