HP Pavilion dv6100
Like all Pavilion laptops, the dv6000 series' sleek design and shiny finish holds its own next to systems from style-conscious manufacturers such as Sony and Apple. Aside from its good looks, the dv6000 also provides a solid set of entertainment features and high-end components at a starting price that's at least $100 less than the (also 15.4-inch) Dell Inspiron E1505 series. What's more, HP offers a selection of Intel (dv6000t) or AMD (dv6000z) processors--a welcome choice for users who want to fine-tune their system configurations. Though the dv6000t we tested last fall didn't break any speed records, it was sufficient for typical home use. Even without the latest components, though, the Pavilion dv6000 series' features and configuration options (not to mention its budget-friendly prices) make it destined for broad appeal.
The HP Pavilion dv6000 measures 14 inches wide, 10.1 inches deep, and 1 inch thick--about the same size as the Dell Inspiron E1505. Weighing 6.2 pounds, though, the Pavilion dv6000 is lighter than the Dell; its AC adapter brings the total travel weight to a still-portable 7.2 pounds. We like the HP Pavilion dv6000's 15.4-inch wide-screen display; its
Like all Pavilion laptops, the dv6000 includes a row of light-touch buttons above the keyboard that launch the media player and provide volume and playback controls. We like the sleek look of the keys, but we absolutely hate the loud beeping that indicates you've pressed a button--and hate even more that there's no option to turn it off. The Altec Lansing stereo speakers, located above those controls, deliver decent-quality sound, but unfortunately the sound becomes muffled if you close the laptop lid. The Pavilion dv6000's keyboard is ample and comfortable to type on for long periods, and both touch pad and mouse buttons are entirely usable. We love the Pavilion dv6000's touch pad On/Off button, which keeps you from accidentally misplacing the cursor while typing and makes it easy to use an external mouse.
The HP Pavilion dv6000 offers an average mix of ports for a laptop its size. There are four-pin FireWire, VGA, S-video, and three USB 2.0 ports, as well as a microphone jack and--for those who like to share movies and music with friends--two headphone jacks, one of which supports S/PDIF output. Card slots on the dv6000 read the latest ExpressCards plus MemoryStick, MemoryStick Pro, SecureDigital, MultiMediaCard, and xD formats. Networking options include Ethernet, modem, and 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi; Bluetooth is available as an option. Also available as an option: a double-layer DVD burner that includes LightScribe, which lets you burn your own labels onto compatible discs.
Intel offers two subsets within the dv6000 series. The dv6000t line offers a range of Intel processors-- from a 1.86GHz Celeron M 440 to a 2.0GHz Core 2 DuoT7200--as well as your choice of integrated Intel GMA 950 or discrete Nvidia GeForce Go 7400 graphics. The dv6000z line, meanwhile, offers a range of AMD processors, from a 1.8GHz Sempron 3500+ to a 2.0GHz Turion 64 X2 TL-60. Graphics options with the AMD processor include Nvidia GeForce Go 6150 or Nvidia GeForce Go 7200.
Otherwise, component options are the same across the dv6000 series: up to 2GB of RAM and hard drives up to 200GB in capacity, spinning at a poky 4,200rpm or midrange 5,400rpm. Your component choices should be driven by your budget, performance, and battery life needs; see our Laptop Buying Guide and our review of the Pavilion dv6000t for more information. We can recommend that you stock the dv6000 with as much RAM as you can afford to run Windows Vista--HP lets you choose among Home Basic, Home Premium, or Business versions for the dv6000 series.