Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
HP Pavilion dv6-6027tx laptop
HP Pavilion dv6-6027tx review: A fast, Intel Core i7-based laptop that's useful for all domestic computing tasks
- Good speed
- Good battery life
- Some design aspects
- No TV tuner
HP's Pavilion dv6-6027tx is fast and suitable for pretty much any home computing task. It can be used for admin work and homework, but also for video editing and gaming. We weren't thrilled with its screen and some of HP's design choices, but overall it's a very decent notebook.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
The dv6-6027tx is a decent multi-purpose laptop for the home. It comes with a 15.6in screen, a Blu-ray writer and specifications that are powerful enough for just about any domestic task, including gaming. We're not sold on its keyboard, its screen or on some aspects of its design. Overall though, we think it's a good enough unit to satisfy users who want a laptop with plenty of speed.
Specifications and performance
With a Second Generation Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU at the helm, and support from 8GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 1TB hard drive (5400rpm) and AMD Radeon 6770M graphics, the Pavilion dv6 is one of the fastest consumer laptops we've seen all year. It recorded times of 21sec and 47sec in our Blender 3D rendering and iTunes MP3 encoding tests, respectively, and only 43min in our DVD file transcoding test. These are great results for a home machine, but also expected results considering the fast Core i7 CPU. We were a bit iffy on the 5400rpm hard drive, but its high density allowed it to record a fast transfer rate of 54 megabytes per second in our tests — it will get slower as it fills with data.
In 3DMark06, a score of 12103 shows that the dv6 has more than enough grunt to tackle many games, but perhaps not at challenging resolution and details levels. That said, the native resolution of the screen is 1366x768 and many games should run smoothly at this resolution. You should get some good value out of this unit if you're a casual gamer. You won't want to use the dv6 on your lap while playing games though, because it will get quite warm and potentially uncomfortable; rest it on a hard, flat surface so that its vents are unobstructed. It's also worth noting that the laptop's cooling system can get very loud when the system is under a heavy processing load.
Look at our performance chart to see how the dv6 compares against other laptops we've tested this year.
The dv6-6027tx actually has two graphics solutions installed: the aforementioned AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics adapter, and CPU-integrated Intel HD 3000 graphics. The Radeon adapter supplies the grunt, while the integrated graphics supply the balance between decent graphics performance and longer battery life. The laptop doesn't switch between these two graphics choices automatically — during our tests it continually asked us which graphics card we wanted to use each time we changed power sources.
Using the AMD Radeon adapter, our battery rundown test lasted just 1hr 54min. In this test, we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video until the battery depletes. When we used the integrated Intel graphics in the same test, the laptop lasted 3hr 2min. This is a very good result good result for a 15.6in laptop, especially one with a high-end Core i7 CPU and 8GB of RAM installed.
Build quality and features
The Pavilion dv6 weighs in at just over 2.6kg and it has a curved design that makes it look somewhat thin. It's not an overly mobile notebook, but we didn't find it to be too difficult to lug to and from the office every now and then. If you had to carry it every day, then you would definitely get tired of it. It would suit those of you looking for a desktop replacement-style laptop, rather than something that can regularly be taken on the road.
Its built quality is fair and it feels solid enough; we didn't hear any creaking or squeaking from the chassis or lid, which is always a good sign. However, its access panel design could be better. This panel can be removed without tools (simply slide the release mechanism) to provide access to the hard drive, RAM and wireless module, but it can't be replaced easily. We had to really press down on its corners in order to get it back on securely after we removed it. We'd prefer screws instead.
We don't like the glossiness of the screen or its bezel, and the quality of the screen overall looks a little 'cheap' considering the price point of the laptop. We're also not fans of the ring of light around the touchpad and the bright HP logo on the lid. We wish there was a way to switch off both of these lights — the ring around the touchpad can be switched off only by disabling the touchpad.
The touchpad itself feels reasonably soft and smooth and has good responsiveness, although it wasn't always good at interpreting multi-finger gestures such as flicking. The keyboard has chiclet keys and a regulation number pad. It's bounces a little, but it's adequate for long periods of typing. We don't like its arrow keys; the up and down arrows are far too small and hard to distinguish by feel.
There are speakers located in front of the screen and also at the front of the chassis and Beats audio technology is employed. However, you shouldn't count on the built-in speakers for anything except very casual listening — they provide far from a rich listening experience and should only be used for the odd YouTube video or the like. If you want to listen to music or watch videos, then we recommend plugging in some speakers or headphones (there are two headphone ports).
Around the edges, the Pavilion dv6 has a Blu-ray writer, four USB ports (two of them are USB 3.0-enabled), VGA, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD card slot and three audio ports (one microphone and two headphones). You also get a webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (single-band, Intel WiFi Link 1000), Bluetooth and a fingerprint reader.
The fingerprint reader works in conjunction with SimplePass 2011. It can be used to log in to Windows, and also for logging in to frequently used Web sites. Theoretically, you can assign your favourite Web sites to specific fingers and log in to them with a simple swipe. However, while the loading of sites worked, we couldn't get it to log us in to those sites.
Along with the large hard drive capacity, the laptop is supplied with HP CloudDrive. It’s a similar service to DropBox or Trend Micro's SafeSync in that it allows you to store data on the Internet so that it can be accessed from anywhere. It's a service that you have to pay for: a 10GB account costs $2.99 per month, 50GB costs $9.99 per month and 100GB costs $19.99 per month. A free account is available, too, which offers 2GB of data.
Overall, the HP Pavilion dv6 is a good unit with lots of speed. It can be used for processor-intensive video work and gaming, as well as everyday office tasks, and we think it will perform well as a main computer for many years to come. We just wish it had a better screen and that some of its design elements were different (such as the lighting, glossiness and tool-less access panel).
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