We’ve reviewed the HP dv6t Quad Core and dv6z Quad Core and so to complete the trifecta we will now review the HP dv6t Select Edition. It’s easy to compare these three different laptops, they’re all exactly the same in terms of design and build: they all have a 15.6” screen, sturdy metallic chassis and an appealing brush metal design. However, each are different in terms of processor and graphics card options. The dv6t Select Edition, or dv6tse for short, is a more powerful version of the standard HP Pavilion dv6t but not as souped up as the dv6t Quad Edition. As such, the dv6tse carries a lower price tag but still has ample power and performance for typical users. The HP dv6tse starts at $699 while the dv6tqe starts at $899 before any coupons are applied.
Here’s a table comparing the HP dv6t Quad, dv6z Quad and dv6tse laptops:
|HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition
- AMD Quad-Core A6-3400M
- AMD Quad-Core A6-3410MX
- AMD Quad-Core A8-3500M
- AMD Quad-Core A8-3510MX
- AMD Quad-Core A8-3530MX
- AMD Radeon 6620G
- 1GB GDDR5 Radeon HD 6750M Graphics
|HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition
- Intel Core i5-2430m
- Core i5-2520m
- Core i7-2620m
- Intel HD3000
- 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6490M
- 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M
- 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M
|HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition
- Intel Core i7-2670QM
- Intel Core i7-2720QM
- Intel Core i7-2820QM
- 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6490M
- 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M
- 2GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M
As you can see, the only big difference between the dv6tqe and dv6tse is the processor selection, the graphics card options are actually the same. The dv6zqe has a completely different chipset and graphics options, it uses the AMD Llano family APU. To find out more about the HP dv6zqe check out the review I recently did.
Price wise the dv6tse sits in the middle, which makes sense because as we’ll find out later the performance aligns with this as well. The dv6tse is probably the best choice of the three for most people because of the fact it has ample performance, can be purchased for under $700 with coupons or an HP student discount, and has great upgrade options and expandability if you want to add performance.
Here are the specs of the dv6tse review unit we have:
- Processor: Intel Core i5-2410m 2.3Ghz, 3MB Cache
- Screen: 15.6” LED BrightView (glossy) screen with 1366 x 768 resolution
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000
- Memory: 6GB RAM
- Storage: 640GB HD 5400RPM
- Optical Drive: Blu-Ray player and SuperMulti DVD burner
- Wireless: Intel 802.11 b/g/n
- Battery: 6-cell Lithium Ion
- Web Camera: HP TrueVision web cam and microphone built-in
- Ports: 4 USB (2 USB 2.0 and 2 High Speed USB 3.0), HDMI, VGA monitor out, Ethernet LAN port
- Dimensions and Thickness: 14.88″ (W) x 9.71″ (D) x 1.23″ (min Height)/1.39″ (max Height)
- Weight: 5.8lbs
The Intel Core i5-2410m is the base level processor for the dv6tse but is actually just perfect in terms of performance for most users. It is overclockable to 2.90GHz from its standard speed of 2.30GHz, so if you need an extra boost of speed for a demanding task it can kick it up a notch and do so. The more expensive processor options make sense for anyone looking to use demanding applications, such as CAD design or processing of large photos and video files, but for the rest of us saving money by choosing the Core i5-2410m is the way to go.
HP dv6t Select Edition Video
If you’re a visual learner I’ve put together a quick overview video of the dv6t Select Edition to accompany this review, just click play to view it below:
HP dv6t Select Edition Video Review
HP dv6tse Build Quality
The dv6t Select Edition is one of the better built consumer laptops I’ve used in a while. It’s on par with business-class laptops in terms of sturdiness. The case and lid are very rigid and have little flex. The only noticeable flex on the body can be found on the bottom under the optical drive housing, this is fairly typical of any laptop as it’s hard to reinforce the hollow area an optical drive requires. The keyboard has a bit of flex on it in places as well, that will be covered more in the keyboard section. Overall the dv6tse is a very sturdy laptop that feels like it will be able to take some abuse and keep on ticking.
HP dv6tse Design
The HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition uses the same body as all the other dv6t models. The look of the Pavilion dv6t was updated this year so that the standard color is what HP calls a “Dark Umber” finish. The lid has a nice dark aluminum brush finish that’s both professional and stylish. The HP logo on the lid lights up when the laptop is on. The hinge design is pretty cool, it’s a drop hinge style design with an elbow like bend to it. The hinges are a silver color and provide a nice contrast to the darker lid.
Upon opening the dv6tse you’ll see the dark umber design is carried over onto the keyboard and palm rest areas. The touchpad has a cool light accent that goes around it, unfortunately there is no backlit keyboard option.
The speaker grille at the top of the keyboard is a silver color, and again, provides a nice contrast to the much darker umber color around it. The sides of the laptop where the ports are found are also a silver color. The bottom of the laptop is black and made of plastic.
