I have recently been invited to participate in the Back To School: Better Together computer promotion sponsored by HP, Microsoft, Timbuk2, and Syncables which includes a review and giveaway (more on this in a future post) of four products: the HP Pavilion Dv6 with Windows Vista, the HP Mini 110 with Windows XP, a Timbuk2 computer bag, and Syncables computer synchronizing software. Todays post is a review of the HP Dv6 Notebook.
When I first began using the HP Dv6 Notebook, I was instantly impressed by a number of things. First, the computer design was amazing! Not only is the computer truly beautiful, but it is also much more functional than most other laptops I have used. As I turned on the computer and began to use it, I found the power and performance of this computer is just as stunning as the outer design. With huge amounts of hard drive space and lots of useful software pre-installed, this computer can be quickly customized or used as-is.
One of the first features I noticed was the fingerprint reader. This small piece of hardware, embedded on the lower right-hand corner of the computer, almost seems like something out of a science fiction book. After quickly running through a few setup steps in which I logged most of my fingers in the computer (it doesnt accept little fingers), I arranged to log in to my computer with a password or with the fingerprint reader. Now, when my computer turns on I can quickly log in by swiping my finger.
Unfortunately, I have had a few slight problems with the fingerprint reader. Sometimes it takes the computer a few seconds to connect to it after turning on, and the reader does not always recognize my fingerprint. I expect the recognition error is a problem with my swiping methods and will probably go away once I get through the learning curve. In my future reviews, I plan to write an update on how this difficulty progresses.
Soon after setting up the fingerprint reader, I temporarily shut the computer lid and noticed another excellent feature! The HP logo on the notebooks lid actually lights up just like on a Mac computer. Not only is this feature nice looking, but it also helps protect the hard drive. On the computer I used before this one, it was always difficult to know when the hard drive had stopped spinning so I could safely move it. With the handy light on this new notebook, however, I can always know when the hard drive is off.
When I first started using the computer, I was somewhat puzzled by a strange button located between the mouse pad and the keyboard. I had never seen anything like it before, and I had not read the owners manual yet (I rarely do read owners manuals until I have a problem). After fiddling around with the mystery button for a while, I decided to check the instruction guide. Fortunately, in an easily understood diagram, it explained that the button turned the mouse pad on and off.
Turning the mouse pad off makes it easy to type without having the mouse jumping around the screen. While this may seem unnecessary to some, those who (like me) have used a laptop without this feature will definitely appreciate it.
Perhaps the most visible feature included in this computer are the speakers – they are much larger than normal speakers. In fact, most of the space between the keyboard and the screen is covered with the speakers! Because of the unusual size, I naturally wanted to see if the sound was better than normal also.
On the computer I used before, the sound was so quiet that external speakers had to be plugged in to make the sound audible more than a few feet away from the computer. On this notebook, however, the sound is plenty loud without any external speakers. In fact, the built-in speakers on this notebook may even be louder than the external speakers on the other laptop! Although I do not use sound very often, I look forward to finding opportunity to use these built-in speakers.
Great Operating System
This computer comes with the Windows Vista operating system. Although I have heard some people complain about Vista, I have never had any problems with it. I mostly use my computer for internet browsing, text editing, and occasionally some graphic design, and I have never noticed any problems. I think that most people who complain about Vista are using it to do more memory-intense things such as video editing or gaming both of which tax a computers power much more severely than a students needs ever would be likely to. I consider Windows Vista to be an excellent operating system for students.
A (Very) Few Complaints
Unfortunately, no computer would be complete without some problems, and the Dv6, amazing as it is, does have a few. The cooling fan, which turns on intermittently, is somewhat louder than I would have expected. However, this problem may be only temporary because Oregon is currently going through a record-breaking heat wave. I will let you know in future reviews if this problem continues as the unusual heat alleviates.
The only other problem I have found yet is a strange clicking noise that appears whenever the volume is adjusted from the keyboard. It continues for a few seconds after any adjustment and can be rather frustrating when you try to change the volume in the middle of a movie or song. The only workaround I have found for this problem is that of using the on-screen volume adjuster instead of the on-keyboard adjuster.
Overall, the few problems I have run into can be somewhat frustrating, but the many good parts of this notebook far outweigh the few problems. This is the best computer I have ever used!
Who Is It For?
Starting at just over $600, the HP Pavilion Dv6 is an excellent choice for any college student who needs a good main computer. It includes all the important features of a normal desktop, but with the portability of a laptop. It is designed to work in conjunction with the HP Mini 110, a very portable netbook which I plan to review next week.
Be sure to read my six month review.