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HP Pavilion dm4 - Performance, Battery Life and Verdict

Andy Vandervell

By Andy Vandervell



Our Score:


While superficially similar, there are a few important differences between the dm4 and the Samsung Q330's hardware. HP's machine has the advantage of a Core i5 processor against the Q330's Core i3, the former of which has the ability to increase the speed of individual cores when the other isn't in use - something Intel calls Turbo Boost. In the dm4 you also get a faster, 7,200rpm hard drive to help boost overall speed and responsiveness.

HP Pavilion dm4

Consequently the dm4 enjoys a noticeable advantage in our system performance testing, though in practice both systems perform very well. Still, it's nice to know some of your processing power isn't going to waste when not using multi-threaded applications, and the 64-bit OS means you can upgrade the RAM without penalty. Both are outperformed by the Acer Aspire Timeline 4820TG, but it's £100 or so more than both.

One thing the dm4 isn't is a gaming machine. It just about coped with our undemanding TrackMania Nations test, but anything more taxing will quickly have it begging for mercy. If gaming is a priority for you the Acer is worth looking into as it has a dedicated graphics chip, but it's more expensive, not especially well-designed or made, and less portable, so it's not the perfect alternative.

HP Pavilion dm4

Of course, any laptop intended for day-to-day mobility needs good battery life, and the dm4 delivers handsomely. It comfortably bests the Q330, and almost reaches the six and a half hour mark – reduce the screen brightness and it would probably reach this landmark.

This isn't quite enough leave home without your charger, but it is enough to ensure it's only required sporadically. It's also enough to enjoy any film, with the dm4 lasting a minute shy of four hours of DVD playback. Hell, you could probably sit through the director's cut of Das Boot and have juice to spare.

HP Pavilion dm4

This is impressive, but it's simply the final layer of polish on an extremely accomplished product. The dm4 has all the prerequisites of a day-to-day workhorse, but adds a level of visual flair and attention to detail too rarely seen in laptops of this price. We can scarcely remember such a good laptop costing so little.


There are only one or two very small things we'd change about the dm4: one being the touchpad position; and the second being the somewhat hopeful notion of adding switchable graphics. Such ideas aside, it's an absolute corker of a laptop considering its accessible price.


July 29, 2010, 1:04 pm

I've been really impressed with HP's build quality and value recently, so much so that I bought the entry level DM1 (worth a review? Cough cough ;)). Thanks for this review.


July 29, 2010, 4:20 pm

screen is still glossy though... what's the point of a sub-2kgs if you can't really use it in all light conditions...


July 29, 2010, 5:32 pm

Again with the 'groovy' designs! Can we see some reviews of the HP business machines please? Like the HP Probook 5310 or 5320 : they are similarly specced and don't appear to be an ode to marmite, in fact they look very presentable indeed.



July 29, 2010, 10:14 pm

1,366 x 768, acceptable for 1995, not 2010.


July 30, 2010, 4:08 am


What are you on about? That's plenty for a 14" screen.


July 30, 2010, 1:05 pm

On the spec sheet it lists a 34mm expresscard slot but I can't see one in the photos. Is this right? If it does have it then it would be very useful for pro audio cards, high speed compactflash readers and more eSATA channels.

This is very nearly perfect. I'd have preferred it with 4GB RAM as standard but HP tend to release different versions of this line so I'm sure that will appear. I'd have preferred the Core-i3 at the same speed because Turbo is causing problems with some music creation software but it may be something that can be disabled in the BIOS or patched within Windows at some point similar to how SpeedswitchXP worked.

Lastly the on/off switch on the trackpad is great. I wish more manufacturers would put one on their laptops too.

Andy Vandervell

July 30, 2010, 1:13 pm

@Wedge: Sorry, that's not correct. I'll amend.

Gary Barnett

August 6, 2010, 4:38 pm

Question rather than comment. Does the lack of gaming potential only apply to recent, high-end action gaming? Or would this be more than capable of running strategy games like Civilization IV and Age of Empire?

Gareth Armishaw

August 31, 2010, 5:36 pm

I'm totally stuck between the Samsung Q330 and the HP Pavillion DM4, both of which have good reviews.

