HP Pavilion dm4-1101ea £650

18th Apr 2011 | 09:30

HP Pavilion dm4-1101ea

Despite a few usability issues, this is a great ultra-portable laptop

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

A good ultra-portable laptop, but a few usability issues, such as the touchpad, could spoil the experience

Like:

Excellent display brightness and colours; Good build quality; Decent processor; DVD drive; Fingerprint reader;

Dislike:

Lid doesn't open far; Disappointing keyboard; Irritating touchpad; Graphically weak; Low on storage, though hard drive is fast;

The HP Pavilion dm4-1101ea falls into the same ultra-portable laptop category as the Asus U36JC, and will certainly suit regular travellers after a highly portable companion. But, unfortunately, it falls a little short in some key areas.

The 14-inch screen makes digesting data, be it for work or your own entertainment, a pleasure. We were especially impressed by the brightness of the display, which counteracts the glossy, reflective coating well. Colour reproduction also impresses, and will suit those looking to view photos and other multimedia.

However, we found the lid didn't open back much past 90 degrees, so finding a viewing angle in tight spaces, such as on a train, could be a problem.

Build quality is good, and the hard plastics used will protect the laptop's internal components well. The design features a pinkish tinge, which may alienate some buyers, and lined patterns run across both the palm rest and the lid, giving the laptop a unique look and feel – great if you want to stand out from the crowd.

The HP Pavilion dm4's keyboard didn't quite live up to our expectations. Isolation-style keys are used, but the board is incredibly flexible, and regular typists will miss the snappy actions offered by many other laptops, most noticeably the excellent Asus U36JC and Lenovo IdeaPad Z560.

Irritating touchpad

HP pavillion dm4

The touchpad is also a source of irritation. The whole pad is touch sensitive and this causes problems when you're trying to click the buttons and scroll simultaneously, as the presence of two fingers on the touchpad at the same time causes the cursor to act erratically.

The Intel 2.4GHz Core i5 450M processor produces a decent performance, and those looking to take office work with them on the move will have no problems running any number of applications concurrently.

Graphically the HP Pavilion dm4 isn't the most powerful machine, however, and while basic photo editing is possible, anything more resource-intensive will become a struggle.

Benchmarks

Battery life: 395 minutes
MobileMark 2007: 252
3DMark 2003:

The 320GB hard drive offers low storage, similar to the Samsung P580, but spins at a very fast 7200rpm, increasing the speed the processor to access to your data.

HP pavillion dm4

The optical DVD drive is also a bonus in such a small machine, and those looking to burn discs or simply watch movies on the move will be pleased by its presence. A nice touch is the inclusion of a fingerprint reader for the added security of your data.

The Pavilion dm4-1101ea is a good ultra-portable laptop, but a few usability issues, such as the touchpad, could spoil the experience for you, so make sure you try before you buy.

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