As we started testing the dv6-2113sa we were actually really interested to see how it compared to the Samsung R580 and its Intel Core i3. It's rare that we get to directly compare AMD and Intel based laptops, especially in two laptops that are so similarly priced and specified.
Our results were encouraging. While the HP does have the advantage of a 64-bit OS, it's good to see it keeping pace with the Core i3 powered Samsung. It's only marginally slower overall and it actually outperforms the R580 in some tests where the 64-bit OS helps out - you can see this in the full results page at the end of the review. Note also that it comfortably bests last year's Intel-based dv6, the HP Pavilion dv6-1240ea.
Even more impressive was our subjective experience of the performance, where the fast 7,200rpm clearly has a beneficial impact on system responsiveness. Most of what you do with a PC is loading applications, rather than performing CPU intensive tasks, so getting in and out of applications quickly has a massive impact on perceived performance.
In gaming, meanwhile, the HP is beaten by the Samsung by around 10fps in Trackmania Nations, but its 41.7fps is still a solid, playable rate. This makes it more than good enough for less demanding casual games and older titles, though the 13.2fps in STALKER shows more advanced titles are beyond it.
Clearly AMD hasn't solved all of its weaknesses where mobile computing is concerned, though, as the results from MobileMark 2007 show. In the Productivity benchmark the dv6 (2hrs, 37mins) lasted nearly an hour less than the Samsung R580 (3hrs, 31mins). There's little difference in the DVD test, however, which shows AMD's problem (a long standing one) is its efficiency in low-power, near idle states.
Despite these caveats, in a large laptop that weighs 2.94kg, relatively average battery life is a far smaller concern than it might be on a more portable laptop. As such it's not a reason to avoid the dv6-2113sa, particularly as in every other respect it's an outstanding laptop.
It's almost ridiculous how much you can get for your money. As all-round laptops go, the HP Pavilion dv6-2113sa is among the best we've seen. It has more features than a £550 laptop has any right to, sports a refined and well-made chassis and performs admirably. A Recommended Award is the least it deserves.