HP Pavilion dv4t Review: Sub-$500 Winner?

by Reads (34,094)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Design
    • 6
    • Features
    • 5
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 5.67
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


  • Pros

    • Good keyboard
    • Solid performance
    • Overall good value


  • Cons

    • Glossy plastic galore
    • Poor speakers
    • Loud touchpad buttons

Quick Take

The HP Pavilion dv4t is an affordable 14-inch laptop for home use with a good keyboard and good battery life.

The HP Pavilion dv4t notebook brings satisfactory performance and a good keyboard to the table for a street price of less than $500. What could be improved with this no-frills laptop? We take a look.

Build and Design
The dv4t has a friendly look that’s expected of HP’s Pavilion entertainment notebook line. Unlike higher-end Pavilions, however, HP made the unfortunate decision to cover just about all surfaces of this notebook in glossy plastic. While it may look attractive on a display shelf, glossy plastic is a dust and fingerprint magnet. Keep a microfiber towel handy.

The build quality is satisfactory for a consumer notebook in this price range. The chassis has good internal support and does not flex easily; the surfaces feel solid when pressed down upon. The lid is slightly flimsy and flexes with little effort; surprisingly no ripples appear on the screen when pressure is applied from behind (this means the actual panel is protected). One part of the lid that could be improved is the hinges – they don’t exactly feel anchored to the chassis and are somewhat flexible. Two hands are required for opening the lid.

Fit and finish of the notebook is good; there are no sharp edges and all parts of the notebook appear to be of the same level of quality. The plastics used are of reasonable thickness and are not brittle. Overall the dv4t passes quality inspection but fails in the design department; the excessive use of glossy plastic turns this notebook into an eyesore.

Upgrading the notebook is relatively easy to do; the hard drive, memory (RAM), and wireless card are accessible through two panels on the bottom of the chassis.

Ports and Features
The Pavilion dv4t has the bare essentials and little more when it comes to ports. It lacks USB 3.0, eSATA, and DisplayPort; it’s not possible to add them since the dv4t also doesn’t include an ExpressCard expansion slot. At the very least it has an HDMI port for connection to HDTVs.

Front: Media card reader, stereo speakers

Back: Battery pack

Left: Kensington lock slot, cooling exhaust vent, VGA, Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB 2.0

Right: DVD burner, headphone and microphone jacks, USB 2.0, AC power



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