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HP Pavilion dm3

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Update

We now have full reviews of the both the dm3 and Envy 15:

HP Pavilion dm3-1020ea review
HP Envy 15-1060ea review
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HP has been very busy recently, announcing a number of new laptops and netbooks, with a particular emphasis on style and portability. We've already had a quick peek at the company's new ION-based netbook, the Compaq Mini 311, but earlier in the week we had the chance to see HP's first Intel CULV-based notebook and its duo of high-end designer laptops, the Envy 13 and the Envy 15, as well.


We're going to kick off with that CULV-based machine, the Pavilion dm3. Much like the Pavilion dv2 before it, the Pavilion dm3 is meant to offer an entry-level portable laptop experience that's superior to a netbook without sacrificing portability. Happily, now that it's abandoned the disappointing first generation Athlon Neo platform in favour of Intel's CULV and the second generation of Athlon Neo, it might have the performance to backup this aim.

Like all of HP's new machines, the dm3 will go on sale on October 22nd - the same day as Windows 7. No surprise, then, to see the machine running Microsoft's much praised new operating system - we, of course, will be publishing a full review closer to the time. With prices set to start at £569 the dm3 should certainly hit a nice sweet spot in terms of affordability, especially considering that price will include the bundled external optical drive.


Yes, that does mean there's no integrated drive, but little wonder when you see how thin the dm3 is. Indeed, though the dm3 is based on a 13.3in, 1,366 x 768 panel rather than the 12.1in of the dv2, the two share more than a little design DNA - this is undeniably the dv2 mark two here. However, the dv2 was finished almost entirely in glossy plastic, whereas the dm3 comes furnished in luxurious polished aluminium, inside and out.

It's a massive improvement, lending the dm3 the kind of premium feel that belies its affordable starting price. We'd go so far to say it's the most attractive looking CULV machine we've yet seen, putting the somewhat conservative - though still impressive - Acer Timeline series comfortably in the shade.


One of the highlights is the new keyboard. Though the sample we saw had a US one, we were still impressed with both the layout and the key action of this isolation-style effort. As far as we can recall, this is the first time HP has used this kind of keyboard on one of its laptops and it appears to have nailed it first time.

Hardware configurations will vary, with single-core and dual-core versions likely. There'll be both AMD and Intel variants available, too, but with HP claiming a whopping 10 hours from the Intel version (powered by a six-cell, 57 Watt-hour battery) it would appear to be the one to get.
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A glossy, mirror-like finish to the touchpad is one of the few remnants from the Pavilion dv2.


It's such a slim machine that there's no space for an optical drive, but an external one will be included in the box.


The isolation keyboard is very good.

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