Review HP Pavilion dv6140ea
Entry-level entertainer. Sleek and elegant looking, but is it any good? We've taken a closer eye to Hewlett-Packard's multimedia notebook, which is breaking records of popularity in our country. Is it the power of advertising that is responsible for its good sales or are its virtues irresistible? We've tried to discover the truth.
The Pavilion's appeal will become understandable when all its glory unfolds before our eyes. The looks of this laptop are indeed impressive. HP's machine ranks among cutest notebooks currently available. The outside of the lid is finished with a glossy piano black. The downside of this shining polish with an embedded wave pattern (HP Imprint) is that it quickly becomes heavily stained with fingerprints. It seems also to be susceptible to ugly scratches. However, if only care is being taken of it in a proper way, Pavilion dv6100 will look quite spectacular as a piece of domestic appliances. The silver coating of the topside of the base unit has also the wave pattern in itself, but fortunately it is unconspicuous enough not to stand out. On its greasy surface, however, one takes note of every single streak made by wandering fingers.
One of the Pavilion's features, which we've liked the most, was the rigidness of the base platform. All the elements are well fitted, which manifests itself in even spacing between the parts. The plastics don't crack under pressure and are firm, which gives impression of durability of the whole machine. The lid, thanks to its relative bulkiness, is also sufficiently rigid. The only unstable part is the battery pack. Fortunately, it was mounted on the bottom, so this feature is inconvenient only while picking the notebook up.
The hinges work properly, although after adjusting the screen it rocks a bit for a moment. There is no latch on the lid - a magnetic closing mechanism has been chosen for the Pavilion dv6100 series. While unfolding it, you have to help yourself with the second hand in order to keep the base unit down.
One cannot forget the multitude of blue LEDs, which are most numerous on the touch panel above the keyboard. This view might be scary, but don't be afraid - their light is not too strong, so they go unnoticed during normal operation, although they lie just under the screen.
The interfaces are not satisfactory in number and in quality. As Pavilion dv6140ea would like to be treated as a multimedia home entertainment center, the lack of DVI (not to mention HDMI) port is quite glaring. The layout of the ports is also not fortunate, which will be proven in a moment. So, let's take a look, what do they comprise.
A glance on the front side is enough to see, that the audio ports are placed over there. It is a not reasonable solution, because all the plugs and cables situated in this area are a painful issue for convenient use and manouvering of the laptop.
Turning the notebook around, we'll gather that the rear is void of any interfaces. There are only (small) fan openings.
Apart of the optical drive, there are ExpressCard, USB 2.0 and a power connector (lit, after putting the plug in, with a blue surround LED) on the right side.
So, it's easy to guess that majority of interfaces has been integrated on the left bank. In fact, they are heavily jammed over there. It goes as follows: a memory card reader, 1394 port (FireWire), two USB ports (thus, there are only three altogether - not much for a notebook of this size and multimedia deployment), modem and LAN connectors, Expansion Port 3 (for a docking station), VGA out, S-Video and, just at the back, a Kensington Lock. As you can see, this quite a few. Left-handed people are screwed (it's hard to comfortably use a mouse in a tangle of cords).
The keyboard is black as usual, but it has some unconventional side to it - the corner keys are rounded in order to make the whole unit better looking. Luckily, it doesn't hamper the functionality of this input device.
The size of the keys is optimal, without exceptions. One special treat is a huge Backspace key. Too bad that the Enter key is only one story high, but one can live with it. With a little bit of training hitting it will be as mechanical as usual.
The keys' characteristics are very nice. Their short travel and superb feedback enable quick and efficient typing. On account of their relative softness typing errors are possible at first (because one tends to hit keys to lightly), but it's easy to accustom oneself to this feature. The keys - with the exception of the Space bar and, to a lesser extent, both Shifts - are all quiet.
To our astonishment we've discovered that the letter "S" key has sinked in (most likely the machine we did get was already defective) for good, refusing to give proper feedback. It was still functioning, but was certainly due to be replaced.
A drawback of this keyboard unit could be the spacing between separate keys - as time goes on it is pretty much guaranteed, that hair and dust would accumulate over there.
The hand rests are oddly greasy (but in a nice way), and so is the touchpad (and its buttons as well). So the user can only deal with the pointing device correctly, when her/his fingers are perfectly dry. Otherwise it will be no good - the cursor would move about with difficulty, not quite in the desired direction. Apart from this reservation the pad works perfectly. The scroll area works in a very cool way.
The touchpad buttons are pretty unusual. The user won't experience ruggedness and distinctive click known form other devices in this case - they're soft and their travel consists in sinking in. We won't complain about this piano-like solution, but one has to say that making a click with this one takes a bit longer than normal. One should take care to push those buttons with fingertips . If one does it with nails, ugly scratches will quickly appear on the surface.
The innovative feature of the Pavilion dv6100 is the panel consisting of back-lit, touch-sensitive media controls that are activated by a tap of a finger, situated just above the keyboard. This widget is both glamorous and practical. Yet the designers have unfortunately forgotten about an option to deactivate those buttons - as a result we've quite often accidentaly put the HP QuickPlay multimedia software in motion. One cannot also get rid of the loud beep which accompanies every use of those buttons (which is inconvenient at night, when other family members go to sleep).
Pavilion dv6140ea has a glossy, 15.4" screen with a maximum resolution of 1280x800 pixels. The maximum brightness amounted in test to 175.5 cd/m². The illumination proved to be excellent: 87,1%. You can indeed notice that the screen is evenly lit with a naked eye. The subjective judgement of the color saturation is also very positive. How is that in comparison to reality one can judge by refering to the color diagram.
