Apr 15
It's a HP

It's a HP

Recently, my relative asked me which laptop to buy. He is a beginner in using computer. So he will mainly use it for browsing internet and watch movie.

Initially I recommended Compaq CQ40-338 with Intel Core Duo T4200 2.0Ghz, 1Gb RAM, 250Gb HDD and 14 inch display. I chose Compaq over Acer and Dell because it looks more solid with chromed body finish which won’t get stained. Good experience with my current HP 6520s laptop also influenced my choice for Compaq since both are from the same company. And this new Compaq laptop is much better built compared to the previous generation Compaq laptop.

We almost bought it. But later we ended up buying another laptop instead…

At first, we went to SenQ electrical store in Kluang Mall, placed our deposit of RM 50 and waited for our Compaq CQ40-338 laptop to arrive the next day. The total amount is RM 2029 after RM 70 member discount. And with my RHB PlusOne credit card, I can get a total of 3 years warranty on this laptop. Compaq covers the first year warranty while SenQ covers the 2nd and 3rd year warranty.

The next day, I went to Johor Bahru to attend a group DLC communication session. And my younger brother, Richard followed my car to visit the PC Fair at PESADA. Later, Richard called me and said he wants to buy a 17″ HP Pavillion laptop at a real bargain price, only RM 3999 after RM 2000 discount!

So in the evening, I joined Richard at the PC Fair booth selling the HP laptop. To my surprise, I saw another bargain HP laptop! It is the HP Pavilion dv6933 with Intel Core Duo T4200 2.0Ghz, 2Gb RAM, 320Gb HDD and 15 inch display with 3 years warranty.

The price? Only RM 2299 after RM 500 discount!  No wonder their brochure headline was:

“HP Pavilion at Compaq’s price”

Immediately I called SenQ to ask whether I can cancel the Compaq laptop order and use the RM 50 deposit to buy other electrical appliance. They said okay. Then I called my relative to tell him about the great deal. Add RM 270 to upgrade from 1Gb to 2Gb RAM, 250Gb HDD to 320Gb HDD, 14 inch to 15 inch screen and most importantly, from Compaq to HP! And he agreed.

So I bought the 15 inch HP laptop while my brother bought the 17 inch HP laptop. HP Pavilion is a great laptop. Here is my simple review on the HP Pavilion dv6933 laptop we just bought.

HP Pavilion dv6933us

  • Intel Centrino Duo Mobile Technology
    Intel Core Duo Processor T4200
    (2.0Ghz, 1Mb L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
    Intel 965GM Mobile Express Chipset
    Intel Pro Wireless 3945 a/b/g WLAN
  • MS Windows Vista Home Premium
  • 2Gb DDR2 RAM, 320Gb SATA HDD
  • DVD +/- RW SuperMulti Dual layer Writer with Lightsribe
  • 15.4″ BrightView WXGA Wide TFT screen
  • Built in Intel x3100 video chipset with 128Mb shared memory (up to 896Mb)
  • 56k Modem, 10/100 LAN, 3x USB 2.0, Bluetooth
  • 5 in 1 card reader, 1394 IEEE Firewire, TV-out
  • Multimedia remote control
  • Integrated Altec Lansing Speaker
  • WebCam with Integrated Microphone
  • 1 + 2 years extended warranty
  • Free Targus laptop carrying bag
  • Free security lock, optical mouse and 2 x RM 120 service vouchers
Simple and nice

Simple and nice

The keyboard looks exactly like my HP 6520s keyboard in term of layout and color. I personally prefer this type of keyboard layout. Overall, the key arrangement is neat. The arrow keys are big (normal size). This is important since arrow keys are often used. I don’t like the smaller arrow keys in some laptop.

It also has dedicated “Home”, “End”, “Page up” and “Page down” keys. This is preferable to having to press “Fn” function key for these often used keys.

The “Caps lock” key on left is accompanied by an indicator light to show the caps lock status. And the “Num lock” key on top right is accompanied by a num lock indicator light. This is of course an improvement over the old design where caps lock and num lock indicator light are grouped together on top. My older HP 65s0s laptop only has caps lock indicator and no num lock indicator.

This new design saves your time to look for the indicators since they are placed at the most obvious location, besides the toggle key itself. It also saves your time when you want to toggle the indicator. Let say you want to make sure the caps lock is off. So you look at the indicator besides the caps lock key. If it lights up, you just press the caps lock key without even moving your eye balls. Then you can check whether you have successfully turn off the caps lock by looking at the indicator , again without moving your eye balls.

If the caps lock indicator is at the top, maybe you will waste 1 second on the same task. First, look at the top indicator. If the indicator shows caps lock is on, move your eye balls from the top to the caps lock key at the left. Press the caps lock key. Then move your eye balls again to the top to check the caps lock indicator. (Pardon me for using 2 paragraphs to explain this minor difference on indicator placement. With Industrial Engineering background, I’m trained on good usability and time saving design.)

For keyboard typing experience, the HP Pavilion dv6933 has responsive keys which is already quite good. However, the key is slightly stiffer than my HP 6520s keyboard. But for average user with low typing speed, this difference is insignificant. There is also some keyboard flexing where a few surrounding keys move downward when you press a key harder. Again, this won’t affect your typing experience much.

