The GoodExcellent build quality; corking design; bright screen.
The BadNo dedicated graphics card.
The Bottom LineThe HP Pavilion dm4-1050ea is a well-built laptop that'll serve you well for everyday computing purposes, although the lack of a dedicated graphics card means it's not as powerful as some of its rivals
We took a look at the HP Pavilion dm3-1105ea last month and concluded that, while it looked pretty cool, it was slightly lacking in the performance department. Now the Pavilion dm4-1050ea is the subject of another penetrating probe. Costing around £650, this laptop rocks an Intel Core i5 CPU, which gives us high hopes for its performance.
Give 'em enough rope
The dm4-1050ea sports a braided-rope pattern that's not dissimilar to the decoration adorning the HP TouchSmart tm2-1010ea's lid and interior. The silver lid has the same pinkish, salmon tint as well. While the lid's colour won't be to everyone's taste, we found it easy on the eye.
This laptop also sports an all-metal body. Aside from making it a very credible murder weapon, this gives the whole machine a satisfying weight, and it feels very well put together. It's much sturdier than most of the shonky plastic laptops we see at CNET UK Towers.
While we admire its build quality, the metal chassis does make the dm4-1050ea pretty weighty. At just a fraction under 2kg, it isn't incredibly heavy, but its weight does make a machine that's very portable in terms of size a little less easy to carry. We think the extra weight is worth it, though, because the body feels lovely.
The dm4-1050ea's 14-inch LED display, which pumps out a maximum resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, also looks great. It's pleasing to see a high-resolution on a screen of this size, and, although we've seen displays that offer a higher contrast ratio, this one is bright enough. During testing, photos and videos were rendered with a pleasing vibrancy.
We were pleased to see an HDMI output on the left of the dm4-1050ea, as well as an eSATA/USB port for plugging in an external hard drive or USB cable. Apart from these additions, the port selection is bog-standard -- there's a VGA out, Ethernet jack, two more USB ports, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and microphone, and a multi-format card reader. There's also an optical drive -- something notably absent from other Pavilion laptops.
The dm4-1050ea scores highly when it comes to usability, and the keyboard, with isolated keys, makes for comfortable typing. Likewise, the trackpad is big and highly responsive, which always makes us happy bunnies. This laptop has a 320GB, 7,200rpm SATA hard drive tucked away inside, and the whole caboodle rumbles along on Windows 7 Home Premium.