Only six months ago, we were gushing about HP’s Pavilion dm1z, declaring it a savior to the beleaguered netbook space, an affordable and handsome way to take a pint-sized computer with you just about anywhere.
Over the summer, HP went back to the drawing board, redesigning the netbook again and dropping the “z.” The newly christened Pavillion dm1 is nearly as compelling as its forebear.
What’s new are almost all cosmetic changes you’ll notice immediately. The overall profile of the device is streamlined and slicked up, so the battery pack no longer bulges out the bottom of the device and the screen now opens a full 180 degrees. The color scheme has been updated and beautified, as well. HP addressed my only real complaint with the dm1z, too, ditching the glitchy clickpad for a more traditional touchpad with discrete buttons — to wonderful effect. The other significant update is the addition of Beats audio; while the internal speakers are nothing special, when using headphones, the dm1 really pumps out loud, bass-thumping audio.
Under the hood, however, little about the dm1 has changed. The CPU has been nudged to a 1.65 GHz AMD E-450 (from an E-350), RAM moves from 3 GB to 4 GB, and the GPU is now a Radeon HD 6320M (from a 6310M). The hard drive remains at 320 GB, and the 11.6-inch screen retains its 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. Weight is down about an ounce to 3.3 pounds.
The only surprises come from the dm1’s benchmarks. While I expected modest gains, I actually saw the opposite: About a 10 percent drop on general app performance. That’s not alarming (benchmarks are always subject to variation), and graphics performance was nearly identical, but I did feel like the dm1 was a touch sluggish. Apps and web pages were noticeably slower to load than expected.
That remains a minor quibble, as the dm1 is still perfectly capable of handling most tasks — and in fact, battery life improved to 5 hours, 20 minutes, a 50-minute boost over the dm1z. (That, however, is likely due to the dm1’s dimmer screen.)
Tradeoffs? Sure, every laptop has to make them, but at least HP remembered the most important one by keeping the dm1 plenty cheap, now just $445.
WIRED Still one of the best netbooks on the market. An all-around solid unit that looks better than ever. Upgraded webcam and audio. Improved battery life.
TIRED Screen is significantly dimmer than the dm1z and viewing angles aren’t great. Slight performance drop.
Photo by Jim Merithew/Wired