Don’t tell HP that netbooks are dead, that tablets are the future.
Like so many old-guard PC companies, HP continues to hang on to the little ‘puter that could. And you know what, it’s doing a fine job of proving there’s life left in this market.
HP’s Pavilion dm1z is hardly a netbook that looks like it is swinging for the fences. It is modest and unassuming, a cleaned-up version of so many netbooks from years gone by. It aims to be your miniature workhorse companion and tries to look good while it’s along for the ride.
Perfectly at home in either a boardroom or an indie coffeehouse, the clean, rounded design of the Pavilion dm1z is both attractive and simple. Even the interlocking circle pattern embossed on the lid doesn’t call much attention to itself, a subtle nod to style in an otherwise demure system.
Inside, things are different. HP takes the increasingly popular route of using the AMD E-350 CPU, the Intel Atom competitor, to backbone the device. This gives the dm1z upgraded graphics — a Radeon HD 6310M — and it’s backed by 3GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, and an 11.6-inch display with 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. There’s no optical drive on the 3.4-pound netbook, but HP includes an external DVD burner. For an extra $130 you can upgrade to an external Blu-ray drive.
Performance is solid compared to other netbooks: AMD’s E-350 runs rings around the Atom, boosting performance about 50 percent over Atom-books (although many Atom netbooks fail to complete most benchmark tests altogether), and the improved graphics, while they won’t make the Pavilion your choice for a Portal 2 marathon, can at least get you along the Oregon Trail with aplomb.
Complaints? I basically have none. The keyboard and touchpad aren’t the best, and I’d prefer a fourth USB port, but I — and anyone — should be able to get by with the stock dm1z just fine as is, and without spending too much, either.
WIRED Solid performance, battery life (4.5 hours), weight, and price: Just about the perfect netbook in every respect. Love the little touches, like LEDs showing mute and Wi-Fi on/off status right on their respective keys.
TIRED Shallow keyboard. Touchpad buttons miss lots of clicks. Not a tablet.
Photo courtesy of HP