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

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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.

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5.9 Overall
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Performance 4
  • Battery 8
  • Support 7

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.

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)

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