If we were awarding prizes for looks alone, the HP Pavilion dv6-6103sa would win hands down. It is certainly an eye-catching laptop, the brushed metal design giving the HP a look that wouldn’t be out of place in the living room, study or at work. It’s also a capable and versatile performer, boasting a strong set of specifications.

Powered by AMD’s 1.6GHz A6-3140MX APU, the HP also utlises 6GB of RAM to register a score of 86 in our WorldBench 6 tests. Though comfortably beaten by laptops with Intel Core i3 or i5 processors, the HP isn’t exactly slow and will breeze through everyday tasks. Gamers will be satisfied with the inclusion of dual-graphics cards, both with 512MB of dedicated memory, which helped the HP to the best frame rate scores in FEAR of all the laptops we tested.

The screen does offer deep, rich colours but it also has an incredibly glossy finish, making reflections a problem. The sound quality of the HP is superior to that of any other in the group, with HP’s proprietary Beats Audio technology built in. All in all, it’s a great laptop entertainment-wise.

It’s also very good to work on – the keyboard is well spaced out with no keys touching, the Return, Backspace and Right shift button are all full size, and there is room for a numeric keypad to the side. The touchpad is large and is also backlit, meaning you can see where it is in dark environments, though it is also prone to picking up greasy finger marks.

There’s a generous 1TB of storage space – well in excess of any other laptop in this group test – and backup options are good too, with a multi-format DVD writer and two USB 3.0 ports, so you can take advantage of the faster data transfer times should you have a USB 3.0 compatible external hard drive. The battery life is decent, lasting five-and-a-quarter hours in our tests, and there is a fingerprint reader for additional security.

HP Pavilion dv6-6103sa: Specs

  • 1.6GHz AMD A6-3410MX APU quad-core
  • 15.6in glossy LED backlit
  • 1366 x 768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 1TB HDD 5400rpm
  • 2 x AMD Radeon HD 6490M 512MB
  • VGA, HDMI
  • stereo speakers, 2 x headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL/RAM
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
  • fingerprint reader, webcam
  • 62Wh, lithium-ion removable 317 minutes battery
  • 378 x 247 x 35mm 2.9kg
  • 1.6GHz AMD A6-3410MX APU quad-core
  • 15.6in glossy LED backlit
  • 1366 x 768
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 1TB HDD 5400rpm
  • 2 x AMD Radeon HD 6490M 512MB
  • VGA, HDMI
  • stereo speakers, 2 x headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL/RAM
  • 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1
  • fingerprint reader, webcam
  • 62Wh, lithium-ion removable 317 minutes battery
  • 378 x 247 x 35mm 2.9kg

OUR VERDICT

You can’t argue with the specification of the HP Pavilion dv6-6103sa, though the top-notch components do put it slightly outside of the price range of this group test. That said, it is a worthy inclusion because it blends style with substance and is worth every penny of its £600 price tag. If we’ve one complaint, we’d like to see the keyboard backlit as well as the touchpad to make it more usable in dark rooms.

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