You Grade the Brands: HP Notebooks

Grade The Brands - HPThis year we’ve reviewed more than 130 notebooks and netbooks, rating each according to design, performance, usability and more. Generally, we focus on individual systems, but over time we’ve been able to identify trends based on the vendor. One company might always offer great design and excellent keyboards, another can be counted on to produce notebooks that get too hot. Each vendor has its strengths and weaknesses.

People don’t always shop for individual notebooks but instead ask questions like: “Should I get an HP or a Dell?” Knowing which brands you can trust to deliver the features you’re looking for can help focus the search for the perfect notebook. So we’ve gathered a year’s worth of data to help you narrow down your choices.

It’s not as simple as saying that one brand is better than another — companies sell many different types of laptops with different target audiences in mind. That’s why we’re looking carefully at each of the major brands. We examined a year’s worth of our reviews and our annual Tech Support Showdown, as well as third-party data.

Because HP is the No. 1 notebook seller, it’s fitting that we start here. Check out the brand’s strengths and weaknesses, its 2009 review scorecard, and overall rating. Then sound off in the comments and tell us what you think of the brand and about your own experience. Without your input, our report card will be incomplete.

Strengths

Hardware: Across all categories of HP notebooks and netbooks a few core strengths emerge. Design is a big one: aesthetically pleasing Imprint patterns, anodized aluminum lids/decks, and generally well-built chassis have played a major role in making HP the notebook king. We’ve also found the vendor’s keyboards tend to be solid and comfortable, even on its netbooks. Most of the HP laptops we’ve tested during the past year have performed well on our tests, with the majority of systems notebooks turning in strong performance scores and good Wi-Fi throughput.

Software: HP has been particularly aggressive in embracing multitouch technology, and its TouchSmart software (found on the TX2z and presumably other upcoming Tablets) is second to none so far on the Windows side of the house. The company has also done a nice job with its QuickWeb instant-on software for getting online fast. Business users benefit from utilities like QuickWeb, as well as QuickLook for glancing at Outlook info without fulling booting Windows). On its ProBook business line, security apps like File Sanitizer help you protect your data from prying eyes.

Weaknesses

Hardware: Over the past year HP’s major weakness has been its touchpads, especially on consumer notebooks like the dv series, dm3, and Envy lines. These touchpads are either finicky, temperamental, or just a pain to use due to too much friction. (In the case of the Envy line HP has issued updates that address some of our complaints.) The mouse buttons on various HP consumer and business machines have been awkward to use, too. Heat was a major issue on a few offerings, mostly notably the Envy 15, which had a scalding 103.5 degree wrist rest. Poor battery life plagued some mainstream systems and netbooks, while some business notebooks were dinged for poor viewing angles and other display issues.

Software: For consumer notebooks we’ve found HP’s MediaSmart software to be slickly designed but sluggish. And as much as we like TouchSmart, it needs to be paired with faster hardware. You’ll also find PC Dock software on many HP consumer laptops, which offers quick-launch shortcuts that we find redundant given Windows 7′s improved taskbar.

Best HP Notebooks:

Worst HP Notebooks:

Review Report Card

In 2009 we reviewed 20 HP notebooks. Of those, 40% earned a rating of 4 stars and 35% earned 3.5 stars. Only one system scored a low 2.5 (HP Envy 15) and one a coveted 4.5 star rating (HP ProBook 5310m). Another 5% earned 3 stars. We’ve awarded four HP notebooks the LAPTOP Editor’s Choice.

HP Ratings

Tech Support and Reliability

Unfortunately, HP earned a grade of C- in our Tech Support Showdown, and according to a study by SquareTrade, HP laptops have a high failure rate over a 3 year lifespan (though this data is likely made up of mostly consumer notebooks, not business systems).

Generally speaking, right now HP has a better lineup of business notebooks than it does consumer laptops, mostly because many of the consumer models have touchpads with too much friction and some get too hot (see the Envy 15 and HP dv2). We expect the notebook leader to adjust its lineup quickly, and don’t be surprised if the company blends features form its multiple product lines to put its best face forward. What the company may take longer to improve is its customer service, but we will revisit that subject during our next Tech Support showdown this summer.

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you own an HP laptop? Owned one in the recent past? What does HP get right and where do their notebooks need improvement? Tell us how you’d grade HP and why.


