X

HP Pavilion dv6 (6C35TX) review: HP Pavilion dv6 (6C35TX)

HP has managed to out something that not only comes in at under AU$1000, but also doesn't sacrifice on quality or battery life. The dv6 comes recommended.

c8864f8c4d6aec88.jpg
Craig Simms
c8864f8c4d6aec88.jpg

Craig Simms

Special to CNET News

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

See full bio
5 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Nudging in at just under AU$1000, HP's newest dv6 is quite decent, considering the price point. If you're willing to spend more, it's also available in a swathe of different configurations that offer more storage or power.

hp-pavilion-dv6_1.jpg
8.0

HP Pavilion dv6 (6C35TX)

The Good

Has a professional finish not usually seen on a budget laptop. Battery life is great for the price and hardware involved.

The Bad

Keyboard isn't as tight as HP's previous efforts.

The Bottom Line

HP has managed to out something that not only comes in at under AU$1000, but also doesn't sacrifice on quality or battery life. The dv6 comes recommended.

The deep-bronze brushed aluminium and subtle curves work well, with the Pavilion looking more like a premium laptop than an entry-level one. This perception is enhanced by the light around the track pad, although sadly the keyboard doesn't light up.

As tends to be the way with budget notebooks, despite the 15.6-inch screen, we're given a rather low 1366x768 resolution to work with. The glossy screen is acceptable, but it doesn't blow us away with vibrancy.

AU$1000 gets you quite a bit of bang for buck these days, with the Pavilion dv6 including a Core i5 2450M at 2.5GHz, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. Graphics are handled by AMD's Radeon HD 7690M XT, and we're happy to report that the battery-saving switch back to Intel graphics is now seamless. It's a good feeling to be able to recommend AMD mobile graphics once more.

Four USB 2.0 ports are offered, along with dual headphone jacks, a microphone jack, gigabit Ethernet, VGA and HDMI out and a DVD+-RW drive. Despite the opportunity afforded by having three 3.5mm jacks available, HP does not allow the user to repurpose them for 5.1-channel sound. It has managed to stake the Beats Audio brand on the laptop, though, but with speakers this small and cheap, there's only so much that the software can do — we'd recommend you stick to headphones for anything more than basic system sounds.

Both touch pad and keyboard are perfectly acceptable, although we found HP's Envy 14 and Pavilion dm1 to have better typing experiences.

Application performance

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 230
    Asus N53S (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)
  • 394
    Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)
  • 396
    Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 405
    HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 476
    Acer Aspire 5750 (Core i3 2350M, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


All of the laptops compared in the chart above are under AU$1000, and have 15.6-inch screens.

Handbrake's multi-threaded nature really gives quad-core CPUs a boost, as is witnessed by the Asus N53 in both the Handbrake and multimedia multitasking tests. Photoshop and iTunes, which tend to be more about clock speed than cores, allow the HP to climb the charts into the No. 2 position.

Gaming performance

Choose a benchmark: Metro 2033 | Batman: Arkham Asylum

Metro 2033 (in FPS)

  • Max FPS
  • Average FPS
  • Min FPS
  • 39185
    HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 48112
    Asus N53S (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)
  • 3072
    Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 1330
    Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


While budget laptops still aren't equipped for heavy gaming duties, as evidenced by the Metro 2033 scores, they are surprisingly adept at the more forgiving Batman: Arkham Asylum. Only the Toshiba doesn't hit an acceptable average frame rate.

Battery life

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test
  • 2h 57m4h 26m
  • Acer Aspire 5750 (Core i3 2350M, 2GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Intel HD Graphics)
  • 3h 4m4h 20m
  • HP Pavilion dv6 (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Radeon HD 7690M XT)
  • 2h 5m3h 32m
  • Asus A53S (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 520MX)
  • 2h 52m3h 31m
  • Toshiba Satellite C665 (Core i5 2430M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, GeForce 315M)
  • 1h 39m3h 30m
  • Asus N53S (Core i7 2630QM, 6GB RAM, 640GB HDD, GeForce GT 540M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Battery is usually where manufacturers skimp when it comes to cheap laptops. Here the Pavilion dv6 does very well indeed, almost managing to match the considerably less power-hungry Acer. It looks like AMD has not only figured out seamless graphics switching, but now also has more power-efficient discrete graphics than Nvidia.

Conclusion

HP has managed to out something that not only comes in at under AU$1000, but also doesn't sacrifice on quality or battery life. The dv6 comes recommended.