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HP Pavilion dv7 review: HP Pavilion dv7

HP Pavilion dv7

Joshua Goldman
Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
6 min read

There's a lot to like about the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx. It's not that it's an extraordinary laptop or anything, and maybe I'm just too used to seeing ugly, cheap-looking Windows laptops at its price, but the dv7 looks and feels much better than its cost would suggest.

HP Pavilion dv7-6B55DX

HP Pavilion dv7

The Good

The <b>HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx</b> is a nice-looking big-screen laptop with long battery life and very good performance for the money.

The Bad

The dv7's screen is low-resolution for its size and its integrated graphics drag down the performance some.

The Bottom Line

If you're looking for a lot of screen real estate and enough power for work and play, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx is a good place to start.

Inside is a very good component mix headlined by a second-gen Core i5 processor backed by a plentiful amount of memory that we found made carrying out everyday tasks painless. It has long battery life--somewhat uncommon for a desktop replacement--and all the requisite ports and connections, plus a couple of extras like wireless display and WiMax support.

This dv7's biggest shortcoming is its integrated graphics, which just don't have the power to handle demanding games or complex photo and video editing. If those things aren't on your to-do list and you simply need a desktop replacement for home office stuff and a little entertainment, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx might just be what you're looking for.

Price as reviewed $749.99
Processor 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M
Memory 8GB, 1,333MHz DDR3
Hard drive 750GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel HM65 Express Chipset
Graphics Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 16.4x10.8 inches
Height 1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 7.2 pounds / 7.9 pounds
Category Mainstream

HP's Pavilion dv7 proves you can make a sub-$800 Windows laptop that looks and feels good. Both the lid and keyboard deck are dressed in dark-brown brushed aluminum. Branding is limited and fairly subtle, too; for the most part it's just a backlit logo on the lower right corner of the lid and a tiny one on the speaker bar above the keyboard. I could do without the glossy black plastic around the screen and the matte black plastic bottom, but they only cheapen the overall look slightly. About the only real complaint I have is that the entire thing collects fingerprints, but I'd rather have that than a plastic alternative.

With its 17.3-inch LCD and nine-cell extended-life battery, this laptop is not exactly travel-friendly, and it actually feels heavy when you're working with it on your lap. Then again, you'll probably be keeping a system this large on a table most of the time, so this isn't a huge deal.

The island-style keyboard with full number pad is large, comfortable, quiet, and responsive. It would be even nicer if it were backlit, but it's not. Instead, the touch pad is rimmed in light, which I'm not sure does any real good aside from looking nice; if you don't like it, hitting the Fn key plus the spacebar shuts it off. The touch pad is a good size, large enough for multitouch gestures like pinch zoom and two-finger scrolling, and has separate left and right mouse buttons. Media and volume and mute controls, screen brightness adjustment, and wireless on/off are mapped to function keys instead of extra discrete buttons. There is one small quick-launch button for a Web browser, and there's also a fingerprint reader for use with HP's SimplePass software for password support, but that's it.

The 17.3-inch LED-backlit display has a resolution of 1,600x900 pixels; that's good enough to support 720p HD playback, but not full HD. That's not entirely unexpected at this price, but it hurts its appeal as a multimedia system. However, those simply looking for extra work space will probably be more than satisfied. It gets very bright and has nice color and contrast, and off-angle viewing is pretty good, too. The screen is very reflective, though, so if that bothers you, well, it might be a deal breaker.

Below the screen at the top of the keyboard deck are the system's stereo speakers; a triple bass subwoofer is in the laptop's bottom side. They sound good, and get a decent boost from the onboard Beats Audio processing, but they're not going to blow you away. On the other hand, paired with a decent set of headphones or external speakers, Beats Audio does noticeably pump up output.

HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx Average for category [mainstream]
Video VGA, HDMI VGA plus HDMI or DisplayPort
Audio Stereo speakers with subwoofer, 2 headphone,1 microphone jacks Stereo speakers, headphone/microphone jacks
Data 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader 2 USB 2.0, 2 USB 3.0, SD card reader, eSATA
Networking Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, optional 4G WiMax mobile broadband, Intel WiDi-ready Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional mobile broadband
Optical drive DVD burner DVD burner

There are no real extras or surprises in the connection pack on this HP. Well, that's not entirely true. There are two headphone jacks and it is ready for 4G WiMax mobile broadband access should you want to pay for service. You can also wirelessly send content to an HDTV with its Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) support, though you'll need to buy an adapter. But, otherwise, things are pretty standard.

The Pavilion dv7 is available in multiple component configurations and you can always head to HP's site and build one out to meet your needs. For the money, what's in the dv7-6b55dx is solid, but not extraordinary. The 750GB hard drive offers a lot of storage, though it spins at a slow 5,400rpm so it doesn't really offer any performance benefits. The 8GB of system memory, however, does seem to help the Core i5 processor and integrated graphics perform a little better on certain tasks.

Unsurprisingly, similarly priced laptops with quad-core i7 processors did better in our multitasking lab tests. For most home office tasks, though, the i5 processor in the dv7-6b55dx did fine in anecdotal tests with almost no slowdown when simultaneously streaming music and running word-processing software along with IM and e-mail clients and a Web browser. If you need to do anything more than basic photo or video editing, you'll probably want to shut a couple things down first, but otherwise you should be good for average day-to-day stuff. The integrated graphics were sufficient for streaming video and casual gaming.

Juice box
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.42
Sleep (10 percent) 0.8
Idle (25 percent) 8.93
Load (5 percent) 49.38
Raw kWh 44.09
Annual energy cost $5.00

Annual energy consumption cost
Dell XPS 15Z
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx

The dv7-6b55dx's battery life is great, running for 8 hours and 33 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. With some power management and under more typical use, you could probably stretch that out to about 9 hours. Of course, it does use a bulky nine-cell battery to get there. That's something to keep in mind when you're looking at comparable laptops that use a more standard six-cell pack.

The HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx includes a one-year warranty on parts and labor. If you purchase a dv7 direct from HP, you will get two years of protection, but a similar configuration will be more expensive and you can't get this exact combination of features.

If you're looking for a big-screen laptop for home office use that won't die shortly after being unplugged, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx is a good starting point. It offers enough performance muscle for everyday tasks and looks good doing it, too.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion dv7-6b55dx

Find out more about how we test laptops.

HP Pavilion dv7-6B55DX

HP Pavilion dv7

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7Battery 8Support 7
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