So, HP rather kindly sent me a laptop to try out and write about on this blog. I’ll admit this now: my hardware knowledge is not what it used to be. Once upon a time, I built my own PCs, regularly upgraded components and overclocked processors faster than you could say overclocked processor.

In recent years though, I’ve got lazy and I’ve switched to a laptop. Along with that switch, my knowledge has waned. While I still know a bit more about the average person walking around, I could also do with learning a lot more again!

Anyway, explanation that this is no technical write up over, just me being a consumer, let’s get down to rambling.

My current laptop is just over two years old. It’s a 15″ Dell laptop, Core2Duo T6600 2.2ghz, 4gb RAM and ATI Radeon HD 4570. It does me fine despite my occasional complaints that I want it to be faster (I’m an impatient sod).

A screenshot below demonstrates the Window Experience Index thingyme.

The HP laptop I’m testing is an interesting switch. It’s a HP Pavilion dv7 with a heavy focus on entertainment (it’s even in the full name! *deep breath* HP Pavilion dv7-6c01ea Entertainment Notebook PC) The screen is better in that it’s 17.3″ making for a much more solid and sturdier system. Holding it on my lap, it feels like there’s good value for money here. The rest of the entertainment comes from the Beats Audio and the HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer. I’m quoting from the specs there as all I know is two things:

1) It does make audio sound deeper and more satisfying than regular tinny laptop speakers. I found myself using it a lot for YouTube and MP3s, something I don’t tend to bother with on my laptop.

2) I know the controversy about Beats headphones being overpriced. I have no idea if that transfers to laptop speakers but for a regular person like me who deals with audio purely in terms of ‘it sounds good’, it, well, it sounds good.

Processor wise, it’s an AMD Quad-Core A6-3430MX 1.7ghz. I’m very behind on my AMD chips, even more so than Intel chips. According to the Windows Experience Index, it’s a fair upgrade from my regular laptop though weighing in at 6.8 compared to 5.7!

Graphics card wise, it has an AMD *cough ATI* Radeon HD 6520G+7670M 1GB DDR3 dedicated. Again, I’m so far behind on GPUs. According to Windows Experience Index again, my regular GPU is behind it with desktop graphics yet ahead of it with gaming graphics. Go figure.

Double the RAM compared to what I’m used to makes a big difference for me. Installing trials of Photoshop and seeing how long it took to load reminded me exactly why any future laptop of mine will have 8gb RAM. It appeals to the impatient sod in me a lot.

One rather cool feature I haven’t tested out (nor am I going to) is it comes with HP ProtectSmart. Basically, an accelerometer inside means it stops the hard drive if you drop it, thus saving it from damage. As I’ve got it on loan, I’d rather not test this theory! Presumably to stick it on the blurb for the laptop though, it does work though.

I’ve enjoyed my time with the laptop and I’m lucky to have it for a few more days yet. Would I buy it? Tricky one.

To replace this laptop, no. It’s not a big enough upgrade for me and as I reckon it retails for between £600-700 (I can’t find the exact model for sale online so I’m going off of similar HPs!), I’d want more bang for my buck so to speak. Having said that, it’s probably just demonstrated how fine my current laptop is for now.

If it was as a laptop to switch from a desktop, I’d be sorely tempted. It’s a solid all rounder for me. The audio is a cut above the rest, the screen decent and the build quality feels expensive. Oh and it stays much cooler than previous laptops I’ve had time with.

The only feature I’d have liked to have seen to make it a true entertainment laptop in my eyes is a Blu-ray drive. At least the 1TB hard drive means plenty of room for digital copies though!

So yeah, not bad at all! I’ll write more about it before it goes back. Not tried the fingerprint reader yet.

Disclaimer: HP sent me this laptop for two weeks to try out. I’m not gaining anything else out of this arrangement nor have I been told to say anything in particular about it. These opinions are all entirely mine, not HP’s or anyone else’s!

My impressions of the HP Pavilion DV7