- 9:18 PM - 3 comments
Welcome to the second part of my HP dv6602au review. In this post, I'll continue with the description of the features of this laptop, concentrating on the software that comes pre-loaded with the system, followed by a review of the real-world performance.
The 6602 comes with Windows Vista Home Premium edition pre-installed. I was not really a fan of Vista, considering it a massively bloated operating system, with very little new to offer. I still stick by that opinion, but I still have come to like it. Now that I've been using Vista as my primary OS for some time, I'd like to say that Vista is still a resource hog, and offers few new features. However, it looks much better. More importantly it does all that Windows XP does, but does it more effectively. I'm a big fan of the Mac OS and IMHO, Vista goes a long way towards narrowing the gap in ease of use between Microsoft and Apple. This is a much more stable OS, with fewer applications locking up and freezing the entire system. However, be warned that to make the best use of a computer (not just this laptop) with Vista, you should have at least 2 GB of RAM.
The rest of the applications are pretty average. HP provides a 60-day trial version of Microsoft Office 2007. If you're not willing to pay the price of upgrading it to the full version, you still have an office suite of sorts in Microsoft Works (check out the WikiPedia entry here). This is a lightweight office suite suitable for basic word processing and spreadsheet tasks, but if you are looking for something more heavy-duty you are better off with Open Office.
Security and anti-virus protection is provided by a 60-day licensed copy of Norton Internet Security which includes a firewall, anti-virus scanner and a spyware scanner. This security suite does the job, but seems to use too much of the system's resources.
The 6602 also ships with entertainment software and games to justify it's 'Entertainment PC' tag. Chief among these is HP's QuickPlay software. This is a actually pretty well designed software that is an integrated center for playing audio as well as video files. It has a lot of features that are useful while playing DVDs. The remote control that's included with the system proves to be useful while watching movies too. However, while it can also be used to browse the music collection on the system, navigating through the various playlists and categories of music is a pain using the tiny remote. HP includes a selection of games with these PC. These are almost all puzzle solving games of some variety or the other. There is nothing much to say about the games selection except that they keep your attention for a while ... oh, and they are all trial versions too.
Windows & General Usage Performance
If like me, you are moving to Windows Vista from Windows XP you will definitely notice a drop in performance. Some of this is only a perception because of the various window effects like zooming in and out of windows when minimizing and restoring. However, there is also a overall drop in performance. However, this is somewhat mitigated by the RAM upgrade I installed. If you choose, this system can handle all of Vista's eye candy like Window Transparency and Flip 3D without any problems.
The 6602's performance while running regular office applications and things like web browsers is good, with snappy responses. I usually have around 8 - 10 applications running at any given time. Despite this, the system response is very quick. I've installed the SAP GUI and the system is able to handle that without any problems as well.
The battery life is quite good for a laptop of this configuration. the 6602 is supplied with a 6-cell battery, though this can be upgraded to a 12-cell unit. Assuming that you only use basic office and web applications while on battery, you can expect a battery life of about 2 hours before the system automatically goes to sleep when 3% of battery life remains. Of course, the battery life will go down if you run resource hungry software like games or movies. One gripe that I have with the system is the extremely long time it takes to recharge the battery. The 65W charger supplied with the 6602 takes at least 4-5 hours to recharge a fully drained battery if the laptop is in use while charging.
I'm not much of a gamer nor did I buy this laptop with the intention of running any high-end games, so this part of the review will be pretty short. I've tested the following games on this laptop: Cricket 2007, SimCity 4 Rush Hour and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
Although the GeForce 7150M is marketed as a mobile gaming processor, it does not perform as well as I'd expected. Overall performance in all of the three games was only average. The maximum resolution I was able to achieve in Cricket 2007, while still maintaining a decent frame rate was just 800 x 600. This is actually pretty bad. SimCity and GTA:SA performed better and could easily run at resolutions of 1024 x 768 x 32.
In short, although marketed as an Entertainment PC, the dv6602 falls short on the gaming aspect of entertainment.
Update: I've since learned that the reason for the poor gaming performance, especially for the older games that I tested is due to Windows Vista. Updating DirectX should solve this issue. I haven't tested this yet as I'm waiting until I get some good net access before I download and install it.
The HP dv6602 is a well made laptop, that almost quite justifies it's 'Entertainment PC' tag. At Rs. 46.250 inclusive of all taxes, it offers a well rounded set of features for a reasonable price that other laptops don't quite match (at least in the Indian market). However, if you plan to use this machine for anything other than casual gaming, look for something a little bit better (I've heard good things about the HP Pavilion dv6515tu).
All in all, I'm satisfied with this laptop and would give it an overall rating of 7/10.