HP Pavilion dv6700t Review

by Reads (326,307)

by Jerry Jackson

The HP Pavilion dv6700t replaces the dv6500t as HP’s newest 15.4" consumer notebook offering cutting edge design and performance in a mobile package. With Intel Core 2 Duo processors, available LightScribe optical drive, available nVidia dedicated graphics, and a stylish yet tough design, the dv6700t might still be one of the best 15-inch notebooks on the market. Let’s take a closer look.

The HP Pavilion dv6700t (starting at $649.99 after $100 instant savings) is available with a range of Core 2 Duo processors (from the Intel T5450 1.66GHz Core 2 Duo up to the T7500 2.2GHz Core 2 Duo). There is only one 15.4" screen offering, a 1280×800 WXGA glossy display.

The version of the dv6700t that we have in our office is actually the dv6780se special edition notebook available exclusively at Best Buy. It features a unique version of HP’s Imprint finish called "Clay" which gives this notebook a distinctly different look than the rest of HP’s lineup.


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Our review unit of the dv6700t (dv6780se) has the following specifications:

  • Windows Vista Home Premium (32-bit)
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor T5450 (1.66GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 667MHz FSB)
  • 15.4" WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1280 x 800)
  • 3GB DDR2 System Memory
  • NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS (256MB dedicated memory)
  • HP Imprint (Clay) Finish + Webcam + Microphone
  • Integrated Altec Lansing stereo speakers
  • Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN Network Connection
  • 250GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
  • 12-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
  • Dimensions (with 12-cell battery, including feet): 14.1" (L) x 10.1" (W) x 0.75" (min H)/2.0" (max H)
  • Weight: 6 lb 10 oz (6.625 lb)
  • 65W AC adapter

Build and Design

The dv6700t is visually identical to its predecessor the dv6500t, which was virtually identical to the dv6000t … and with good reason. The design of the dv6000t has been very successful for HP and it is still arguably one of the best designs on the market. By using the same external casing customers get an attractive notebook and HP saves on production costs. As the old saying goes, "if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

HP’s glossy "Imprint Finish" on the lid and palm rests remains one of the key design features of the dv6700t. HP’s "Imprint Finish" isn’t just paint, it’s actually a complex process that starts with the molding of the plastics. The swirling design and glossy coat on the HP Imprint Finish is actually "inside" the plastic … it isn’t just a top layer that scratches off.


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Our dv6780se features the "Clay" Imprint Finish which looks like a combination of copper and silver. The copper lid is genuinely unique and gives this special edition notebook a steampunk appearance (almost as if it’s something straight out of the video game Bioshock). I have to confess that I wasn’t a fan of the "Clay" Imprint Finish at first glance: there’s just something about the copper lid and silver palmrests that left me feeling unsettled. That said, after using the dv6780se for about an hour I found that the finish grew on me. At this point I’d have to say the dv6780se has one of the best Imprint Finishes we’ve seen on an HP notebook.


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The dv6700t lid does not have a latch to hold it closed, but the hinge mechanism works well and firmly holds the lid in place. There is almost no flex to the screen.

Performance and Benchmarks

The dv6700t has more than enough performance for a full range of multimedia entertainment needs thanks to the range of Core 2 Duo processors that are available. Even the entry-level 1.66GHz T5450 packs a powerful punch. The included nVidia 8400M GS dedicated graphics card with 256MB of RAM in our review unit provides plenty of power for games and streaming media over the web. While the 3DMark06 benchmark results might not be as impressive as what we saw in the new Dell XPS M1530, the dv6700t still provides more than enough power for average gaming needs.

Additionally, the 250GB hard drive in the dv6780se is more storage than most consumers are likely to need in a laptop. Sure, if you download tons of music, movies, and TV shows then you’ll quickly fill the 250GB hard drive in a few months … but that’s what external hard drives are for.

With the basics out of the way, let’s jump into the performance benchamrks.

wPrime is a program that forces the processor to do recursive mathematical calculations, the advantage of this program is that it is multi-threaded and can use both processor cores at once, thereby giving more accurate benchmarking measurements than Super Pi.

Notebook / CPU wPrime 32M time
HP Pavilion dv6700t (Core 2 Duo T5450 @ 1.66GHz) 50.480s
Dell Inspiron 1525 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 43.569s
Dell XPS M1530 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz)
37.485s
Portable One SXS37 (Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2.0GHz) 41.908s
Sony VAIO NR (Core 2 Duo T5250 @ 1.5GHz) 58.233s
Toshiba Tecra A9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 38.343s
Toshiba Tecra M9 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.299s
HP Compaq 6910p (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 40.965s
Sony VAIO TZ (Core 2 Duo U7600 @ 1.20GHz) 76.240s
Zepto 6024W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2GHz) 42.385s
Lenovo T61 (Core 2 Duo T7500 @ 2.2GHz) 37.705s
Alienware M5750 (Core 2 Duo T7600 @ 2.33GHz) 38.327s
Hewlett Packard DV6000z (Turion X2 TL-60 @ 2.0GHz) 38.720s
Samsung Q70 (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 42.218s
Acer Travelmate 8204WLMi (Core Duo T2500 @ 2.0GHz) 42.947s
Samsung X60plus (Core 2 Duo T7200 @ 2.0GHz) 44.922s
Zepto Znote 6224W (Core 2 Duo T7300 @ 2.0GHz) 45.788s
Samsung Q35 (Core 2 Duo T5600 @ 1.83GHz) 46.274s
Samsung R20 (Core Duo T2250 @ 1.73GHz) 47.563s

