HP the largest laptop maker in the world – for the moment – has reset the value equation for laptops yet again. HP has endowed the humble value laptop with a split personality, The Hooker and the Housewife. Once the standard full sized laptop wasn’t a great performance proposition, eventually we all ended up trading power for value. Compromise no longer, the everyday, everyman PC has a new meaner streak. HP’s introduction of the latest Quad Core CPU technology into the value 15.6″ dv6t Quad Edition and 17″ dv7t Quad Edition laptops changes the equation. HP has returned to what it does best, reliability and value, they threw in the good looks and performance for free. Not as sexy as the high end gaming rigs these are the laptops we spend time with, our window on the virtual world for the next few years. HP new laptops are just at home during late nights on gaming’s mean streets as it is doing the little day to day tasks.
The HP’s Quad Edition – QE – laptops are a classy almost classic looking design with slim straight lines giving it a modern accessory feel, especially the Umber – brown – brushed metal finish. Along with the classy looks is the split personality a clever combination of new CPU technology, a low power second GPU and software. When in undemanding situations the CPU is able to shut down idle parts, a second low power GPU is used instead of the faster but power hungry discreet GPU – AMD 6490 or 6770 -.Making this a good road warrior and comfortable every day laptop. The 8Gb of Ram should keep even the heaviest multi-taskers happy. In situation that require some processing power, gaming or video processing HP’s software turns up the juice. All of this adds up to 5 hour battery life with the standard battery and 9.5 hours with the 9 cell extended battery without having to compromise.
Reliability is the specialty of the full sized laptop along with HP who have a reputation for making solid reliable laptops. Heat dissipation issues associated with running high performance parts in a small spaces will always haunt the high end gaming laptops. The HP dv7t takes a step back from extreme performance parts and gains reliability and value at the same time.
Both the dv6t QE and dv7t QE share the same base specifications and upgrade options, with the only difference being the display size and overall weight, the 6 is a 15.6 inch laptop while it’s big brother the 7 uses a 17inch display. The 6 weighs in at 5.78 lbs. while the 7 is slightly chunkier at 6.72 lbs. HP measure the thickness of the laptop in thinness, the 7 has a thinness of 1.24″ while the 6 is a more slender 1.23″. Neither will enter the thin and light, or Ultrabook category but both are faster, cheaper and far more comfortable to use especially when the BrightView display is selected as an option. If price is the absolute deciding factor when purchasing a laptop the value king of the full sized laptops has to be the dv7t. Starting at $649 for a powerful dual core processor and an AMD graphics card this is a full sized, full power laptop. If your budget stretches higher the balancing power and value is the dv7t’s big brother, the highly recommended the dv7t QE starting at $999. The dv6t QE is the 15.6″ little brother to the dv7t and brings a cheaper and lighter $899 option to the quad core family.
Both of the QE laptops include HP’s Beats™ audio technology, the dv6 uses quad speakers for superior sound while the dv7 includes Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer along with the quad speaker setup. The Beats audio system also includes software that enhances audio for this speaker setup, HP also claim to improve sound quality by locating the audio chips next to the input and output jacks, minimizing noise. All of this adds up to a fold up beat box.
The touchpad is off centre to the left helping to alleviate the accidental touchpad strikes that can be annoying on some laptops. HP’s touchpads have never been leading edge and the current generation are a step up over previous dv7’s it is still HP’s weakness. Still two finger scrolling and basic gestures are all there and chances are your favourite gaming mouse will be connected, no touch pad can compete with the Razer. The keyboard is the current HP standard, Chiclet-style with flat rubberized keys. The dv7 has enough space for a numeric keypad and well spaced keys, while the dv6 is limited by its dimensions HP has maintained the key spacing and size, losing the numeric keypad though.
HP has introduced some very clever wireless HDMI technology by switching to Intel wireless communications chips. When using a compatible TV or Intel’s little black box – with any TV – Intel’s clever new Wireless Display technology allows the laptop to transmit a picture directly to the TV. Wirelessly project personal content, online TV shows, movies, videos, and more, to your TV. Other ports – physical in this case – include; two USB 2, two USB 3, HDMI, VGA, RJ-45 network port, SD/MMC port, microphone jack and two audio jacks which just begs all sorts of questions. Two sets of headphones listening to the same music, would lead to very loud conversations.
The dv6t QE is value grunt horsepower at its best. Built around a 15.6″ display the machine is lighter and more compact than the dv7t QE but at the cost of screen size. Even the most basic spec includes a 2 Ghz Quad Core and can be customized all the way up to a high powered gaming specification. While HP has introduced the QE as a higher end model it actually ends up being better value in many ways. The base $899 model is powerful enough for most demanding tasks. The base spec includes a 2 GHz Quad Core – i7-2630QM -, AMD HD 6490M dedicated video card, while integrated graphics is included for low power situations the dedicated video chip allows even the base QE to play the latest games, not at highest detail but at playable frame rates. If games are a priority the video card can be upgraded to a HD 6770M for and extra $100. That turns this into a very capable gaming machine that can play all modern games at full frame rate, no slow downs. The Quad Core CPU also comes in handy in gaming, allowing faster and smoother game play without glitches.
