HP Pavilion dv7 review: HP Pavilion dv7

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.3
  • Design: 8.0
  • Features: 7.0
  • Performance: 7.0
  • Battery life: 8.0
  • Service and support: 7.0
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx is a nice-looking big-screen laptop with long battery life and very good performance for the money.

The Bad The dv7's screen is low-resolution for its size and its integrated graphics drag down the performance some.

The Bottom Line If you're looking for a lot of screen real estate and enough power for work and play, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx is a good place to start.

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There's a lot to like about the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx. It's not that it's an extraordinary laptop or anything, and maybe I'm just too used to seeing ugly, cheap-looking Windows laptops at its price, but the dv7 looks and feels much better than its cost would suggest.

Inside is a very good component mix headlined by a second-gen Core i5 processor backed by a plentiful amount of memory that we found made carrying out everyday tasks painless. It has long battery life--somewhat uncommon for a desktop replacement--and all the requisite ports and connections, plus a couple of extras like wireless display and WiMax support.

This dv7's biggest shortcoming is its integrated graphics, which just don't have the power to handle demanding games or complex photo and video editing. If those things aren't on your to-do list and you simply need a desktop replacement for home office stuff and a little entertainment, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx might just be what you're looking for.

Price as reviewed $749.99
Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M
Memory 8GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel HM65 Express Chipset
Graphics Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 16.4x10.8 inches
Height 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 7.2 pounds / 7.9 pounds
Category Mainstream

HP's Pavilion dv7 proves you can make a sub-$800 Windows laptop that looks and feels good. Both the lid and keyboard deck are dressed in dark-brown brushed aluminum. Branding is limited and fairly subtle, too; for the most part it's just a backlit logo on the lower right corner of the lid and a tiny one on the speaker bar above the keyboard. I could do without the glossy black plastic around the screen and the matte black plastic bottom, but they only cheapen the overall look slightly. About the only real complaint I have is that the entire thing collects fingerprints, but I'd rather have that than a plastic alternative.

With its 17.3-inch LCD and nine-cell extended-life battery, this laptop is not exactly travel-friendly, and it actually feels heavy when you're working with it on your lap. Then again, you'll probably be keeping a system this large on a table most of the time, so this isn't a huge deal.

The island-style keyboard with full number pad is large, comfortable, quiet, and responsive. It would be even nicer if it were backlit, but it's not. Instead, the touch pad is rimmed in light, which I'm not sure does any real good aside from looking nice; if you don't like it, hitting the Fn key plus the spacebar shuts it off. The touch pad is a good size, large enough for multitouch gestures like pinch zoom and two-finger scrolling, and has separate left and right mouse buttons. Media and volume and mute controls, screen brightness adjustment, and wireless on/off are mapped to function keys instead of extra discrete buttons. There is one small quick-launch button for a Web browser, and there's also a fingerprint reader for use with HP's SimplePass software for password support, but that's it.

The 17.3-inch LED-backlit display has a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels; that's good enough to support 720p HD playback, but not full HD. That's not entirely unexpected at this price, but it hurts its appeal as a multimedia system. However, those simply looking for extra work space will probably be more than satisfied. It gets very bright and has nice color and contrast, and off-angle viewing is pretty good, too. The screen is very reflective, though, so if that bothers you, well, it might be a deal breaker.

Below the screen at the top of the keyboard deck are the system's stereo speakers; a triple bass subwoofer is in the laptop's bottom side. They sound good, and get a decent boost from the onboard Beats Audio processing, but they're not going to blow you away. On the other hand, paired with a decent set of headphones or external speakers, Beats Audio does noticeably pump up output.

HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA, HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers with subwoofer, 2 headphone,1 microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, optional 4G WiMax mobile broadband, Intel WiDi-ready Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

There are no real extras or surprises in the connection pack on this HP. Well, that's not entirely true. There are two headphone jacks and it is ready for 4G WiMax mobile broadband access should you want to pay for service. You can also wirelessly send content to an HDTV with its Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) support, though you'll need to buy an adapter. But, otherwise, things are pretty standard.

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Where to Buy See all prices

HP Pavilion dv7-7020us - 17.3" - Core i5 3210M - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 8 GB RAM - 750 GB HDD

Part Number: B4T67UA#ABA
MSRP: $849.99 Low Price: $1,199.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 8 GB
  • Color midnight black
  • Weight 7.4 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
  • Graphics Processor Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • CPU Intel Core i5 (3rd Gen) 3210M / 2.5 GHz