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HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx review: HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx

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Editors' note: This review is part of our latest Retail Laptop Roundup, covering specific configurations of popular laptops that can be found in retail stores.

OVR
5.9

HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Attractive design; touch-sensitive media controls; long battery life.

The Bad

Slow performance; extended life battery adds considerable weight, heft; cool lid pattern inexplicably adds to cost.

The Bottom Line

The attractive HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx has excellent battery life, but is more expensive than faster HP dv-series laptops, thanks to a "Special Edition" lid design.

Smacked with a higher price for a "special edition" lid design and packing a slow AMD processor and a mammoth 12-cell battery, the $749 HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx Special Edition is not one of the better deals in our current roundup of fixed-configuration retail laptops. Trading up to a 15-inch display and a faster Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, we prefer the very similar Pavilion dv5-1235dx, which is a less expensive option--even if its chassis is bronze instead of blue.

Price as reviewed $749
Processor 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core ZM-80
Memory 4GB, 800MHz DDR2
Hard drive 400GB 5,400rpm
Chipset AMD RS780M
Graphics 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200
Operating system Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 13.2 inches wide by 9.2 inches deep
Height 1.6 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 14.1 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.2/7.1 pounds
Category Mainstream

Price and components aside, we really liked the look of the dv4-1275mx. The special edition midnight blue lid, with its crashing-wave-inspired imprint, is eye-catching and sophisticated. On the other hand, even though 14-inch laptops are relatively small, the included very large 12-cell extended life battery lifts the back up significantly, and makes the whole thing considerably harder to transport.

At the top of the keyboard is a row of backlit touch-sensitive media controls, including one for launching the HP MediaSmart applications for accessing music, video, Internet TV, photos, and the CD/DVD player. (A small IR remote control is bundled with the laptop for controlling things from afar.) There's also an icon for turning on and off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. Average-sounding stereo speakers flank the controls. The keyboard itself is reasonably comfortable for a laptop this size, though the keys are a bit softer than we like. Also, the touch pad is short and wide, which is only upsetting if you're used to a larger one.

The 14.1-inch wide-screen LCD offers a 1,280x800 native resolution, which is standard for both 14- and 15-inch screens. The display gets sufficiently bright, movies look good on it, and text and icons are highly readable. Above the screen is a serviceable Webcam and microphone.

  HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx Average for category [thin-and-light]
Video VGA-out, HDMI VGA-out, mini-HDMI or Mini-DVI
Audio Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, eSATA/USB combo, multiformat card reader 3 USB 2.0, mini-FireWire, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard/54, HP expansion port 3 ExpressCard/54
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

The port and connection assortment on the dv4-1275mx is solid for a notebook of its size. In particular, the eSATA/USB combo port and HDMI out are welcome. There's also one of HP's proprietary expansion ports (for connecting to an HP-branded docking station), as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Performance, however, was subpar for a laptop in the very popular price range of $600 to $899. It's one thing to score low on our CNET Labs' benchmarks, but the dv4-1275mx actually felt slow during regular use. Our current roundup of retail laptops has several better options for performance and features, from HP and others.

The dv4-1275mx ran for 4 hours and 25 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included 12-cell battery. That's an impressive score, but the giant battery is easily twice the size of a standard one--making the dv4 a hassle to lug around with you.

HP backs the Pavilion dv4-1275mx with an industry-standard, one-year warranty. Toll-free telephone support is available 24-7, and the HP support Web site includes real-time chat with a technical support representative and a detailed FAQ database.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video Playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

HP Pavilion dv5-1235dx
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm.

Dell Studio 17-162b
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 32MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm.

Dell Inspiron 15-157B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 32MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm.

Sony Vaio VGN-NS240E/W
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 250GB Toshiba 5,400rpm.

Sony Vaio VGN-CS215J/W
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 250GB Hitachi 5,400rpm.

Toshiba Satellite A305-S6916
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650; 320GB Toshiba 5,400rpm.

Gateway MD7818u Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 500GB Western Digital 5,400rpm. Toshiba Satellite A305-S6905
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 3,072MB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 320GB Toshiba 5,400rpm.

HP Pavilion dv7-1245dx
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 320GB Western Digital 5400rpm.

HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Ultra Dual-Core ZM-80; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM; 256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3200; 400GB Toshiba 5400rpm.

Asus X83VB-X2
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T6400; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9300M GS; 250GB Seagate 5,400rpm.

OVR
5.9

HP Pavilion dv4-1275mx

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 4Battery 8Support 7