Pros: Attractive modern design; Spacious backlit keyboard; Solid graphics and overall performance; Excellent battery life
Cons: Dim screen with narrow viewing angles; No HD display option; Some keyboard flex; Stiff mouse buttons
Verdict: With discrete AMD graphics and Beats Audio, the brushed aluminum HP Pavilion m6t is ready to put on a show, but some flaws hold this machine back.
The HP Pavilion m6t-1000 is an entertainment laptop that's sandwiched between HP's budget Pavilion g6 and premium Envy line. But this $949 notebook is anything but middle of the road; it's an attractive and relatively slim multimedia machine with the latest Core i5 processor, AMD graphics and Beats audio. Read on to find out whether the m6t delivers.
The Pavilion m6t has that modern chic look down cold. It's a silvery vision complete with brushed aluminum and discretely placed chrome accents. The notebook's lid is cool to the touch, but quickly showed the signs of our heavy petting. Instead of its usual position in the top right corner, the chrome HP logo sits in the lower right corner.
A sliver of plastic wraps around the lid, showcasing its delicately rounded corners. A soft-touch plastic strip at the rear with a prominently displayed HP logo conjures images of your favorite sports car as it speeds off. We're also fans of the shiny black plastic hinges and the quick peek of speaker grille that kicks the notebook's style up a notch.
The notebook's brushed aluminum interior serves up an eye-catching sliver touchpad surrounded in chrome. The speaker grille's myriad of dots and red Beats Audio logo adds some flair. We also like the rounded corners around the keyboard. An unassuming fingerprint reader sits to the right.
The 5.2 pound Pavilion m6t cuts a pretty slim profile 14.9 x 9.8 x 1 inches. The 5.8-pound Acer Aspire V3-571G-9435 and the 6.4-pound Dell Inspiron 15R SE are heavier and measure 1.3 inches thick. The 6.2-pound Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 is the thickest at 15.2 x 10 x 1.4 inches.
The HP Pavilion m6t-1000's 15.6-inch display left us wanting. Not only is the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution lower than similarly priced 1080p notebooks, the reflections from the glossy panel proved distracting. This screen isn't very bright either, registering 159 lux. That falls short of the 245 lux mainstream category average. The Acer V3-571G-9435 was significantly brighter at 212 lux. The full HD displays on the Dell Inspiron 15R SE and the Lenovo Y580 notched 244 and 285 lux, respectively.
As we watched the 1080p trailer of "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunter," the full pale moon was surrounded by an unsightly halo of pixelation. Muted colors on the candy-covered gingerbread house made the scene feel old and stale instead of inviting. Moreover, explosions throughout the trailer appeared to be an amorphous whitish-yellow blob. However we appreciated the detail in the witches' faces, which resembled worn road maps.
Despite the assist from Beats Audio technology, the Pavilion m6t's speakers barely filled our small test room. However, the sound was nice and warm, particularly when delivering Sean Penn's affected accent in the "This Must Be The Place" trailer. There was grating distortion throughout "Howlin' For You" by The Black Keys, doing Dan Auerbach's falsetto a disservice. The guitar-laden track also sounded muddy and hollow.
The Beats Audio control panel offers three presets (Music, Voice and 3D Movie), but we could only hear a slight difference between the three settings. It's worth noting that when Beats Audio was turned off, we noticed a steep drop in volume and clarity.
Keyboard and Touchpad
HP deserves kudos for its keyboard layout. The Pavilion m6t-1000 fits a full number pad on the island-style keyboard without sacrificing spacing or size. The backlit keyboard also worked well in dim settings. Typing on the black flat keys revealed some flex, however. Depressing keys on the left and right edge of the layout caused the entire side to cave in slightly.
Still, we were able to hammer out a solid 53 words per minute with a 1 percent error rating on the Ten Thumbs Typing Test. That's well above our usual 45 wpm/1 percent error rate.
The shiny 3.9 x 1.8-inch Synaptic touchpad is nice to look at and touch. The silver mylar touchpad's subtle concentric circle ridges gently massaged our fingers as we performed mulititouch gestures, including pinch-zoom, two-finger scroll and rotate. Executing multitouch gestures were relatively fluid. Navigating websites and documents was quick and accurate for the most part.