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  1. Tim H Says:

    We gave our son an HP 9330us desktop replacement laptop in June 2007 as a High School graduation present. This was a large, heavy laptop with a 17″ screen. It ran hot. We provided a laptop cooler which he always used. This thing died in 2 years due to heat issues. A web search revealed this was a common problem with this model, and it was also common for posters to relate dissatisfaction with their customer support experience. We were blown off by the representative. Out of warranty, out of luck. Despite it being a known issue to the company, no effort was made by HP to inform us of the problem. Why did we register the product then? My stance is that a recall should have been announced.

    We will never by an HP product of any sort again. We replaced it with a Toshiba.

  2. John Says:

    I purchased a HP Pavillion DV9000 notebook in 2006. Within 2 years, the notebook:

    - Started having problems with overheating, despite consistent cleaning of the vents and so on
    - Main hard drive failed
    - Certain keys on the keyboard stopped working within 18 months
    - The battery crapped out after a year despite following best practices of not keeping in plugged in, etc.

    It also came loaded with an incredible array of junk and HP branded apps. When you try to remove certain items, the whole system comes crashing down.

    Additionally (and I didn’t realize this til later), the computer is a 64-bit computer. The Vista Ultimate that came loaded with it is 64-bit. Yet, the computer’s max RAM capacity is 2GB. Who the hell is the product manager that spec’d this piece of crap?

    Every HP owned by a friend or family member has failed within 2 years of purchase. HP is an absolute nightmare of a company that probably doesn’t get a lot of repeat buyers. I will NEVER purchase an HP computer ever again.

  3. Fanfoot Says:

    I don’t own any HP laptops, but I’ve been impressed with the designs they’ve been coming out with lately. If I hadn’t bought an Acer Aspire 1810tz, I likely would have bought an HP Mini 5101. And I think the Envy laptops are nicely designed as well. I have bought a lot of Dell laptops in the past, but I haven’t been impressed with them lately. The Dell Mini’s have gone from early favorites to alsorans lately, and things like the 11z only continue the problem. And no I’m not impressed with the Adamo. We’ll see how things break over the next year, but I think HP is making some gains here.

    However, I would highlight that the previously unknown names like Acer and Asus have been gaining a LOT of ground as a result of their exposure with netbooks, and I think many people who never would have picked one of them before are now seriously considering them. I know I am.

  4. Imre Kiss Says:

    I bought an HP DV7-1380CA laptop two weeks ago to augment my aging 32-bit Lenovo T61 Thinkpad. The HP is a speed champion from the start. It excells in several departments. It runs cool and quiet. I put it through a series of tests to check all components function and all features work as per design.
    I find the key board almost as good as that of the Lenovo Thinkpad, that’s quite an achievement for HP on a consumer notebook. The screeen cokor is gorgeous and the details are sharp.
    I find the dianostics software is adaquate though not as extensive as the Lenovo and it is a bit scattered
    I unistalled some of the games software that came with the notebook without any hassle.
    All in all I am pleased with the notebook and I don’t regret my choice.
    I have not experienced the quality of customer service or technical support since the laptop performs as designed so I have no reason to contact HP other than the product registration which was pretty well automatic as part of the initial setup. End of comments.
    Imre

  5. Bob J Says:

    HP is so big it seems to stumble along cranking out products it hopes will be decent. I purchased two dv1000′s a few years ago for my nephew and niece. They each cost about $1000 a piece. Within 18 months one of them experienced random sudden shutdowns. A quick google turned up hundreds of people with the same problem. At one point a law firm was organizing a class action suit. Apparently the cpu fan was poorly made and slowing down so much the units would cook their components. While you can get a desktop motherboart for often under 200 bucks….try getting a laptop motherboard. I called HP and they offerend to fix the unit for $500. I ended up getting it fixed at an authorized repair center for free because I had purchased the unit on my am ex card which doubles the warranty. I paid for the repairs up front but was paid back by am ex. No thanks to HP.

    After two years the other unit started having similar issues. I am trying to coax it along because the kid really likes the size of the unit.

    I say HP stumbles around because they are so slow to respond to problems. How long have the blogs and hp forums complained about their glossy trackpads and yet they keep producing new models with the similar specs. Did any of their stupid engineers try to use the trackpad…..as nearly every review has noted…..your finger sticks to the pad making it a chore to move around. How could they build something like that. Some users say they got used to it or they greased it up until it was slippery but it should have been changed.

    Have you ever read their forums? Try seaching for i7 processors. They have a 100 page thread about desktop unit that blue screen10 times a day. What did HP do…they replaced each unit sometimes 3 and 4 times until someone finally had engineering look at the problem and change the bios. We are talking about 100′s or 1000′s of units being shipped back and forth because HP’s service dept has dones working there. Instead of trying to find the problem they just kept sending out new units with the same problem.

