One of our favorite laptops is getting a welcome update. Theis keeping its name, but adding some new design and component features to better compete with the streak of 11-inch ultraportables that seem to be flooding the shelves these days.
We recently checked out the new Pavilion dm1 and its slightly updated look. The preview version we saw several weeks ago had a rubberized finish that HP calls its Soft-Touch Imprint technology. Subtle graphics patterns can be inlayed directly into the rubber, rather than simply printed on top, for added durability. Just before this announcement, HP told us that the "soft-touch ash black" rubberized version would actually be coming (hopefully) later this fall, with a more traditional glossy finish available first.
Also coming to the Pavilion dm1 is Beats Audio technology, already seen in HP's high-end Envy laptops and several other models.
The original Pavilion dm1 used AMD's E-350 CPU, which was a perfect match for a low-cost, reasonably powerful ultraportable. The new version will be available with AMD parts--including the upcoming E-450 CPU, as well as Intel's Core i3, providing for a wide range of options (and prices from $399 to more than $600).
HP is also pushing something called the HP Premier Experience, which is a suite of software and services. The main thrust is a kind of launch bar for applications called the HP Launch Box. The company says it, "allows applications to be better organized by grouping them for quick access on the Windows 7 taskbar. A simple mouse-over and click launches an application directly from the taskbar, freeing up screen real estate on the PC's desktop."
Other aspects of the HP Premier Experience include quicker boot-up times, a pre-Windows quick-launch OS, and an accelerometer to protect the hard drive.
In our brief hands-on time with the new Pavilion dm1, we liked the updated design, and already were sold on the original version's balance between price, portability, and performance.
The AMD version of the HP Pavilion dm1 will start at $399 and will be available starting September 21. The Intel version will start at $599 (but includes an external optical drive) and will be available starting October 30, with the soft-touch version coming at some unspecified point later this year.