HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition

HP's Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition manages to bring good performance and battery life into the sub-AU$1000 range. The main sacrifice is the vibrancy of the screen, but at this price, it's a small nitpick and nothing more.


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About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.


The Beats edition of the Pavilion dm4 definitely wants you to know it's Beats branded. Coming in matte black, it has a big red Beats logo on the lid and red keyboard labels, of which the "b" key is once again the Beats logo. When pressed with the Fn key, it turns the Beats audio processing on and off, and considering the size of the laptop, you'll want to leave it on. The sound isn't bad for the price you'll be paying, with the front firing speakers angled slightly downwards, the best sound to be had when there's a flat surface underneath.

Connectivity

  • USB 3.0: 2
  • USB 2.0: 1
  • Optical: DVD±RW
  • Video: VGA, HDMI
  • Ethernet: Gigabit
  • Wireless: 2.4GHz 802.11n

The screen is clearly where the company has attempted to save costs — a standard 1366x768 TN model with low colour vibrancy, made by AUO. It'll do the job, to be sure — but we've been spoiled by the price point and quality of IPS tablets.

Odd for a consumer laptop is a fingerprint scanner, integrating with HP's SimplePass password keeping software. Everything else is pretty much standard — HP's usually good keyboard is in play, backlit in a somewhat malevolent red. The touchpad is Synaptics powered, and pleasantly eschews a clickpad in favour of two physical buttons.

HP's port labels are not only on the bottom of the laptop, making them useless, but are coloured in an exceptionally hard to read red. Mostly, you can get by without them, but since HP colours its USB 3.0 ports black, like USB 2.0, it'll take a little longer than usual to discern which is which.

The two USB 3.0 ports in question are on the left, whereas a single USB 2.0 is on the right. VGA and HDMI are included for video, and gigabit Ethernet, a headset jack, a DVD±RW drive, 2.4GHz 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 complete the connectivity options.

Your hard earned cash will get you a Core i5 3210M @ 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, a 640GB mechanical hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 7570M, making the dm4 quite a capable little machine.

Choose a benchmark: Handbrake | iTunes | Photoshop | Multimedia

Handbrake encoding (in seconds)

  • 352
    HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
  • 353
    Asus K55V (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
  • 378
    Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
  • 380
    Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)
  • 386
    Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
  • 541
    HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
  • 763
    Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
  • 766
    Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)

(Shorter bars indicate better performance)


When matched up against other laptops in the sub-AU$1000 category, the dm4's hardware of choice generally keeps it near the top of the pack.

Gaming performance

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Playable on:
VERY LOW
settings
FPS
Max Avg Min
70 53 31
1366x768, 0x AA, Detail level: Very low, PhysX off.
Metro 2033
Playable on:
VERY LOW
settings
FPS
Max Avg Min
59 33 9
1366x768, DirectX 9, 0x AA, Quality: Low, PhysX: Off.
The Witcher 2
NOT
PLAYABLE
FPS
Max Avg Min
10 7 5
1366x768, low spec.
Skyrim
NOT
PLAYABLE
FPS
Max Avg Min
39 24 9
1366x768, low detail

Despite the high number in its name, the Radeon HD 7570M doesn't have very good gaming chops. For some reason, Skyrim, usually a more forgiving game than Metro 2033, reached unplayable levels. While we usually have to refer to the average frame rate score in Metro (as the minimum score always drops to unplayable levels, regardless of the power of your graphics card), in the light of the Skyrim result, we're tempted to call Metro a bust here, as well.

Battery life (time)

  • Heavy battery test
  • Light battery test
  • 4h 15m6h 11m
  • HP dm4 3114TX (Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7570M)
  • 3h 34m5h 10m
  • HP Envy 6 1010TU (Core i5 2467M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 4GB SSD cache)
  • 3h 25m5h 0m
  • Sony Vaio E SVE14A15FGB (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 640GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7670M)
  • 2h 37m4h 9m
  • Acer Aspire V3-571G (Core i5 2450M, 8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, GeForce GT 630M)
  • 3h 13m4h 7m
  • Dell Inspiron 13z 5323 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD)
  • 2h 51m4h 3m
  • Asus K55V (Intel Core i5 3210M, 4GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Nvidia GeForce 610M)
  • 2h 54m3h 49m
  • Dell Inspiron 14z 5423 (Core i3 2367M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD + 8GB SSD cache)
  • 2h 36m3h 32m
  • Toshiba Satellite C850/02D (Core i5 2450M, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, AMD Radeon HD 7610M)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


HP continues to prove, as a general rule, that it has the best battery life on Windows laptops.

Conclusion

HP's Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition manages to bring good performance and battery life into the sub-AU$1000 range. The main sacrifice is the vibrancy of the screen, but at this price, it's a small nitpick and nothing more.



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CharlieA posted a comment   

is this the same as the hp pavilion dm4

 

skyrimhsme posted a comment   
Australia

this can play skyrim. i got it or christmas and it can eve manage farcry3 at high

 

MelanieW1 posted a comment   

Hi
I am wondering if this laptop comes with a docking station or a port replicator?

 

sleepydoc posted a comment   
Australia

Just bought this fella today from Officeworks Windsor Qld ($704) and pretty happy so far. Sound IS great with the Beats audio on. Screen fine for my non-gaming/movie needs and - something small but a clincher for me - the keyboard IS backlit (toggles on and off via F5). Have found this feature hard to find in a good sub- $1000 (or any!) laptop outside Apple....
re-connectivity, there is also a card reader - at front left.

Also just wanna say thanks for all your great work, Craig :-)

 

Craig Simms posted a reply   
Australia

Gah, don't know how I missed that back light button -- thanks sleepydoc, have updated the review :)

 

TimF2 posted a comment   

I went and had a look for this product on the HP webiste after reading this review and thinking it looked like a good buy, but it looks like it is discontinued? Bit odd to be posting new reviews on discontinued models.

 

Craig Simms posted a reply   
Australia

Hey Tim,

It should be available at JB Hi Fi, Officeworks and The Good Guys:

http://www.jbhifi.com.au/computers/hp/14-inch-notebook-sku-77362/

http://www.officeworks.com.au/retail/products/Technology/Computers/Laptops/Performance-Laptops/HEDM43011

http://www.thegoodguys.com.au/buyonline/Hewlett_Packard_Pavilion_dm43011TX_14.0%22_Notebook_A9L94PA

 

shell01 posted a reply   
Australia

hey Tim I was just wondering if it is possible to upgrade the memory here to 8gb? would i just have to buy one from ebay and pop it in?




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User Reviews / Comments  HP Pavilion dm4 Beats Edition

  • CharlieA

    CharlieA

    "is this the same as the hp pavilion dm4"

  • skyrimhsme

    skyrimhsme

    "this can play skyrim. i got it or christmas and it can eve manage farcry3 at high"

  • MelanieW1

    MelanieW1

    "Hi
    I am wondering if this laptop comes with a docking station or a port replicator?"

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