    On an compaq/hp desktop I owned….the media card reader failed. I checked all the wires….swapped it to a known working usb port on the motherboard…nothing. I called HP. They told me I needed to reformat the unit!!! Finally after talking to them for 1 1/2 hours (I asked for a supervisor and was refused) they agreed to send me the $19 part. Gerks!

    While they make generally relaible printers….I am not sure they do enough testing before they produce new products. Why are they popular….because they produce low priced products that people can afford. That is a model that has worked for them.

  6. C Says:

    I had an HP Pavilion dv9000, and within a year, its CD hard drive broke. That would have been fine, as it was under warranty, but when I sent it in, they didn’t touch the hardware and simply erased all my data. After days and weeks struggling with tech support and the loss of massive amounts of work, they still refused to fix the hardware issue and kept walking me through software steps. All the while the CD drive made a clicking, grinding noise and a high pitched scream emerged from the machine whenever I turned it on. Only by letting my male friend force the issue up through the levels until he reached corporate resolution did I get any kind of result–they finally replaced the machine, but I lost a tremendous amount of data and work.

    HP tech support is truly horrific.

  7. ninetynine Says:

    HP is probably the worst manufacturer to me. I don’t really care about customer service, I don’t see myself ever asking them for help over fixing the problem myself, but their hardware and design has always been a huge problem. They have always had heating issues…their entire dv2 to dv7 series has heat venting out of the BOTTOM of the laptop…guess when the bottom gets blocked? When you actually use the laptop on your lap (crazy idea i know). Just things like this that show a real lack of engineering in their designs. Second, HP is notorious for low battery life. I don’t know what gave them the idea that battery life is an unimportant factor in mobile computing but something did and they pretty much stick with it. I can’t even fathom how they have such a large share of the tablet pc market when all their tablets are heat machines that have low battery life. They’re reputation gives them false credit and it’s very disappointing when I looking around my college campus and half the people have an HP.

  8. Dara Says:

    Within 3 months of getting my HP G6000 the webcam stopped working, giving me a found new hardware popup then ever I move the screen. Then there were overheating problems resulting in a bluescreen when ever I played fullscreen flash video. The CD drive stopped working in a similar way to the one described above. But it has lasted longer than the Acer that went through 2 hard drives in 9 months and the Toshiba that blew a motherboard. The HP has lasted over a year longer than the other 2 after costing a lot less and I can’t see any other problems on the horizon.

  9. albert Says:

    I bought an HP dv6t laptop earlier this year. It has worked great. The only problem was the left mouse button on the touchpad was a little sticky. I sent it to HP for repair on Monday and got it back on Friday the same week. I am only going to buy HP from now on. By the way, I am A+ certified and have repaired tons of laptops.

  10. brian3HPs Says:

    My wife has a dv9030 which we bought December of 2006 which has been pretty good to us ever since. I also bought a 15 inch HP for my Dad and a dv2000 series for my sister. The 2000 has been horrible though and is part of the series that has overheating problems for which they have extended the warranty for another year. I do appreciate that HP did fix it the laptop even if it was bought in the US and brought in for repair in the Philippines. Problem is their fix is just temporary and your laptop will not last due to the heat issues.

    So yes, I think we’ve had an overall good experience with HP laptops but the dv2000 experience makes me second guess if we will ever buy HP again. Aside from the fact that HP customer service will drive you crazy. I don’t mind the Indian accents, but can’t they at least use common sense and not follow the script? It’s crazy that you have to describe your problem every time you are transferred.

    I also saw the Square Trade reliability statitistics which just might be the final straw for me. My next laptop will probably be a Sony or a Mac.

  11. hya Says:

    HP DV 1000 Purchased Sept 2006.

    It was a demo model, so I got it at a reduced price and overall it’s been decent, but not amazing.

    - the bottom heats up and so does the power cord despite the fact I’ve had the fan replaced twice
    - battery life was terrible. At the optimum length maybe 2.5 hrs.
    - one thing I love is my quick touch buttons
    - speakers are very very quiet, so now I know that’s something I’m going to look into for my next laptop
    - I’ve never had touch pad or mouse button issues
    - Keyboard was a bit of a problem. The space bar was finicky, sometimes wouldn’t work during an entire sentence.
    -Burning DVDs always seems to be a problem with the fan getting very loud and the dvds rarely working the first time.
    -fan makes it a fairly loud machine.