Im not a gamer and will be using for standard activities + watching movies etc.

Your review suggests the HP is a better package than the Samsung but I have seen conflicting opinions else where?

Ala Miah

October 13, 2010, 7:10 pm

If you thought 649.00 was 10/10 on value, you'll be amazed at how much I paid for it.

I bought this laptop from America for £563.00 including delivery and all taxes. Could have bought it for £533.00 but didn't have my card with me at that time. It's going to arrive on Friday and I can't wait to play with it.

Doug Boyle

November 22, 2010, 2:58 am

Just bought mine at Costco in the US, my son is bringing it over this week. 500GB 7200rpm drive, 4gigs of RAM, all the goodies, Core i5 processor. Can't wait. Cost was 439 pounds! Felt pretty good about that!


January 2, 2011, 1:46 am

Indeed, getting these (or pretty much anything else) from the US is the way to go. Just picked my DM4-1165dx up from Buffalo NY, total cost was £435.


January 11, 2011, 6:21 pm

These really are great laptops. I got the dm4 1060ea just before Xmas and i have been thoroughly impressed. Not only does it have 4GB of DDR3 but also a 500GB, 7200rpm HDD and a ati mobility HD 5450 which makes it nice and quick at most things. The best part is I got it all for about £560, from COMET!!!

It can run quite a few games too, GRID, Just Cause 2, F1 2010, UT3, COD (the last 4 of them) and more. All playable.

Only issues are the bloatware, buy a clean copy of win7 64bit and install it over.


June 15, 2011, 2:37 am

So, I'm not quite sure if this was truly tested correctly, as I've gone and bought this Pavilion dm4 today, correctly set it up and the battery life, although is advertised as 6.5hrs, is in actual fact 1hr 27mins.

You should read some of the comments on the actual HP Support site -


Its a common problem, myself being just one of many who bought this based on the long battery life, however its a marketing ploy from HP.

Shame this wasn't tested properly.


July 24, 2011, 5:27 pm

please help me while i am changing the wallpaper on my
HP Pavilion DV6-6119TX it shows the some kind of internal error please help me to fix this problem ...

Julian Bell

September 22, 2011, 3:58 am

I loved this laptop until my SECOND hinge just broke not even 3 weeks out of the warranty period. The build quality is extremely poor and there is obviously an inherent design flaw; the first broke around 6 months after purchase, to the extent that first, every other backlighting LED at the base of the screen died and then eventually every LED went so the screen was not backlit (and impossible to see). The retailer replaced the lid/screen unit, and repair work is guaranteed for 90 days and obviously the whole thing was guaranteed for a year from purchase date. This hinge hasn't started affecting the output of the monitor yet, but I can tell it is only a matter of time until my £650 laptop becomes an expensive paperweight.

Julian Bell

November 22, 2011, 2:13 am

Update: Backlight went again today. I had epoxied the hinge the day after posting my initial comment and the glue's held up well, the hinge is much stronger. The LEDs were fine when I was using it earlier today, I opened it up to use later and they'd all gone out, the LCD panel was still operating though. I've ordered an LCD cable to see if that's the issue (given that it's inside the hinge and subject to a lot of motion), if this doesn't fix it, I'll have to try a new panel. All this on a computer that's not even 16 months old.


March 9, 2012, 9:30 am

That would be perfect for gaming but i would upgrade the Ram to two 3GB sticks = 6GB ram total and you have a Intel i5 which are fast and heavy work horses. http://www.techiecop.com/la... so yes i would say you have a nice laptop to game with but if you want a desktop you can upgrade more parts to it but that laptop the one your planning to buy will do fine just upgrade the ram later on.

jami beans

March 10, 2013, 8:05 pm

I have had nothing but trouble with my dm4 pavillion. It's junk. I spend at least 5 hours a week just to be able to use it. Between having to restore, rehook up my wi fi connections, play with printer and other programs, and now even taking the battery out in order to get it to eliminate a full yellow or black blank screen at start up. I wouldn't pay another nickel for it. My graphics crashed the first month I bought it. I could go on for days if I had the time to keep a log of the daily issues. My 8 year old dell desktop has given me less trouble in 8 years than I have with this one on a monthly basis. Would not recommend.

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