Heat and Noise
Under stress the low-wattage AMD E-350 APU barely raised the outside case temperature of the HP Pavilion dm1. After 30 minutes with both the CPU and GPU stressed, the bottom of the notebook never even came close to reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Under normal conditions at or near idle, the same spots were about 5-8 degrees cooler. The system fan works harder in this notebook when the graphics are being stressed, but it’s similar to the fan volume we heard from the Acer Aspire 1830T and shouldn’t be too annoying for most people in a typical school or office environment.
At the time of this writing the HP website makes a particularly bold claim that the new HP Pavilion dm1z delivers “up to 9.5 hours of battery life” from the included 6-cell battery. I don’t have the specific testing procedures used to arrive at that number, but I suspect this figure comes from using the MobileMark benchmark with the notebook running at an essentially idle state with the screen set to minimal brightness. We assume most notebook users will set their screens a little brighter for average daily use and will be actively browsing the internet most of the time they are using their notebook.
In our tests with the screen brightness set to 70%, wireless active while refreshing a website on regular 60-second intervals, and Windows 7 set to the Balanced profile, the HP Pavilion dm1 continued running for 6 hours and 49 minutes. I have little doubt that you can extend the battery life past the 7-hour mark if you lower the screen brightness and aren’t actively loading pages every 60 seconds. By comparison, the ASUS Eee PC 1215N netbook with dual-core Atom processor and Nvidia ION graphics stayed on for 5 hours and 34 minutes and Apple’s new 11.6-inch MacBook Air delivered 6 hours and 15 minutes.
At the end of the day, it’s hard not to like the new HP Pavilion dm1z. HP and AMD resolved all of the main complaints that people had with the previous generation of AMD-based ultraportbales: Poor battery life, high temperatures, and only adequate performance.
The new AMD Fusion APU technology really delivers some impressive results in terms of HD video playback, gaming, and even adds some “snappiness” in a basic Windows environment. At the time of this writing (January 2011) consumers will have a hard time finding an Intel-based ultraportable notebook or netbook that delivers better real world performance and battery life across the board for the same price … and that’s saying a lot.
Several other companies announced other notebooks and netbook alternatives at CES 2011 that use the same AMD E-350 APU, so it’s hard to say if the HP Pavilion dm1 is the best of the bunch, but it certainly is better than any netbook we’ve reviewed to date.
- Best video and gaming performance in the price range
- Nice keyboard
- Good battery life and low price
- Occasional touchpad glitches
- No USB 3.0 port
- Doesn’t deliver claimed “9.5 hours” of battery life in real world use