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HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa review

Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score


User Score


  • Functional design and decent usability
  • Screen is great when viewed from correct angle
  • Above average battery life
  • Affordable


  • Screen has poor viewing angles
  • Cheap-looking design

Review Price £375.00

Key Features: 11.6in 1366 x 768 glossy screen; Dual-core AMD E350 CPU; 3GB RAM, 320 GB 5200rpm HDD; Radeon HD 6310 integrated graphics

Manufacturer: HP

Straddling the line between laptop and netbook, budget ultraportables like the Lenovo X121e are a great option if you’re looking for something that does the basics and does them well. Unlike actual netbooks, little budget laptops like this can handle HD video playback and offer HD Ready screens, usually at 11.6 inches - a little larger than traditional 10in netbook affairs. This is exactly the kind of creature HP’s Pavilion dm1 is.

Based on AMD’s Fusion processors, in this case the dual-core E350, backed by up to 4GB of RAM (3GB is standard) and a 320GB hard drive while running Windows 7 Home Premium, specifications will be adequate for the daily needs of the majority of users. Price hovers between £300 and £400, though the cheapest we could find it at the moment was £375.

When it comes to style, the Pavilion dm1-3200sa seems to be suffering from dissociative identity disorder: on the one hand it wants to display the elegant touches of a classier, premium ultraportable (like curved sides and white LEDs for power and status), while on the other its cheapness becomes obvious the moment you examine it closely.

The lid at first appears to be the kind of glossy affair we love to hate, but as it turns out it’s actually far more resistant to fingerprints and smudges than most of its ilk and its unique pattern is reasonably attractive. Unfortunately things deteriorate from here. First off, the dm1-3200sa is rather bulky, tapering to a thickest point of over 3cm. It’s also quite heavy for a non-rugged 11.6in machine, at 1.56kg.

Opening the laptop up reveals a silver inside finish that attempts to give the impression of metal but fails miserably. It’s especially distracting on the bezel, which is already fairly large to begin with and is made to seem even more so by this finish. The black keyboard and touchpad look like they’re parts of a different machine altogether.

Build quality is decent, yet relative to the brick-like Lenovo X121e it just feels a bit Fisher Price, which is especially disconcerting when you remember that they weigh the same. We hope the Pavilion’s heavier battery will make up for the difference by lasting longer (a reasonable expectation as HP claims a whopping nine hours maximum!). To sum up, the dm1-3200sa isn’t unattractive or poorly constructed, but neither is it especially attractive or sturdy.

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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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