HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea - 13.3in Laptop - HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


From a purely subjective point of view, performance is very good. HP has had the sense to install a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium, making good use of the 4GB of RAM available. Moving in and out of applications is snappy and responsive, no doubt aided by the faster than usual 7,200rpm hard drive. Only very intensive tasks cause a problem since the low-voltage CPU isn't best suited to HD video editing and similar tasks, but photo editing isn't a problem. HD video playback on the other hand is handled fine, with 1080p MOV's playing smoothly with around 10 to 40 per cent CPU usage. YouTube HD flash video plays okay, too, though our Internet connection was the limiting factor in testing the higher bit-rate iPlayer HD.

It's a similar story in our benchmarks. While the dm3 is bested by the Intel-powered Acer Aspire 1810TZ and Samsung X520 in PCMark Vantage, it's only by a small margin and the HP even holds an advantage in some tests, particularly the HDD and gaming tests. Indeed, if you do fancy some very casual gaming, then the dm3 is your best bet. In TrackMania Nations it managed a reasonable 18.2 frames per second, over double the Acer. This doesn't make it a gaming system, but there's a little more headroom there if you don't mind making some compromises - at the very least you'll be able to play some old classics.

Battery life, traditionally a problem for AMD, is good as well. Admittedly, both the Acer and the Samsung come out on top, but the HP has a larger screen and a lower capacity 57 Watt-hour (5,026mAh) battery than the Acer, so the four hours and 51 minutes of productivity is a good result. Even with little power saving you should be able to get a solid four hours or so of Internet browsing out of this machine.

Our only remaining comment about the dm3 is that, in common with the dv2, it does run warmer than we'd normally expect. It's nothing like as toasty, or noisy, as the dv2 was and when we say 'warm' we mean exactly that, it's still perfectly comfortable on your lap. All the same, compared to Intel powered systems - which tend to run very cool - the dm3 does produce more heat.


Were it not for the somewhat sluggish network connectivity, we'd probably award the Pavilion dm3-1020ea a 9/10. All the same, it still gets a Recommended Award thanks to outstanding design, decent performance and a keyboard whose quality belies the affordable asking price. Anyone in need of a flexible, portable laptop will find the dm3 an excellent servant.


February 16, 2010, 5:46 am

"All the same, compared to Intel powered systems - which tend to run very cool - the dm3 does produce more heat."

This is just naff. My 'Intel powered system', (an HP DV5-1098xx with a 35W T9500 CPU) burns my lap whilst just surfing the web, the CPU will happily get to 90 C, unless its on a desk. If your making a comparison, tell us what your comparing it to please!

All the same the laptop looks like a bit of a bargain, very nice finish. I wish you could spec a backlit keyboard though! And tbh its about time AMD released some better dual core chips for laptops..


February 16, 2010, 6:46 am

This looks like a nice notebook, I don't need the disc drive and I appreciate a good keyboard, the networking would be fast enough for me. I'm not a fan of glossy screens though (asus has been the worst offender making grease-magnets eg the Eee 1101HA, although their new Eee PC M101MT is finally a break from that trend)

Andy Vandervell

February 16, 2010, 2:26 pm

@xenos: That particular comment was in reference to other Intel CULV laptops, not full-power systems. Perhaps I should have made that clearer. :)

Neil B

February 16, 2010, 2:35 pm

I bought this laptop last October and I have to say I've been very impressed. I bought it as a low powered/portable alternative to my main PC for a bit of web browsing and a few other bits. But it's just as capable as my main PC and I find myself using this more. The only downside for me is the battery life isn't as good as I'd hoped. Even with the brightness turned right down I can only get a few hours of web-browsing between charges.


February 16, 2010, 2:51 pm

@Neil B: Out of interest, could you be more specific on 'a few hours'? Two? Five?

Neil B

February 16, 2010, 3:44 pm

"A few" = 3. In my book anyway ;-)


February 16, 2010, 4:39 pm

Given is is 24.8-31.8mm thick, it seems unreasonable for HP to suggest there is no room for an integrated optical drive - the 13.3" MacBook Pro is 24.1mm at its thickest (and at 2.04 kg only a smidgeon over the HP's 1.9kg in mass) and incorporates a slot loading superdrive with consummate ease. But then I guess you get what you pay for...


February 16, 2010, 4:40 pm

This is almost what I need. A backlit keyboard and sleep powered USB would have been the icing on the cake. Are there any laptops out there with these extra features?


February 16, 2010, 4:44 pm

Apologies for bypassing the Trusted Reviews price comparison, but this is available at Amazon for £450 (today at least - they have a habit of jumping prices around). That's got to make this a massive bargain.

Andy Vandervell

February 16, 2010, 5:13 pm

@John McLean: You shouldn't underestimate the engineering challenges in integrating a drive like that and keeping costs/weight down. As you say, that's why the MacBook Pro costs as much as it does.<br />

<br />

@Aidan: Amazon is actually listed on our shopping, but the price hasn't updated yet. In any case that's a massive deal, nice spot.


February 16, 2010, 9:09 pm

bit anal but is ethernet really pronounced eeeethernet as in the video review,gee I spent my whole live pronouncing it without any stresses.


February 16, 2010, 9:11 pm

@betelgeus - yep, Eeeethernet I'm afraid. Time to relearn ;)


February 17, 2010, 9:07 pm

Just got a TM2 - very similar in many ways. It does have a touchscreen on it though. You guys should really check it out.


February 18, 2010, 3:29 pm

@NeilB or anyone

What's the fan noise like? Could you have it next to your bed. My Sony VGN was a like a hair dryer, my Samsung Netbook has almost no noise at all. Also have you used the Bluetooth for 3G tethering to a mobile phone? Could somebody explain to me what the "perceived" weakness of the WiFi adapter, I didn't understand this point. My 3G router is "IEEE 802.11g/b" whatever that means.

Thanks in advance.

Neil B

February 18, 2010, 8:33 pm

@Etoile, I haven't noticed the fan noise to be particularly loud but then I normally have my headphones on/the TV on in the background/the misses talking so it's hard to say what it'd be like in a quiet room at night. I think the perceived network weakness is the fact that the Eeeeeeethernet (sic) is not gigabit and the wifi isn't 'n'. The fact your router isn't 'n' either won't matter to you anyway.

As for tethering via Bluetooth, I've not tried it yet but your Bluetooth connection will be the bottle-neck here so don't expect a 3G internet connection.



February 19, 2010, 2:55 am

Thanks Neil. Missus yapping away. LOL


March 20, 2010, 8:52 am

I'm considering getting this laptop, and heard rumors that the CPU and wireless have been upgraded:


Can you guys help me out and let me know if the SU4100 Intel CPU would possibly run better than the AMD?

And if the 802.11a/b/g/n wireless is better than the b/g or the same? (sorry i don't know the difference)

Thanks in advance for any help.

-hanshi (States)

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