So just over two years ago now I bought this laptop after winning an Arkwright scholarship in sixth form and found myself with £500 to spend on something. From the beginning I was looking for a decent spec. laptop for playing a few (not massively graphic intensive) games, browsing the web wirelessly and doing general schoolwork. At the time windows seven was just coming out and this was one of the first laptops to have this operating system loaded on it. I took a gamble and bought it online from play.com (the cheapest place), purchased an extended warranty for three years and now here I am writing this on the very same laptop. But what happened in between? What is the laptop really like to live with?
---Out of the box---
I opened the box to find a very beautiful laptop inside. The outer casing has a pattern of concentric circles and pinstripes on it which I find simple but attractive. HP calls this the espresso design I think. Much like a MacBook this laptop has a HP logo on the lid that actually lights up blue when the laptop is on, but it doesn't run off the backlight so is it just a waste of battery? Well it looked good and is silver when not in use so as it looked attractive I won't moan too much. On the bottom half of the laptop the surround is silver plastic to look like metal. When you open the laptop up you will find a nice full keyboard and number pad on the side which I find is extremely useful and most laptops don't have this nowadays to save space. The top row of buttons (F1-12) has function features when you press them with the function key and control everything from music to screen brightness. Also included in the box is lots of set up manuals, the battery and a remote control. This remote control is very thin and fits in the bottom left side of the laptop so that it is stored away safely for when you don't need it. An excellent feature that I think every media based laptop should have.
After putting in the battery and turning the laptop on the registration screens appeared and as with all HP products I have owned I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the HP software that had been installed on this product. The HP setup guide shows even a computer novice what to do and after about 30 minutes you get to the actual desktop and can start using the laptop. Personally I like the windows seven user interface but on this laptop you get an additional area on the desktop that works in much the same way as programs like Rocket dock and the bottom part of a mac's home screen. Some people might like this desktop addition but personally I think it annoying so gladly you can disable it from appearing every time you turn on the computer.
Using the computer for the first time I immediately liked the touch buttons above the keyboard that light up when in use. There is a mute button (red when mute and blue when not), a volume bar and a wireless button to turn on/off the wireless and/or the Bluetooth. (blue when on, red when not) This I found extremely useful, and don't understand why lots of laptops don't have this. In terms of speed this dual core laptop is very quick and can complete a whole virus scan of the computer in less than 25 minutes. A much improved performance to my last computer so I was very pleased. Over time this speed has fallen slowly but it is only really noticeable when you turn on the laptop. The bott-up time has slowed down to around 30-40 seconds plus password time, but I suppose this was always going to happen with 2+ years of constant usage.
While using the laptop the product feels very sturdy and well made. You can actually bend the laptop slightly but the laptop doesn't feel like it is made from cheap plastic. In the time I have had this product nothing has ever fallen off and the screen, ribbon cable and all keys still function fine, despite frequent use and now even harder use at university. I have even dropped this laptop a few times whilst in my rucksack (see my rucksack's review for a decent carrying bag) and it still works fine - proving it is robust and will last for hopefully many more years to come as it isn't falling behind in its capabilities yet.
Although I haven't played some of the top graphics demanding games on this laptop I have played dawn of war 2, team fortress 2, Sims 2, and a few other similar games on the highest quality setting easily. The 4 Gb or RAM is often not fully utilised (only about half in normal use and 3.5 Gb in gameplay) but I find that it does help the speed of the laptop somewhat. For a mad keen gamer this laptop may now be slightly inferior than competing products but for the average user I find that it is still very competitive and the price that it sells for nowadays is extremely competitive.
The ports to the laptop are located at each side and seem well made and none of them have broken on me yet. There are two headphone ports and a microphone port on the front of the laptop, which are very handy and in a much more useful place than other laptops place them. The disc drive is on the bottom right of the laptop and while it looks very attractive and plays CD's, DVD's and is light scribe capable it feels a bit flimsy when you open it. Also when you put in a DVD the drive does sometimes not automatically recognise it and you have to go to 'my computer' and fiddle with the drive on there or try to open the drive contents manually - frustrating at times to say the least.
