Last year, HP’s best selling laptop was the HP Pavilion dv6t Quad Version, so it’s no surprise that this model was the first to receive the Intel Ivy Bridge update before the rest of the laptop lineup of the company. The new 2012 HP dv6t Quad Edition, which we will refer to as the dv6tqe for short, is aimed at buyers who want a laptop with ample power to replace their bulky and immobile desktop PC but still have a laptop that is sizeable enough to walk around or use in their lap. The dv6tqe has a new design that should cater to a wider audience, as well as some enhanced features and, of course, major performance bonuses over the last model years.
We ordered this PC directly from HP to get the full shopping experience, as is typical for our reviews. This is not a review model sent from HP, so you get an honest opinion on purchasing, delivery, and what is received. On 30th April, the day it was first available, we ordered the dv6t-7000 edition, and it came to my door on 15th May.
With its black box and fancy packaging, you don’t get the luxury unpacking experience that an HP ENVY laptop provides, but that’s not really a major component of why you buy a computer. Inside the box, you get the following contents:
- dv6t-7000 Quad Edition Laptop
- Power brick and charge cable
- Documentation and warranty
- Battery (6-cell standard)
You don’t get recovery discs; you’ll have to burn those if you want them. No manufacturer includes restore discs these days, so it’s not just HP shorting you here.
These are the specs of this dv6t Quad Edition under review:
- Processor: Intel Core i7-3610QM
- Screen: 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) matte anti-glare finish
- Graphics: Nvidia GT 650M with 1GB GDDR5 memory
- Memory: 8GB DDR3 (2 DIMM)
- Storage: 750GB 7200RPM HD
- Battery: 6-cell Lithium-Ion, quotes 6 hours of battery life
- Backlit keyboard with number pad
- Built-in WebCam
- Weight: 5.5lbs
- 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: 14.88” x 9.71” x 1.22” (Width x Depth x Height)
With the dv6t-7000 and dv7t-7000 series, HP has moved to a new design that they call part of the Mosaic of HP product designs. While that’s all a bit of push, to be quite frank, what it means in real terms is that HP has taken a look that features detailed lines and tapered profiles and uses quality materials such as aluminum and magnesium in their flagship products.
Dv6tqe is only offered in one color, midnight black. They offered this model last year with a dark brown and silver style, but as it turns out, black is the most common color choice, so HP just settled on that this year. The black model is classic, and the elegant aluminum brush strokes are a nice touch, and that’s a good thing. The lid features a silver rim and an illuminated HP logo, it’s a classy look from above, and it doesn’t pick up too many fingerprints.
Inside, the look is all black again, and the bezel has a glossy finish around the screen that picks up a lot of fingerprints. The keyboard tray’s surface has the same glossy finish, while the keys are a matt finish themselves. The areas of the palm rest have the same metal brush finish as you see on the top. The laptop sides where the ports are located have a silver color finish, plastic is the material used here, but it is a sturdy and solid feeling. Two mesh-like speaker grilles are at the top of the keyboard and below the panel. I should note that the speaker grille under the screen is just stuck on; when removing the protective plastic layer after unboxing, I had the bad luck of peeling mine off a little. Unfortunately, to secure these speakers to the body, HP should have used a snap-in technique.
The dv6tqe’s bottom is made of what appears to be a very tough and durable plastic. Located here is a subwoofer. Using a release button, you can quickly detach the battery and access the hard drive, wireless card, and memory easily with the removal of only one screw.
The dv6t-7000’s overall look is fantastic, it’s sleek and attractive, the branding of the red Beats Audio logo at the top is subtle but really looks cool against the black.
The materials used in the dv6t, as stated earlier, are a mix of aluminum and plastic, making it a rigid and firmly constructed notebook. The areas of the lid and palm rest use an aluminum chassis, while a rigid plastic material is on the side of the laptop. It appears that the bottom is hard plastic. There is no flex to be found on the laptop’s body anywhere.
I was one of the first to order this laptop when it became available on HP.com, as I previously mentioned. As such, I believe HP was still working out a few QA problems as the fit and finish were not up to the usual standards I would have with a notebook from HP. With the plastic hand sticking up slightly, the palm resting on the right side was slightly sunken. Also when I removed the plastic protective shipping material, the speaker grill on the bottom of the screen peeled off a little. Although I believe this is a poor showing on HP’s part, I contacted the company to report these problems and get a replacement unit. You have a 21-day window to make a return at no cost, no questions asked. HP is great for returns and exchanges.
Overall, while you’re going to find that dv6tqe is a high-quality laptop with the outstanding build quality, HP will stand behind their product if you have any problems and repair or restore what’s wrong.
