HP Pavilion dv6000z Review (pics, specs)

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HP dv6000z Review


The HP dv6000z (view large image)

Overview

The HP Pavilion dv6000z is a new mid-sized 15.4″ notebook from HP. It is designed to replace the dv5000z. It comes with either the AMD Sempron or Turion64 X2 Processors. It is a DTR that can occasionally travel aimed at multimedia notebook users with its glossy screen and lots of connection options. It starts with a base price of $699 at HP.com though preconfigured models are available at retailers.


Specs of Notebook Under Review

  • Model: HP DV6000z
  • CPU: AMD Turion 64 X2 Mobile TL-56 (1.8GHz/512×2 L2)
  • Memory: 2GB PC5300 DDR2 2 DIMMs 0 Open
  • Hard Drive: 120GB 5400RPM Seagate ST9120821AS
  • Motherboard: Quanta 30B8
  • Screen: 15.4″ WXGA Glossy
  • Optical Drive: LG GSA-4084N
    • 8x DVD-/+R
    • 8x DVD+RW, 6x DVD-RW
    • 4x DVD-/+R DL
    • 5x DVD-RAM
    • 24x CD-R
    • 24x CD-RW
  • GPU: 256MB Nvidia 7200 Go(64MB On Board & 192MB Shared)
  • Wireless: Broadcomm A/B/G with Bluetooth
  • Inputs: 86 Key Keyboard, Two Button Touchpad with Left Side Scroll Device
  • Buttons: Power, QuickPlay, Play/Pause, Stop, FastFoward, Reverse, Mute, Volume Slider and TouchPad On/Off
  • Ports:
    • 3 USB 2.0, Two Left-Side and One Right-Side
    • 5-in-1 Card Reader
    • Ethernet
    • Modem
    • VGA
    • S-Video
    • Microphone
    • 2 Headphone Jacks, 1 S/PDIF
    • Expansion Port 3
    • IR Port
    • AC Connector
    • Security Lock
  • Slots: ExpressCard54 Slot
  • Other: 1.3 Megapixel Webcam and Microphone
  • Speakers: Altec Lansing
  • Battery: 12 Cell
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 14.0″
    • Width: 10.2″
    • Height: 1″ or 1.5″ with the 12 Cell Battery
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs. with Six Cell Battery, 7.1 lbs. with 12 Cell Battery.
  • Operating System: Windows XP Home
  • Warranty: One Year
  • Price: $1491 as configured on HP.com

Competition

Here are some competing notebooks in the 15.4″ class you may wish to consider in your search for a notebook.

  • Dell e1505
  • Lenovo N100
  • Sony FE
  • Compal HEL30
  • Acer Aspire/TravelMate
  • Toshiba Satellite
  • Asus F3F or S96j
  • Fujtsu n3000
  • Countless others to numerous to list

Build and Design

The dv6000z like the newer dv2000t has a new look from HP. It is mostly dark in color with the lower keyboard area being silver. The older dv5000z it replaces had a silver exterior and a dark interior. It has the HP logo and wave pattern inlaid onto the top of the notebook using HP’s new Imprint Finish technique. It gives it a classy and elegant look in my opinion. The case is very curvy and smooth. Overall I would have to say it is very aesthetically pleasing, but I have a penchant for darker notebooks.


The dv6000z is under the V3000T for size comparisions (view large image)

The dv6000z uses HP’s new Imprint Finish which HP claims is more durable and scratch resistant. It is a glossy coating similar to coatings found on cell phones and other consumer electronics. It has a mirror like quality to it. While I was snapping photos of it for this review, I often found myself in the picture, none of which you ever will see here. The coating likes fingerprints very much, but they are easily wiped away. The build quality is good for the class, but it is not a ThinkPad or even a Latitude for that matter. It feels pretty solid, but it does creak a bit when picked up the corner most likely due to its weight. The plastic lid does not offer a lot of screen protection if you were to drop or otherwise harm it. The screen is secured using plastic hinges. It did not wobble at all when in use. I would have to say the scratch resistant claim is warranted. Every notebook I have reviewed went back with at least one scratch — most of those I only had for a couple weeks. So far this one does not have a mark on it. My Compaq v3000t which has the Imprint Finish as well does not have any scratches either after two months of faithful service. One interesting choice is the dv6000z’s lid is not secured to the base using a latch of any kind. I didn’t have any issues with the screen suddenly opening, but it would not be my preferred way of securing the screen. I do not think I am surprising anyone by telling them it is a bit heavy, tipping the scales at over seven pounds. It will work better as a DTR or around the house than a on the train every day kind of notebook.

Screen

The dv6000z came with a glossy WXGA (1280×800) screen. There is a matte screen option as well. The fact there is no WSXGA+ option is a bit of a disappointment to me on such a large notebook screen. Two of HP’s biggest competitors in this class, the Lenovo N100 and Dell e1505, both offer a WSXGA+ option. Despite the low resolution the screen quality is excellent. The screen is bright and colors are vivid. DVDs and photos looked fantastic on it. I was on occasion bothered by the glare from the glossy screen especially when the room was well lit.


On the left the HP dv6000z and on the right the Compaq V3000T (view large image)

There was very minimal light leakage. There are ten brightness levels which can be adjusted via the keyboard controls. I found it usable even on the lowest setting. Viewing angles were a bit narrower than I would have liked, but as long as I was looking at the screen directly, it looked good.

Keyboard & Touchpad

The dv6000z has a full size keyboard. The keyboard has a bit of flex to it particularly on the sides. The center is more firm. I typed the majority of this review on it using OpenOffice. I found the keystrokes to be a bit shallow and typing a little noisy. Key travel was pretty good. Periodically I found my arm hitting the touchpad when typing. It happened most often when hitting the space bar.


The dv6000z keyboard (view large image)

You can of course disable the touchpad, but that is not really a workable solution in my opinion.

The touchpad is centered beneath the keyboard. It is fairly large and rectangular. It is sunken into the palm rest. On the upper left rim of the touchpad sits an On/Off button. The touchpad uses an extremely smooth material. There was very little friction when using it. On the right side lies a scroll mechanism. I on occasion found it difficult to use as there is no tactile way of knowing where it is. It feels like the rest of the touchpad. It was worst when the room was dark when I could not see where it was located. The touchpad’s buttons have a very good feel to them. They are very smooth and quiet, a rare treat on a less expensive notebook. I did have some of the touchpad issue that have documented in the HP forums, though not as bad as my V3000T. When in use it would at times lock into only go up and down, but not right or left. If you lift your finger or swirl it on the touchpad it would usually go away. I updated to the latest driver and bios, but it did not solve the issue.

This dv6000z has the optional webcam and microphone. They sit atop the screen. It is a 1.3 megapixel camera. It is not the swivel type. When the webcam is turned on, a blue light also illuminates serving as a light source. As you can see from the picture I snapped below, image quality is OK. The photo was taken at night with the lights turned on. You will probably get better images with improved lighting if that is what you want.


Here is a picture of me showing off my new tattoo. It was either the skull and flames or Hello Kitty. I think I made the right choice (view large image)

Drives & Storage

This dv6000z came with the LG GSA-4084N Super-Multi DVD burner. It burns CDs, DVDs and DVD-RAM discs. A full DVD burns in 10:45 minutes. That is very good for a laptop burner. It was also impressive because I used a Verbatim disc which tend to not burn as fast in laptop drives like Taiyo Yuden discs. Burn quality was OK. I have definitely seen better quality.


Nero’s CD-DVD Speed showing the disc quality (view large image)

It burned a full CD in about five and half minutes. That is about average for a laptop burner. On the positive side, I had no skipping issues with any of the discs I burned. The drive was a bit slow reading discs which is not uncommon for laptop drives.

The drive also supports Lightscribe. Lightscribe uses the drive’s laser to burn a black and white image onto the top of the disc. You have to flip the disc over in the tray to burn it. The discs are kind of pricey, but the image quality is pretty decent.


A Lightscribe burned disc (view large image)

The down side of Lightscribe is that for a full disc on best quality it takes 25-30 minutes to burn a disc. This particular disc took about 21 minutes. I did use the drive to make a gift for a friend, but as an everyday tool, I think a sharpie works better.


(view large image)

The dv6000z under review had the 120GB Seagate 5400RPM. It offers plenty of space for video, photo or any other files you wish to accumulate. The drive has a restore partition which takes a little over nine GB of space. After taking space for Windows and all the other stuff there was about 96GB left on the drive. The drive seemed a little slow on boot up, but otherwise performed commendably.

The dv6000z had a generous 2GB of PC5300 memory installed it. The memory is easily accessed by removing one of the panels on the bottom of the notebook. Both slots are located underneath the panel so you won’t have to go looking for the other.


The bottom of the dv6000z with the panels and hard drive removed.(view large image)

Sound

The dv6000z comes equipped with a pair of Altec Lansing speakers located between the keyboard and the screen. For the world of notebooks, I thought they were well above average. They got loud and even had a bit of base. You would have no problem gathering around some friends to watch a DVD or listening to music.

CPU & Performance

The dv6000z has the AMD Sempron and Turion64 X2 CPUs. This specific model was furnished with the Turion64 X2 ML-56. It is a 64 bit CPU with two processing cores and has 512×2 L2 cache. It also has 2GB of memory which helped iron out any performance hiccups. It offers good performance. In absolute terms it is probably not as fast as a similarly clocked Core Duo, but in everyday use where CPU load is typically not that high, it performs quite well. Multitasking on it ran efficiently. I ran a virus scan, was burning a disk while working on my review. I noticed no lag or slowdown. When I did notice some delay it was usually due to the slower hard drive.


CPU-Z (view large image)

The dv6000z has the 256MB Nvidia 7200 go card. It has 64MB of discrete memory and 192MB taken from the system memory. For those who don’t game, HP offers the 6150 card option. I threw Half-Life 2: Episode One on it as you can see below. There are certainly better cards out there, but the 7200 will do in a pinch.


Getting some instructions before the action begins (view large image)

HL2 ran at 1280×800, but the settings were fairly low. I experienced no lag or jerkiness while playing.

Benchmarks

SuperPi

SuperPi measures CPU performance. The Turion64 X2 appears to lag behind the Core Duo at least by this measurement.

Notebook

Time to Calculate Pi to 2 Million Digits

Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

HP dv6000z (1.8GHz Turion64 X2 TL-56)

1m 54s

Compaq V3000T(1.6GHz Core Duo)

1m 26s

Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.00 GHz Core 2 Duo)

1m 02s

Toshiba A100(2.0GHz Core Duo)

1m 18s

Acer Aspire 5102WLMi(1.6GHz Turion64 X2 TL-50

2m 22s

Gateway E-100M(1.2GHz Core Solo ULV)

2m 02s

Dell Inspiron 600m (1.6 GHz Dothan Pentium M)

2m 10s

HP dv5000z(2.0GHz Sempron 3300+)

2m 02s

PCMark05 — Turion64 X2 ML-56 vs. Core Duo T2050

My personal notebook at the moment is the Compaq V3000T with the 1.6GHz Core Duo. I ran PCMark05 on both machines to show system performance for both machines. Perhaps it is not a fair test since my machine has the lowest Core Duo the T2050 and the Turion64 ML-56 is one of the faster Turions. The dv6000z also had 2GB of memory while my V3000T had only 1GB of memory. Keep those factors in mind when considering the results.

Test

HP dv6000z 1.8GHz Turion64 ML-56

Compaq V3000T 1.6GHz Core Duo

Multithreaded Test 1 — File Compression

6.97 MB/s

6.80 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 1 — File Encryption

37.34 MB/s

39.37 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 2 — File Decompression

53.83 MB/s

47.49 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 2 — File Decryption

15.77 MB/s

19.62 MB/s

Multithreaded Test 2 — Audio Decompression

797.46KB/s

788.82 KB/s

Multithreaded Test 2 — Image Decompression

10.43 MPixels/s

9.59 MPixels/s

File Compression

6.89 MB/s

6.76 MB/s

File Decompression

107.60 MB/s

94.33 MB/s

File Encryption

37.04 MB/s

40.29 MB/s

File Decryption

31.15 MB/s

39.80 MB/s

Image Decompression

20.69 MPixels/s

19.23 MPixels/s

Audio Compression

2,039.21 MPixels/s

1889.39 KB/s

I think the tests above shows what was pretty obvious to me after using the notebooks for a while, they offer similar performance.


PCMark05 results from the dv6000z and the V3000T. The dv6000z is on the left.(view large image)

HD Tune

Below is a screen capture from HD showing the results from the Seagate hard drive on the dv6000z. Everything seems in line for a 5400RPM hard drive.


Screen capture of HD Tune (view large image)

3DMark06

I think we all know the 7200 go card isn’t going to play Oblivion very well. This just confirms it.


The dv6000z 3DMarks06 score (view large image)

Ports & Connections

Owning to its multimedia ambitions, the dv6000z has most of the ports a typical user is going to need. The left side of the notebook has a S-Video and VGA outs, a port connector, Ethernet and modem jacks, two USB ports, four pin firewire connector and 5-in-1 card reader.


The left side of the notebook (view large image)

The right side of the notebooks has the ExpressCard slot, USB port and power connector.


The right side of the notebook (view large image)

The front of the notebook has the wireless On/Off switch, IR port, line in and out, and S/PDIF jack.


The front of the notebook (view large image)

Wireless & Networking

The dv6000z sports the Broadcomm A/B/G WiFi card and Ethernet port. It has Bluetooth as well. I had no issue with either. I surfed the net and transferred files over the network with no problems. It does have a HP Wireless Assistant which I personally found to be annoying. I got rid of it and used the Windows manager.


The Bluetooth connection wizard (view large image)

I had no problems using my Kensington wireless Bluetooth mouse.

Battery & AC

There are two battery options for the dv6000z; a six or a 12 cell battery. This particular model came with the 12 cell battery. It is basically another six cell battery attached underneath the regular six cell battery. It sticks out from the bottom of the notebook, raising the back of the notebook about inch. It also adds about pound of weight to the notebook.


The dv6000z with the larger 12 cell battery is back to back with the V3000T which the smaller six cell battery (view large image)

Having recently purchased a Compaq V3000T I was most interested in seeing what life with the 12 cell was like since I had chosen the six cell battery. The thing I had the hardest time deciding was whether or not to get the 12 cell battery. Like most people I like a lot of battery life, but I also like to keep the weight down as well. Using the 12 cell with WiFi on and the screen set to 50%, I was able to get 5:35 minutes of battery life. As noted the 12-cell protrudes from the bottom of the notebook. It made a convenient handle when carrying around the notebook. It also raises the notebook making it easier to type on when using it on a flat surface. When using it on my lap, it seemed most of the weight of the notebook rested where the battery was in contact with my legs. I at times found it uncomfortable. I later found if I positioned the battery between my legs, which is possible since the battery does not run the length of the notebook, it was more comfortable.

The AC adapter while small is the three pronged variety which can make finding an outlet a bit harder.


The AC adapter (view large image)

One nice feature is when the notebook’s AC adapter is plugged, the ring around the socket lights up so you know you are getting juice.

Heat & Noise

The dv6000z has three vents to help remove heat from it; one on the underside, one in the rear and one on the right side. During normal use the dv6000z got warm, but was never uncomfortable to use. The left palm rest seemed to be the hot spot on the notebook. The fan came on sporadically. It was never very loud or on very long.


Back of the dv6000z (view large image)

Support & Warranty

The base warranty on the dv6000z is one year. HP offers a plethora of options for upgrading you warranty — everything from adding an additional year to three years of accidental express coverage. I would suggest checking our warranty guide before spending your hard earned money. I did not have the opportunity to use HP support. From my own personal experience with the HP notebooks I have owned and fixed, they are at least fairly decent. That is however not a scientific measurement.

Software

The dv6000z comes with Windows XP Home though XP Professional and Media Center Edition are optional upgrades for those who need it. The dv6000z is also Windows Vista ready, or so the sticker on it says.


The stickers on the dv6000z.

Let’s not beat around the bush, there is a ton of bloatware on the dv6000z. It took me over an hour to remove it all; everything from the Office Trial to Norton to Vongo to all the games they put on there.


The XP Start Menu before any changes were made (view large image)

That said, I personally prefer that it be there. It keeps the cost down and I can always do a clean install of Windows to rid myself of it. HP does offer an OEM Windows disc for a $10 fee. The HP utilities were pretty minimalist. You can burn off the recovery discs, but you can only do it once. There is recovery software if say you accidentally delete something. There were some other applications as well like the HP Wireless Assistant, HP Help and Support, webcam software, etc. There was the other usual suspects; Sonic for burning, Microsoft Works for office productivity, and Microsoft Money for the financials to name a few. As an interesting side note, when first booted it offers you the opportunity to choose Internet Explorer or Netscape as the default browser for the machine. Firefox would have been a nice option since it is pretty much second banana to Internet Explorer, but I am not complaining.

The dv6000z also has HP’s Quickplay feature. Tapping the Quickplay button on top of the keyboard brings up Quickplay software which will allow you to play DVDs or other multi-media files.


The HP Quickplay buttons (view large image)

This works within Windows or by tapping the QuickPlay button while the machine is turned off. QuickPlay dedicates a small portion of the hard drive to accomplish this. I am not a huge laptop movie watcher, but I tested it out and it did work very well.

Conclusion

The HP dv6000z has lots to recommend about it. It has a very attractive look with HP’s new Imprint Finish. The Turion64 X2 provides decent performance and multitasking. It has all the connection one could ask for and has a marvelous glossy screen. The big question for it is going to be price. Configured at a price of $1491 before tax, it is venturing into the world of the Fujitsu N3000, Compal HEL30 or even the HP’s nc8430 which offer better specs or quality for near the same price. It is certainly possible to get this notebook in the $1000 range by not choosing all the upgrades. If one can keep the price down, I think it makes a very good option for a multimedia DTR that can travel bit.


Pros

  • Attractive Look
  • Decent Performance
  • Scratch Resistant Casing
  • Good Sound
  • Bright Vivid Screen
  • A Wealth of Connection Options
  • Silky Smooth Touchpad and Buttons

Cons

  • Poor Screen Protection
  • Malfunctioning Touchpad
  • No Screen Latch
  • Bloatware Galore


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