OVMumPMekXQW8/uI7JcaqA== A L L 4 M O B I L E: HP Pavilion dm1z review

HP Pavilion dm1z review

 HP Pavilion dm1z

The HP Pavilion dm1z sits in a precarious position between netbooks and notebooks. This 11.6”, attractively designed laptop runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit on AMD’s new Fusion APU (AMD’s term for their integrated CPU and GPU).  The 1.6GHz dual core CPU and AMD Radeon HD 6310M offer significantly better performance than an Intel Atom netbook without the heat and battery life penalty that we saw in last year’s AMD Neo platform. The Fusion and HP dm1z are significantly slower than the ULV  

Then answer depends on what you want and need from your next ultraportable pal. HP decided to make the dm1z a member of their Pavilion line of notebooks rather than a netbook in the Mini clan. And while the Pavilion dm1z is brighter than the average netbook, HP does set expectations perhaps a bit too high by putting it in their notebook family. In our tests, the HP was perfectly capable of running a web browser with several tabs, MS Office, email and a Twitter client simultaneously without slowing appreciably though CPU utilization was high. Its very capable (by netbook and ultraportable standards) Radeon graphics did a fine job with 720p content but struggled with today’s top 3D shooter games (granted that’s asking a lot from a $500, 11.6” notebook). The fact that it could do both, even with caveats for 3D gaming, puts it above and beyond netbooks but multitasking, 1080p output via HDMI and working with heavy apps puts it behind full size notebooks and ultraportables with more capable CPUs.
HP Pavilion dm1z
Before we dig deeper into performance, let’s look at specs and pricing: regardless of built-to-order or retail variation, the HP Pavilion dm1z currently ships with the AMD E-350 Zacate 1.6GHz dual core CPU with integrated Radeon HD 6310 graphics. It has a glossy 1366 x 768 LED backlit display, webcam with mic, stereo Altec Lansing speakers, an HDMI port, 3 USB 2.0 ports, gigabit Ethernet, HP’s buttonless trackpad, WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1. You can get the machine with 2 or 3 gigs of RAM (max is 8 gigs), and it’s available with a 250 or 320 gig SATA hard drive (larger capacities and a $240 128 gig SSD drive are CTO options). HP is currently selling the base 2 gigs/250 gig version for $450 (with free upgrades on RAM and HD capacity), while retailers are carrying the 3 gig/320 gig version for $550-600 before a $50 HP rebate. Until retail store prices drop, we suggest you buy from HP direct: their prices are better and they have a very friendly no-restocking fee return policy. For $450 the 3.5 lb. dm1z is a very good solution, but at $600 we say go with the Core i5 ULV Acer 1830T or the Lenovo ThinkPad 120e when it comes out in February 2011 with a $399 starting price

Design and Ergonomics
The HP Pavilion dm1z is a beautifully designed laptop with a contemporary look, pleasing curved lines and attractive surfaces. The mid-gloss patterned lid and bottom panel look cool and resist fingerprints better than full gloss plastics. The silver inner surfaces are also attractive, though the large silver bezel sticks out and is the only cheap-looking element. Overall, the HP doesn't look a bit like a budget notebook. The notebook has 3 USB 2.0 ports: 2 on the right and 1 on the left. The VGA port is at the right near the back and the HDMI port is on the left near the front. The Ethernet port is at the right rear corner under a plastic door that preserves the notebook's smooth lines and prevents junk from gunking the port.
The 6 cell battery is nicely integrated into the barrel hinge design and the display doesn't touch the keyboard deck thanks to slim rubber bumpers. The dm1z looks difficult to open for upgrades since there are no screws or doors on the bottom. Instead HP goes with a design that's more common on cell phones than laptops: you remove the battery and yank the entire bottom plastic cover off via 2 starter grooves. This is certainly easier (for those who are terrified of screws) but it seems a bit cheap too. Once you pull off the bottom cover you have full access to the 2 RAM slots, hard drive, wireless module and available PCI-e slot. Sweet.
HP Pavilion dm1z
Display and Keyboard
The 11.6" gloss 1366 x 768 LED backlit display is sharp and reasonably bright at 180 nits. It's easy on the eyes indoors but glare and brightness aren't good for outdoor use. Viewing angles aren't impressive, and we found the Pavilion wasn't good for sharing the view with friends. For a laptop in this price range, the display is acceptable.  The display can tilt fairly far back despite the upward curved battery that meets the lower display lip when pushed back 45 degrees or more. 

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