Good performance for price; Multiple color options; Great Dolby Advanced Audio Speakers; Runs cool
Mediocre graphics; Display somewhat dim; Battery life below average
HP makes one of our favorite budget laptops better with snappier performance, better speakers and multiple color options.
One of our favorite budget notebooks of 2011 is back, and this time HP has upgraded its Pavilion g6t with Dolby audio, a wider keyboard with built-in number pad and a faster second-generation Core i3 processor. Priced at a very affordable $479, the Pavilion g6t-2000 should have everything you need for surfing the Web, watching video and keeping up with Facebook and Twitter. Plus, if you're willing to pay a little more, you can take your pick from multiple color options. Does HP still have the best value-priced laptop?
Unfortunately, the lid smudged up with fingerprints quickly, but some of the optional colors will likely do a better job of hiding them. For an additional $25, you can choose from Bright Purple, Line White, Ruby Red and Winter Blue.
On the top left, above the keyboard, is a long and flat silver power button that has a small light that glows when the computer is powered on. The Pavilion g6 also features numeric keys next to the full-size QWERTY keyboard.
The g6t-2000 measures 14.8 x 9.6 x 1.4 inches and weighs 5.2 pounds, which is smaller and lighter than the 5.6 pound Gateway NV57H54u that measures 15 x 9.7 x 1.3 inches. The Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 is lighter and thinner at 5.1 pounds and 0.9 inches.
We watched the trailer for "The Master" and details rendered clear and sharp. You could clearly see the creases in Joaquin Phoenix's jeans and the waves crashing beneath as he laid across a ledge on the Navy ship.
Unfortunately, viewing angles aren't the best on the Pavilion g6t, as images quickly darkened when viewing the display from the left or right. The display is not very bright, either, measuring 160 lux, significantly less than the average of 244 lux. The Dell Inspiron 15R registered 198 lux and the Aspire V5 171 lux.
We played "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen, and vocals sounded loud and clear, complemented by the piano and cymbals, even at high volume. We then switched it up and played Kanye West's "No Church In The Wild" the lower notes and bass were solid--especially for under $500.
The Pavilion g6t includes the Dolby Advanced Audio application for quick audio adjustments. There are three different profiles: Movie, Music and Voice, which adjust the equalizer accordingly. Our favorite setting was the music setting, which provided the most well-rounded experience. This application can also improve audio recording with features such as Noise Cancellation and Acoustic Echo Cancellation.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The arrow keys also takes a cue from Apple's MacBook computers, mashing the up and down arrows so that these two keys match the height of the left and right keys. Unfortunately, on the Pavilion g6t, this arrow key layout isn't optimal and we often found ourselves accidentally clicking both the up and down buttons together when we only wanted one.
We were able to type at our average speed of 72 words per minute, but the keyboard felt slightly mushy.
HP's budget notebook maintained a comfortable temperature during our heat test, which involves watching a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes. After the test, they touchpad measured 79 degrees Fahrenheit, the space between the G and H keys was 86 degrees, and the bottom was 89 degrees. We consider anything above 95 degrees to be too warm, so the g6t fell well below our threshold.
In everyday use, the HP g6t-2000 performed well. We opened the picture viewer, the HP Games application, Chrome with 10 tabs, and played a video on YouTube without any noticeable lag, nor did it take a long time to switch between applications.
This laptop didn't fare as well in benchmark testing. In the PCMark 7 benchmarking test, the Pavilion g6t scored 1,992 compared to the Gateway NV57H54u's 2,060 with a 2.3-GHz Intel Core i3-2350M processor. The Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 scored an higher 2417, which is not surprising given its 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor. Both of these scores are below the category average of 2,523.
This HP notebook narrowed the gap in the Geekbench test, but still fell short of competing machines. The g6t scored 5,323 compared with the Gateway NV57H54u's 5,493 and the Aspire V5-571-6869's 5,844 and fell shy of the 6422 average.
The g6t-2000 took 46 seconds to load the 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium in the 500GB 5,400-rpm hard drive. This showing is faster than the 53-second category average, as well as the Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 (53 seconds).
The Pavilion g6t took 4 minutes and 18 seconds to complete the file transfer test, which involves copying 4.97GB of multimedia files, for a transfer rate of 19.7 MBps. This is slower than both the Gateway NV57H54u (3:47) and the Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 (4:12), but not by much.
Our OpenOffice Spreadsheet test, where we match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses, took 6 minutes and 43 seconds to complete, 40 seconds slower than the category average. Comparatively, the Gateway NV57H54u completed this task in 7:10 and the Acer Aspire V5-571-6869 took 6:15.
When we ran "World of Warcraft" on good quality, this notebook mustered only 24 fps, which isn't quite playable. At the maximum settings, this frame rate dropped to 10 fps, rendering play completely futile. The slightly more expensive Acer V5-571 notched a much higher 50 fps.
Software and Warranty
This notebook features the HP Premier Experience, which includes numerous features and a quick-launch application to help provide a cleaner and faster experience. The HP Launch Box provides three quick access icons to the task bar, one for Windows Live applications, another for HP recommended apps and the third that's fully customizable. The Windows Live Launch Box offers quick access to Mail, Messenger, Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. The HP Launch Box is configurable for HP recommended applications, such as Evernote and Skype. Our favorite Launch Box was the third, since it was fully customizable and we could add handy shortcuts to My Computer, Control Panel and even streamline connecting to a projector.
Additionally, as part of the HP Premier Experience, all programs in the start menu are preorganized into folders by category, such as Communication and Chat, Productivity and Tools and Shopping and Services. An Action Center control panel item is also part of the Experience, and this captures and organizes the computer's alerts and pop-ups, prioritizing each one and providing a single place to view and manage all computer messages.
The g6t-2000 includes the standard Microsoft Office Starter 2010 bundle, which includes ad-supported versions of Microsoft Word and Excel. Also included is Skype, a 60-day trial of Norton Internet Security 2012 and note-taking app Evernote.
In addition to multiple color choices, HP provides a number of processor options for the Pavilion g6t-2000, including a 2.3-GHz i3-2350M processor for $10 less than our review unit. And if you want to upgrade the processor, a Sandy Bridge i5-2450M is available for $65 more, a Ivy Bridge i5-3210M is an $85 upgrade and an Ivy Bridge 2.1-GHz i7-3612QM processor will cost an additional $235. Graphics upgrades are also available: a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7670M discrete graphics processor is an additional $50 and a 2GB AMD Radeon HD 7670M GPU is an extra $75. Bumping up to 6GB of RAM is $50 more and 8GB of RAM is $100 more.
VerdictAcer Aspire V5-571-6869 offers faster Core i5 performance for just $30 more, but it also has a bland design, worse keyboard and shorter battery life. Overall, if you're looking to stretch your budget, this laptop is an excellent choice.
|CPU||2.4GHz Intel Core i3-2370M|
|Operating System||MS Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||5,400rpm|
|Hard Drive Type||SATA Hard Drive|
|Optical Drive||DVD+/-RW DL|
|Optical Drive Speed||8X|
|Graphics Card||Intel HD Graphics|
|Wi-Fi Model||Ralink RT5390R|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB 3.0|
|Ports (excluding USB)||USB|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Card Slots||SD memory reader|
|Warranty/Support||1-year limited hardware warranty support|
|Size||14.8 x 9.6 x 1.4 inches|