So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Hewlett-Packard Australia Pavilion dv6113TX Entertainment Notebook PC
- Great performance, Media remote
- Battery life, Screen design
HP has done a nice job at creating a good all-round user experience with the Entertainment PC range and this machine is no exception. The performance is much better than the dv2000 family we've looked at earlier but the battery life could do with a boost.
Price$ 2,499.00 (AUD)
Following the trend towards slim, stylish notebooks, HP has released the latest addition to their media oriented Pavilion line. The Pavilion dv6113TX Entertainment Notebook PC is one of the first Core 2 Duo machines from HP, and while the performance and design make it quite an appealing unit, poor battery life and screen design mean it isn't all it could be.
When we ran World Bench 5 the HP Pavilion turned in a score of 93. For an Intel 1.66GHz T5500 Core 2 Duo CPU with 1GB of DDR2 667MHz RAM this is slightly higher than normal, and indicates this unit should have no trouble with today's applications and multitasking needs. The included Nvidia GeForce GO 7400 graphics card is not intended to play the latest games, but a score of 12315 in 3DMark 2001 suggests it will still handle older and less feature intensive games quite well.
That said, the Pavilion series of notebooks are well known as entertainment devices, rather than processing powerhouses. The dv6113tx comes with Windows Media Center Edition (MCE), and also has HP's Quick Play software, which gives you much of the same functionality. This is complemented by a string of media keys, which run along just above the keyboard. There's a bulky USB receiver, which connects to a large MCE style remote, but if you're on the road, the tiny HP Quick Play remote is more convenient and can be stored in the express card slot when not being used. In-built Altec Lansing speakers provide much better quality sound than most notebook speakers and an SPDIF port is also available for high quality digital audio.
The 15.4in widescreen LCD has a max resolution of 1280x800 and has good brightness levels and great contrast. The vertical viewing angles are also reasonable. However, due to limitations on adjustment imposed by the display's hinges, some people may find viewing from certain angles a little uncomfortable. This is particularly noticeable when the notebook is on your lap. The build quality seems sturdy, though in our review sample the lid lost resistance immediately before closing and tended to slam shut if not done carefully. Weighing in at just over 2.7kg, the dv6113tx certainly isn't the most portable device on the market, but it is no heftier than most other 15.4in laptops.
The score suggests it still performed well without the power plugged in, but didn't last as long as some higher frequency CPU's we've tested recently.
We were a little disappointed with the battery life. In MobileMark 2005's productivity test it ran for 127 minutes and achieved a score of 217. The performance score suggests it still ran well while unplugged, but didn't last as long as some other machines we've tested recently. We also ran a DVD rundown test to check the media capabilities of the battery, and this lasted for 108 minutes. The dv6113tx uses a 6-cell battery, which can't be upgraded, but a backup can be purchased for $119.
One very nice touch is the inclusion of an ExpressCard digital TV-tuner, which managed to get a working signal from all the major digital and HD channels. The dv6113tx also comes with a 1.3 megapixel webcam built into the upper bezel above the display, an accompanying microphone and a five-in-one media card reader (SD/MS/MS-Pro/MMC/xD). The 120GB hard drive provides ample space to store all of your music and photos, but should you fill it up, a DVD-RW drive with dual layer capabilities is also present. If you do intend to rip a lot of music to your hard drive you may wish to look at slightly more powerful CPUs. We ran our MP3 encoding test, which involves encoding 53 minutes of WAV files into 192Kbps MP3 files, and this unit completed it in 144 seconds. This was roughly 20-30 seconds over the times we've seen from high-end Intel CPUs from both the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo selection.
This Pavilion dv6113tx has most of the connectivity you will need to get by. Included in the package are three USB 2.0 ports, a microphone jack and two headphone ports (one is SPDIF) so two people can listen to movies, music or presentations simultaneously. It also comes with a FireWire port and both VGA and S-Video outputs. Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g and a 10/100 LAN port, not to mention a 56Kbps modem and Bluetooth 2.0 are present. If all of this doesn't satisfy your needs a port replicator can also be connected. The keyboard is comfortable to use and the touchpad is responsive.
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