The trick to selling as many laptops as possible has evolved over the years. It’s now not enough to sell notebooks to us just based on specs alone. Since the turn of the century, Apple led the charge in turning your workhorse into something more -- a fashion accessory. This discovery alone led to fatter profit margins, propelling them into becoming the most valuable technology company in the world. So what is the world’s biggest technology company Hewlett Packard going to do to compete? Exactly the same, but with variations to suit a wider audience and range of price points.
Decking out it’s premium laptops with designer togs has proven to be a wise choice for HP. Branding collaborations with contemporary pop culture icons like Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga among many others has also proven to be extremely lucrative, keeping HP right up there in consumer’s minds when it comes to laptop desirability. It’s thanks to this competitive mindset that the object of this review, the 15.6-inch HP Pavilion dv6-6003TX, one of the first second-generation Sandy Bridge machines on our hands, is able to look like what is does -- beautiful.
While it’s not as beautiful in an ENVY-able laser-etched design kind of way, its simple charms stem from the premium materials that HP has opted to use throughout the Pavillion line-up. In accordance to HP’s current design direction, soft curves accentuate every corner, making it very comfortable to hold in your hands. “Designer” finishing touches also come in the form of the “dark umber metal finish” (which actually means dark brown in laymen terms) found on the machine’s lid and palm-rest. This along with the glowing LED lit HP logo politely giving way to the metallic finishing found at the bottom left corner, invokes a sense of luxury rarely found on laptops under S$2000. And for a list price of S$1799, you would get specs like a quad-core Intel Core i7-2630QM, 4GB of RAM as well as a powerful ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6770M GPU. All in all, this gives the HP Pavilion dv6 the right mix of presentation, power and affordability.
Adding on the the list of luxuries that the HP dv6 has, is the “Beats Audio” branded sound experience that the laptop is touting. This “Beats” experience comes in the form of two speakers under the screen as well as two more under the palm-rest. Sound from the speakers are crystal clear, with no muddy tones even at the loudest volume. The caveat here is that to probably preserve the pristine speaker sound, the maximum volume is not as loud as you’d think it’d be -- so planning a party around the speakers (which aren’t supported by a built-in sub-woofer either) wouldn’t be a very good idea.
But the real magic is supposed to happen when you use the dual audio jacks found on the left side of the machine, as explained in an amusing “Beats” marketing video. In a nutshell, the construction of the well- grounded jacks are supposed to have minimal noise-introducing interference, thus leading to a cleaner sound. Such dedication to a full entertainment experience should be lauded -- fluff or not -- because it has become HP’s way of differentiation.