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.