HP's Pavilion DV7-6103ea is as a stylish mid-range laptop with superb audio features thanks to Dr Dre's Beats audio
HP's previous attempts at stylish design from the unexciting grey company always left us in the cold and its reputation as a box-shifter didn't help. But since its stunning premium brand Envy laptops and partnership with Dr Dre, HP laptops are, surprisingly, well, cool.
While HP's mid-range multi-media DV7-6103ea isn't quite Envy standard, it has pilfered the same design finesse and also comes with superior Beats Audio from the good Dr. Games are left out of the equation but it is well-built, great value for money and superb at multi-media playback.
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea: Design
Taking a leaf from the Envy range, we found HP's DV7-6103ea to be solidly well-built and great looking. The burnished gun-metal finish gives a great streaky effect, adorning the top of the lid and surrounding the chiclet keyboard. Shame it's only plastic but, at 3Kg, it feels sturdy enough.
The keyboard is a mixed blessing. Typing for long periods if fine thanks to the sturdy travel on the keys and number crunchers will appreciate the full numeric keypad on the right. But why did HP have to make the navigation keys so small? We were also disappointed with the multi-touchpad, which is too small to navigate well.
Opening up the DV7-6103ea reveals the long massive sub woofer. This sits face up above the board to make sure it delivers sound out and up rather than underneath where it would be more muffled. As we expected, the laptop is much better than most laptops though it's never going to beat the throw of external speakers. That said, most laptop users sit near their hardware so it's surprisingly good on music and movie audio playback with a rich sonic feed.
The Blu-ray player sits on the right hand side and ports standard fare with HP adding two superfast USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0s, a VGA out and a HDMI out so you can connect to other HD devices- there's even a multi-card reader and internal USB remote.
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea: Features
While HP provides too much bloatware and a terrible one year warranty, you do get an integrated finger print reader for added security. In terms of portability, it's never gong to be light on a 17.3-inch chassis. But at 416 x 275 x 36 mm, the DV7-6103ea is surprisingly svelte.
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea: Screen
The centre piece of the DV7-6103ea is the 1600x900 LED HP BrightView Display. It's very vibrant and the gloss sheen does make it harder to view in strong natural light. The low lighting in the Dark Knight meant we lost a lot of detail in natural light but the stunning details with the lights off impressed -even though it's not full HD.
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea: Performance
The DV7-6103ea has AMD's fusion Quad-Core A6-3410MX fusion GPU and CPU, which is great mobile tech for enhancing battery life. That is clocked at 1.6GHz with 512MB of dedicated graphics. With a generous 6GB of memory, we had no lag or stutter on video playback or multi-tasking. There's even 1.5TB of storage though next-gen gamers needn't apply.
HP wouldn't give us a claimed battery life and we only got 89 minutes on Battery Eater Pro with all the settings designed to drain the battery as quickly as possible. However, on Reader's Test, which is much more of a real-world user scenario, we got .
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea: Verdict
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea availability: Out now
HP Pavilion DV7-6103ea price: £799