Nice design and surface finish

Nice surface finish

At first look, you will notice the high quality chromed surface with some simple design imprint. It may attract some fingerprint but you can easily wipe it away. Most importantly, it won’t attract permanent black dirt which is very hard to clean. This is the case with my HP Compaq 6520s laptop which is getting dirty after a few months. Therefore, using this chromed surface finish ensures the laptop looks new always.

It also has some subtle but beautiful lines imprinted on the surface.

Elegant touchpad design

Elegant touchpad design

HP Pavilion dv6933 has an elegant touchpad with chromed surface. The scrolling zone is at the right where you can scroll up and down using your finger. The touchpad button is big and responsive. It is nice to press. And every click counts no matter how to press it.

For my HP 6520s, I must press the button harder to make the click counts, especially the right button. If I press it lightly, it won’t produce the clicking action. So not every click counts, which can be quite frustrating.

Below the touchpad are 1 microphone jack, 2 speaker jacks and a remote control receiver. Yes, this laptop comes with a remote control to control normal functions for watching movie and listening music. All these music jacks are logically placed in the front. This prevents the earphone or microphone wire from interfering your hand movement.

Great stereo speaker

Great stereo speaker

The Altec Lansing stereo speaker produces good sound quality, better than Dell and Acer laptops within the same price range. It also has dedicated touch sensitive multimedia control including volume control.

Good sound system coupled with convenient multimedia control and a remote control make it an ideal laptop for movie or music fan.

Webcam with stereo microphone

Webcam with stereo microphone

Here is the web cam with indicator light. It lets you know when the web cam is capturing your video. Therefore, you will know when a virus or spyware is secretly activating your web cam and infringing your privacy.

It also comes with 2 microphones which is a step better than single microphone.

Useful indicator lights

Useful indicator lights

The indicator light for power, external power source and hard disk drive are placed at lower left. Well, there is one advantage for this placement. If you are easily distracted by the blinking hard disk indicator light, you can always block it with your left hand while typing.

You can also see the wireless control slid at the bottom. When wireless function is on, a tiny blue light will light up. When wireless function is off, the light will change to orange color. I prefer having this manual slid rather than the toggle button. With manual slid, we can set the wireless function even when the laptop is turned off or when it starts to boot.

Neat ports

Neat ports

On the left side, you can see the S-Video port, display port, Expansion Port 3, LAN network port, modem port, 2 USB ports, Firewire port and a 5-in-1 memory card slot. The memory card slot can accommodate SD, Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro, MMC and XD card. However, you won’t get the click sound after inserting the memory card.

My HP 6520s only supports SD and MMC card. But  it has the clicking sound which secures the card in the slot. To take out the card, I need to press in inward again for another click. This is similar to the mechanism found in digital camera card slot.

However, this is only a minor trade off to support another 3 types of memory card. With the common use of memory card in digital camera and mobile phone, this 5-in-1 card slot comes in handy. You don’t need an extra cable to connect your digital device. Just take out the memory card from the device and slot it in your laptop to access it.

The tiny black USB device shown in above picture is the Bluetooth emitter. If you always use Bluetooth, having a built in Bluetooth is preferable. It frees up the USB port for your other device. But if you seldom use Bluetooth, just unplug and keep the tiny emitter in your drawer.

You may also notice the imprint of Expansion Port 3 logo, USB logos, memory card name on the top chromed surface. This lets you see the exact location of this commonly used port, without bending your head over the left side. A simple and nice touch!

Neat on the right side too

Neat on the right side too

On the right side, you will see a Express Card slot, DVD writer, another USB port and the power socket.

The extra USB port on the right side is obviously intended for the mouse. My current HP 6520s has all 3 USB ports on the left side. So the mouse wire has to run from the right side to the left USB port, if you’re right handed of course.

HP also pushes this USB port to the back, near the power socket. Some laptop has this USB port at the front, near the Express Card slot position. But when you plug in a USB mouse, the extruded USB plug may interfere with the mouse movement. HP definitely thought of this when designing the USB port position.

The ring around the power socket will also light up in blue when external power is used. Oh yes! You can insert the supplied multimedia remote control into the Express Card slot so that you can use it anytime you want.

Nice exterior

Nice exterior

The exterior cover comes with glossy black with some simple line design. Once again, this is dirt prove.

Cover hinge lets you open and close this laptop smoothly and confidently. As with many new laptop design, this HP laptop uses latchless design. So you don’t have to press any button to open up the cover.

The bottom part

The bottom part

At the bottom, you will see a simple and clean layout with separate cover for hard disk drive and RAM. The top right air vent houses the fan. So now, the air blows to the bottom instead of sideway. With this, you won’t suddenly feel your left hand blasted with hot air when the CPU works hard.

There is also a wording that says, “Lam contains Mercury. Dispose of Properly.” As with others, this laptop is still not that environment friendly. Of course, you have to pay more for environment friendly laptop.

I also notice the white laptop model sticker is imposed on another older sticker. So this laptop specification may have been changed, by the manufacturer perhaps. Apart from that, everything looks brand new.

Conclusion

The HP Pavilion dv6933 laptop is indeed a value buy for your usual day to day computing needs. It may be slightly more expensive than Compaq, Acer and Dell with similar specification. However, you can truly rely on the quality of HP laptop. It may serve you many years in the future without much problem. My 3-year-old Acer laptop already has plastic squeaking sound when I press down the wrist rest area. I’m sure this HP laptop will last longer.

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