 

3DMark06 comparison results for graphics performance:

Notebook 3DMark06 Score
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 1,556 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 545 3DMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 504 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 4,332 3DMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 2,905 3DMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS 128MB) 1,408 3DMarks
Samsung Q70 (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7300 and nVidia 8400M G GPU) 1,069 3DMarks
Asus F3sv-A1 (Core 2 Duo T7300 2.0GHz, Nvidia 8600M GS 256MB) 2,344 3DMarks
Alienware Area 51 m5550 (2.33GHz Core 2 Duo, nVidia GeForce Go 7600 256MB 2,183 3DMarks
Fujitsu Siemens Amilo Xi 1526 (1.66GHz Core Duo, nVidia 7600Go 256 MB) 2,144 3DMarks
Samsung X60plus (2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T7200, ATI X1700 256MB) 1,831 3DMarks
Asus A6J (1.83GHz Core Duo, ATI X1600 128MB) 1,819 3DMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16 GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 827 3DMarks

PCMark05 measures overall notebook performance:

Notebook PCMark05 Score
HP Pavilion dv6700t (1.66GHz Intel T5450, Nvidia 8400M GS 256MB) 3,386 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1525 (2.0GHz Intel T7250, Intel X3100) 4,149 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1530 (2.20GHz Intel T7500, Nvidia 8600M GT 256MB) 5,412 PCMarks
Dell Inspiron 1520 (2.0GHz Intel T7300, NVIDIA 8600M GT) 4,616 PCMarks
Dell XPS M1330 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, NVIDIA GeForce Go 8400M GS) 4,591 PCMarks
Sony VAIO NR (1.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5250, Intel X3100) 3,283 PCMarks
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 4,153 PCMarks
Lenovo 3000 V200 (2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, Intel X3100) 3,987 PCMarks
Lenovo T60 Widescreen (2.0GHz Intel T7200, ATI X1400 128MB) 4,189 PCMarks
HP dv6000t (2.16GHz Intel T7400, NVIDA GeForce Go 7400) 4,234 PCMarks
Fujitsu N6410 (1.66GHz Core Duo, ATI X1400) 3,487 PCMarks
Alienware M7700 (AMD Athlon FX-60, Nvidia Go 7800GTX) 5,597 PCMarks
Sony VAIO SZ-110B in Speed Mode (Using Nvidia GeForce Go 7400) 3,637 PCMarks
Asus V6J (1.86GHz Core Duo T2400, Nvidia Go 7400) 3,646 PCMarks


HDTune results:


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Screen

The 15.4" WXGA glossy screen on the dv6700t isn’t ideal for HD video, but it does offer sharp contrast, excellent color, and reasonably even backlighting. Unlike many other 15.4" 1280×800 pixel displays the screen on the dv6700t doesn’t suffer from "graininess." Horizontal viewing angles were excellent although vertical viewing angles were only average. The screen itself didn’t suffer from ripples, stuck pixels, or any other problems.


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Keyboard, Touchpad and Other Input Buttons

The full-sized keyboard on the dv6700t has almost no flex. The keys have excellent cushion and response and were quiet during use. There are dedicated keys for home, end, page up, and page down. The f-keys also control a range of features (such as raising or lowering screen brightness) when they are pressed in combination with the function key.

One important item of note with the dv6780se version of this notebook is that the keys have a durable coating which makes the keyboard look and feel better when typing. The slight glossy texture of the keys won’t develop the typical "shine" that begins to show up on keys after extended use.


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The touchpad is nice and large and features a durable and responsive surface that is also covered in the HP Imprint Finish. The marked vertical scroll section is likewise accurate and responsive. The touchpad buttons have deep feedback and produce quiet, cushioned clicks. One of the nice features found on HP touchpads is the touchpad on/off button. If you press the small button above the touchpad you can disable it … perfect for people using an external mouse. Although the touchpad is quite nice I would have liked to see the same style of touchpad that HP started using on the tx1000z and HDX notebooks … perhaps on next year’s notebooks?


