HP has been on a winding road with its laptops recently, with models like the Pavilion dm4-3000ea Beats Edition disappointing us while at the same time the Pavilion dm4-2101 set new standards by lasting over nine hours on a charge. Now we’re looking at the HP Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition, a 17in laptop that will hopefully tread the middle ground between the power and style of the former while managing some of the performance and value of the latter.
A premium, stylish machine dressed in brushed aluminium, the HP Pavilion dv7-6b51ea Beats Edition sports some powerful bits under the hood too. Our particular model sports a quad-core Core i7 processor and AMD Radeon HD 6490 graphics card, backed by 8GB of RAM and a whopping 1TB hard drive. A Blu-ray drive and of course Dr. Dre-certified Beats speakers affirm this Pavilion’s status as a multimedia powerhouse.
Despite its desktop-replacing size and internals, the Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition is relatively slim-looking and very attractive. Rather than the usual Beats red and black, this time around we’re treated to a gorgeously minimalist brushed aluminium body, with only the glossy black plastic screen bezel to detract from its luxury. This is also the sole part that picks up fingerprints in any noticeable way.
The lid sports the usual white-backlit HP logo we find on most of its premium machines, and this is matched on the laptop’s inside by a white LED surrounding the touchpad and several small indicators for power, charging and drive activity. It’s not quite as pretty as a 17in Macbook Pro, but it definitely comes close, and we prefer its more rounded edges.
Build quality is pretty good too, though there is a hint of creak here and there. Overall though, the HP Pavilion dv7 Beats Edition feels as premium as it looks. Don’t be deceived by its sleek lines and tapering edges, however: the dv7 Beats Edition is a proper desktop replacement laptop with a profile that’s 3.6cm high and weighing in at over 3.4kg.
Connectivity matches what we’ve come to expect from a high-end consumer laptop. On the left we have the (ever more redundant) VGA connector and HDMI 1.4 for video, a Gigabit Ethernet port, twin USB 3.0 ports and three audio jacks for analogue surround sound.
The front houses a memory card reader while the right side hosts two USB 2.0 ports and the tray-loading Blu-ray drive. Wireless is handled by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi N, with an HD webcam taking care of video-calling duties.