    I’m drawing a blank on positives, but the computer is still going and not terribly slow after 3 long years.

  12. Thomas Palmer Says:

    Grade: A

    HP has always provided me the best customer service, of course I haven’t had to call them in two years because their laptops work better for me than other brands. I’ve always thought Dell had the worst customer service (I’ve had to call in for my parents’s computers). It is my opinion that HP has builds their laptop the best compared to other cheap brands (in other words not Sony,Alienware, or Apple). So I always recommend HP computers when friends ask what kind of computer they should get.

    I bought a Compaq five years ago, it arrived with a bad HDD. The replacement process was easy, but the new HDD gave a different error message. Swapped again, same error message, so then I was talking with a manager and he suggested putting in the OS CD. It turns out the HDDs they shipped to me didn’t have the OS installed, and the error message made the problem sound like something totally different. That is was the most time I’ve ever spent on customer service phone calls, and it all went pleasantly. I’ve called Dell about a problem with a CD-ROM drive, and they wanted me to buy a new one for more money than it would have cost to buy a DVD burner. I ended up getting transferred to an American who told me to reset the pins and it worked.

    General Customer Service Tricks: Say you are a business in the phone menu, ask to be transferred to someone in the United States, and don’t yell.

  13. Ed Says:

    In the past, my family and I have had pretty decent luck with HP products, both computers and printers. With that in mind, my then-fiance bought an HP dv6100 laptop. It worked fine for about 2 years, then descended into a rapid series of assorted hardware failures. The DVD-RW drive stopped burning discs (it could read them just fine). The onboard wireless ceased functioning, which I later found out was due to a known motherboard defect that HP has refused to acknowledge and fix. Eventually, the whole laptop just died–it refused to power on at all. She subsequently replaced the HP with a Toshiba L555 and is very happy with it.

    Incidentally, I purchased a MacBook pro at about the same time as her HP. The only problem I had was that the battery needed replacement, which was taken care of quickly and easily under my AppleCare warranty. No other trouble beyond that, and I have every confidence the Mac will give me more many more years of service.

  14. Sheridan C Says:

    I will never purchase a HP laptop ever again. Before going to graduate school, I purchased a TX1000 from HP. During first 12 months when it was still under warranty, the laptop ran too hot. I tried to ask HP to help me with the problem, but they said they could not do anything and that I should purchase a cooling pad. I did. At the 13th month, the heat finally got to the motherboard and GPU. The notebook ran so hot that the GPU was no longer soldered to the motherboard. I contacted HP and they refused to help me telling me I was past my warranty. I did research on the internet, and there were consumer groups, and users like me who create facebook groups and yahoo groups to protest what they saw as a design defect or manufacturing defect. But, they did not want to help me. I escalated several times, but to no avail. No one at HP would help me. I now have a 1300 paperweight sitting in my home. I wasted 1300 dollars on a laptop for one year of use.

  15. AMC Says:

    I had an HP dv9500. I owned this laptop for exactly 14 months before it started to have an array of problems.

    -overheating issues
    -main hdd went out
    -video card burned up…twice

    This computer has been in and out of service since month 14 of my ownership (fortunately the retailer i purchased it from offered an additional year of warranty). After the last time the video card went out, I just wrote the computer off and bought a new one. It has been fixed, but as it stands now, it is just an expensive paperweight that resides on my desk. Based off this experience I would have to give HP an F-. I won’t be buying another computer made by them.

  16. Andrew Norton Says:

    I bought a refurb CQ50-210US (it’s compaq yes, but we all know compaq=HP) back in March. It’s a decent system. The major downside is the heat output – it does run a tad hot at times (to the point it’s actually buckled the corner of my cooler pad http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2566850&l=c67928c9b1&id=528737392). Also, because it sometimes gets really hot (AMD cpu) sometimes it won’t charge, until it’s cooled down.

    I’ve had no problems with the laptop to need support, but I bought a HP A6535c a month earlier (also a refurb), which had problems with the HDD going dead in 2-3 weeks. HP knew it was an issue with the Barracuda drives, had me on the phone for 90 minutes running pointless system tests, and then wanted to sell me a new recovery CD set to go any further. Failing htat, I could box it up, send it back and maybe get it back in 3 weeks time. Microcenter (where I bought both the desktop and laptop) apologized for the issues. They swapped the system no problem, in less than 5 minutes. I have 7 HP/compaq systems here (the only non-compaq is a dell poweredge 1650 1U server i got for free) but I’m not going to buy another now.

