capsule review

HP Pavilion dv6500t

At a Glance
  • HP Pavilion dv6500t

    PCWorld Rating

A beautifully crafted consumer notebook, the new HP Pavilion dv6500t has backlit media controls and a stylish case that's made for showing off.

Capable of serious work as well, it's a strong performer, yet fairly light (6.2 pounds) and easily totable. The keyboard is a tad bouncier than that of its predecessor, the dv6000t. And though bright and readable, the 15.4-inch screen tends to reflect overhead lights. Also, HP downgraded the dv6000t's 1.3-megapixel (1280-by-1024-pixel) Webcam to 0.3 megapixels (640 by 480 resolution) on the dv6500t. These are minor nits, however.

While the dv6500t adds a few more circles to the subtle motif on its designer lid, cosmetically the system is largely the same gorgeous laptop as its predecessor, with the same durable, high-gloss casing and piano-black hinges. New are support for draft-n Wi-Fi (in addition to 802.11a/b/g), a fingerprint reader for security, an HDMI output for connecting to a television, and the option for an HD DVD-ROM drive (though our test unit came with a multiformat, dual-layer DVD writer). The dv6500t has three USB ports and a seven-in-one shared card slot, and the configuration we tested included a 120GB hard drive.

Our $1309 (as of 5/9/07) review model also came equipped with 2GB of RAM and the new 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 chip, which together helped it earn a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 75--just 10 percent behind the fastest laptops we've tested. As a result, the dv6500t can handle any type of application, from mainstream to multimedia, except 3D shooter games. The dv6500t's integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 can use up to 358MB of main system memory; but for real gaming muscle, you'd want to upgrade to the optional 256MB nVidia GeForce Go 7400 graphics chip.

Battery life was excellent: The notebook lasted just 3 minutes shy of 4 hours in our tests.

Multimedia junkies still have the HP QuickPlay feature that was found on the dv6000t. This entertainment menu launches with one tap or a swipe of the touch-sensitive strip at the top of the keyboard, letting you enjoy DVD movies, music, personal videos, and photo slide shows without booting Windows. Meanwhile, fantastic stereo speakers pump out the sound. An ExpressCard TV tuner is remains a $130 option. The Pavilion dv6500t's dazzling look may not be for everyone, but lurking beneath the glossy surface is a serious laptop. If high fashion fits your portable lifestyle, work never looked so good.

Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Compact, affordable multimedia notebook has a head-turning designer case that incorporates a subtle swirl pattern.

    Pros

    • Designer case
    • Good performance

    Cons

    • Reflective screen
    • Springy keyboard
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