Our confidence in the build quality of the dv6 is reinforced by the keyboard. In stark contrast to the somewhat light and flimsy one on the Dell Inspiron 1764 we reviewed recently, the keyboard on the dv6 feels firm and planted. Keys have smooth, consistent actions that don’t rattle or crunch, while the layout is excellent and features a useful numeric keypad.
There are some other neat touches, too. We like how the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys have small white LED indicators near them, which is far more useful and intuitive than clustering them elsewhere on the chassis. We also like the inclusion of a touch-sensitive volume slider and mute button, not to mention the wireless radio toggle button as well. For such a cheap machine there’s a great deal of attention to detail here.
Such excellence is matched by the touchpad. HP seems to have rectified a mistake of old by not using an overly sticky or reflective surface, instead opting for a matt finished surface that retains a nice smooth feel. It’s matched by two good, individually hinged (no annoying rocker switches here) buttons that offer crisp, uniform feedback. It’s worth noting there’s no multi-touch support here, but we’ve yet to see a Windows PC that’s put it to as good use as the Apple MacBook Pro so it’s no great loss.
If the dv6 drops its standards at all it’s in the audio-visual department, but it’s only to levels similar to all its peers. Its 15.6in screen, for instance, exhibits all the usual pitfalls, such as indifferent viewing angles and a glossy finish that invites reflections, which befall most consumer laptops.
Despite these issues, however, the 15.6in (1,366 x 768 pixel) screen is still comfortably in the top-half of the table where quality is concerned. It produces balanced yet punchy colours and maintains a good black-level, both of which result in a good viewing experience for video content. It does struggle a little more than some in producing subtle grey shades, but in reality it’s a barely perceptible difference.
It’s a similar story for the speakers. They’re good enough, offering top-end clarity and a healthy volume. However, while they’re superior to the speakers on the Samsung R580, they lack mid-range warmth and low-down bass definition. Don’t be deceived by the Altec Lansing and SRS Premium Sound branding – audio from the dv6-2113sa is competent but nothing outstanding.