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We recently took our first look at HP's Pavilion dv6 range with the dv6-1240ea, going away very impressed and handing out a Recommended Award. Its strength lay in its excellent all-round performance and the outstanding value it represented given the features on offer. Now we're looking at the dv6-1210sa, which is an AMD-based variant that slots in below the ever important £500 barrier, retailing for £479.99.
As we've already looked at the dv6 chassis in some detail, we won't go into any great detail again, but suffice to say it works on most levels. While the predominantly glossy finish won't be to everyone's liking, the combination of imprint designs and contrasting shades make an eye-catching first impression. A good keyboard, with a useful number pad, ensures it's a nice laptop to use, even if the mirror-like touchpad (and the laptop as a whole) needs a little attention to keep clean.
Where the dv6 really stands out, however, is in its connectivity and it's all the more impressive at this low price-point. There are four USB ports in total, with one doubling up as an eSATA connection for fast access to external storage. Mini-FireWire, a 54mm ExpressCard slot and a trio of audio jacks provide ample multimedia options, as do the HDMI and VGA video outputs. There's even the option of connecting one of HP's docking stations, which could prove useful if you're looking for a desktop replacement.
Audio is also very good for a laptop in this price range, with the Altec Lansing branded speakers boosted by SRS processing. What effect this combination actually has could be argued, but whatever is responsible the end result is pretty good. Bass isn't plentiful but there's a pleasing level of clarity and no obvious distortion, even at the high volumes the stereo speakers can reach.
Screen quality on this model is much the same as on it's more expensive siblingl. At 15.6in in size and with a 1,366 x 768 native resolution it offers reasonable real-estate, while colour production is rich and punchy and black levels quite deep for a cheap laptop. Viewing angles, however, aren't too wide, so you need to be in the right place to get the best view of things. Overall, though, the HP delivers an excellent audio visual performance for such an affordable machine.