HP Pavilion dm4

HP's new dm4 is a real beauty to look at and comes with an arsenal of heavy hardware artillery to take on almost anything you throw at it

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HP Pavilion dm4 The Pavilion dm4 is an attractive thin and light
By  Jason Saundalkar Published  December 20, 2010

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Key Specs

Card reader: Y
Display adapter: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450
Display screen: 14-inch
Internal storage: 320GB
Memory: 3GB DDR3

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The Pavilion dm4 was released in the region last month and HP reckons this notebook ‘fuses fashion with efficiency to offer a stylish notebook PC that meets the personal computing and entertainment needs of every consumer'.

Aesthetically the Pavilion dm4 is without fault. The notebook's etched aluminium finish looks classy up close and from a distance and ultimately attracted interest everywhere we took it. The LCD, surrounded by piano black, serves to add a bit of contrast to the otherwise mainly aluminium look of the Pavilion. Looks aside the notebook's physical dimensions and weight match the HP's thin and light positioning. We found the notebook also offered a battery life of three hours and 45 minutes, meaning you can continue to work long after you've left the confines of your home or office.

Using the notebook on a day-to-day basis revealed the Pavilion to be free from any major flaws in terms of usability. The keyboard resembles something you would find on an Apple MacBook and it's just as good to work on, whether for short periods or for long typing marathons. There's minimal flex when keys are hit too suggesting that this Pavilion is quite well built. The notebook's trackpad is equally good; it is responsive, has a great textured feel to it and offers a reasonably large working area. Thanks to this you won't have to rework the trackpad's sensitivity to make quick progress with this machine.

The LCD screen is top notch in terms of its colour delivery and clarity. Whether we watched movies, looked at documents or browsed photographs, the LCD bashed out impressively vibrant colours with great contrast and brightness at its native resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The only issue with this screen is that it suffers from limited viewing angles - looking at the screen even slightly off-axis resulted in brightness and contrast loss. Another slight issue has to do with the placement of the machine's two USB ports - these were packed too close together, so when we had our Kingston DT200 USB stick stuck into one port, we couldn't connect a USB mouse as the connectors made contact with each other.

Our dm4's configuration included a 2.27GHz Intel Core i5 M430 processor, 3GB of DDR3 memory and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5450 GPU. The quick processor and reasonable amount of memory helped the machine perform well when we fed it our PCMark Vantage applications benchmarks. In terms of gaming capabilities, while the notebook does feature a discreet GPU, it is an entry-level DirectX 11 solution and so struggled to tackle our intensive gaming benchmarks. Running World in Confict in ‘High' detail at the LCD's native resolution, the Dm4 managed an average framerate of just 4fps.

For: Great looks, easy to travel with, decent battery life, can tackle applications with ease, DirectX 11 support.
Against: USB design flaw, GPU can’t tackle every game on the market.
Verdict: The Pavilion Dm4 boasts ‘look-at-me’ styling, is great to travel with and in this configuration, is a solid applications machine that can also tackle the odd game.

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