The discrete mouse buttons on this HP didn't impress. We found them to be slightly stiff, and the fact that they're on a higher plane than the touchpad proved distracting.
HP utilizes its fingerprint reader for more than unlocking Windows. Thanks to HP SimplePass, we could access many of our password-secured sites (including online banking and social networking sites) with the swipe of a finger. SimplePass is easy enough to use. After selecting a finger to register, we swiped three times to enter it into the system. The whole process takes about 15 to 20 seconds.
When we logged into our email and social networking accounts, SimplePass would launch a prompt asking whether or not to remember the password. Pressing the Remember button cataloged the password and allowed us to utilize the reader during our next login.
After watching a full-screen episode of "Castle" on Hulu for 15 minutes, the touchpad measured 83 degrees Fahrenheit. The space between the G and H keys and the bottom of the notebook were a bit warmer at 92 and 94 degrees. During a 15-minute session in "Batman: Arkham City," the touchpad and the underside measured space between the G and H keys 87 and 90 degrees. However, the touchpad and the lower right corner of the notebook delivered a scorching 103 and 110.
The Pavilion m6t also comes equipped with HP CoolSense, an accelerometer-based cooling system that kicks in when the notebook is placed in a person's lap. After 15 minutes of watching "Barberella: Queen of the Galaxy" on Netflix with the notebook in our lap, the touchpad, space between the G and H keys and underside of the notebook measured 92, 97 and 99 degrees.
Although we were able to use the notebook comfortably in our laps for over an hour, we prefer that temperatures stay below 95 degrees.
Using the bundled Cyberlink YouCam 3 software, the m6t-1000's webcam can capture video and stills up to 1280 x 720p. Images captured by the m6t's 0.9-megapixel camera were rather dark. There was also a lot of visual noise, which obscured many of the finer details in the background.
The right side of the Pavilion m6t houses a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a tray-loading DVD burner, a secure lock slot and an AC adapter jack. A pair of USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet and a headset jack sits on the left. A memory card reader sits along the front left lip of the laptop.
For a mid-level notebook, the HP Pavilion m6t-1000 delivers strong performance. On Geekbench, the Pavilion m6t's 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-3210MCPU with 6GB of RAM notched 7,104. That's 682 points above the mainstream category average. However, the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 and the Acer Aspire V3-571G-9435 (both with 2.3-GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM CPU) scored 8,824 and 10,896, respectively. The Dell Inspiron 15R SE and its 2.1-GHz Intel Core i7-3612QM processor delivered 10,155.
Sporting a 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, the Pavilion m6t booted Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) in 56, just missing the 0:53 average. The Y580 and the Inspiron 15R SE with their 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive and 32GB SSD caches were neck and neck at 0:42 and 0:41. The Acer V3-571G-9435 took 55 seconds.
During the File Transfer Test, the Pavilion m6t duplicated 4.97GB of multimedia files in 2 minutes and 47 seconds. That translates to a transfer rate of 30.5 MBps, below the 36MBps average. However, this showing was more than enough to blow past the Y580 (21.1 MBps) and the V3 (19.6 MBps). The Inspiron 15R SE was slightly faster with 31.4 MBps.
The Pavilion m6t paired 20,000 names with their corresponding addresses in 5 minutes and 30 seconds on the OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test. That's a minute faster than the 6:30 mainstream average. The Inspiron 15R SE and Y580 were slightly faster at 5:04 and 4:50, but the V3-571G-9435 took the prize with 4:30.
Graphics and Gaming
Although the HP Pavilion m6t-1000 features an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU, there's also a AMD Radeon HD 7670M GPU with 2GB of VRAM for doing the heavy lifting.
During 3DMark11, the Pavilion m6t scored 1,172, topping the 1,152 average. However, the Dell Inspiron 15R SE (Intel HD Graphics 4000/AMD Radeon HD 7730) delivered 1,687 while the Acer Aspire V3-571G-9435 (Nvidia GeForce GT 640M) notched 1,929. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (Intel HD Graphics 4000/Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M) blasted the competition with 2,288.