The maximum contrast is not overly high, as it amounts to 159:1. It is due to relatively high minimum brightness, which was 1.1 cd/m².
Although Pavilion dv6140ea does not possess a matte screen, it was possible to use it outside, but the overall quality of such activity was so-so.
The viewing angles are essential for a multimedia notebook. In case of Pavilion dv6140ea the working area is quite narrow, especially in the vertical aspect. When looking from below the photo-negative effect showcases itself very rapidly (the white tones become dark, and the black ones turn white). When looking from the top the image quickly becomes overexposed-like, but the degrading effect takes place later and is less intensive.
Pavilion has already gained a pet (although to some extent caustic) nickname "Pavulon" among Polish Internet users. Is it really as languid, so it can bring to mind someone who has been given this notorious medicine causing muscle relaxation? This would be an exaggeration. GeForce 7400 isn't the most potent graphic card available, but it will be enough for family games. Similar goes for the CPU. The Core Duo T2350 processor doesn't in fact dazzle with its capabilities, but the office applications are a pieces of cake for it.
The benchmarks confirmed our subjective impressions, but we didn't expect the HP notebook to fall so miserably in comparison to its rivals. When the testing procedure was nearing its end, we've decided to carry them out one more time. At first the Pavilion has put up better numbers, but as we were conducting the benchmarks in a reverse order, it turned out that the last ones were worse than initially. The cause of this is, in our view, the excessive file fragmentation on the Seagate hard disk.
The DVD drive has been provided by LG. It performs best in the QuickPlay mode, without the system running. While watching a movie with its help while Windows was running, we did experience some malfunctioning in the form of an occasional little freeze frame.
Further information about the video card can be found here or in our comparison of mobile video cards. Detailed information about the Core Duo CPU can be found here.
Please also look at our benchmark list of mobile processors or at our benchmark list of mobile video cards, in order to compare this notebook to other configurations.
» No benchmarks for this notebook found!
» No benchmarks for this notebook found!
Pavlion dv6140ea isn't loud by any means. Although the fan hums right from the start of the computer, regardless of the fact is the computer working under load or not, it is not inconvenient (see: results). Every few minutes it becomes considerably louder, speeding up for a dozen of seconds. Under load, while working with 3D graphics, the fan works constantly on high speed. Even then, though, it is not troublesome. What's interesting, while turning into highest gear it becomes less loud (only the sound of it becomes of higher tone).
The DVD drive is quiet. While watching the movies, only the fan can somewhat hamper the pleasure. You can avoid this problem by playing the movie without booting up the system (using QuickPlay). Then the fan is idle.
The HP's entertainment notebook has a much more serious ailment to boot. It is the obnoxious whining, which was until recently has also plagued the MacBook Pro users. It occurs after putting off the power supply unit and the transition to working on battery. The laptop starts to emit a quiet metallic sound resembling a chirr of a cricket. There is already a remedy for it: You cab get rid of it using the RMClock application (according to instructions posted on Notebookreview forum).
min. without load: 34.2dB
usually without load: 34.2dB
max. without load: 39.1dB
without load +HDD: 35dB
usually with full load: 39.3 dB
max. with full load: 39.7 dB
DVD rendition: 35.5dB
While not being too noisy, Pavilion heats up quite a lot. It is surprising, considering the integrated components are not very energy-consuming. We did measure an extreme of 50.3 degrees C on the downside by applying quite a hefty load on the hard disk (ordering it to defragmentate). In the case the HDD was at ease, the temperature has risen to a much more liked 45 degrees. This is also quite a lot, but still. When working with the notebook on the lap, one would experience unpleasant sensations. Considering the topside, one can notice increasing warmth of the touchpad area with time.
palmwrist: 34.4°C max: 38.1°C avg: 33.4°C
max: 50.3°C avg: 40.4°C
HP envied Toshiba and made use of the speakers of a renown brand - in this case it is Altec Lansing. Their sound is powerful, deep, and has much appeal. The bandwidth of these speakers is distinctly wide. At the maximum loudness there are some distortions to be heard, but they're bearable.
Pavilion dv6140ea has been meant to be a home entertainment center. Therefore its designers' top priority wasn't the mobility. Indeed - the HP notebook clearly likes to stay at home. Its runtimes with the 43Wh battery are not encouraging.
Recharging the battery, while the computer is turned off, takes approximately two hours.
without load, min. brightness, WLAN off: 2h 35min
the same after getting rid of the whining: 2h 15min
full load, max. brightness, WLAN on: 1h 54min
DVD rendition, max. brightness, WLAN off: 1h 20min
the same without booting up the system (QuickPlay mode): 1h 9min
minimal (all off or at minimum): 21 W
+ max. brightness: 26 W
+ WLAN: 30.5 W
maximal (full load including WLAN): 48 W
DVD rendition: 35 W
While judging Pavilion dv6140ea one has to appreciate the aesthetic value first and foremost. The whole notebook looks very smart, and the black piano-like finish of the lid is especially striking.
The input devices, the keyboard and the touchpad, are quite sensible and user-friendly.
Those positive aspects, however, don't cover the weak points in the field if multimedia, upon which this notebook ought to allegedly thrive. HP did ruin this domain completely. Pavilion dv6140ea doesn't shine right from the start - its interfaces are subpar. Although the screen is bright and well illuminated, it disappoints with narrow vertical viewing angles. The performance of the GeForce 7400 GPU is mediocre. In spite of that, the computer heats up quite considerably. And there's also this whining, which one has to get rid of on his/her own, applying some complicated manipulations, which might prove baffling for a novice user... Pavilion's reputation is somewhat salvaged only thanks to its remarkable speakers and a really good webcam.