Overall the design is attractive and will appeal to a wide audience. There’s certainly nothing offensive to be said about the design, it does tend to pickup fingerprints rather easily but not as much as some of the glossy plastic laptops on the market. As a note, there is an option to “upgrade” to a steel gray finish instead of the dark umber finish, however it comes at the cost of $25 which I don’t get because frankly the dark umber looks more appealing. To each his or her own though, style tastes are personal.
HP dv6t Select Edition Weight and Size
The Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition is not a laptop designed to be carried for miles around campus, it qualifies as a desktop replacement style laptop. It weighs in at 5.8lbs without the power cord and adapter, but add in the weight of the adapter and the travel weight goes up to ZZZ lbs:
The dv6t is also not what you’d call a thin laptop, its thickness ranges from 1.23” to 1.39”. That’s still thin enough to fit in a backpack, but it will take up quite a bit of space. The point being, the HP dv6tse can be moved around a home or office without much effort, but carrying it around a campus would be quite a workout and not exactly what this laptop is designed for.
HP dv6tse Screen
The HP dv6t Special Edition offers two different screen resolution options. You can go with the standard 1366 x 768 resolution or pay $150 extra for the 1920 x 1080 resolution display. I kept the price down and went with the 1366 x 768 resolution. This is quite a low resolution for a 15.6” screen laptop and if you can afford it I’d recommend upgrading to the 1080p screen. One thing to consider is that if you want to do gaming on medium to high settings on the native screen resolution you will get better performance with this lower resolution. However, if you don’t care about gaming and just want to fit more on the screen and have a great movie watching experience viewing Blu-Ray 1080p movies then the higher resolution is a nice upgrade. When you watch hi-definition movies at the 720p (1366 x 768) resolution on a 15.6” screen you can actually notice some pixelation, which detracts from the viewing experience, so if you’re a movie buff the upgrade might almost be necessary.
The screen brightness on the dv6t Select Edition is amazing, it’s almost too bright at the top setting if you ask me. I left the brightness two notches below the top for a comfortable level that was easy to read. The bright screen made viewing angles from the side very wide. Vertical viewing angles were so so. Overall the dv6t screen is better than the average laptop screen, but it is not as gorgeous as say an IPS technology screen used on the Apple iPad that offers wide viewing angles.
The screen has a glossy finish, which is good if you like movie viewing as it provides bolder colors and great contrast. However, it also picks up a lot of reflections and if you’re working on it 8 hours a day that can get annoying and cause eye strain.
HP Pavilion dv6tse Performance
The HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition offers admirable performance for the price. While it doesn’t carry the Intel Quad Core processor offering, the Core i5 selections available are all very capable performers for their class and price. I got the Intel Core i5-2410m processor that sports a 2.30GHz clock speed, it overclocks to 2.90GHz using Intel’s TurboBoost technology. That means if the dv6t needs an extra performance boost above and beyond it’s intended clock speed it can draw more power and complete tasks more quickly. Then the rest of the time it uses a more battery friendly standard clock speed of 2.3GHz, which is still fast enough for multi-tasking and chugging through HD video.
The standard graphics option for the dv6tse is the integrated Intel HD 3000 card. The Intel graphics are good enough for some light 3D gaming, serious gamers that want to play 3D games on high frame rate settings would need dedicated graphics though. HP offers dedicated graphics in the form of the AMD 6490M or 6770M, they’re fairly expensive upgrades but if you want to use this laptop for gaming they are worth it.
HP dv6tse PCMark Vantage 64-bit score:
Here’s a comparison of how the HP dv6tse stacks up with its PCMark Vantage score relative to other recent laptops I have used:
||PCMark Vantage Score
|HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition – Intel Core i5-2410m, Intel HD 3000 Graphics, 6GB RAM
|HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition – AMD A8-3510MX, AMD 6620G Graphics, 6GB RAM
|HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition – Intel Core i7-2630qm 2.00GHz, 6GB RAM
|Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM
|Dell Vostro 3450 – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 4GB RAM
|Dell Inspiron N411z – Intel Core i3-2330m 2.30GHz, 4GB RAM
|Lenovo ThinkPad T420 – Intel Core i3-2310m 2.1GHz, 2GB RAM
Based on these benchmarks, you can see the rough order of performance between the dv6t family of laptops goes like this:
- HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition ($849 starting)
- HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition ($699 starting)
- HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition ($599 starting)
- HP Pavilion dv6t ($599 starting)
The 7,173 score the dv6t Select Edition achieved with PCMark indicates this is a very capable processor and not a whole lot less powerful than the Quad Core family of Intel processors. The Quad Core processors cost $150 – $250 more than the Core i5 and for most people I don’t think justifies the extra cost to performance ratio unless you simply demand on having the best and fastest. If you need a better graphics card than the Intel HD 3000 I would recommend spending $100 to upgrade to the AMD 6770M graphics, this will enable you to do some more intensive gaming or 3D design work with applications such as SolidWorks. With the Intel HD 3000 graphics card the 3DMark score came in at an unimpressive though not entirely dismal 1,845:
||3DMark Vantage Score
|HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition – Intel Core i5-2410m, Intel HD 3000 graphics
|HP Pavilion dv6z Quad Edition – AMD A8-3510MX, AMD 6620G Graphics
|HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Edition – Intel Core i7-2630qm, AMD 6770M Graphics
|HP Pavilion dm4x – Intel Core i5-2410m 2.30Ghz, 6GB RAM, Intel HD3000 Graphics
Obviously if you want better graphics performance an upgrade to the AMD 6770M card that got 6,373 in the Quad Edition will give you a huge boost, over 3X the performance.
