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Specs, Design and Usability

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You can now read our full HP Pavilion dm4 review. Click the link to read.


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Earlier in the year we reviewed the HP Pavilion dm3 and were extremely impressed with what we saw. Yesterday we got our first, hands-on look at a new model that follows in a similar vein, the HP Pavilion dm4. However, whereas the dm3 was AMD-based and had an external optical drive, the dm4 will be hitting shops in August with Intel Core i5 processors and an integrated optical drive – all while maintaining a sub-2.0kg weight.

To us this seems like a recipe for success, and the design of the dm4 continues the excellent heritage begun with the dm3. It sports a lovely slim, carefully sculpted chassis that's completed in champagne coloured brushed metal inside and out. HP has also added imprinted patterns similar to those seen on previous HP machines, but which look all the more classy etched into the cool metal.

All this design flair gives the impression of a premium product, yet with prices likely to start at £799 it's rather more affordable than many. It mightn’t be bargain cheap, but certainly good value for a powerful portable laptop.

Speaking of power, the model we saw was using an Intel Core i5 M430 processor running at 2.26GHz, backed by 3GB of RAM. Battery life is expected to be around six hours with the standard battery, and up to 12 hours with an optional extended power cell. Models already listed on HP’s website indicate a 320GB hard drive, though you’ll have to settle for Intel’s frugal but limited integrated graphics.

One thing we loved about the dm3 was the general quality of its build, something that was particularly evident in the isolation style keyboard. That same keyboard appears to have returned for the dm4, which can only be a good thing. Our quick go proved it to be just as good as the dm3 was.

One thing we're less certain about, however, is the touchpad. HP appears to have adopted the 'almost' Apple-esque integrated touchpad buttons first seen on the Envy 15, which were far from a resounding success. Hopefully it has ironed out the issues now: we'll see. Moreover, if HP is to go down this route we'd have preferred to see it add the much more impressive four point multi-touch single click touchpad that Synaptics recently introduced.

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