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HP Pavilion dv6750ea 15.4in Entertainment PC - HP Pavilion dv6750ea
Thanks to its GeForce 8400M GS, this Pavilion offers PureVideo HD decoding, which takes a load off the modest Core 2 Duo T5450 1.66GHz processor when playing videos using software that supports it. The GeForce chip should also allow you to play the occasional game, scoring a 33.7 average at medium quality settings in Trackmania Nations Forever. For anyone who doesn't know either the game or the 8400M GS, a word of caution: a gaming powerhouse this is not, but you should be able to run older games at the native resolution.
Considering this is a budget laptop, the above average graphics card does result in a slightly smaller hard drive than we would have liked. But to be fair, 160GB should be plenty for the average user, and external drives are cheap and plentiful. There doesn't seem to be any other noticeable evidence of cost-cutting, and Windows Vista Premium zips happily along on the provided 2GB of RAM.
Battery life is good, consistently beating Samsung's R60+ despite featuring discrete graphics. The only surprise was that it got beaten by Samsung's 17in R700 in DVD playback, but then the R700 did unusually well in our power tests and in other tests the HP does have a slight advantage.
Other features of note include the webcam and microphone integrated above the screen, and the DVD-writer's LightScribe technology, which allows you to burn text and images onto compatible discs using the drive's laser. We also rather like the included remote control, which when not in use tucks neatly away into the ExpressCard slot.
Before wrapping up, it is worth mentioning HP's custom software, specifically the HP Total Care Advisor (TCA) and the ironically named QuickPlay (it's not particularly quick), HP's equivalent of Windows Media Player. TCA opens up a beautifully presented window that combines PC health and security with printer and Internet management, remaining battery life, backup options and remaining disk space on all hard drives. While experienced users might find it unnecessary, they'll know how to get rid of it. For the less computer savvy, it's another nice touch by HP. Likewise Quickplay, despite looking attractive, is slow, supports a bare minimum of formats, and will only appeal to the true computer novice.
Lastly, when buying the dv6750ea, just keep in mind that an extra tenner will get you two extra inches of screen and 90 more gigabytes of hard drive space in the R700. On the other hand, 17in is a different class of notebook, and the dv6750ea offers more perks like the included remote.
Despite facing strong competition from the likes of the Dell Inspiron 1525, HP is giving you a lot for your hard-earned pounds with the Pavilion dv6750ea. The curvaceous and unique design might not appeal to everyone, but those to whom it does will have something to show off with pride. Its beauty isn't just skin-deep either, with the Geforce 8400M letting you play modest games and dealing well with video for the bright screen, while a large range of inputs makes it quite versatile.