For those interested in the Windows Experience Index score for the dv6tse you can see the details of the 5.8 rating below:
HP Pavilion dv6t Select Edition Battery Life
The battery life of the HP dv6tse varies a lot upon what tasks you are using it for and what level screen brightness you set it to. If you opt for dedicated AMD graphics, the graphics can be switched between the dedicated AMD graphics card on board and the integrated Intel graphics. The Intel graphics are less powerful and as such use much less battery power. The battery test I did assumed a best case scenario in which screen brightness was set to mid-level and wi-fi was left on with a browser open that refreshed every 1-minute. Under this usage the battery lasted 5 hours and 30 minutes - that’s very good for a laptop of this size. With a 15.6-inch screen laptop you assume the battery life may just be an afterthought since it’s generally a desktop bound size, but it’s certainly nice to have the longer battery life available if you need to travel with this laptop.
HP Pavilion dv6tse Keyboard
The HP dv6tse keyboard is nice and spacious, it stretches from edge to edge and includes a built-in number pad. The design is a chiclet style, which is becoming almost standard on consumer laptops these days. The keys have a nice amount of travel and in general are pleasant for typing on. There is a small amount of flex in certain places on the keyboard if you push down hard, but nothing that’s going to affect typing or probably even be noticed by the average user. I already mentioned the fact that it’s a disappointment HP does not offer a backlit keyboard option for the dv6t, you have to step up to the Envy line of HP laptops to get that.
A nice standard feature HP includes is a fingerprint reader, this is handy as an alternate form of login for Windows and can be used on any website that requires use of login, the software will store your login credentials after you login to a website for the first time and from then on a finger swipe can be used to login. Another feature I like is the fact the top row Fn keys act as dedicated media type buttons, for instance you can just push F10 to turn up the volume, you don’t have to hold Fn + F10. This is how the top row of keys work on a Mac and what customers prefer these days, so HP made a smart choice here.
HP Pavilion dv6tse Touch Pad
The HP dv6tse touch pad is nice and large making it easy to move the cursor all the way across the screen with one swipe or do multi-finger gestures such as two-finger scrolling. The touch pad uses Synaptics drivers so you get all of the basic capabilities that comes with synaptics touch pads such as pinch to zoom, two-finger rotation, flick. You have to enable them in the touch pad control software though, the more advanced features are not turned on by default.
A nice design touch is the light that surrounds the touch pad to make it easy to find in the dark:
It’s a very cool look, and kind of leaves you wishing for more and having a backlit keyboard.
The two buttons below the touch pad are dedicated buttons and easy to use, however they are a little loud with their click so if you’re in a quiet room with others it could annoy a few people.
HP dv6tse Ports
The dv6t Select Edition has the latest USB 3.0 port technology which offers faster transfer speed to USB 3.0 compatible devices. This is great when you need to transfer data to an external storage device, transfer speeds are on the scale of 4 – 6 times faster using USB 3.0 versus 2.0. You also get the an HDMI port so that you can output video to a monitor or LCD screen. Here’s a complete review of the ports you get on each side of the dv6z Quad Edition laptop:
HP dv6t left side: VGA monitor out port, HDMI port, Ethernet LAN port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 microphone port, 2 headphone ports
HP dv6t right side: Optical drive (Blu-Ray in this case), 2 USB 3.0 ports, power adapter
HP dv6t front side: Media card reader slot on the left side, Beats Audio speakers on each side
HP dv6t back view: no ports, just the hinges
HP dv6t Select Edition Conclusion
The HP dv6t Select Edition is probably the best overall choice among the dv6t family options for the average user. It won’t break the bank with its $699 starting price and can be had for any even better price after HP coupons are used. It offers enough performance for most people’s needs, the Intel Core i5-2410m is a great choice and that middle of the road option that isn’t too expensive yet far from being a cheap underperformer. I think of the HP dv6t Select Edition as the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord of the laptop world; it’s a very respectable machine, looks nice and offers solid performance and quality and avoids being ridiculously flashy and overpriced. Some people like flashy overpowered laptops just like they do cars, and that’s fine, but if you’re just looking for something with utility and quality the dv6tse has your name on it. There is room for improvement on the dv6t Select Edition, the keyboard is not backlit which is disappointing, the keyboard has some flex to it and the glossy screen bezel picks up fingerprints and requires frequent cleaning. The overall performance will be more than adequate for 95% of users, but for those that run the most demanding of programs it might not quite cut it.
In conclusion, the number of features and the build quality you get for price of the dv6t Select Quad Edition is a bargain. The dv6tse is a great option for many people looking for a laptop that can be portable when necessary but for the most part would serve well as a home bound machine that offers great multimedia capabilities and above average performance with common computing tasks.