HP Pavilion dv7t-7000 Quad Edition First Thoughts

The 17.3” screen HP dv7t-7000 Quad Edition is the second most popular selling laptop the company offers, right behind the smaller 15.6” screen dv6t-7000.  The features between these two notebooks are very similar, but the larger size of the Pavilion dv7t does offer some advantages.  For instance, the dv7t comes with a standard 1600 x 900 resolution screen over the 1366 x 768 standard screen on the dv6t.  The larger size of the dv7t also supports dual hard drives, which is something many power users look for as it enables either large internal capacity storage or a fast SSD and high capacity HD to get the best of both storage worlds.   And finally, if you just prefer bigger screens and don’t care about mobility (this is a desktop replacement after all) then the extra 2-inches of diagonal viewing on the dv7t might be considered a positive.

HP dv7t-7000 out of the box

The Pavilion dv7t-7000 can be configured and ordered direct from HP.com, it starts at $899.99 before any coupons, but there’s invariably a coupon to help knock that starting price down.  At the time we ordered this there was a 33% of coupon so the configuration under review was $921:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-3610QM
  • Screen: 17.3” HD+ (1600 x 900 resolution) glossy finish
  • Graphics: Nvidia GT 650M with 2GB GDDR5 memory
  • Memory: 8GB DDR3 (2 DIMM)
  • Storage: 1TB 7200RPM HD (Seagate)
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium Ion, quotes 5.75 hours of battery life
  • Backlit keyboard with number pad
  • Built-in WebCam
  • Weight: 6.94lbs
  • Ports: monitor out, HDMI, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, headphone jack, microphone jack, media card reader
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Optical Drive: Blu Ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
  • Dimensions: 16.38” x 10.79” x 1.24” (Width x Depth x Height)
  • Warranty: 2-year

The price of $921 is not bad for these specs considering it’s a capable gaming laptop and often times such models cost over $1,000.  Upgrades made included the Nvidia 650m graphics card (+$125) and backlit keyboard (+$25).   Included in the box that you receive with a shipped dv7t-7000 are the following:

You don’t get the luxury unpacking experience that an HP ENVY laptop offers with its black box and fancy packaging, but that’s not really an important aspect of why you buy a computer.  Inside the box you get the following contents:

  • dv7t-7000 Quad Edition Laptop
  • Power brick and charge cable
  • Documentation and warranty
  • Battery (6-cell standard)

You don’t get restore disks or fancy packaging and a free sleeve like you do with the ENVY lineup of laptops.

The new design on the Pavilion dv7t-7000 series is what HP is calling part of their Mosaic of product designs.   I’m not totally sure what that means, but according to HP this Mosaic design encompasses using precise lines and tapered profiles along with premium materials such as aluminum and magnesium.

HP dv6t-7000 lid

The only color choice you get with the dv7t-7000 is midnight black, last year you could get either a dark umber brown or silver finish on the dv7t but HP decided that since black is often the most popular color they’d just roll with that one option.  The midnight black design used on this model is appealing, it offers subtle aluminum brush strokes and silver accent finishes.  The HP illuminated logo on top is also a nice touch, though it probably doesn’t carry the same cache’ an Apple logo does…

HP dv7t-7000 open

The screen and keyboard deck area are also all black like the lid, the bezel around the screen has a glossy finish that picks up a lot of fingerprints.  The keyboard tray area has the same glossy finish, though the keys themselves are a matte finish.  The glossiness is pretty annoying as it tends to show dust.  The palm rest areas have a brush metal finish, the same as that on the lid.  The side areas of the dv7t-7000 where the ports are located have a silver color finish, the material used here is plastic, but it’s solid and durable feeling nonetheless.  At the top of the keyboard and below the screen are two mesh like speaker grilles.  There are quad speakers and then a subwoofer on the bottom, together they offer very good sound by laptop standards.

The bottom of the dv7t-7000 has an easily removable panel, all you need to do is use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove one screw to slide out the panel and get access to the two hard drive bays, memory slots, and PCIe slot where the wireless card is located.  You can see this in the below picture, the battery is also removed in this image:

dv7t-7000 bottom panel removed

The dv7t-7000 uses a mix of aluminum and plastic in its construction, the case is thick making it very rigid and durable.  The lid and palm rest areas use an aluminum chassis while the side of the laptop are a sturdy plastic material.  The bottom appears to be a rigid plastic.

HP offers two options for the 17.3” screen, the standard screen is a glossy 1600 x 900 while the premium upgrade is a 1920 x 1080 resolution matte finish screen.  The dv7tqe under review has the standard screen, if you can afford it I would recommend the premium screen upgrade as it is a much better screen.  The standard screen isn’t horrible by any means, but it’s not as good as the 1920 x 1080 screen on the dv6t-7000 I reviewed earlier this year.  Below are various angles of the dv7t-7000 screen showing that colors do distort as you tilt the screen back:

dv7t-7000 1600 x 900 screen dv7t-7000 1600 x 900 screen
dv7t-7000 1600 x 900 screen dv7t-7000 1600 x 900 screen

While viewing angles may not be as good as the premium 1920 x 1080 screen option, the colors are still very good when viewed straight on and the screen is nice and bright.

