Design and features
Piano black is the order of the day for HP's dv6-1128tx — piano black with silver concentric circles, and a fingerprint-style design on both the lid and wrist rest. Just like Apple has been doing for years, the HP logo in the bottom right of the lid lights up, courtesy of the 16-inch, 1366x768 screen's backlight.
Inside the laptop itself you're greeted with a silken silver touch pad and mouse buttons, recessed to make tapping a little easier. It's the same mousepad HP has used for some time, and just like the keyboard with its included numpad, is excellent to use. A button above the pad can be pressed to disable it if you desire.
Just below the screen is a set of touch buttons for mute, volume control, media playback and turning wireless on and off.
This is surrounded by a speaker grille for the SRS capable Altec Lansing speakers included — which are about on par for the quality expected at this form factor.
Connectivity-wise, the dv6 offers VGA and HDMI out, three USB ports, a combined USB/eSATA port, FireWire, Express Card 54, an SD/MS/MMC/XD card reader, gigabit Ethernet, a 56Kbps dial-up modem jack and a proprietary jack to hook into HP's docks. While an 802.11n capable adapter is installed, there is no Bluetooth in sight, an oddity for today's laptops.
Internally, our review sample featured an Intel Core 2 Duo T6400 @ 2.2GHz, 2GB RAM, 320GB hard drive, DVD+-RW, and an ATI Mobility Radeon HD4530 on the 32-bit version of Windows Vista Home Premium.
Pre-installed software includes Symantec Norton Internet Security 2009, CyberLink DVD Suite, and the trial games we dearly wish HP would stop including. AOL toolbar is installed into Internet Explorer (for which we suggest a hasty removal), and eBay is still managing to get its icon on the desktop, much to our annoyance. HP's MediaSmart software is also included, should you prefer using it over the Windows Media Center offering included with Vista Home Premium.
With a reasonably powered graphics card we expected moderate performance, and we weren't disappointed with the dv6 pulling 3340 in 3DMark06. PCMark05 scored within the decent range as well, with 4895. Of course, all this power comes at a cost, and that's battery life.
With all power-saving options turned off, screen brightness and volume set to maximum, we played back an Xvid file for one hour, 39 minutes and 55 seconds before the battery gave out.
The dv6 is a gorgeous laptop for quite an affordable price. If you're looking in the 16-inch space, definitely check this one out.