HP – Pavilion ZV6179AE review

powerful budget consumer laptop
Photo of HP – Pavilion ZV6179AE

Around this time of year, interest is high in cheap, portable computers that can still pack a punch whilst also offering entertainment possibilities. To that end, HP has recently refreshed some of its range of consumer PCs and notebooks, including the Pavilion ZV6100 series, of which this laptop is one.

The Pavilion ZV6179E is a sturdy (and weighty, at 3.6kg), stylish machine with a 15.4-inch widescreen (1,280×800 pixels) display panel that uses BrightView technology for particularly vivid colours and crisp lines. It’s ideal for watching DVDs while travelling, since it can be viewed in sunlight, and is also suitable for preparing graphics presentations.

Powered by a 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3500+ processor and with 1GB of DDR PC2700 SODIMM memory, this notebook is powerful, too, and it benefits from “Cool ‘n’ Quiet Technology” for silently efficient running.

Gaming graphics look sharp thanks to the ATI Radeon XPRESS IGP 200M with its 128MB of dedicated memory, and the Altec Lansing built-in side speakers are compatible with 3D Sound Blaster Pro. The base is stuffed full of interfaces including four USB 2.0 ports, VGA, S-Video TV-Out, a 6-in-1 Card Reader (xD, SD, Smart Media, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, Multimedia Card), a Type II PC Card Slot and an 8x DVD±R/RW Dual Layer DVD writer.

Entertainment is also at the heart of the bundled software, which includes Apple iTunes for MP3 creations, Microsoft Picture It Photo Premium 10, Sonic Digital MediaPlus 7.0 and HP Image Zone Plus for organizing digital photos and videos.

Wireless Internet connection comes via the 54g 802.11b/g WLAN with 125HSM / SpeedBooster support and there are two Web links to additional information services should you run into any trouble. Especially helpful is the exclusive HP PC Security Centre site that deals with viruses via a Q & A or with live consultation. The pre-installed operating system is Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition Service Pack 2.

The only annoyances with this notebook’s design are as follows; the frequently observed tendency to push the keyboard far up the base to make way for a large touch-pad, and the curious insistence on having the small delete key positioned at top right, i.e. in a highly inaccessible area. But if you can live with these, then this laptop is pretty impressive value for money.

Company: HP

Contact: 0870 547 4747

If you're looking around for a powerful notebook with plenty of entertainment features that won't break the bank, this is an excellent place to start. But beware of the overblown prominence given to the touch-pad.