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HP Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition – Performance, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

You would expect some serious performance from a £950 laptop and, for the most part, the Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition delivers. The CPU of choice is Intel’s Core i7-2670QM, a quad-core processor with support for up to eight virtual cores. It runs at 2.2GHz by default but can Turbo clock up to 3.1GHz, and will happily chomp its way through even the heaviest workloads. Incidentally, it’s the same chip we saw powering the Wired2Fire Vector Elite, a £1,500 gaming laptop.

HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition Performance

8GB of RAM complements the CPU’s performance nicely. For permanent storage we have a 1TB hard drive, but no SSD. This is even more problematic as the HDD is a rather slow 5,400rpm model, resulting in relatively slow bootup times and long app loading times. On a system costing this much we would at least have expected a faster 7,200rpm drive or indeed an SSD. On the bright side, HP’s ProtectSmart tech will stop the drive if its accelerometer detects a fall, leaving your data more chance of surviving intact.

HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition Gaming

Graphics duties are handled by an AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 1GB of RAM. The 6490 is a budget to mid-range discrete card, slotting in below the 6500, 6600 and 6900 series. But at least it’s the top of its specific range, and will just about handle light gaming at low resolutions. TrackMania Nations Forever, for example, ran at a relatively smooth 55.1fps (frames per second) average, albeit at 1280 x 720 resolution and on Medium Detail. On the other hand, firing up Stalker: Call of Pripyat on the same settings got us an unplayable 25.7fps, so anyone who’s half serious about 3D gaming should look elsewhere.

Before we check out battery life, it’s worth mentioning HP’s CoolSense tech. This uses a sensor to detect whether the laptop is stationary (on a desk) or being used on your lap, and automatically adjusts clock speeds accordingly to regulate heat. This ensures you don’t feel like you could be frying an egg on your lap and keeps those fans from spinning up too much if you’re blocking any of the vents. Indeed, the Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition stayed nice and quiet throughout our testing.

HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition Battery Life

Generally, desktop replacement laptops don’t fare too well when it comes to lasting away from the mains, but after the superlative performance of the Pavilion dm4-2101 with its nine hours, we had high hopes for this dv7. We weren’t disappointed either, as this 17in HP managed over six hours – that’s one of the best results we’ve yet seen from a consumer machine with a large screen and power-hungry innards.

Unfortunately, as with the other Beats Edition laptops before it, the £950 Pavilion dv7-6b51ea’s main stumbling block is its price, as you can easily get laptops with similar specifications – including screen resolution, CPU/GPU power, memory and storage - for under £800. However, they might not look as nice and most certainly won’t last as long on a charge, so if you’re looking for an attractive 17in laptop that you can take out and about, it may well be worth the premium.

Also consider that Apple will charge you more than double for a similarly configured MacBook Pro - £2260, in fact, and that’s without a Blu-ray drive. It might offer considerably more for that money - better build, better screen, slimmer profile, longer battery life, backlit keyboard and an arguably nicer OS - but in practical terms it’s simply not worth that difference. We'd much rather have this laptop plus a new iPad 3 and iPhone 4S, for instance. However, if you don’t mind a slightly smaller screen and don’t need Blu-ray, the award-winning Samsung Series 7 Chronos is a far better choice than either.

Verdict

The HP Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition, and specifically the dv7-6b51ea model under review, is a stylish 17in desktop replacement laptop that’s crammed with power despite its slow hard drive. You do pay a premium, but if you want the closest thing to a 17in MacBook Pro or you need a large laptop that will last you hours away from the mains, it might just be worth it.

Overall Score

8

Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 9
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7
  • Screen Quality 8
  • Value 7

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David Horn

March 25, 2012, 6:10 pm

Not really on to compare it to the 17 inch Macbook Pro and then complain about not being good value for money - the equivalent Macbook is nearly £1,500 more without the 1TB hard disk and meaty graphics card.

Matthew walker

January 7, 2013, 10:48 am

Would just like to say that although the dv7 is good for a while, it quickly deteriorates, mine after 6 months is now extremely loud the fan has been cleaned numerous times yet it is still very loud. As well as this the dv7 has a serious issue with the screen not turning on, which today has become even worse with it not turning on at all. The battery life also becomes rather shocking, even worse than my previous acer, which I got rid off for this reason, battery only lasts 45 minutes max, and that merely using word processor not the Internet. Overall I terrible laptop, and I would definitely recommend not buying it

FreeSpirited Wolves

March 7, 2013, 11:42 pm

I would just like to say that I've had the dv7 for 2 and a half years, and the older it gets, the worse it is. Let's just say that mine has been cleaned 4 times so far and it still runs terribly. It is so bad that I have been through numerous cooling fans, and 3 cans of cleaning air. Funny thing is that 11 months after I purchased it, the sides next to the fan started chipping off. Overall, this is an okay laptop for a few months, but if you actually plan to keep it for a few years and to watch videos and listen to music then don't buy it.

disqus_fGhRGN9uyN

March 24, 2013, 4:13 pm

Build quality is poor. If palm of left hand rests too heavily on computer while typing the cursor jumps around the page....time to repair document. In 14 months has crashed twice, requiring reloading everything. All the HP software, or whatever it is, slows things down, adds no value and is intrusive. Never an HP again.