HP provides two options for the 15.6-inch screen, a glossy 1366 x 768 is the standard screen, while a 1920 x 1080 resolution matte finish screen is the premium upgrade. The dv6tqe under review has the premium screen, at the time it was a $150 upgrade and well worth it in my opinion. This screen is fantastic, with excellent viewing angles and exact reproduction of color. That’s that one on top of the incredible 1920 x 1080 Full HD resolution that allows you to comfortably fit two windows on the screen at the same time or see several spreadsheet rows and columns. As it eliminates glare on the screen and prevents eye strain, the matte finish is also much appreciated.
If you can afford it, it’s one of the best displays I’ve seen in a while and the viewing angles are so fantastic that it acts like an IPS screen. It’s a no brainer to get the updated 1920 x 1080 screen.
Of course, one of the major reasons people are interested in buying the dv6t-7000 Quad Edition is because the new Ivy Bridge platform uses the powerful Intel Core i7 Quad-core processor. That, combined with the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M graphics card, makes this a fantastic gaming machine, and it’s also affordable at a price of under $1,000 after coupons. Needless to say, this computer flies for standard work tasks, such as using the internet or office apps.
You just don’t need as much capacity to do daily work as it is under the hood here. The Core i7-3610QM on board will also shine and churn through that kind of multimedia tool if you’re into photography and do a lot of rendering or video processing. You can upgrade to even quicker Core i7 offerings, but that’s not really going to be necessary for most.
To see how the dv6tqe measured up to laptops that we have tested in the past, we ran a few benchmarks. As new technology is on board, you might say the argument is unfair, but it at least highlights the fact that you get a nice performance boost by purchasing the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware.
PCMark 7 measures the overall system performance, the dv6t beat the ENVY 17-3000 from earlier in the year making it the most powerful HP notebook we’ve reviewed.
|Laptop||PCMark 7 Score|
|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|
It tests the performance of 3D graphics and is FutureMark’s most recent 3D research benchmark. The Nvidia 650M really starred; the Nvidia GT640M LE in the Lenovo Y480 we reported easily trounced.
|HP dv6t-7000 Quad Edition, Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GT650M, 7200RPM HD||2,365|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 (Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA 640M LE, 8GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||1,333|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470p (Intel Core i5-2450m, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||1,339|
|Dell XPS 17 (Core i5-2410m 2.30GHz, Nvidia 550m, 6GB RAM, HD 7200RPM)||1,041|
3DMark Vantage is an older but more common 3D benchmarking suite, with the dv6 soaring past the 10,000 score mark, which is very impressive.
|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|
The dv6t-7000’s only ‘weak spot’ is its standard hard drive capacity, so you can upgrade to an SSD for even better overall performance. However, since many people want it for multimedia and storing a lot of files using such a big laptop, I believe the standard hard drive would be more popular thanks to its much larger capacity and lower price. It’s possible to get up to 1TB of storage. You will get a whopping 2TB of storage with the dv7t Quad Edition and its dual bays!
The Windows Experience Index (WEI) score helps to bring home the message that the storage is the weak spot, it scored a 5.9 while all other components scored above 7.
HP offers a 32GB mini-SSD cache, which is called an mSATA SSD accelerator. That’s not going to store the OS on it and provide SSD as boot-up output, but it can assist with caching and speeding up the overall experience. Essentially, AnandTech has a strong review of this technology using Intel’s Smart Response Technology and functions like memory. I didn’t choose this $50 option, so I can’t comment on the benefit from the results.
The dv6t-7000 with the Nvidia 650M will be able to play any modern game in terms of gaming quality, although you will have to change the settings a bit to get the frame rates you want for the latest games such as Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City. Playing games at a resolution of 1366 x 768 would also help tremendously with frame rates.
One thing to remember is that thanks to the Nvidia Optimus technology, the dv6t can switch between Intel’s HD 4000 integrated graphics and Nvidia graphics. This means you only use the power-hungry graphics when you need to, saving on power and thereby offering longer battery life.
Keyboard and Touchpad
A chiclet-style keyboard is used by the dv6t and there is enough room to fit a number pad on the right side. The keys have a fairly short travel distance, which is nice for typists with quick contact, but this could result in more keypress errors if you’re a sloppy typist. You just have to press down to find some flex, since the keyboard is firm. The backlighting alternative is most certainly my favorite part of the keyboard. Having the keyboard backlight is $25 extra, but it is well worth the cost. The look is cool and in a dimly lit space, it’s all the more useable.
As a standard feature, HP has a fingerprint reader, this is good as an alternative form of Windows login and can be used on any website that needs login utilization, the software will store your login credentials when you first log in to a website and will use a finger swipe to login from then on.
The top row Function keys (F1 – F12) 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.
The touchpad is a good size and works well. It uses synaptic drivers and has all the functionality you can expect from scrolling and multi-touch. Unfortunately, the touchpad area is not backlit like the keyboard, which is strange because the touchpad had lighting on the dv6t model from last year. The mouse buttons under the touchpad are let down, they have very little traveling distance and don’t give compelling feedback while they work perfectly. The feel is pretty chintzy.