On the "World of Warcraft" benchmark, the Pavilion m6t notched 64 fps on autodetect at 1366 x 768 pixels, slightly below the 65 fps mainstream average. The Inspiron 15R SE scored 101 fps while the V3-571G-9435 and Y580 delivered blistering scores of 182 and 202 fps. When we ran the test on maximum, the Pavilion m6t's frame rate dropped to 30 fps. That's four frames shy of the 34 fps average but still playable. The Inspiron 15R SE did slightly better with 41 fps. The V3-571G-9435 notched 78 fps while the Y580 posted a smoking 81 fps.
When we ran the "Batman: Arkham City" tests, the Pavilion m6t scored 48 fps at low settings on 1366 x 768, just missing the 49 fps average. The Y580 and Inspiron 15R SE notched 42 and 53 fps, respectively. At the highest settings, the Pavilion m6t delivered an unplayable 19 fps, below the 23 fps average.
During the LAPTOP Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi) the HP Pavilion m6t-1000 lasted a whopping 7 hours and 4 seconds in integrated graphics moe. That's much longer than the 5:29 mainstream category average. The Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 lasted 5:49 while the Acer Aspire V3-571G-9435 delivered a disappointing 4:46.
HP LaunchBox and Start Menu
LaunchBox, one of our favorite pieces of HP-branded software, is front and center on the HP Pavilion m6t. This helpful utility eliminates taskbar clutter, feng shui-ing it into nifty, easy-to-access folders. For example, instead of scrolling down the taskbar for Skype or the webcam, we simply went to the Chat and Communications folder. Other folders include HP Help and Support, Windows Live, Music, Photos and Videos and Productivity and Tools.
We could also create our own custom folder using the HP LaunchBox Manager. There are eight available slots in the folder for your favorite apps.
Software and Warranty
HP bundles a few programs to keep the Pavilion m6t at peak performance. Users can check on their system's health as well as run automated tune-ups with HP Support Assistant. Recovery Assistant is there to back up system files and restore them in the event of a crash.
Music lovers will also want to check out the shortcut to the rara music service, an ad-free streaming service similar to Spotify. There's also a Snapfish shortcut for people that want to create custom photo albums. Blio and its massive e-book library are on board for the avid reader.
Third-party offerings include Skype, Microsoft Office Starter, Windows Live, Internet Explorer, Adobe Reader X and a 60-day free trial Norton Internet Security 2012.
HP backs the HP Pavilion m6t-1000 with a one-year warranty and 24/7 tech support. See how the company fared in our Best & Worst Brands report.
Our $949 review unit of the Pavilion m6t-1000 features a 2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-3210M CPU with 6GB of RAM, a 750GB 5,400-rpm hard drive, Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU and an AMD Radeon HD 7670M GPU with 2GB of VRAM. The $868 base model has the same CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 750GB 5,400-rpm hard drive and Intel HD Graphics.
In some ways, the HP Pavilion m6t-1000 is one of the better 15-inch multimedia notebooks we've tested. For $949, consumers walk away with a slim and attractive aluminum system with solid graphics performance and long battery life. Unfortunately, HP doesn't offer a full HD display on this notebook, and the stiff touchpad buttons is a turnoff.
Ultimately, there are better values out there. You can get a 1080p screen and Blu-ray on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 for just $50 more than this Pavilion. And the Dell Inspiron 15R Special Edition, with a full HD display and beefier graphics than this HP, costs just $899 (at the moment). Nevertheless, if you want a better balance of power and endurance in a thinner and lighter design, the Pavilion m6t-1000 is worth considering.
|CPU||2.5-GHz Intel Core i5-32310M|
|Operating System||MS Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|RAM Upgradable to||16GB|
|Hard Drive Size||750GB + 32GB mSATA SSD|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive + mSATA SSD|
|Optical Drive||DVD /-R /-RW|
|Optical Drive Speed||8X|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon HD 7670M|
|Wi-Fi Model||Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230|
|Touchpad Size||3.9 x 1.8 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||security lock slot|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Gigabit Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Warranty/Support||1-year limited hardware warranty support|
|Size||14.94 x 9.87 x 1.04 inches|