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HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa - Connectivity, Usability, Screen and Speakers

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


Connectivity is what you would expect on a sub-£400 machine. Along the dm1-3200sa’s left we have a USB 2.0 port and HDMI, while the right houses an SD card slot, headphone/microphone jack, twin USB 2.0 ports and VGA.

Hidden behind a flap at the end is Gigabit Ethernet, which is a nice if somewhat unnecessary touch considering most consumers probably use Wi-Fi. Wireless credentials include the usual Wi-Fi N and Bluetooth. The obvious absentee here is USB 3.0, which you really don’t find on too many budget laptops (the Acer Aspire 5750 being a notable exception).

Usability is a bit of a mixed bag, though overall this little Pavilion holds its own. The chiclet keyboard offers well-spaced matt keys and a good layout. There’s very little travel to them, but despite this shallow feedback, keys offer a nice click.

Niggles include the sharp edge of the palm-rest which can make it uncomfortable to rest your hands (depending on angle), and a slightly loose, rattling sound to a few keys – though thankfully there’s little flex. While typing on this laptop is pleasant enough, it doesn’t hold a candle to the experience provided by the superb Lenovo X121e, which really shows how keyboards should be done.

The touchpad, meanwhile, is small but responsive, and its smooth surface feels great. Unfortunately it’s the kind of buttonless affair we’re seeing ever more of, and with a slightly stiff right-click this is far from the ideal implementation. However, if you’re a tap-to-click kind of person this is a non-issue.

Getting to the 11.6in screen, we have a fairly standard glossy, 1,366 x 768 TN-based affair. Viewing angles are as poor as ever, with strong contrast and colour shift when not positioned centrally. However, under ideal conditions the display holds up surprisingly well, with vibrant colours and singularly impressive dark detailing; the dm1-3200sa effortlessly resolved every shade on our greyscale without effort, and there was no light bleed or serious backlighting inconsistency. This means that as long as you tilt it right and watch alone, HP’s little Pavilion laptop provides a great visual entertainment experience.

Audio from the front-mounted Altec Lansing speakers is likewise impressive if you keep in mind this ultraportable’s size limitations. There’s practically no bass and it’s definitely inferior to the Harman/Kardons found on the Toshiba NB550D netbook, but the HP’s sound is nonetheless detailed and without noticeable distortion.


January 23, 2012, 7:32 pm

The HP-DM1-32xx series have been phased out more than 4months back. The new series the HP-DM1-4xxx should have been reviewed instead.


January 23, 2012, 8:59 pm

Thanks for your comment.
As per the Note before the Verdict of our review (page 3), we are aware that this model is "phased out". We were sent the DM1-3xxx instead of the 4xxx by mistake, but figured we might as well review it for the reasons mentioned: it might help those still looking to buy the laptop (whether new or pre-owned), and it's a good basis to review its successor.


January 24, 2012, 1:33 am

Why on earth are you reviewing this now? Why didn't you review it when it was first released almost 1 year ago?

I bought mine then at just over £300 which represented amazing value as commented by all the other gadget / technology sites that reviewed it, and gave pretty good reviews at the time. Of course 1 year on it's not so hot, but then neither is a core duo Macbook Air now.........!

Can't wait for your review of ZX Spectrum!


January 25, 2012, 2:35 am

Have to agree with the above two comments! After purchasing the HP dm-1 4020sa for £299 quite recently, HP deserve credit for creating a windows 7 64-bit laptop, flawless 1080p playback with radeon graphics (with HDMI out), fantastic keyboard, lovely bright led screen and Beats audio... all with 5hour+ battery life on normal usage.

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