Anonymous

April 12, 2013, 11:23 pm

Very very poor laptop in all honesty. The cooling fan has been the main issue which has been replaced twice and even with an external cooling 'pad' (connected via USB) the laptop still overheats. Not quite sure what the deal is with the beats audio but the sound quality is dreadful, sounds like the sound is coming through a tin can.

Deryn Cullen

May 13, 2013, 11:50 am

Couldn't agree more. The internal audio is the worst I've heard on a laptop and has caused numerous conflicts when working with video and sound editing software. I use an external audio interface, but had a lot of trouble persuading my digital audio workstation to accept the external interface as the default device. I too have purchased an external cooling pad with 3 hard-working fans to deal with the overheating issue, and the machine still overheats when performing CPU-intensive tasks. Also comes with a below average graphics card and no update support for the drivers. I have wasted a great deal of time and money on this machine.

Roger Ashton

May 16, 2013, 6:37 am

I bought this lappy for school. I was running vm servers and win7 for a while. It did seem to get hot quick, so I wiped it clean and installed ubuntu with the apache server. I watch everything on it because it has replaced my cable box, it is my web server, database and development environment and everything else I need for a home based business.. I paid 1200 for it a few months after it came out and I am happy with the performance after the linux conversion.

Emma

August 5, 2013, 2:41 am

a great laptop, since HP coolsense looks after my fan speed and and stops overheating completely, also, with the beats audio i didn't know what you had to actually go into control panel to turn them on that's why there's been a few complaints on previous comments on the speakers being tinny and low scale, but since i had them turned on they are immaculate, crisp and keeping their great standard along with my dr dre beats headphones they make quite the pair, the processor is probably the best around and keeps my system fast and glitch free just what i need for college, the screen is perfect for blu-ray downloads of films and dvd's i couldn't ask for better... i could sit here all day and talk about all the good points :) but the only let down is the battery, its very appalling, i would expect that to be better for the price but i guess it would get run down quite easily because of the amount of things it has to keep powered up so its expected... and saying all this I've had my HP pavilion DV-7 for a year and 7 months now and its working like a dream :) i love it! i would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone!

Brian Cruz

August 23, 2013, 5:12 pm

My dv7 just crashed and I've only had it for a year. it overheats all the time. I'm assuming it was hardware failure due to the long and intense heat. I had bought a 3 fan cooler for it but it still overheats. I've wasted so much money into this computer and I wished I had never bought it and just got a stand alone with a monitor to begin with. I think I'm switching to acer because it's all i can afford at the moment. hooray for 12 inch screens...

Ricky888

September 10, 2013, 7:00 pm

To turn on beats its the windows key + the B key

ira

November 13, 2013, 4:06 pm

Just bought one from a friend. He complained that it ran slow and hot. I managed to fix the problems by updating and downloading the additional drivers from the HP website. especially the BIOS update. As far as the speakers are concerned, if you have the right audio driver and the beats audio turned on, I have yet to hear better sound from a laptop to date.

Mark

May 22, 2014, 3:06 pm

No back-lit keyboard turned out to be very very inconvenient, the fan is really loud and my friends Lenovo which was a third of the price completely destroyed the so called "brilliant" beats audio. Granted the laptop is reasonably quick and I like the finger print scanner but I will be getting rid of it and wont be looking for another HP any time soon. Also the screen is impossible to see if you want to use it outside and its even hard to see just inside on sunny day. The worst and most annoying part though is the terrible battery life, it makes it about an hour and a half if you're lucky and that's under normal use nothing strenuous. DONT BUY IT is the moral of the story!!

LoriAnn Patchen

November 16, 2015, 9:54 pm

So you mean there is still hope for this laptop? I'm going to try your method ..could you please include which drivers and updates I should DL from HP website, along with the BIOS update? These performance issues occur during Facebook game play as soon as I open the link..the fan kicks on high speed immediately, runs hot, slow and then drops back to normal within seconds of closing the app. Thanks for sharing some insight on solutions.

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