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HP Pavilion dv6915nr review: HP Pavilion dv6915nr

HP Pavilion dv6915nr

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
5 min read

We've long been fans of HP's Pavilion line of laptops, which combine an attractive design with media-friendly features at a fair price. By those criteria the Pavilion dv6915nr, a configuration available only in retail stores, is a no exception. It features the familiar glossy black case, light-touch media controls, and dual headphone jacks common to Pavilions--all at a low $749 price. Its 15.4-inch display means it's got a bit more heft to carry around than, for example, the 14.1-inch Gateway T-6836, but the trade-off is a broader display with more room to keep multiple windows open at once. Unfortunately, the Pavilion dv6915nr's processor isn't quite up to the multitasking challenge; it finished last or near-last among similarly priced systems on our performance benchmarks. If you're a heavy multitasker, you'll be able to squeeze a bit more performance out of the Gateway T-6836 or the Dell Inspiron 1525-122b, both of which are available for less than $800.


HP Pavilion dv6915nr

The Good

Attractive design; decent battery life; comfortable keyboard; touch pad on/off button; touch-sensitive media controls; dual headphone jacks.

The Bad

Mediocre performance on benchmarks; speakers produce treble sound.

The Bottom Line

The well-designed HP Pavilion dv6915nr incorporates most of the features you'll need for school, but other 15.4-inch laptops offer better performance for the same price.

Price $749
Processor 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60
Memory 3GB, 667MHz DDR2
Hard drive 200GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Nvidia nForce 630M
Graphics Nvidia GeForce Go 7150M (integrated)
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
Dimensions (WDH) 14.1x10.1x1.6 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.4 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 6.0 / 6.8 pounds
Category Mainstream

The Pavilion dv6915nr retains HP's signature silver-and-black chassis; both its glossy black lid and silver keyboard deck feature HP's subtle imprint design, which adds interest without being showy. Size-wise, the dv6915nr is similar to the Dell Inspiron 1525 and slightly sleeker than the Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848. The Pavilion dv6915's 6-pound weight is likewise average for the mainstream category, and reasonable to carry on occasional trips but perhaps not daily around campus.

The HP Pavilion dv6915nr's 15.4-inch wide screen has a fairly typical 1,280x800-pixel native resolution, which is standard for a screen this size. The screen's glossy finish produces rich colors and contrast; we found it minimally distracting while surfing the Web and typing e-mail but quite enjoyable for movie watching. A 1.3-megapixel Webcam above the display lets users conduct video chats.

Typing was comfortable on the Pavilion dv6915nr's nearly full-size keyboard. The wide touch pad includes a scroll zone, and we love the on/off button above the pad, which is handy when you want to use an external mouse or just type without worrying about misplacing the cursor. Above the keyboard sits a row of light-touch controls to launch HP's QuickPlay media player, control disc playback, and adjust volume. Handy but unobtrusive port labels on the keyboard deck let you know where to plug in peripherals.

  HP Pavilion dv6915nr Average for mainstream category
Video VGA-out, S-Video VGA-out, S-Video
Audio Stereo speakers, two headphone jacks, microphone jack Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 3 USB 2.0, mini FireWire, multiformat memory card reader 4 USB 2.0, SD card reader
Expansion ExpressCard ExpressCard
Networking modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi modem, Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional WWAN
Optical drive DVD burner with LightScribe DVD burner

The HP Pavilion dv6915nr includes the full suite of ports and connections we'd expect to see on a laptop of its size, though the Dell Inspiron 1525 does manage to squeeze one more USB port into its similar footprint. (We have a feeling a USB port was jettisoned to make room for the HP Expansion Port, which lets you connect to an HP docking station.) We like the Pavilion's dual headphone jacks, which make it easy to share movies and music with friends. We're less impressed with the Altec Lansing stereo speakers, which are loud and clear but produce too-treble sound.

The retail-only Pavilion dv6915nr comes in a single fixed configuration that includes a budget 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-60 processor, 3GB of RAM, and integrated Nvidia graphics. In general, laptops with AMD CPUs have trailed behind Intel Core 2 Duo systems on CNET Labs' benchmarks--and the Pavilion dv6915nr is no exception. It came in last or near-last place on almost all of our tests; while we found the speed adequate for basic Web surfing and media playback, we do think users looking for a bit more oomph will be better served by any of the Core 2 Duo-based laptops in our Back to School roundup, all of which performed significantly better than the Pavilion dv6915nr.

The HP Pavilion dv6915nr ran for 2 hours and 28 minutes on CNET Labs' battery drain test, using the included six-cell battery. That's just above average for a mainstream laptop, and it's the longest battery score among the budget 15.4-inch laptops in our roundup of Back to School systems. Our video playback battery drain test is especially grueling, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use.

HP backs the Pavilion dv6915nr with an industry-standard one-year warranty. Toll-free telephone support is available 24-7 during your warranty period, and the HP support Web site includes real-time chat with a tech representative. If you want to troubleshoot problems yourself, you can search through the site's thorough FAQ database.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron 1525-122B
Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848
HP Pavilion dv6915nr

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron 1525-122B
Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848
HP Pavilion dv6915nr

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Dell Inspiron 1525-122B
HP Pavilion dv6915nr
Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dv6915nr
Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848
Dell Inspiron 1525-122B

Find out more about how we test laptops.

Dell Inspiron 1525-122B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750; 3072MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm.

HP Pavilion dv6915nr
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-60; 3072MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 64MB Nvidia GeForce Go 7150M; 200GB Seagate 5,400rpm.

Gateway T-6836
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750; 4098MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm.

Dell Inspiron 1420-123B
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5750; 3072MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 250GB Western Digital 5,400rpm.

Toshiba Satellite A305D-S6848
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-60; 3072MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB ATI Radeon X1250; 200GB Fujitsu 5,400rpm.

HP Pavilion dv2915nr
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1; 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5550; 3072MB DDR SDRAM 667MHz; 128MB Mobile Intel 965GM Express; 250GB Seagate 5,400rpm.


HP Pavilion dv6915nr

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 4Battery 6Support 6