One of the major reasons people are interested in buying the dv7t-7000 Quad Edition is the Intel Core i7 Quad core processor that uses the new Ivy Bridge platform and Nvidia GT 650M graphics all for under $1,000.  The price to performance features are compelling.  For typical work tasks such as using the web or office applications this laptop flies.  You really don’t need as much power as is under the hood here to do regular work.  If you’re into photography and do a lot of rendering or video processing, the Core i7-3610QM on board will shine and churn through that type of multimedia software too.  You can upgrade to even faster Core i7 offerings, but for most that’s really not going to be necessary.

We ran a few benchmarks to see how the dv7tqe stood up to laptops we’ve reviewed in the past.   PCMark 7 measures the overall system performance:

pcmark 7

 

Laptop PCMark 7 Score
HP dv7t-7000 Quad Edition, Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GT650M, 5400RPM HD 2,660 PCMarks
HP dv6t-7000 Quad Edition, Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GT650M, 7200RPM HD 2,877 PCMarks
HP Envy 17-3000, Intel Core i7-2670QM, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 7200RPM HD 2,703 PCMarks
Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 – Intel Core i7-2670QM, Nvidia 555M 1GB, 8GB RAM,5400RPM HD 2,573 PCMarks
Dell XPS 17 (Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, Nvidia 550m, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM) 1,995 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SA (Intel Core i5-2430M 2.50GHz, AMD Radeon 6630M, 4GB RAM) 2,002 PCMarks

 

3DMark Vantage is an older but more popular 3D benchmarking suite, the dv7 went over the 10,000 score mark on this which indicates very good graphics performance:

3dmark vantage

Laptop 3DMark Vantage
HP dv7t-7000 Quad Edition, Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GT650M, 5400RPM HD 10,066
HP dv6t-7000 Quad Edition, Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GT650M, 7200RPM HD 10,108
Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 (Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA 640M LE, 8GB RAM, 5400RPM HD) 5,587
HP Envy 17-3000, Intel Core i7-2670QM, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 7200RPM HD 6,970
Dell XPS 17 (Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, Nvidia 550m, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM) 4,747
HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition – Intel Core i5-2410m, Intel HD 3000 Graphics, 6GB RAM 1,845

You’ll notice in the above scores the dv6t-7000 Quad Edition I reviewed just outscored the dv7t-7000, that’s because it had a faster 7200RPM drive as configured.  If you upgrade to a 7200RPM drive or better yet SSD in the dv7t then you’ll get better scores than you see here.

Stay tuned as we continue to work with and play around on the dv7t-7000 and post a full review in the next few weeks.  Until that time take a look at a video tour I shot of this model:

HP Pavilion dv7t-7000 Tour

Here are links to the latest HP Laptop Deals!



7 Responses to HP Pavilion dv7t-7000 Quad Edition First Thoughts

  1. Confused July 4, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    If you purchase an SSD, is it possible to move the OS over to that drive for faster boot-up time? if so, how is that done?

    • Robert July 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

      Yes, with either a backup of the factory image or a fresh install of Windows 7. Personally, I usually do a fresh install using a copy of Windows 7 and use ABR to copy and restore the activation key and certificate.

  2. J.H. Snider July 7, 2012 at 12:52 am #

    Can the dv7t-7000 run dual external displays as can the envy? The dv7t-7000 has two external display ports, an HDMI and RGB, but they are so close together that it isn’t possible to plug them in simultaneously with conventional cables. Perhaps HP did this to discourage dual external displays. The included Nvidia GT 650M does support dual external displays.

  3. Negatus San July 12, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    I’m looking forward to your review and hope you spend extra time on heat & noise (I’ve read many complaints about this), overall build quality, and the track pad (one of HP’s common weaknesses).

    PS. Is http://www.studentbuyingguide.com/ affiliated with this site? If not, they are posting your articles.

    • Andrew Baxter July 12, 2012 at 11:36 am #

      We’ll be sure to include that in the review for the heat & noise. The build quality IMHO is very good for a consumer laptop. Not quite on par with an EliteBook maybe, the biggest issue I see is that they seem to have QA issues where some people get slight build problems such as a wavy keyboard. I haven’t seen this, but enough people have reported it that the problem must exist. Yeah, we have an article sharing agreement with that site so it’s legit.

  4. John July 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    I wanted to keep this laptop as I liked it alot. I went through two replacements 2nd one had mSSD cache which made huge difference in OS and programs loading time. But as some reviews mentioned it has wavy keyboard the middle left section of the keyboard appears to be higher. Even though I overlooked this, there are other issues that relates to build quality the backlit keyboard wasn’t the greatest as you can see the light dots of the LED lamps if you look to the keyboard from top the problem tend to vanish. I upgraded my wifi to the intel which is by the way (intel centrino N2230) it didnt worked for me, I know this is a case by case thing as it depends on alot of factors. The other thing that bothers me with HP they are so good in bloating their laptops, as it took me couple hours to remove everything, even though I did system restore with minimum image recovery MIR to remove all the bloatware you still get alot of HP services and programs that runs in the background to check your system and taking up resources. You still can do clean install but at the end I found myself checking and managing HP QA and after my 2nd replacement I decided to give up. Customer service was really nice and helped me alot with both replacements, no question asked 21days returned policy is really nice and the laptop is really nice looking but it just didnt worked for me.

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