HP Pavilion dm1 Laptop Review
What is it?
The HP Pavilion dm1 laptop tries to bridge the gap between tablet and fully fledged laptop.
In a world where Ultrabooks are now posing a very real threat to laptops while also being portable and tablets are capable of satisfying most users’ needs while too being extremely portable, the day of the Notebook could be getting shorter every day.
How does the Pavilion dm1 fit into this ever growing and crowded laptop/tablet market?
The Pavilion dm1 is a real looker, its matte black (Glossy on the screen bezel) style with silver trim is sure to turn many heads as it actually looks more expensive and premium than it truly is.
With the dimensions of 29.2 x 21.5 x 3.2cm, and a weight of just 1.6kg, the Pavilion dm1 is ideal for students, writers or anyone on the go really. Even for couch surfing it’s perfect.
Don’t let the size and weight put you off the dm1 however, inside it’s still powerful enough to perform most tasks you could throw at it. It combines portability with power fairly well.
Connectivity-wise we have a HDMI port, SD Card slot, headphone & mic jack, VGA, Ethernet and three USB 2.0 ports. Again, given the size this is quite an impressive array of connection options – suitable for almost any device or display.
Along the front-bottom of the laptop are the speakers, powered by Beats Audio (more on those later) while the bottom contains the battery and intake fan.
Build quality is solid overall, the laptop feels well-built and sturdy, although there is a noticeable amount of give on the lid and on the G & H keys along with audible creaking.
Not enough to mar the entire experience but if it’s definitely not in the same league as a MacBook Air in terms of that reassuring sturdiness – then again, it’s nowhere near as pricey.
The trackpad does the job, but won’t win any awards. It supports two finger scrolling and pinch to zoom gestures among a few others but these can be somewhat finicky to use. The dedicated left and right mouse buttons are quite loud and plastic-ey, they feel very cheap.
Typing on the keyboard isn’t the most pleasant experience either, the keys feel hollow and again we’re forced to use the word cheap.
There’s a nice amount of travel on them given the laptops size and they’re well-spaced, but they’re quite sharp on the corners which makes it somewhat hard to slide your fingers across them – not what you want when trying to type.
Software & Performance
The Pavilion dm1 contains a 1.65 GHz AMD Dual-Core E-450 processor which according to AMD has been specially designed to work in laptops, in order to make power consumption lower while still maintaining performance.
This is on a much lower level than Intels i5 or i7 chips, they run the price up much more than the cheaper AMD chipset.
Don’t expect to be playing Crysis on this thing, but some graphically light games aren’t completely out of the question – we managed to play Portal just fine.
Be warned though that in order to keep the size and weight low, this laptop doesn’t have an optical drive – not a deal breaker these days as they are dying out in laptops but just know that you’ll be using USB drives/cables for all your data needs.
The dm1 handles most of what the average user will throw at it on a daily basis, it was capable of tabbed browsing with music playing in Zune while transferring files to and from SkyDrive without any noticeable slowdown.
Try to open up too many programs at the same time however and the strain does start to show, just like if you throw more and more tabs in your browser or more file transfers it will eventually struggle – sooner than we would have liked.
Overall though it’s more than fast enough for most users, anyone who wants more should be looking at higher end laptops to begin with.
The 11.6 inch screen has a resolution of 1366 x 768, which is great for the size. Movies look crisp and clear in HD, we have no faults here. Viewing angles are great and the hinge actually folds down parallel to the keyboard – a bit unnecessary but not a complaint.
The HP Pavilion dm1 is a great machine for its size and class, the lack of an optical drive and sub-par keyboard shouldn’t deter you from this hidden gem.
With the inclusion of Beats Audio that produces impressive sound, a really nice design and good range and number of connectivity options, the Pavilion dm1 is the perfect laptop in its price range.