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HP Pavilion dv6750ea 15.4in Entertainment PC - HP Pavilion dv6750ea
HP has chosen to site the power connector on the right side of the laptop. While this is a little awkward for people who have become used to a rear location, it leaves the back free, with the front used for audio ports and the wireless switch. Speaking of ports, the dv6750ea is resplendent with them. Not only do you get three fairly well-spaced USBs, but an SD/MSPro/MMC/xD memory card reader, ExpressCard slot and more unusually a selection of VGA, S-video and HDMI ports are all present and accounted for.
HP's curvy portable even offers an expansion port for an HP docking station and mini-FireWire, and surprisingly - in a good way - two audio-out 3.5mm headphone jacks, so you and your pal/partner/pet can listen to movies and music together without disturbing anyone. It's one of those small touches that elevates the dv6750ea above the crowd. The only other connection you could possibly wish for is eSATA, though this is more of a desire than an expectation.
Other unusual touches include little icons that show where most ports are located without having to look around the sides - hardly revolutionary but welcome nonetheless. Blue backlit touch-sensitive media controls set just above the keyboard are beautiful and responsive and though some may still prefer physical buttons, this is one of the better implementations.
Much like the rest of the dv6750ea so far, the keyboard is rather good for the money. Layout is fairly standard, and - unlike some - HP puts its Fn-key on the inside of the Ctrl-key. Response is a bit of a mixed bag; the keys are a tad noisy, but overall feedback is good - certainly no-one in the office disliked it.
A feature that's often seen on HP laptops is a little button set just above the touchpad that acts as a hardware on/off switch. This is another one of those little things you'd wish every manufacturer would include, and I would have liked to have praised HP for it - but after using the dv6750ea for a while I can't. Unfortunately, rather than being a feature, this switch is a necessity. Thanks to the location and width of the touchpad, it is ideally positioned for your palms to interfere with your typing, randomly moving the cursor in the middle of writing a sentence. This is simply bad design, and quite disappointing after all the dv6750ea's highpoints.
But let's see if HP's laptop can regain our respect and live up to its ‘Entertainment PC' credentials. Starting off with audio, the dv6750ea features one of the more imposing speaker grilles I've seen on a laptop. Altec Lansing, though not a particularly premium name in audio, is responsible for this stereo effort - and while the sound quality is actually not as impressive as looks suggest, this is definitely one of the better budget efforts. Bass has all the impact of a fruit-fly splatting a windshield, and treble can occasionally degenerate into cat-strangulation; but the speakers offer some decent volume, excellent separation in the mid-range, and a truly surprising sense of depth. Honestly, it's more than you might expect at this price point.
Meanwhile, the 15.4in, 1,280 x 800 display features the usual glossy coating, which is always something of a mixed blessing. Suffice to say that the coating can have a very positive impact on the vibrancy of colours and may improve contrast, but makes viewing in environments with ambient light difficult, while often causing you to see reflections of what's behind you.
As glossy screens go, however, this specimen is rather good. While poor viewing angles do cause some radical colour-shift when viewed from above, there is hardly any backlight bleed and light-distribution is consistent. Colours are exceptionally vivid, and once you turn the brightness down a bit blacks are deep, though - as usual in laptop screens - at the cost of some dark detail. As long as you can avoid strong ambient light sources, the dv6750ea is a pleasure to watch movies on, with above average audio and visual quality.