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Budget laptops Reviews
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HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa review

£270 inc VAT

Manufacturer: HP

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

The HP Pavilion dm1 is a compact 11in-screen laptop with AMD dual-core processor and a budget-friendly price.

Note that the model we tested, the HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa, no longer seems to be available in the UK. Similarly specified laptops are the HP Pavilion dm1-4175sa or the HP Pavilion dm1-4004sa, also sold for around £350, which both have a 1.65GHz AMD processor, AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics and 4GB of memory.

Those wanting a small, portable laptop with a useful turn of speed will want to consider the HP Pavilion dm1. This 11in-screen portable may not have the wow factor of the thinnest ultraportable but gets the job done for under £350. Read more budget laptop reviews.

The HP Pavilion dm1-3200 runs on an AMD E-350 dual-core processor clocked at 1.6GHz with 3GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM. HP preinstalls Windows 7 Home Premium.

HP Pavilion dm1: Performance

This pint-sized laptop's score in WorldBench 6 took us by surprise, with an impressive result of 138 points. Even if it lacks in features elsewhere, the HP Pavilion dm1-3200 can be seen to offer excellent application performance in a compact form and at a real budget price. Read all laptop reviews.

While the HP dm1-3200 will make a great companion for getting things done on-the-go, don't expect it to satisfy any cravings for Windows games.

We ran our basic FEAR test and recorded a mediocre result of 18fps from the machine’s AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics processor. In light of this lowly result we didn't try any more demanding graphics tests.

HP Pavilion dm1: Features

Other key hardware on the HP Pavilion dm1 includes a Seagate 320GB 7200rpm hard drive, and an 11.6in display with a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. There's also a webcam built-in above the screen for video chats.

The screen offers a decent quality image with good viewing angles. The screen even folds completely flat making the HP dm1 versatile. The only problems we had with the screen were reflections due to the high-gloss panel finish, and a slight lack in maximum brightness – we had to set it to full to achieve a reasonable level. 

Although the HP Pavilion dm1 is small it has a good range of ports. On the left is the power inlet, a Kensington lock slot, HDMI and USB 2.0; note the absence of faster USB 3.0 ports here.

On the right is a VGA port, two USB 2.0 ports, a headset audio jack and a multi-format card reader. 

Hidden behind a small flap is a gigabit ethernet port. Wireless connectivity includes 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0. 

With the Pavilion dm1 closed it looks pretty sleek with its black patterned lid and rounded edges and corners. It's somewhat plainer on the inside with a silver plastic case and black keyboard and trackpad. Its wedge shaped design goes from 31mm thick at the back to 21mm, at the front and the dm1 weighs 1.5kg.

Despite the small size of the Pavilion dm1 we found typing on the keyboard a reasonable experience. Keys a good size, well-spaced and have good feedback. The main problems we found were the slightly too small wrist rests, and the fact the up and down keys are half-sized making them difficult to use.

The trackpad has a smooth texture and is reasonably responsive. It is slightly on the small side though and can easily get in the way when typing. Luckily you can double tap the top left corner of the trackpad do disable it.

Build quality is one area in which the dm1 underwhelms. The laptop's plastic shell is worryingly weak and flexible. We could bend the display with barely any effort causing ripples on the screen and we could even bend the main body of quite easily.

A small battery slots to the laptop at the rear underneath the screen and can be attached or released quickly and easily via a simple catch. 

We managed to get nearly seven hours out of the 55Wh battery – in the MobileMark 2007 Productivity test it lasted for 408 minutes.

Note that the model we tested, the HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa, no longer seems to be available in the UK. A similarly specified laptop are the HP Pavilion dm1-4175sa or the HP Pavilion dm1-4004sa, also sold for around £350, which both have a 1.65GHz AMD processor, AMD Radeon HD 6320 and 4GB of memory.

HP Pavilion dm1-3200sa Expert Verdict »
HP Pavilion DM1-3200SA Scores 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 review
1.6GHz AMD E-350, dual-core
ATI Radeon HD 6310 with 384MB
11.6in (1366 x 768) glossy display
Windows 7 Home Premium
320GB hard drive, 7200rpm SATA 3Gbps
3GB DDR3 1333MHz
gigabit ethernet
VGA, HDMI
802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
HP Webcam 101
stereo speakers with Dolby Advanced Audio
3.5mm headset jack
3 x USB 2.0
Kensington lock slot
SD card slot
two button, multi-touch trackpad
65W adaptor
55Wh lithium-ion, removable battery
290 x 214 x 21-31mm
1540g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 6 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 6 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 9 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The HP Pavilion dm1 is an excellent choice for a portable laptop. For its sub-£350 price tag you get decent performance, a good range of ports and a long battery life. The HP Pavilion dm1 doesn't look too bad either but could benefit from better build quality.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
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