HP Pavilion dm1z (Fall 2011)There have been plenty of 11-inch AMD-powered ultraportables this year, but HP's Pavilion dm1z was the first, and this updated version puts it back in the lead in this crowded category.
-I'm Dan Ackerman. And today, we are going to shine the product spotlight on one of your current favorites. That is this little guy right here, the HP Pavilion dm1z fall 2011 edition. That means that this particular system is pretty similar in a lot of ways to the original Pavilion dm1z that we saw in the first quarter of 2011, but it's also different in a lot of ways. Physically, it's about the same size. It's still an 11-inch ultra portable laptop and it uses AMD's Fusion platform. The difference now is the first version uses something called the AMD E350, which was a perfectly nice low power, but decent performance CPU. This version uses the new the new upgraded E450 CPU, although to be honest in our benchmark testing, we didn't really see that much of a difference, but what that really tells you is a system like this, you can do basic computing task, surfing the web, doing e-mail, watching videos, basic productivity better than what you use to think of as a very small inexpensive laptop like a netbook. Those things were okay for basic web surfing, maybe e-mail, but they really started to get [unk] if you did anything more than that. And while those systems were maybe 3 or 4 hundred dollars, this new generation of ultra portables exemplified by the dm1z, they're about 450, maybe 500 if you trick it out with the few extra options. So, they're a little bit more expensive, but they're actually much more functional as regular computers. Now, in the new version of the dm1z, we really like some of the design changes like the hinge is a lot thicker. Instead of the big battery kind of sitting in the middle there, you have 2 little hinges right here and the whole side curves up. Instead of the kind of glossy back that we had on the first version, this one has got a-- more of a matte color on the back that picks up fingerprints less. It just looks a little nicer. And probably the biggest change is the touchpad right here. The first version had kind of a click pad, just one big pad, that didn't work very well. It's hard to click on the corner for the left mouse button and the right mouse button. In this version, they've actually got a separate pad, which has a nice texture on it that's pretty easy to get your finger around and then separate right and left mouse buttons that are a decent nice, not too small, so we found left clicking and right clicking a lot easier on this version. Now, when you put all that together, what you have is one of our favorite laptops. The dm1z getting a pretty decent facelift, keeping the name the same, keeping the price about the same. Some configurations are actually a little bit less expensive, and that all adds up to one of our top picks for right now and that is the HP Pavilion dm1z fall 2011 edition. I'm Dan Ackerman with Product Spotlight.