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HP's Pavilion laptop line gets a makeover

After a thin CES lineup, it turns out HP still had a few tricks up its sleeve, and today the company is announcing a redesigned Pavilion laptop line.


At January's CES show in Las Vegas, leading PC maker HP had a suspiciously thin collection of laptops, headlined by the 11-inch HP Pavilion dm1. But, we asked, where were the new designs and features we expect from HP at least every year or so?

It turns out HP still had a few tricks up its sleeve, and today the company is announcing a redesigned Pavilion dv linewith new looks and new features, most notably in the updated Pavilion dv6 and dv7 models.

Depending on one's tolerance for marketing banter, it may be of interest to know that this redesign is part of HP's internal MUSE program, which is described as a design philosophy involving "materials, usability, sensory appeal, and experience."

The new Pavilion dv6 and dv7 come in a dark umber metal finish, and look a bit more like the high-end Envy laptops than before. They also add the Beats Audio software from the Envy line, coupled with new quad speakers, and the larger dv7 also has a subwoofer on the bottom panel.

HP's CoolSense technology makes an appearance--that's an app for manually controlling the system's fans that has been slowly making its way into more and more HP laptops (although we're still not sure what the optimal setting for this are, the options are basically "cooler" or "quieter," with no explanation of why you'd want one over the other).

Interestingly, HP is ditching the clickpad type of touch pad found in the previous generation of Pavilion dv laptops for a more traditional pad with buttons. The clickpad remains in the Envy series, and we're assuming this is to create some points of differentiation between the mid and high-end lines.

The Pavilion dv6 and dv7 are also joining the list of laptops that include a new USB 3.0 port, and the plans were for the systems to include the new second-generation Intel Core i-series processors, formerly known as Sandy Bridge. But with the recent Sandy Bridge problems, we're hearing from different PC makers that systems could now be delayed up to 30 days, and we're not sure how this will affect the street date for these two new laptops. Both laptops still lack firm prices and release dates, beyond spring 2011.

In another interesting switch, HP's existing G series of laptops, which previously existed on the periphery of HP's catalog, get a serious promotion and move up to official Pavilion branding. We've always seen these low-cost entry-level laptops as good deals, especially when the holiday discounts at stores such as Best Buy kick in. They're not fancy, but the new g4, g6, and g7 modelswill run from $449 to $599, and should be available starting March 13.