The 15.6-inch Pavilion dv6-3085ea entertainment laptop is pretty similar to some other machines in HP's range -- most notably the Pavilion dm4-1050ea -- from the price tag, right down to the pre-installed software. Does it have anything unique to offer? Let's find out.
The dv6-3085ea is available now for around £740.
One in a Pavilion
Cosmetically, the dv6-3085ea fits right in among HP's current line-up. It has a coppery-pink, metal-edged chassis, with an intricate rope design on the lid and a minimalist keyboard with isolated keys.
The sturdy build quality of this machine means it's not the most portable laptop we've ever seen. That said, measuring 378 by 36 by 245mm, and weighing 2.5kg, it's still reasonably portable. One benefit of its chunky construction is that this laptop is less likely than some rivals to sustain damage while nestled in your rucksack, and you won't be plagued by pieces of plastic snapping off the whole time.
The dv6-3085ea's keyboard is comfortable and the trackpad is very large. The trackpad's click buttons are also touch-sensitive, however, so you might find yourself accidentally nudging the cursor when all you want to do is click.
Around the edges of this machine, you'll find VGA and HDMI outputs, an Ethernet port, an eSATA/USB port, a multi-format card reader, 3.5mm sockets for headphones and a mic, three more USB ports and a DVD rewritable drive. There's a 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive on-board too. The dv6-3085ea runs on the 64-bit edition of Windows 7 Home Premium.
Take a shortcut
This laptop differs from certain of its HP brethren in some pleasing ways. Firstly, the arrow keys aren't incredibly small -- they're big and perfectly usable. Secondly, there's a row of shortcut keys down the left-hand side of the keyboard, which will enable you to jump to particular services, such as email, your Web browser or a calculator.
These shortcuts are useful for the most part, but, because they look exactly like normal keys, anyone used to reaching for the bottom-left of the keyboard to hit Ctrl, for example, will probably be flummoxed initially. The Qwerty keyboard layout is sacred, and adding extra buttons is something that requires careful consideration by manufacturers.
The 15.6-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display is fine, but it didn't blow us away. Colours are vibrant, but there's nothing really outstanding about this screen.
Power to the processor
The dv6-3085ea is powered by an AMD Phenom II P920 quad-core processor, clocked at 1.6GHz, with 2MB of L2 cache. Backed up by 4GB of DDR3 RAM, the dv6-3085ea clocked up a respectable score of 5,244 in the PCMark05 benchmark test.
We have to mention, though, that the dm4-1050ea, which uses a dual-core, 2.26GHz Intel Core i5-430M CPU, scored a slightly more impressive 5,666. Bearing in mind that the dm4-1050ea is about £90 cheaper, we're disappointed that AMD's CPU doesn't bring more computational grunt to proceedings.
Something that's worth shelling out the extra dough for, however, is the dedicated graphics card that the dv6-3085ea packs, an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 GPU. That's hardly the highest-spec chip doing the rounds at the moment, but it gives this laptop some serious polygon-munching capability.
When we ran 3DMark06, which tests a laptop's graphics capability, the dv6-3085ea scored a hearty 6,809. With a score like this, multimedia tasks are definitely on the cards, as is gaming, as long as your heart isn't set on playing the very latest titles at the highest-possible settings.
The laptop's battery life is disappointing, lasting only 1 hour and 13 minutes when we ran the CPU at a constant 100 per cent. We've no doubt you could squeeze out a few extra hours with more responsible use, but that kind of battery life still makes us pull a sad face.
The HP Pavilion dv6-3085ea offers pretty good performance for a machine of its size and price. But, if you need really great battery life, there are other laptops that will last longer away from the mains.
If battery life is more important to you than graphics performance, make sure to also check out the HP Pavilion dm4-1050ea.
Edited by Charles Kloet