In performance terms one wouldn’t characterise the dv6-1240ea as rapid, but it more than holds its own. In PCMark Vantage it produces similar results to both the Sony NW11S/S and Dell Studio 1555 Midnight Blue, both of whom share the same processor and roughly similar specifications. Those similarities include the lack of a 64-bit OS, despite the 4GB of RAM begging for such an inclusion.
All the same performance is good, making this a solid all-rounder for anyone indulging in the usual productivity and multimedia activities. Only very CPU intensive tasks, such as HD video editing and encoding will really challenge it, but even then it should cope well enough for occasional duties.
This goes for games, too, which can be enjoyed at moderate settings provided they aren’t overly taxing. We managed to add 4x anti-aliasing to our usual Trackmania Nations benchmark (at medium detail) and still get a very smooth 41.1fps, just a few frames per second slower than the Sony NW11 and its mobile ATI HD 4570 at the same settings. This should be more than enough to run the likes of The Sims, World of Warcraft and Spore, though more recent FPS titles will require further compromise.
In spite of this largely faultless performance, the dv6 does at least have one weakness: battery life. Where the Sony NW11 produced an impressive four hours in MobileMark 2007’s Productivity benchmark, we got just two hours and 47 minutes from the HP’s 47 Watt-hour capacity battery – a difference of around 30 per cent. This trend is replicated in all tests, so the HP isn’t the best option if wanting to pop out of the house once in a while.
In all fairness, however, it’s not the kind of laptop you’d want to go out with anyway. It weighs a hefty 2.8kg, 200 grams more than either the Dell or the Sony, while the physical size doesn’t lend itself well to mobile use. As such, the dv6 is bound to spend most of its time indoors (true of most laptops, even netbooks), in which case its battery life should suffice even if it doesn’t inspire.
Mediocre battery life aside, the HP Pavilion dv6-1240ea is an exceedingly accomplished laptop. Its specification is perfectly balanced and the list of features and extras (like the included remote) it offers for the money is truly astounding. If you’re after a laptop that can do a bit of everything and don’t want to spend the earth, we can think of little better suited to the task.