In 2011, the first Sandy Bridge notebook that reached our labs was the HP Pavilion dv6 - an excellent mix in terms of affordability and power. As a multimedia machine, it does its job with nary a complaint, and it does it well. So how will this year’s dv6 improve on an already very impressive machine?
As it turns out, this year's 15.6-inch HP Pavilion dv6 was again the first notebook with Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processor to land in our labs. In terms of styling, the 2012 edition of HP's dv6 saw some subtle changes. The overall theme here is still dark colors contrasted with a silver lining on the side of the machine. Except this time, the silver lining appears on the lid as well, and the lid is now black instead of dark brown.
The physical design of the machine is also slightly different. The material texture on its lid is very similar to the latest premium notebooks that come from HP - matte aluminum compared to the brushed aluminum on the dv6 of yesteryear. Every edge of the machine seems to be slightly sharper, as compared to the previous dv6, where the edges were more rounded. The good thing is that it doesn’t actually make the new dv6 harder to carry around.
Apart from those, this year's edition is still heavily dependent on plastics as the main build material - even the silver material that runs along the side of the machine is plastic. Fortunately because the lid is made of aluminum, along with the solid build of the machine, you don't quite feel or matter that the machine is made of plastic. However, it does still weigh a hefty 2.57kg.
Ports-wise, the 2012 dv6 is still as dependable as ever. Now that the new Intel chipsets (Intel HM77 Express) have USB 3.0 capabilities built in, we now have three of them on the machine. That means now would be a good time to start getting those USB 3.0 accessories to take advantage of their much faster transfer speeds that USB 3.0 promises. Strangely enough, the fourth USB port only supports USB 2.0 speeds, but that's probably for you to plug-in peripherals that don't require fast transfer speeds. Also available on the sides is an HDMI port, a VGA port, two headphone jacks, a microphone jack, and an RJ45 Ethernet jack.