HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa full review

HP's 15.6in-screen Pavilion dv6-3130sa laptop has small proportions and a body weight of just 2.5kg. Chuck in strong multimedia credentials, and you have a laptop that's eminently suitable for entertainment on the move.

If you're likely to be seen out and about with your laptop, then you'll appreciate the HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa's superb build quality and MacBook-a-like looks.

While it has no pretensions to surround sound nor Blu-ray support, the HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa has a snappy 2.53GHz Intel Core i5-460M processor and a discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 GPU to power the graphics. An Optimus setup from nVidia means the HP will switch off the main graphics processor automatically when not needed, in order to prolong battery life. And it just so happens that the HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa recorded the best battery performance under MobileMark 2007 by surviving for nearly five hours (288 minutes).

If you'd rather be entertained than learn complicated software, then the HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa is perfect for you. From the moment you switch it on, friendly Tim Burton-esque animations lead you step-by-step through the configuration process and HP's auspiciously named "Advisor PC Dock" remains on hand to help you get the most out of the raft of specially written software provided by HP.

This includes troubleshooting and security utilities as well as applications to help you enjoy your multimedia content with the minimum of fuss.

Rather than mere 'bloatware', what HP has provided here could genuinely improve the computing experience for beginners, the components working together as a cohesive suite with a consistent look and feel.

Sitting at this laptop, there's no doubt that it's designed with entertainment in mind - but if you're planning on using it mainly as a multimedia console, then you may miss the wireless remote controls supplied by Acer and Toshiba. Media transport controls are provided, but they're shared with the top-row function keys. Sound quality is also a little lacking, with rather 'fizzy' treble and a lack of midrange. Although bass response is reasonably good, it's a far cry from what you can get out of the similarly sized Toshiba Satellite A660.

Screen quality is reasonably good with above average colour reproduction, although if you're fussy you may find the backlight illumination a little uneven compared to the very best on offer. The screen resolution of 1366x768 may seem a little low, but is still fine for 720p content.

Next page: Our expert review >>

See also: Group test: what's the best laptop for under £1,000?

See also: Group test: what's the best laptop?

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HP Pavilion dv6-3130sa: Specs

  • 2.53 GHz Intel Core i5 460M processor
  • 4GB DDR3-1333 RAM (1 DIMM)
  • 500GB 2.5in 7200rpm SATA 3Gbps hard drive
  • 15.6in (1366x768) LED-backlit screen
  • Intel GMA HD/ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470 512MB
  • DVD±RW DL drive with LightScribe
  • 3 x USB 2.0 & 1 x eSATA/USB 2.0 combo
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • stereo speakers
  • headphone jack
  • mic input
  • webcam
  • 55Wh Li-Ion removable battery
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
  • 378x245x31-36mm
  • 2.4kg