Hands-On: HP Intros the Pavilion dm4, Refreshes the dv5, dv6, and dv7

As part of a massive notebook launch, catering to everyone from consumers to business people, netbooks lovers to people with disposable income, HP unveiled three new additions to its Pavilion line, its mid-range series of laptops. The overarching aesthetic, marked by etched, matte surfaces, is a departure from the slick, much-copied style it ushered in two years ago.

The four new laptops include the dm4, a 4.4-pound thin-and-light, the dv5 (actually a 14.5-incher), the 15.6-inch dv6, and the 16.3-inch dv7.


The 14-inch dm4 will take its place alongside the dm3, which has a 13.3-inch display. This slightly larger version adds an optical drive, and boasts a few design differences. The aluminum lid and magnesium alloy chassis now have a matching etched pattern, which HP tried to make gender-neutral (ditto for the understated beige color). It's thinner than the last-generation dm3, and at 4.4 pounds, felt light for a 14-inch machine.

Spec-wise, the dm4 runs on standard voltage Intel Core processors and promises up to 6 hours of battery life. HP is offering optional discrete ATI graphics, as well as a fingerprint reader. A low-light webcam rounds out the list of feature upgrades.

dv5, dv6, and dv7

Aside from predictable spec refreshes, what makes this generation of Pavilions different is the design. The plastic lids have an in-mold design so that while they appear to have a glossy, patterned finish, the lids are actually fingerprint free and indeed, have a less-reflective finish than older, shiner Pavilion laptops. It's available in "Black Cherry" (a deep brownish color), "Sonoma Red," and "Champagne." The inside of the notebook, including the keyboard deck and palm rest, also have a decidedly flat finish. (If you prefer, there will also be a brushed, etched aluminum version of the dv6.)

Other improvements: the dv6 will be the first Pavilion to include a touchscreen option. The dv5 will be offered with Intel Wireless Display, a feature that up until now has only been available on Best Buy exclusive notebooks. All except for the metal dv6 will be available with Altec Lansing speakers.

Pricing and Availablity

The dm4, dv5, dv6, and dv7 start at $729, $649, $649, and $799, respectively, and will be available May 19.