Buying Guides

HP Pavilion dv6t Select Review: Value Mainstream Computing

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Here’s the quick skinny: the HP dv6t Select was a good purchase. I bought it as my old Toshiba AMD Turion II, 3GB RAM, 200GB HDD laptop overheated for the 20th and final time. Even before the Toshiba’s death I knew it was time to keep up with the times and get a new Laptop.

There were 3 things I was looking for in a new laptop:

  1. I could work on it, which means multi-tasking.
  2. Play the newest video games with reasonable speed.
  3. Enough hard drive space to work some video projects I’ve wanted to get to.
  4. Fit conveniently within my Kanken backpack.

1) The Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM makes multi-tasking a breeze. Running Firefox and Internet explorer with 20 tabs and several windows at the same time would slow my old machine down, add iTunes, instant messaging, and a Google sidebar and we’re looking at significant reduction in performance. The dv6t select has no problems keeping up with my work.

2) Gaming was a big difference. The LED Screen and 1GB Radeon HD discrete GPU makes the graphics sharper than I even imagined. StarCraft II performance was a HUGE improvement compared to my old machine’s endless loading time. Games like Empire Total War, which I use to think were inertly slow, turned out to be many times faster with my new dv6. I can even run iTunes or Windows Media Player in the background streaming music without gaming interference, that’s a big deal. If gaming had been the highest priority I might have gone w/ the Core i7 upgrade but for the price the Core i5 performance is a good balance.

3) The spacious and modern hard drive is also a nice addition. I have no worries downloading masses of files to my dv6t. On my old machine I found myself deleting the priceless Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld Reunion episodes to save space. With the dv6t, those days are gone. Video projects shouldn’t be a problem space wise, if I ever get to them…

So the dv6t pretty much dominates my list of priorities but there are a few other things worth mentioning:

I’ve had a few unexplainable crashes. I run this machine a lot so I can’t expect this to never happen, but I do wonder how the machine will run 2 years from now.

The switchable graphics initially was annoying me with a pop up message every time I unplug the machine. The lower end graphics defiantly save the battery power but its a rare to find myself away from a plug anyway so when I frequently take the machine around the house and replug it back in. I get a small but noticeable nuisance, but thankfully this has been solved by a recent driver update.

On the left hand side of the keyboard are a few HP macro keys. They take you to several different programs, one takes you to the calculator (that could be useful) but its right next to the CTRL key so an accidental tap is a frustrating habit of mine. The worst key is one below the Escape key, it takes you to Windows Live Mail, which takes 10 seconds to load and can frustrate the hell out of me if I hit it

The dv6t Select doesn’t include a 1394 Fire Wire port which would allow me to transfer my video projects directly from my camera in the highest quality, so I’m going to have to buy an additional adapter or some sort of USB transfer device – I’ll check out a good turbocharger review to find the best one.

The HP dv6t Select can be picked up for around $625 after coupons. At this price, you can usually expect a Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM.

Current Specs and Options for a HP dv6t Select Laptop:

  • 2nd Generation dual-core Core i5 and Core i7 options
  • Intel HD 3000 graphics option or Radeon 7470M, 7690M GDDR5 discrete GPU
  • Usually Free upgrade to 8GB of RAM, max system memory option of 16GB of RAM
  • Hard drive and storage space of 750GB to 1TB HDD, or a 160GB solid state drive
  • SuperMulti 8X DVD R/W drive or Blu-ray player & Writer
  • Standard 1366 x 768 15.6″ LED display or the higher resolution 1920 x 1080 HP Anti-Glare LED display
  • Color choices are “dark umber” or “steel gray”
  • WiFi b/g/n or Bluetooth

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