HP – Pavilion dv6285 review

beautiful but flawed Turion 64 X2 laptop
Photo of HP – Pavilion dv6285

There’s a standing joke that if dull, reliable old HP had come up with the concept of Sushi it would have named the cuisine ‘cold dead fish’, so it’s no great surprise that the photos of the HP Pavilion dv6285 utterly fail to convey how gorgeous it looks.

What you see in the photos is a laptop with a black lid and a grey surround to the keyboard, but you can’t see that the piano-black lid is finely patterned with a series of swirling lines. This pattern extends to the bare metal finish of the keyboard surround, while the touchpad and mouse buttons have a smooth metal finish. The shiny black bezel around the screen looks great and hides the 1.3-megapixel Web-cam discreetly.

Some bright spark at HP has also thought to continue the swirling, fine pattern from the lid and keyboard surround to the HP desktop wallpaper in Windows Vista Home Premium. Generally speaking we change the wallpaper on a review laptop or PC to a neutral colour ASAP, but in the case of the Pavilion dv6285 we left well alone.

The styling is a complete success but you want your laptop to have ‘go’ as well as ‘show’. Under the bonnet you’ll find a dual core AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-56 running at 1.80GHz with 1GB PC2-5300 memory and an Nvidia GeForce Go 6100 chipset with GeForce Go 7200 graphics. That gives a decent level of performance, however the graphics are the weakest part of the system and seem to have been chosen for the job of running the Vista Aero interface and little more.

This laptop has a hefty 160GB hard drive and a list of features that tick most of the boxes. On the right-hand side there’s an ExpressCard/54 slot, the optical drive and one USB 2.0 port and on the left side there are two more USB ports, one mini Firewire port, plus VGA and S-Video outputs. You even get a neat card reader that supports SD, MMC, xD and Memory Stick. The only box that remains firmly unchecked is the one labelled Bluetooth as you don’t get it with this model. Shame, that.

The 15.4-inch screen has a 1,280 x 800 resolution and looks both sharp and clear. While the keyboard is good to type on, and the row of media controls is very handy, we found that the dual functions of many of the keys made the controls slightly awkward to use.

But the main problem with this laptop is the battery life, which lasts just over one hour. This is a common theme with AMD-powered laptops and just goes to show that Intel has got battery power sorted with Centrino while AMD seems to struggle with this essential technology.

Company: HP

Contact: 0845 270 4142

We were deeply impressed with many aspects of the Pavilion dv6285, and in particular with the styling which is simply stunning. Performance of the dual core Turion is very good, however the short battery life will severely restrict how much you use this laptop on the move.