So far, then, we’ve established that this is a very well-featured laptop which, thanks to the massive hard drive, would be ideal if you’re after a machine that would effectively be your only PC. With 500GB to play with only the most dedicated of hoarders would run out of space for music, video and photos.
It’s not as if the dv3 is just feature-rich, either. It’s also a very good, though no quite outstanding, performer. Looking at the PCMark Vantage results it compares well to the Samsung Q320, though the Samsung is perhaps five per cent faster in some instances. One can only surmise this is due to HP installing more ‘bloatware’ than Samsung, though the HP isn’t over laden with useless tat.
It’s also worth noting the difference between the HP and the Acer Aspire Timeline 4810T, which uses a 1.4GHz ultra-low voltage CPU. In the Productivity segment, for example, it’s around 30 per cent faster, which is a fairly sizeable difference in processing performance.
Of course, where battery life is concerned things are a little different, though even here the dv3 puts in a very good showing, beating the Samsung in all the tests. In the Productivity segment it managed an impressive four hours and 10 minutes, 40 minutes more than the Q320. This trend is continued in the Reader and DVD tests, with results of four hours 43 minutes and just under three hours respectively.
This means, with frugal use, you could get up to five hours of normal usage and perhaps three and a half of video playback – more than enough for even a long film. These are extremely impressive results, though the 55Watt-hour battery of the dv3 still can’t match the incredible seven-hour plus results of the 4810T. If you’re after the maximum battery life possible for this money it is still the best bet, but the dv3 is arguably a better all-round machine for a consumer.
This is mostly due to its flexibility. Its nVidia graphics won’t power through the latest games titles, not without significant compromise, but it can do a decent job. In Trackmania Nations, for instance, we managed 44.4fps at Medium settings, while adding four samples of anti-aliasing still retained a playable 34.2fps. This is a little faster than the Q320 due to the HP’s larger complement of graphics memory: 512MB versus 256MB. Suffice to say the Acer, with its Intel integrated graphics, can’t come close and it also struggles with Full HD video, something the HP can handle comfortably.
This 13.3in machine delivers on many levels. It’s packed full of useful features, particularly that capacious 500GB hard drive, while the design is attractive – if a little showy. This is backed up by decent raw performance and excellent battery life. It’s not quite the perfect bargain, but for £750 you couldn’t ask for a great deal more.