To complete the audio-visual entertainment experience that HP is so good at these days, is the use of a glossy 15.6 inch wide-screen. The now standard resolution 1366 x 768 pixels resolution screen uses HP’s HD LED Brightview technology, but honestly it looks just like any other brightly lit screen found on other modern-day laptops (since the screens come from the same bunch of manufacturers). Viewing angles for text only are still good from the more extreme positions, but watching movies and anything else, is near impossible. Add to that reflections off the glossy screen and you would just be watching ceiling lights instead.
While there are some who pine for the days of matte screens -- because they don't like to watch ceiling lights on their laptop -- from the looks of it, glossy screens are here to stay. The general consensus is that they just make images appear that much more vibrant and attractive, coupled with higher contrast and brightness, when compared to matte screens. And if you were using these laptops mostly in areas that aren't very bright, you'd be just fine.
The chiclet keyboard that comes with the HP dv6 is generally well-designed, with a generous amount of spacing between keys for the banana-fingers among us, thanks to the machine’s larger screen size. HP also found enough space for the sorely missed number pad, which number crunchers appreciate immensely. The function keys also have been permanently switched with the multimedia keys, a nice new feature that came with the HP Pavilion dm1. This is a welcome move from HP, since most consumers hardly use the function keys anyway.
Typing on the keyboard is comfortable with just the right amount of “clicking” and tactile feedback to sooth the workaholic’s soul. However, the one major complaint that may surface will be about the amount of flex the keyboard has. Everything about the construction of the machine exudes class -- except the keyboard housing, made out of cheap flexible plastic. Why HP chose to skimp on one of the most used components of the laptop is completely beyond comprehension.
Still, HP hopes to make up for it by distracting you with the prettiest part of the machine yet. The 3-point multi-touch track-pad performs as expected, and has a on/off switch located at the top left corner. But what really catches the user’s eye is the LED lit accent along the edges of the track-pad, which glows white when turned on, and orange when turned off. Classy.
HP also found the resources to include a fingerprint scanner, located on the right of the touchpad. Once an essential security feature on business notebooks, the fingerprint scanner has found its way downstream onto consumer notebooks. Such an inclusion also says something about the manufacturer's intentions to position this workhorse notebook as a candidate for SME's to consider getting. After all, the only thing stopping the dv6 from being a powerful enterprise contender is just the appropriate software, which is easy enough to fix. Also included is a Blu-ray drive (with LightScribe), another high-end feature that is beginning to make its way into offerings from manufacturers, and you would just find it that much harder to say "no" to the dv6.
The HP dv6 comes preloaded with the standard Windows Home Premium, and several proprietary software -- or some would like to call bloatware. But hang on, some of them can actually be useful to users, like the HP Setup Manager for pain-free migration from an older computer. Also included is the HP Support Assistant, a kind gesture from HP, because when it comes to computers, no matter how well made or maintained, they will face problems. And when the problems do come (not system crippling ones), users need only click on the Support Assistant, and they will be guided thoroughly on tedious chores like system maintenance and troubleshooting.
The HP Cool Sense found in the previously reviewed HP Pavilion dm1, is now a mainstay in HP’s preloaded software line-up, and is also found in the latest HP dv6. Its main purpose is to monitor and adjust the machine’s cooling fans' intensity according to noise and heat levels, for when you need to crank up the power for flash games or 3D games. Though throughout intensive testing (when extra software and utilities were disabled), we wondered how a machine that stays remarkably cool and quiet most of the time would benefit from this piece of software.