Friday, June 1, 2012

HP Pavilion dm4 review

HP Pavilion dm4 review

At A Glance:

Local Distributor: HP Malaysia
Contact: 1-800-88-6998
+ Good audio with subwoofer
+ Boots fast
- Trackpad reads phantom taps.
- Subwoofer on bottom of device
31 May 2012 - The HP Pavilion dm4 in this review is that of the regular variety. There is another version with a big Beats Audio log on the cover. This one has the Beats logo show up when you increase or decrease the sound from the keyboard shortcut keys (F9 and F10).

It has a 14-inch 1600 x 900p display, and a keyboard with standard white font. Admittedly, the red font and backlighting of the Beats Audio modified might be a tad interesting to see, but backlit keyboards drain valuable batteries, so I am comfortable even without backlighting.

The dm3 weighs around 4.5 pounds, a little over 2 kg which is considerably heavier than an Ultrabook, but fair for a notebook.


The Pavilion dm4 has a black finish all over, with a brushed finish on the cover and the surface area around the keyboard. The bottom of the notebook is plastic and so is the area around the screen. A webcam sits at the top of the screen in its usual place.

The power button is on the top left of the keyboard. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the left side and a USB 2.0 port on the right side of the ultrabook. The power and the headphone jacks are on the right side of the device, together with the CD/DVD tray.

The Ethernet jack is on the left side of the device, along with a HDMI port should you want to use it. A VGA port is also here in case you want to hook up an extra monitor to the laptop.

Hardware & Software

Our review unit drives Windows 7 Home with a Core i5 processor, specifically the Core i5-2450M running at 2.5 GHz. There are 4GBs of DDR3 RAM inside and a 750 GB Hitachi HDD inside.

There is also an SSD cache inside. The user is not able to access this, and there are differing view about whether this is 20 or the 32 GB upgraded version. Either way, Windows boots in about 60 seconds, and 750 GB is plenty of storage for a portable.

The audio is fairly decent, and apparently it is best through a set of Beats headphones. The speaker grills are in front of the device and apparently there is a subwoofer below the laptop. Quite a funny place for a speaker, considering that the bottom part is usually resting on something and having a speaker there is quite pointless.

The keyboard is fair to use but is a little to the left. I think this is because of the row of buttons on the extreme right of the keyboard. You can however, disable the trackpad by double-tapping the small icon in the top left corner of the trackpad. An orange LED glows at the side of the trackpad when it is disabled.

The WiFi And Bluetooth adapters are built-in as expected. Graphics and audio is also integrated, so there is nothing much to shout about, which is par for the course in the portable computer world.

Editor's Opinion

Most reviews and benchmarks have this device as not doing too well with video frame rates. This leads us to conclude that this is not a gaming machine, but the fairly comfortable keyboard and good audio quality makes it a good portable for doing work on. Granted, it could be a lot lighter, but I think two kilos and a fairly compact shape would be easy to carry around and work on.

Conclusion: Work laptop. Solid build with fast processor and plenty of HDD space.

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