The dv7t QE is the most expensive of the family, it’s all about the screen, especially the BrightView full HD LED display. Supporting the display is an aluminium chassis and rigid body giving the dv7 a solid feel when your typing. The larger chassis allows space for addition sub woofers, the dv7 QEhas the best sound of the range. As a multimedia laptop the dv7 excels, when the anti-glare LED full HD – 1920 x 1080 – and AMD 6770 options are included the dv7 becomes a multimedia powerhouse. AMD’s 6770 includes the latest decode hardware for movie playback, it also allow acceleration of movie conversion and flash playback and it’s great for gaming. The AMD 6490 included in the base configuration has the same playback hardware but the extra memory and speed of the 6770 is recommended to drive the full HD display. The 6490 is perfectly suited to the lower res 1600×900 of the HD+ display base spec. While the HD+ display is acceptable here at Highpants we highly recommend ponying up the extra $150 for the LED HD screen.
Included software is a little thin on the ground, Norton Internet Security – 60-day subscription – and HP Games are included, everything else you could need is available but you will pay for the option. This is the nature of a low base price and frankly here at Highpants new laptops are stripped of all unnecessary software as soon as the are out of the box. So not paying for software we don’t want or use is just fine as far as we’re concerned. HP have also included an option to install LoJack software, allowing you to join the LoJack laptop recovery service. Costing $40 for a years coverage also allows you to remotely lock your laptop or delete the contents if stolen, but hopefully recover it before it gets to that.
When deciding on a laptop and the options to select there are a number of factors to consider. The type of workload, just surfing the web occasionally only requires the most basic machine but for comfortable surfing get the biggest and best quality display you can afford. Using lots of applications at once, multi-tasking along with video editing, photo editing and web development will all require a reasonably powerful CPU, lots of memory and as much desktop space as you can get – screen resolution. Gaming is more reliant on a powerful video card but a fast CPU is also required to keep frame rates smooth. If you plan on doing all of these things on your next laptop buy the largest and highest resolution screen you can afford then surround it with the best parts your remaining budget can afford. In the life of your laptop the display is the part you really have to live with, so make sure you get one you will be happy to spend a few years looking into. Here at Highpants we recommend 17″ laptops as the ultimate daily driver. If this is going to be your day to day machine the large 17″ screen is worth every cent. Even the base model has 1600×900 resolution, well above the base resolution of a 15.6″ with a resolution of 1366×768. HP’s BrightView HD display is worth every cent of the $150 that the option will cost you. Even if you have to buy the most basic spec model to afford this option do it. With bright crisp colours and full HD 1920×1080 resolution there’s plenty of crisp screen space to work in, this is an easy on the eyes display.
HP has managed to combine two normally opposing forces, power and value, combined together in the Highpants Value laptop of the moment the HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition. Taking customization to the limit has created the almost perfect base specification machine, at $649 for a basic 17″ laptop or $1,000 for a powerhouse 17″ laptop the value equation equals a win for all of us. You certainly do get a lot of laptop for a grand at the moment.
Putting the power in your hands, HP’s options for customizing the dv6tqe and dv7tqe
- Dark Umber
- Steel Grey + $25
- Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Genuine Windows 7 Professional 64-bit + $99
- Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit + $139
- 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz Base
- 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2720QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz + $150
- 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2820QM (2.3 GHz, 8MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 3.4 GHz +$250
- 1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6490M Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
- 1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6770M Graphics [HDMI, VGA] + $25
- 2GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6770M Graphics [HDMI, VGA] + 100
- 4GB DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)
- 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm) Free
- 12GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm) + $310
- 16GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm) + $560
dv7tqe Quad Edition Display
- 17.3″ diagonal HD+ HP BrightView LED Display (1600 x 900)
- 17.3″ diagonal Full HD HP Anti-glare LED Display (1920 x 1080) + $150
dv6t Quad Edition Display
- 15.6″ diagonal High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366×768)
- 15.6″ diagonal Full HD HP Anti-glare LED Display (1920 x 1080) + $150
- 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection + $20
- 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection + $50
- 1.5TB 7200RPM Dual Hard Drive (750GB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection + $180
- 2TB 5400RPM Dual Hard Drive (1TB x 2) with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection + $240
- 160GB (Solid State Drive Flash Module) + $360
- 660GB 7200RPM Dual Hard Drive (SSD 160GB + 500GB 7200RPM) + $410
- Upgrade to Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner – Free
- SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support – Free
- Blu-ray writer & SuperMulti DVD burner + $50
Also includes HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
Buddha’s Brother out…