In terms of wireless connectivity windows seven makes it very easy to connect and then automatically connect to a wireless network. It takes mere seconds to connect to a new network and the speed and range of this laptop is good. Also included with this laptop is a built in Bluetooth module which I find is very handy for transferring things to and from a phone. It works very simply although if left on when not in use it will drain the battery quite quickly.
Personally I think that this laptop is very attractive and like the design on it which you can download the image of so other things can match. The black design is very easy for other ancillary items to match and due to the pattern on it fingerprints don't show up as easily. All of the lights around the laptop match in colour and although the laptop is a little bit thick I still think that personally it is very good looking.
Unfortunately the main problem with this laptop is that the battery doesn't last very long. Admittedly the battery is now two years old but it only lasts for around an hour on the internet or about three if not and just on Microsoft word or something. I am currently considering buying a better battery for when I have to use the laptop in travel, so if you need to have a long battery life for you this laptop may not work.
---My personal Problems---
Over the years I have have become ever grateful that I purchased the extended warranty. This laptop has somehow developed a bleeping noise from the onboard speaker and also the power lead has turned dodgy. From my warranty HP gladly arrange free collection from home and delivery back via courier. The power lead problem was easily solved by sending me a new lead for free but as of yet the bleeping is still present. This laptop has been sent off twice now and neither time they have solved the problem despite having apparently changed the motherboard. There are no apparent problems however so for that I am thankful.
Personally I love this laptop and ti is really simple to use with raised keys that feel more like a proper keyboard. The Touchpad is very user friendly and the product came with some very helpful HP software already installed. This laptop continues to perform very well running programs like AutoCAD and Solidworks easily. The only reason why I would not buy one is due to the battery life which is frankly dismal. If this is no concern I would recommend buying one but ultimately it is up to you - I will stick with this laptop until it dies though, which I feel will be a good few years yet.
A really good laptop, more so for home use. It has the potential to be a business laptop, bar the fact the battery isn't great. So keep a charger handy, and this laptop will be perfect! It's high performance will make everything tun smoothly. I was going to purchase a Sony Vaio laptop for a smiliar price, but then decided that the HP DV6 has much better features than any other good brand laptop for a similar price. I've had some bad experiences with HP, but choosing to stay loyal and buying this laptop was a very good decision. It also comes with a HP program which has numerous features including performance checks and a WLAN wizard. It also has an ample number of inputs, on the sides of the laptop. It makes the laptop slightly aesthetically displeasing, however the convenience from havong a HDMI port, card slot, 3x USB etc outweighs the physical appearnance of the sides. And anyway, there;s a very nice pattern on the case which makes it a very nice looking laptop.
It was just under a month ago my grandad bought me this laptop. my old laptop had been playing up and it was time for a new one. and can i say, what a huge difference! this laptop is brilliant. 6 hours battery life, so you can browse internet for a while before having to connect to the mains. the sound on it, is loud and clear and is near the power button, so it wont get blocked if its leaning against your arm whilst typeing, i had this problem with my old laptop. the laptop has a 0.3 webcam and is quite clear! not only that but it has a webcam program you can take pictures and videos with. you can distort yours and friends faces, add frames and change effects. above the keypad, you have a sound bar, a no sound button, and the wireless button. these are'nt actually buttons, these are touch sensative. i know some people think touch might be a pain but its not easily pressed as its near the top under the screen out of the way. the laptop has a small control, that you can turn on/off the laptop, the dvd player, windows media player, and the sound. this small control is easily stored in the side of the laptop to keep safe. the laptop has mostly everything other laptops have, a dvd player and rewriter. usb ports etc etc
not only has the laptop got great features it looks smart to. it has a nice small design on the top and where the keypad is.
i would definetlly recommend this laptop! i wouldnt want to swap it for any other one. it has everything you need to work and browse on. if your thinking of buying this laptop then i say go for it!