This laptop is manufactured by HP who are famous for their high quality computers. This laptop does not disappoint, the lid has a brushed aluminum finish with a simple HP logo in the top right corner. When you open it, you are presented with a glossy black 15.6" screen and a full size island style keyboard with a number pad on the right. Between the two is a metallic speaker grille with Beats by Dre audio. There is a large touchpad with separately clickable keys in an off left position and a scrolling fingerprint reader to the right.
The power cable is supplied and has two parts that connect to each other, one half connects to the socket and one half connects to the laptop, these two parts are then connected in the middle. This seems overly complicated for a simple task such as charging a laptop, but its not difficult to do and once its done its done, you don't have to do it before every charge. It does however create another weak point in the charger that can disconnect and stop the laptop from charging without you even noticing.
The HP logo on the lid lights up when the laptop is on, and I find myself asking the question, why? The back of my laptop is usually up against a wall, and even when it isn't I don't feel the need for an LED light to show everyone what brand of laptop I have. It seems to me to just be a waste of power, but I haven't noticed any considerable losses in battery life compared to previous HP laptops with similar batteries, but of course that's not a perfectly fair comparison.
The 15.6" High-Definition LED HP BrightView Display has a resolution of 1366x768 which is sufficient to play 720p HD movies, but often you can see individual pixels on the screen and it isn't very solid. If you press even lightly, you will get the rings of discoloration around your finger. The screen brightness is very versatile allowing you to use the laptop comfortably in all light conditions, however the brightness has to be changed manually; there is no ambient light sensor built in.
The keyboard has keys that are nicely spaced out although for someone that hasn't used a keyboard with a number pad before, it takes some getting used to. The major gripe I have with this keyboard is that it doesn't have a backlight, making it near impossible to type in the dark. The keyboard itself is placed off left in terms of the entire laptop due to the addition of a number pad on the right, this means that when you are typing you have to type slightly off left. Although this is slightly uncomfortable at first it is easy enough to get used to and in a couple of hours I was typing away happily again. The function buttons have useful features, such as adjusting the screen brightness, changing the volume, a mute button and a wireless connection button.
The wireless connection button takes control of both the wi-fi adapter and the bluetooth adapter, so if you want to turn the on or off individually, you have to d it manually via the HP program on the laptop. The wi-fi is wireless N capable so you can get the fastest speeds available and also equipped is Bluetooth 3.0. Although this is no longer the latest version of bluetooth, you can still connect with the majority of devices and for the ones you can't connect to, an alternative is easy to find. The wi-fi adapter is reliable and has never lost connection in my use, the same can be said for the bluetooth adapter, although it does get confused and connection becomes slightly unreliable if you have many product connected to it as I do.
The speaker is enhanced with Beats Audio, and for those that are skeptical, it does work. The sound becomes much less tinny and you can hear real bass, even though you can't feel it (if that makes sense). There is a function to turn off Beats (fn+b) although I fail to see why anyone ever would. There are advanced controls for those of you that know what you're doing with the sound, but they are only accessible via the Beats program buried deep in the control panel (where i first found it, you can now find it via the search bar on the start menu). The program features basic controls such as volume control for peripheral devises as well as advanced control such as a graphics equalizer. There are handy buttons on the keyboard to control all aspects of the sound as well as music playback from volume up/down to next/previous track.
The touchpad has a nice rubbery feel to it, however it gets sticky in hot weather. As a standard touchpad, it works great, very precise and can keep up with quick movements. There is a nice lock feature in the top left corner, if you double tap it, both the touchpad and left/right keys will be disabled. To re-enable them simply double tap again. This feature is unreliable and only about 70% of the time does it work on my first attempt. The two finger gestures are a similar story. Two finger scrolling is difficult to master and even then doesn't work perfectly, while function such as the two finger rotate may as well have not been included as I have never been able to get them to work. The latest fashion seems to be a unibody touchpad with the clickable keys built in, which I can't stand so the fact that this has separate clickable keys is a huge advantage to me.
The fingerprint reader is more of a novelty feature than an advanced security feature. It can be used to unlock your computer with a registered fingerprint, but I know from experience (of leaving my locked laptop on the kitchen table at university) that with a few quick swipes, just about any finger will be accepted. Its nice to have, but if someone was to actually steal your laptop its not great, I would set it up to have the occasional bit of fun, gain the ability to store website logins and have access to HP quickweb, but I suggest you leave your default password as an actual password.
So now more about the inside of this laptop. It has a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5-2410M and 6GB of RAM meaning that day to day tasks use a fraction of the processing power available. The AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 1GB for dedicated graphics is more than capable of handling your average game, and just about any game on earth. The processor keeps up nicely and the graphics look great. Although the worrying point is the heat they both emit. It doesn't affect short term performance, but the fact that the cooling fan seems to be going at full throttle during gaming could mean problems with both the processor and graphics card in the long term. Plus the fan is super loud, even when at its slowest which can get annoying if you are using a process intensive program for a long time.
The standard ports are available, 2 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x headphone out, 1 x microphone in, 1 x VGA and 1 x HDMI. This is a versatile range of ports but many laptops come equipped with more, although many extras may be regarded as useless for most users. The built in webcam and microphone are great. The laptop comes bundles with Cyberlink software including Cyberlink Youcam allowing you to take still pictures and record video (I'm not sure about the resolution but I believe the webcam is 2MP). The softwae is great and allows a lot of customization as well as a whole load of setting you can change to make you videos/photos look better. The microphones are brilliant, I use them regularly for Rosetta Stone and I can practice my talking even while standing on the opposite side of the room (admittedly my room isn't huge but it's still impressive).
The laptop is bundled with Windows 7 Home Premium which is the most common operating system available in laptops. There are a couple of other programs pre-installed such as Power DVD suite to burn/rip DVDs etc. and HP games centre with several free games. None of them are new releases or even popular games, but hey, they're free.
I bought this laptop for £699 which I consider to be a reasonable price for apiece of kit with these features. The laptop should be available for slightly cheaper now (just a guess) what with the imminent arrival of Windows 8, meaning it could be a bargain buy. So on the whole, the HP DV6-6051 is a reliable computer with only a few minor gripes making it a perfect laptop for pretty much anyone.