The HP Pavilion dm1-1030tu is a stylish thin and light, 11.6-inch ultraportable laptop with a slightly larger form factor than most regular 10-inch netbooks. It comes with a low voltage processor but offers better performance than any mainstream netbook available in the market these days.
Like the Pavilion dm3, the HP Pavilion dm1 is part of HP’s Thinspiration range. The HP Pavilion dm1 has a 12-inch form factor, similar to some of our large screen netbook recommendations. The Pavilion dm1 has a stylish two-toned black-on-silver color scheme. Its screen lid is glossy black (with a hint of circular patterns) and the keyboard, palmrest and touchpad has a rich silver finish. The laptop’s certainly good looking, and despite its slim form factor, the Pavilion dm1 is very well built and weighs a comfortable 1.5-kg–with a six-cell battery. It has a 11.6-inch LED-backlit screen which supports a maximum screen resolution of 1366×768 pixels. The screen is nice and bright, evenly lit and is good for watching movies or reading text. A 1.3MP webcam is recessed on its top screen bezel, paired with a microphone.
The Pavilion dm1’s keyboard has keys similar to the kind found on the HP Mini 110-1018tu netbook. The keys are nice and big and have a slight inward curve to them–certainly unique and comfortable to type on. There’s no flex to speak about and I had no problem typing on the Pavilion dm1’s keyboard for a fairly long time. However, like the Pavilion dm3, the Pavilion dm1’s touchpad is poor. It’s fairly large and supports virtual scrolling but its smooth–a little too smooth than required–and its feedback isn’t optimal. There’s a learning curve involved with getting used to the HP Pavilion dm1’s touchpad. In short: thumbs up to the Pavilion dm1’s keyboard, but thumbs down to its touchpad.
The Pavilion dm1 is quite similar to the Acer Aspire 1410 thin and light laptop in terms of dimensions and internal hardware. The HP Pavilion dm1’s offering of an Intel Pentium dual-core SU4100 1.3-GHz processor, 3GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 320GB hard drive is better than the Acer Aspire 1410’s configuration. It also comes with Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth connectivity, three USB ports, 5-in-1 card reader, VGA-out, and audio jacks. However, the Pavilion dm1 doesn’t incorporate Wi-Fi 802.11n connectivity, but it comes with an HDMI-out port–convenient to connect the Pavilion dm1 to an LCD TV or a projector to play digital content. Like the Acer Aspire 1410, the Pavilion dm1 doesn’t incorporate a DVD writer, but bundles in Windows 7 Home Basic 32-bit operating system. The HP Pavilion dm1’s hardware is definitely better than any netbook we’ve reviewed, and also the Acer Aspire 1410 for that matter.
The HP Pavilion dm1’s performance, as expected from its hardware configuration, is better than any netbook. Our synthetic benchmarks revealed the Pavilion dm1 is better than the Acer Aspire One, the recently reviewed MSI X430, and similar to the Lenovo IdeaCentre C300 all-in-one desktop PC (except in terms of 3D video and graphics performance). Its dual-core processor lets you multitask more efficiently than compared to a netbook: apart from surfing the Web, listening to music, and working on spreadsheets, the HP Pavilion dm1 lets you watch movies without a hitch. We had no trouble playing smooth, stutter-free 720p HD videos. Video on the 11.6-inch widescreen is pretty good, and audio from the onboard Altec Lansing speakers (placed under the front lip, along the chassis’ front edge) is better-than-average. However, the sound is muffled when you keep the Pavilion dm1 on your lap, but it sounds fine while it’s perched on a desk.
The Pavilion dm1’s six-cell battery lasted 2 hours 52 minutes in our battery tests, on high performance preset and full screen brightness — that’s better than the Acer Aspire 1410, but still low compared to what a mainstream netbook offers. Expect close to six hours of Web browsing over Wi-Fi on a single charge. Granted the Pavilion dm1’s battery life isn’t as good as a netbook, which sells for much less, but it is pretty good nonetheless.
For US$764, the HP Pavilion dm1’s superior hardware makes sure it outperforms any other netbook we’ve reviewed. It is slim, stylish, and easy to carry around–given its 12-inch form factor. It does have a clunky touchpad, though–so try it out before buying one. We recommend the Pavilion dm1 to anyone who wants a netbook–only with greater performance levels. It offers good battery life and is a decent pick for people interested in a thin, ultraportable laptop–without spending big bucks.
PCW RATING: 78/100 (GOOD)