HP Pavilion dm3-1002

The HP dm3 is categorized as a thin-and-light, but at first glance it doesn't appear to be significantly thinner than the new polycarbonate white MacBook. This is a successor to the dv2 in spirit, HP's thin-and-light that we reviewed back in the spring.

Editor's note: We're currently benchmarking and testing the HP Pavilion dm3. We'll update this page with a full review and test results when available.

If there's a burgeoning trend in laptops these days, it's not just inexpensive, low-voltage 12-inch ultraportables, but also 13-inch (and larger) notebooks dropping their optical drives and going ultra-low-voltage as well. The HP dm3 is categorized as a thin-and-light, but at first glance it doesn't appear to be significantly thinner than the new polycarbonate white MacBook. Clad in brushed aluminum inside and out, it definitely cuts a solid, professional profile. This is a successor to HP's recent 12-inch Pavilion dv2 in spirit, HP's thin-and-light that we reviewed back in the spring. This model, however, has a ULV Intel processor instead of an AMD Neo.

Starting at $549, the HP Pavilion dm3 aims to be an affordable Windows 7 thin-and-light for those who don't want a thicker (and more tricked-out) machine, yet still want to accomplish tasks without feeling limited to Netbook-style performance. Our configuration, was significantly more expensive, with an ultra-low-voltage 1.3GHz Intel U7300 Core 2 Duo processor (instead of the AMD Athlon Neo), a 500GB hard drive and 2GB of RAM, plus 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium.

With the upgraded processor, the dm3 can still handle most tasks thrown at it by the average user, while claiming an "all day" ten-hour battery life from the included six-cell battery (we're currently testing these battery claims in our Lab).

The dm3 has a feel that's solid and perhaps slightly weighty for its sub-1-inch-thick profile. The external lid's dark gray brushed aluminum theme continues to the keyboard tray and palm rest area inside. A raised black keyboard feels comfortable, with keys that are a little softer than the MacBook's. A gleaming mirrored touchpad has good sensitivity and is surprisingly un-slippery. On the other hand, we didn't feel great traction on our fingers. Mirrored buttons lie below the medium-sized pad area.

The power button is oddly placed, off to the side of the laptop and to the front of the right-side strip of ports. The silver button has to slide to start, also unintuitive. Four USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and an SD card slot join VGA-out and separate headphone and mic jacks.

Overall, the dm3 looks a little like a budget version of the HP Envy 13, especially in its recessed keyboard area. Glossy black plastic surrounds an inset 13-inch LED display, above which is a low-light-optimized HP webcam. The 1,366x768 display has nice brightness and sharp colors, but sometimes seemed to auto-adjust its brightness in odd ways in our casual office testing. Speakers embedded in the bottom of the laptop displayed strong volume and decent sound quality.

While $549 seems tolerable for a midrange laptop, our configuration of $859 seems a little on the high side, especially with similarly-configured machines from Asus and Toshiba costing less (and Apple's basic 13-inch MacBook less than $150 more).

Tags:
Tech Culture
About the author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments