HP Pavilion dv6227cl Review

by Reads (102,328)

by Chris Leathco

Overview and Introduction

This review is for the new Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dv6227cl, which is currently being billed as an "Entertainment Notebook" by HP.  It’s a fairly new model in the dv6000 line, and is currently being sold by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores as well as their online counterparts.


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  • AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-50 processor running at 1.6 GHz.
  • 120 GB hard drive running at 5400RPM (6.6 gigs used as a restore partition.)
  • 1024MB DDR2 SDRAM (2 512MB sticks)
  • NVIDIA GeForce Go 6150 graphics chipset, up to 288MB shared video RAM.
  • 15.4" WXGA Hi-Def Brightview Widescreen display.
  • 802.11 b/g WLAN
  • 8x DVD+ and DVD- R/RW with dual layer support
  • 5 in 1 card reader
  • ExpressCard54 expansion slot
  • Expansion Port 3 for docking stations
  • 6 Cell Lithium-Ion battery.
  • Windows Vista Home Premium
  • HP Mobile Remote Control (plugs into Expresscard slot)
  • Headphones

Reason for Buying

I purchased this system because I travel a lot, and require a computer to keep in contact with home, as well as entertainment uses such as gaming.  It also is a lot easier to carry a laptop to a LAN party than it is a full tower PC with monitor.  Before purchasing this system I had looked at the HP dv2000 series, the Dell E1505, the Acer 2112, and the Alienware M5550.

I eventually chose the HP due to the price of the system (similar systems configured from the Dell, HP, and Alienware websites were substantially more expensive, even before figuring in shipping) and the fact that Acer needs a lot of help in their customer support areas. Even their website does not give a good impression, it has broken links and slow loading pages.


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This system is an upgrade from an older Dell Inspiron.  I needed an upgrade due to poor video graphics, busted hinge, and a slow, single core processor. 

Where and How Purchased

This system was purchased at a Wal-Mart in Washington, Indiana, for $798.  For the specs of this system and the extras it comes with it’s a very good deal.  If you go to a tier-one builder and configure a system, you will end up paying more, even before the shipping comes into play.  Strangely, building a similar system in the dv6000 line at HP’s website is still more expensive than going to Wal-Mart and purchasing the system outright.  HP’s website price for a dv6000 series with the exact same specifications was $1,031.97 at the time of this writing.

Build and Design


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This system is black and silver with blue LED lighting.  The casing has a nice solid feel, and the weight is average at around 6.6 lbs.  The hinges for the monitor feel quite strong, and there is no ripple effect on the LCD by pushing on the back of the monitor.  Strangely, there is no latch or lock at all for when the laptop is in the closed position.  You just pull up on the monitor to open it.  This is the first laptop I have owned with this design, and I rather like it.  The entire casing is thick plastic with a glossy look all over, which, while looking very impressive, also shows a lot of fingerprints.  Keep a cleaning cloth handy.


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The notebook has blue LEDS all over it.  The row of quick launch keys above the computer are all lit, as well as the mouse pad lock button, power and HDD lights, and even the power plug-in has an LED that lights up when plugged-in.  It matches the case design quite well.

The system uses HP’s Imprint design as well.  For those unfamiliar with this, it has small curved lines running across the top of the monitor as well as the palm rest area with a very glossy look.  It’s a classy look.

Screen

The screen on this system is a WXGA Hi-Def Brightview Widescreen display.  It’s 15.4 inches, and is easily bright enough to see clearly.  There were no dead pixels on the unit I purchased, as well as no discernable areas that were leaking light.  The lighting seems even throughout the entire area of the screen, and the size is fine for a portable system.  The native resolution is 1280 by 800.

Speakers

The speakers are manufactured by Altec Lansing, and are located directly above the shortcut keys on the keyboard, which places them underneath the monitor instead of in front of the system as most makers have them.  These speakers impressed me a lot, they are quite loud with minimal distortion at higher sound levels.  Be sure to be careful with your sound settings, as these speakers can get very, very loud.

Processor and Performance

This particular model uses the AMD Turion 64 X2 running at 1.6 GHz.  Having the dual core setup under Vista is noticeable, although the benefits will get better slowly as more and more apps start moving from single-threaded to multi-threaded.  Still, the 2 cores help performance and make up for the lower clock speed setting.  The boot up time averaged around 40 seconds.

The hard drive on this system has plenty of storage for a laptop at 120 GB (105 GB usable after formatting and HP Restore partition), but the speed is only 5400 RPM.  While acceptable on a laptop, I still wish they had put a 7200 RPM drive in this system.  Sometimes it takes a few extra seconds to access files on this system depending on how fragmented they are and how large they are.

It comes with a gigabyte of RAM, which is adequate for running the included Windows Vista and normal programs.  I would recommend upgrading to two gigs of RAM down the road for the extra performance and speed.  Be aware if you do plan on upgrading that HP uses 2 512MB sticks of RAM, so you will have to purchase two 1 GB sticks for the upgrade.

The video chipset uses the Geforce Go 6150.  You can play some games on this system, but I recommend lowering the resolution and graphics details before loading the game so you can play at an acceptable frame rate.  Also, some games, such as Oblivion, may not play at an acceptable speed even with all details are set down at their lowest.  I recommend going into your BIOS and setting your shared memory for your video at the highest setting possible, 128 MB.  If the video system needs more RAM than 128, it pulls it automatically up to 288 MB.

Benchmarks

Super Pi Comparison Results

Super Pi forces the processor to calculate Pi to 2 million digits of accuracy and gives an idea of the processor speed and performance:

Notebook Time
HP Pavilion dv6227cl (1.6 GHz Turion X2) 2m 04s
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo) 1m 28s
Fujitsu LifeBook N6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo) 1m 22s
LG S1 (2.16 GHz Core Duo) 1m 11s
Dell Inspiron e1505 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 16s
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Toshiba Satellite M100 (2.00GHz Core Duo) 1m 18s
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo) 1m 29s
Sony VAIO FS680 (1.86 GHz Pentium M) 1m 53s

 

 

Everest 2.20.405 Results

  • Memory Read – 3270 MB/s
  • Memory Write – 1545 MB/s
  • Memory Latency – 68.7 ns

PCMark05

The table below compares the PCMark05 test results with some other notebooks.

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP Pavilion dv6227cl (1.6 GHz Turion X2, Nvidia Go 6150) 2,600 PCMarks
Samsung Q35 (1.83GHz Core 2 Duo T5600, Intel 945GM) 3,059 PCMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700) 4,555 PCMarks
Samsung X60 (1.66GHz Core Duo T2300, ATI X1400) 3,456 PCMarks
Asus V6J (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 4,265 PCMarks
Fujitsu Lifebook A6010 (1.66GHz Core 2 Duo T5500, Intel GMA 950) 2,994 PC Marks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, nVidia GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, nVidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks
Lenovo Thinkpad R60 (1.66 Core Duo T2300E , Intel 950) 2,975 PCMarks

 

Comparison results for 3DMark05

3DMark05 tests the overall graphic capabilities of a notebook, below is how the HP dv6227cl did compared to other notebooks:

Notebook 3D Mark 05 Results
HP Pavilion dv6227cl (1.6 GHz Turion X2, Nvidia Go 6150) 491 3DMarks
Toshiba Satellite A135 (1.73GHz Core Duo, Intel GMA 950) 519 3DMarks
Alienware Aurora M-7700(AMD Dual Core FX-60, ATI X1600 256MB) 7,078 3D Marks
Lenovo ThinkPad T60 (2.0GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,092 3D Marks
Asus V6Va (2.13 GHz Pentium M, ATI x700 128 MB) 2,530 3D Marks
Fujitsu n6410 (1.66 GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400 128MB) 2,273 3DMarks
HP Pavilion dv4000 (1.86 GHz Pentium M, ATI X700 128MB) 2,536 3D Marks
Dell XPS M1210 (2.16 GHz Core Duo, nVidia Go 7400 256MB) 2,090 3D Marks

 

Heat and Noise

Under normal conditions, the system is very quiet.  However, the CD/DVD drive can get very loud, especially when spinning up before it hits full speed.  Burning discs on the unit is quite loud as well.  However, this is par for the course, as most notebooks don’t have a quiet drive.  However, I can hear no fan noise from the CPU at all.

The laptop gets a little warm under constant use, and very warm in gaming sessions, but never gets to a point where it’s uncomfortable to have it sitting on your lap.  However, three of the units five vents are on the bottom, so placing this system on a table or other flat surface is more ideal than having it on your lap.  The other vents are on the back and on the side.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard is very comfortable to use, and there is no sponginess from any of the keys.  It’s very firm and solid.  The keys are large enough to easily type on, although the top row of keys are shortened significantly enough to where they can be a little hard to hit during fast typing sessions.  This model also features a row of shortcut keys that are not normal buttons, but a touch sensitive pad.  Here you can find buttons for media control, volume control, a mute button, a DVD application launch button, and a home key.  The power button is also right beside these keys.

The touchpad is also firm and comfortable to use.  It is a bit slicker than a typical pad, which I like better.  It also has a convenient touchpad lock button that comes in very handy when you are using a USB or wireless mouse.  It also features a scroll bar which is great for reading long documents or perusing web pages.

However, the touchpad click buttons leave a bit to be desired.  They are very quiet, but feel more like a keyboard button than a mouse button.  There’s a lot of travel distance when you click.  I’d rather have a regular button set closer to a mouse which has a small travel distance than the one on this model, where the travel distance is almost as much as the keyboard.

Input and Output Ports

This system has a good, but not great, setup for ports.  It features an ExpressCard 54 slot, which is very forward thinking, but no PCMCIA slot.  This severely limits expansion options, as there are not many ExpressCard expansions released, and they are priced higher than PCMCIA cards.


Front view of dv6227 (view large image)


Left view of dv6227 (view large image)


Right view of dv6227 (view large image)


Back view of dv6227 (view large image)

 

It also features a 5-in-1 media reader and three USB ports, so it’s easy to get data off your flash memory cards and inside this unit.  There are two USB ports on the left side and one on the right.  I like the fact that they put one on the right, as that is where most mice are plugged in.

For video output it has both VGA and S-Video outs, but no DVI out.  You can always use a converter to get DVI out, but this results in reduced image quality.  Still, you do have options for outputting to a monitor or television.

This card also features an Expansion Port 3 slot, which HP uses as a proprietary expansion for its docking stations.  A docking station may come in handy for your needs depending on whether the stock laptop comes with the ports you need.  However, the docking station is also pricey, starting at $150 for a basic one and going up to $200.

It also comes with the standard modem and Ethernet jacks for connectivity to the internet and a network, as well as a media remote that communicates with the system via Bluetooth and is stored in the ExpressCard slot.

Wireless

This system comes standard with an 802.11 b/g wireless card, which is more or less standard for most systems.  It also features built-in Bluetooth as well as an infrared port on the front of the system.  The Bluetooth reception is excellent, as I can take a headset out around 45 feet and it still works.  WiFi is functional around 150 feet away from my source, but depending on walls in the way, reception can drop to around 40 feet.

Battery

Battery life is decent, around four and a half hours with WiFi on.  However, it takes a long time to charge the system back, typically at least three hours if the battery is fully drained.  If battery life is a concern, you can purchase an extended 12 cell battery that can fluctuate anywhere from $100 to $150 dollars depending on where you look.

Operating System and Software

The system ships with Windows Vista Premium, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences.  With Vista, your system is ready for future software that might require the new OS.  However, there’s a chance some of the software you have right now may be incompatible with your system until the manufacturer releases a patch, assuming they even release one.

There was very little extra software installed upon first boot.  There was HP Games, LightScribe, and DVD burning software as well as an HP startup screen.  Other than those items, the install was very clean.  Unfortunately, HP does not give you recovery discs, although they do provide a utility to create your own recovery discs using CD’s or DVD’s.  Once you make these discs however, don’t lose them as the system only allows you to create one set of backups.

Customer Support

HP has decent customer support.  They are available 24/7, although you have to go through a few menus to get to a live person.  On the few times I called with made up problems I created for this review, most of the people I spoke with were competent and made their way step by step to fix the problem.  Only one person failed to repair the problem and requested me to ship the unit in — I hadreported Bluetooth was not working after I had disabled via Hardware Management.

The system comes with a one year warranty for parts and service, which is standard for most systems.  I did not see anywhere in the documentation where an extended warranty could be purchased.

Conclusion

This system will serve the needs of most average computer users.  Gamers may have issues with the limited graphics card, and the touchpad buttons definitely take some time to get used to.  However, the system has plenty of power for the average user and for the occasional game, and also is a great aesthetically looking system.

Pros:

  • Great looking system.
  • Plenty of power and RAM for the average user.
  • Great speakers.
  • Comes with remote control and media buttons.

Cons:

  • Touchpad buttons have a huge travel distance.
  • No PCMCIA slot or DVI out
  • No recovery software without burning your own.
  • Very susceptible to fingerprints.
  • Limited video card.


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