HP Pavilion dm3t Review

by Jerry Jackson Reads (44,102)
Editor's Rating
7.57

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 9
    • Usability
    • 8
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Features
    • 7
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 7
    • Total Score:
    • 7.57
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Good overall performance
    • Comfortable keyboard
    • Decent battery life
  • Cons

    • Bad speaker placement
    • Poor touchpad quality
    • Unimpressive graphics

Quick Take

The HP Pavilion dm3t is a very nice travel laptop with a few minor annoyances.


The HP Pavilion dm3t has been on the market for a while now, but it has quickly become HP’s most popular 13-inch laptop competing against more expensive notebooks like the 13-inch Apple MacBook. Is this laptop with a Core i3 processor and Intel integrated graphics a good purchase?

Our HP Pavilion dm3 (dm3t) features the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i3-380UM Processor (1.33GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) + Intel HD Graphics
  • 13.3-inch diagonal HD HP BrightView (glossy) LED Display (1366 x 768)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
  • 3GB DDR3 memory
  • 320GB, 7200 rpm HDD
  • Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n wireless
  • Bluetooth 3.0 (Ralink Motorola BC8)
  • 6-cell Li-ion battery (62 Wh) and 65W power adapter
  • Dimensions: 12.83 (L) x 9.15 (W) x 0.88 – 1.26 (H) inches
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • MSRP as configured: $624.99


Build and Design
HP updated the Pavilion dm3 series late last year with a new low-voltage Intel Core i3 processor and a fresh design with a new cooling system designed to make the notebook more “lap friendly.” Not only is this 13-inch laptop coolerf to the touch, but it looks cooler than the previous generation of the dm3. In short order this notebook became the trend setter for HP’s consumer notebook line as the HP Pavilion dm1z and the the HP Mini line of netbooks were designed with a similar external appearance.

Build quality is on par with what we’ve seen from the rest of the HP Pavilion notebooks and HP mini netbooks. The plastics used in the chassis are durable and thick enough to prevent flex or cracking under pressure. The plastic screen lid does an okay job protecting the screen but the middle of the lid does bend inward under firm pressure. The lid also features a rubber-like matte black paint job which is great for avoiding those fingerprints that show up on glossy notebooks. The screen hinges offer enough tension to hold the screen in place but are loose enough so you can open the laptop with one hand.

 

HP decided to give the new dm3 a clean look with a two screwless access panels located on the bottom of the notebook. Simply remove the battery and slide a release switch to upgrade the RAM or swap out the hard drive. This is actually a great idea not only for making upgrades easier but it has the added safety measure of forcing you to remove the power supply before you can mess with the internal components (something you should do anyway).


Ports and Features

Port selection on the HP Pavilion dm3t is pretty standard without any surprises. HP gives you two standard USB 2.0 ports, one combo eSATA/USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, VGA, Gigabit LAN (hidden behind a rubber door), and two audio jacks for headphones and a microphone. It also features a SDHC-card slot for loading images off your camera while traveling or expanding your available storage. Once again, the only port that’s missing here is a USB 3.0 port or an ExpressCard slot. Here is a quick tour around the new Pavilion dm3:


Front View: Altec Lansing branded speakers


Rear View: Battery and screen hinges


Left Side View: Security lock slot, heat vent, VGA, HDMI, eSATA/USB 2.0 port and activity lights


Right Side View: Media card reader, audio jacks, two USB 2.0 ports, Ethernet port (behind rubber door) and AC power


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