- 10:56 PM - 3 comments
My new job requires me to travel quite a bit, which meant that I had to bid adieu to my old and faithful desktop machine which served me for almost three years. I then went about looking for a good replacement. The new system would have to fulfill all the work and games that I used to run on my old rig and would also have to be able to run the SAP GUI.
After a lot of research on the net and innumerable phone calls to various retailers, I finally zeroed in on the HP Pavilion dv6602au. This is marketed as an 'Entertainment PC' but is actually capable of a lot more ... and a lot less, as I'll explain further.
The specifications of the laptop are as follows...
- AMD Turion 64 x 2 TL-58 1.9 GHz
- 2GB 667 MHz RAM
- 160GB SATA hard drive, LightScribe DVD write and a 5-in-1 memory card reader
- 15.4" display with a maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels
- 802.11a/b/g Wireless networking and Bluetooth connectivity
- Other extras like a webcam, remote control etc.
- Bundled software: Windows Vista, Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office 2007 (60 day trial), Norton Internet Security and trial versions of various software for making movies, games etc.
I had actually placed an order for the dv6502au, but as it was out of stock, I was given a free upgrade to this model. The two models have similar specifications, but the 6602 has a processor that 100 MHz faster.
Looking at just the specifications, this laptop seems well suited to the role I intended it for, namely being well suited to replace my desktop as my primary work machine.
Looks and Features
The 6602 is a good looking machine. While it's looks might not have the pure 'wow' factor that MacBooks and the colored Vaios might have, it's black and silver color combination looks smart and attractive. The silver base gives it a nice metallic look.
When I first opened the laptop, the first thing that impressed me was the lack of a latch to keep the screen shut when it was closed. Instead of a latch, the 6602 uses a spring-loaded hinge that keeps it shut. This is something that I've been seeing on all the new HP/Compaq laptops and is a nice feature. A closer examination of the screen when it is closed show that the latch does not close the screen all the way, and there is a slight space where it does not close all the way. I was initially worried about this, but finally concluded that it does not affect anything and the screen is still securely closed.
The other thing that impressed me is the integrated fingerprint reader on the palmrest. This was not really a feature that I wanted and I thought of it as just more 'jazz' to hype the model. After just three days of use, I've come to change my opinion. I had never realized just how many of my applications and websites require me to type in a User ID and password (I'm paranoid and don't like to save passwords). The fingerprint reader means that I just have to swipe my finger to log in to windows, access a website or access anything that previously required me to log in using a password. I don't even need to type in a user name. The system automatically selects the correct user based on the fingerprint that's read. This is definitely a must have feature for me now.
The display has a maximum resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels and is crisp and sharp, with vibrant colors. Before purchasing the laptop, I checked the display and was pleasantly surprised not to a single dead pixel. The display is powered by an onboard nVidia GeForce 7150M graphics processor to which I dedicated 128 MB of onboard RAM as video memory, which is also the maximum that the BIOS supports. However, this amount is sufficient to power Vista in all it's graphical glory, with all the Aero effects like Flip 3D and Window Transparency.
Other features of this laptop that come under the category of 'nice things to have' include an integrated 1.3 megapixel webcam, a remote control and a 5-in-1 memory card reader. The memory card reader is exactly what it claims, nothing more and nothing less. I haven't had the chance to actually test the webcam under actual conditions, but a quick look confirms that it seems to give good results. The remote control is meant to control the media playing capabilities of the computer and is compatible with Media Player, Media Center and the HP Quick play Software. It's basic features can also be used with other media playing applications like WinAmp and MediaMonkey.
The 6602 comes with three USB 2.0 ports and a single FireWire 400 port. The presence of the FireWire port on this model played a large part in my decision to buy this laptop, since FireWire offers higher sustained transfer rates as compared to USB. I do find the number of USB ports a little low though. An additional USB port would have been a very useful addition. Other ports on the system include a VGA (DVI would have been nice), a RJ-11 port for the modem, a RJ-45 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port, S-Video, IR (for the remote), ExpressCard slot and a HP expansion port.
That's all for today. The second part of this review will follow in my next post.