You don't see an awful lot of laptops with 1TB of storage space, but that is exactly what this big HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa has to offer. Overall, the specifications of the dv7 look quite impressive on paper, although in practice its performance leaves a lot to be desired.

It saves money by using an AMD processor, a 2.1GHz AMD A4-3310MX APU (accelerated processing unit).

This is a dual-core processor with integrated graphics that finds itself short of the grunt to compete with Intel's Core i5 models – in fact, it's core speed would be outclassed by an Intel Core 2 Duo chip from four years ago.  

The HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa's WorldBench 6 score of 84 is only saved from the wooden spoon by the Toshiba Portégé Z830, with its little 1.4GHz Intel Core i3 processor.

It isn't all bad news, though – gaming scores for the HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa are perfectly respectable, with a separate AMD Radeon graphics cards joining with the integrated graphics to help the HP to a framerate of 46fps in FEAR.

While that means some Windows gameplay is possible, most gamers will be looking elsewhere. 

There's 6GB of RAM, too, which is slightly more than the 4GB average usually seen in this category.

A huge, 17in screen is brilliant for both colour depth and sharpness, and provided you don't position the HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa near sunlight or indoor lighting it does a good job. 

The screen's 1600 x 900 resolution is higher than most modern 15in models, but it still doesn't offer enough pixels to natively support full HD (1920 x 1080). At this price, you can see where cost-cutting measures have been made.

The HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa does sound quite decent. A Beats Audio-branded speaker system offers good performance, if below the standard of the Asus N55, with distortion audible at high volumes. 

A optical drive handles the usual plus-and-minus DVD formats, as well as dual-layer DVD media.

The one thing we really like about the HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa, though, was its design. Not only does it look nice with a brushed metal finish lid and modern interior, it has been reasonably well put together, with a robust-looking chassis.

The downside to this build is the HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa's mass – at 3.1kg, this is old-school laptop weight.

HP Pavilion dv7-6101sa: Specs

  • 2.1GHz AMD A4-3310MX APU
  • 17.3in glossy LED-backlit
  • 1600 x 900
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 1TB 5400rpm HDD
  • AMD Radeon HD 6515G2 with 1GB memory
  • HDMI, VGA
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL drive
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • SD Card reader
  • webcam, fingerprint reader
  • 60Wh lithium-ion removable
  • 416 x 275 x 35mm
  • 3136g
  • 2.1GHz AMD A4-3310MX APU
  • 17.3in glossy LED-backlit
  • 1600 x 900
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • 6GB DDR3-1333MHz
  • 1TB 5400rpm HDD
  • AMD Radeon HD 6515G2 with 1GB memory
  • HDMI, VGA
  • stereo speakers, headphone jack, mic input
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • DVD±RW DL drive
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • gigabit ethernet
  • SD Card reader
  • webcam, fingerprint reader
  • 60Wh lithium-ion removable
  • 416 x 275 x 35mm
  • 3136g

OUR VERDICT

While the price tag is inviting – and we’ve seen deals offering the dv7 for even fewer pounds than the £700 listed here – this HP is considerably bigger and slower than most modern laptops. Other components are more up-to-date, and build quality is not bad. If you're looking for a low-budget 17in desktop replacement with some entertainment features and plenty of storage, this may be the laptop for you.

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