HP Pavilion dv6 (3106sl) – Review
Standing in a corner was a box containing a colourful laptop that we just had to test. Maybe we were very amazed by the colour but as serious laptop reviewers we had to dig inside and find out what the HP Pavilion dv6 (3106sl) was made of.
Looking at it you immediately realize it’s not an office power station that will run spreadsheets and charts. The Pavilion dv6 Series by HP consists of multimedia portable computers that are aimed at the everyday consumer. Users will love the overall design: the metal enclosure, the colour and the fact it’s fingerprint and dust resistant. You may think the unit we received is meant for the ladies but we believe it’ll look good in a geek’s bag.
Besides the looks we had to find out what was inside the HP Pavilion dv6. The specs are sort of in the middle of the range: you get the Intel Core i3-370M processor (clocked at 2.4 GHz – 3MB cache L3), 4GB RAM DDR3, the AMD Radeon HD 5470 graphics card (512MB), a 7200rpm 320GB hard drive and a 15.6 HD LED display (1366×768 resolution).
Those specs give it a good performance and they won’t rob you of your last cent. If fun at a decent price is what you want then this could be a serious option. There is a downside to all this fun: battery life. This isn’t the kind of laptop to take on a long journey and watch movies or play games. All in all, the HP Pavilion dv6 is the perfect choice for the person who wants a middle of the range laptop that’s both good at simple office apps and entertainment.
What we did like:
- build quality
- good value for money
- good keyboard
- large palmrest
What we did not like:
- battery life
- sometimes noisy
The geeky stuff
The HP Pavilion dv6 (3106sl) is well built and it doesn’t show any signs of bending, therefore it will not have any issues when carrying it around. That also means you should carry it with a suiting laptop case.
Inside you’ll find the Huron River platform and the Intel Core i3-370M processor (has the 32nm technology) that was launched back in Q3 2010. According to Intel the i3-370M gets 3 stars out of three, thus placing it in the middle of the laptop range.
The AMD Radeon HD 5470 isn’t what we’d call top of the range but it will flawlessly play Full HD content. It won’t break a sweat at working on office and multimedia apps and it will even cope with games that are not that graphics intense. This is explained by the 512MB VRAM and the 64-bit DirectX 11 support.
Speaking of graphics the 15.6-inch screen has the common HD resolution: 1366 x 768 and has a glossy finish. The colours look very good but like all glossy displays out there we couldn’t use the HP Pavilion dv6 outside or in a very well lit room.
Opening the lid will reveal the slighty odd keyboard. We say that because the first left row of keys are some sort of shortcut that we found unuseful. The apps linked to those keys are not that important so our bet is that you won’t be using them too often.
The touchpad is large enough and it doesn’t stand out from the palm rest, therefore it’s pretty difficult to realize when scrolling and swiping outside that area. There aren’t any clickable buttons on it but HP has clearly marked the buttons surface… However they didn’t do a great job with this particular feature because we had to press a little harder in order to select or access a file.
The HP Pavilion dv6 has all the ports a consumer needs. On the left side we have: VGA-out, RJ-45, HDMI-out, eSATA/USB 2.0 combo, USB 2.0, line-in, line-out and the card reader:
On the right side we get USB 2.0 port, DVD-drive, another USB 2.0 port and the power-in port:
The really geeky stuff:
We didn’t have the HP Pavilion dv6 for a long time but we managed to run a few benchmarks. For instance, this portable computer scored 4122 points in 3DMark 2006 with 1366×768 resolution, a decent result considering the overall configuration. As it turns out it’s better than some other competing laptops.
… and configuration benchmarks.
We didn’t encounter any high temperatures while testing the HP Pavilion dv6-3106sl but the fan tends to get noisy when running demanding applications.
Now we get to see how well does the HP does when working unplugged. We managed to get 3 hours and 22 minutes on the office/reader setting and just 73 minutes in the multimedia setting. Keep your power brick near the laptop when watching a Full HD movie as you don’t want the action to stop just as the hero makes his final move.
Gamers will find the HP Pavilion dv6 useful when it comes to not to demanding games, such as Fifa 11. We played the game using medium settings and didn’t encounter any glitches or low frame rates.
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