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HP also includes a Media Center remote that fits inside the notebook’s ExpressCard slot. The remote is perfect for controlling movies, music, photo slide shows, and presentations. The dv6700t also features dedicated touch-sensitive media buttons above the keyboard and beneath the speakers. The media buttons make watching DVDs or listening to music files as easy as using a DVD or CD player. These media buttons have blue LED backlights that are always on.


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Input and Output Ports

There is a reasonable selection of ports on the dv6700t including an HDMI out port for connecting the notebook to your HDTV and an expansion port for connection to HP’s xb3000 expansion base/docking station. The complete list of ports includes:

  • ExpressCard/54 slot (also supports ExpressCard/34)
  • Three USB 2.0
  • HDMI out
  • IEEE 1394 Firewire
  • Expansion port 3
  • TV out (S-video)
  • Integrated Consumer IR (remote control receiver)
  • 5-in-1 digital media card reader
  • microphone in
  • RJ-11 (modem)
  • RJ-45 (LAN/Ethernet)
  • VGA out

Let’s take a quick tour around the port offerings of the dv6700t:


Front side: LED status lights, wireless on/off switch, IR receiver, microphone port and dual headphone ports. (view large image)


Back side: Nothing here but hinges and a heat vent. (view large image)


Left side: Lock slot, S-video out, VGA out, expansion port 3, Ethernet, modem, HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, Firewire, and 5-in-1 card reader. (view large image)


Right side: ExpressCard slot (with included media remote), optical drive, USB, and DC power jack. (view large image)

Although it’s somewhat sad to see there are only three USB ports on the dv6700t you do get an HDMI port and docking station expansion port which are two ports you don’t often find on 15.4" notebooks from other manufacturers. If you configure the dv6700t with integrated Intel graphics you will get a fourth USB port instead of the HDMI port.

Audio

The Altec Lansing stereo speakers located above the keyboard are quite impressive. While the built-in speakers didn’t produce as much range as notebooks that are also equipped with a subwoofer, the speakers did have impressive clarity and loudness with excellent highs and midtones. The dv6700t also features dual headphone jacks located on the front side so that you and a partner can listen to movies or music on a plane. Although it’s nice to have the headphone jacks located at the front it is a less than ideal location for people who like to plug in external speakers.


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Heat and Noise

The dv6700t runs extremely quiet but not particularly cool. The fan remained on most of the time when the notebook was plugged in and turned on frequently while the notebook was on battery power. Although there was minimal warmth coming from the top of the hard drive (left palm rest) the most significant heat came from the hard drive area on the underside of the dv6700t. The heat coming from the hard drive was roughly as intense as the heat coming from the heat exhaust for the fan. This is enough to make the notebook uncomfortable on the lap after extended use. If heat is an issue that concerns you then I would recommend using an external notebook cooler/fan with this notebook.

Below are images with the temperature readings listed in degrees Fahrenheit:


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Battery

The dv6700t is available with the standard 6-cell battery and a 12-cell battery for extended life. Our dv6780se came with the 12-cell extended-life battery which raised the back of the notebook. This has the added benefit of improving the angle of the keyboard which makes typing much more enjoyable. However, the 12-cell does increase the overall size and weight of the notebook. With the screen brightness set to about half, wireless on, and Vista power settings set to "Balanced," the dv6700t powered down after 6 hours and 2 minutes. Clearly the 12-cell extended-life battery will provide enough power for most travel situations and the standard 6-cell should be fine for casual use.

One other item of note regarding the battery is that both the 6-cell and 12-cell batteries fit snug inside the notebook and firmly lock into place. In recent months we’ve seen dozens of notebooks with loose batteries from other companies. We’re glad to see that HP still cares about the "fit and finish" on their notebooks.


Conclusion

The HP Pavilion dv6700t is an impressive notebook for 2008, despite the fact that the basic shape hasn’t changed at all since the dv6000t. The combination of performance, stylish design, extremely durable construction/finish, and a wide array of media controls makes the dv6700t one of the best notebook choices for average consumers among 15.4" systems.

After close comparison to Dell’s new Inspiron 1525 the only thing Dell really offers over this HP notebook is an extra USB port and a slightly lower starting price. That said, the dv6700t is still the better choice since it offers the option of dedicated graphics (as seen in the dv6780se).

Bottom line, although the overall design hasn’t changed in two years the HP dv6700t delivers modern day performance and plenty of multimedia extras with style and an affordable price tag. Overall the dv6700t is one of the best notebooks available for everyday consumers, and the dv6780se available at Best Buy is perhaps that nicest looking version of the notebook yet.

Pros

  • Your choice of Core 2 Duo processors
  • Solid dedicated graphics option for occasional gamers
  • Still one of the best designs on the market (see below)
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • Responsive media buttons and nice remote

Cons

  • Glossy Imprint finish is a magnet for fingerprints
  • Only three USB ports with dedicated graphics option
  • Overall design is starting to look dated after two years
  • Did HP really need to put eight stickers on the palm rests?


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