  17. Bobby Says:

    I have purchased 3 HP notebooks. The first one was a gift to my husband, and I can’t recall the model number, but it was in the $1800-ish range in 2005. That thing was a dream. It never crashed, it never had hardware or driver issues. It was bulletproof, I swear. I didn’t hesitate to buy myself an HP when I decided I wanted a notebook instead of a desktop in 2007. I chose the dv6000 (It was a Special Edition Entertainment PC of the dv6000 if I recall correctly…$1500-ish range). The switch to Vista took a while, but I got over it. My husband, instantly jealous of his wife’s new toy…had to have a new computer, even though his 2 yr old lappy was still going strong. Long story short, we bought another dv6000, identical to mine, only w/ less memory ($1000-ish range).

    My husband’s DV6000 didn’t have many issues initially. Mine, however, had to have the motherboard replaced twice. However, HP was very reliable and had excellent customer service. Both times, the computer had to be shipped to them, of course, but it was gone less than 2 weeks both times. In fact, it was only gone 8 days the first time.

    2 years and 4 days after I bought it (in other words, 4 days after the warranty expired), the motherboard went out again. My husband’s computer had the same problem 2 WEEKS after his warranty expired. Both times, it was literally cheaper to replace the computers than it was to have the motherboards replaced out of pocket.

    Never again will I buy another HP. I expect a computer to last me longer than 2 years with minimal maintenance and upgrading as needed, and the fact that they both died RIGHT after the warranties expired was just like the last nail in the coffin. Never again.

  18. Sara F Says:

    The last two laptops I’ve had were HP’s (the newer one a dv9000 series) and both of them experienced the following within 26 months of purchase:

    Random keyboard keys not functioning
    Overheating (even with cooling pad)
    USB ports dying
    Video Card & Motherboard shorting out due to overheating
    Input where the charging plug connects breaking/becoming disconnected making charging a problem

    Also, on the older one, the hard drive finally locked up and would not restart and the dv9000′s audio/video controls were unresponsive for the final 4 months. I also had problems with groups of pixels dying in clusters on the monitor after one year. The video card ultimately died while I was transferring data off of it onto my new Dell. I refuse to waste my money any longer on HP products.

  19. Ellen Rose Says:

    Years ago, I had an HP notebook. My boss had one. One of my good friends had one. There wasn’t a one worth having; they all (in their various ways) refused to do their job. I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re like today, because I’ve not bought HP/Compaq since about 1999.

  20. Tim Says:

    I purchased a Compaq F756NR about 2 years ago, and after a year I started to have a ton of problems with it. For one, the fan inside the laptop failed and I had to take the whole thing apart to replace it. Since the laptop was constantly overheating, it would shut itself off and not power back on until it cooled down. I believe the constant overheating caused some damage to the motherboard because it will sometimes get stuck in an endless reboot process and I have to pull the battery and power cable from it to reset it.

    Another gripe I have with HP is the amount of crapware that was installed on the machine when I bought it. It was loaded with so many apps almost half the hard drive was used up before I even had a chance to use it. I ended up reformatting the system and doing a barebones install of Vista.

    A lot of the weird hardware problems seemed to fade away after I upgraded to Windows 7, but the reboot glitch seems to happen every once in a while. I remember the days when I had a computer for five or six years before it started to have hardware fail, I think consumers are lucky if they get a year and a half out of most systems.

    Getting my laptop to start up is like getting a finicky car to start up, you just have to keep messing with it until it fires up. I will never buy another HP product again, that is for sure.

  21. Jim Says:

    Every HP laptop or computer I have owned has had serious quality issues. They simply are crap. Never had one that went more than a few months with out a serious hardware issue…. Including one that died 3 hours after I bought it. One of their power bricks even tried to burn down my house. Never again will I buy an HP product. Not to mention the customer service / support SUCKS.

  22. KTXL Says:

    I own the best deal in laptop history – the Gateway p7811-fx. I absolutely love it.

    I challenge you find a better laptop for the price.

  23. tom wilson Says:

    hp sux. 3 differents friend, 3 different hp, all nice looking die within 2 years right outside of warranty time frame. i will never buy one until they fix this. they also need to give people they rip off some kinda compensation. I’m ready for that class action lawsuit.

  24. todd Says:

    I owned a couple Acer models and an HP DV9627cl. the old Acers have never had a problem, only complaint is lousy speakers, and the oldest is about 7 years old now. I thought I was really stepping up on the HP model. I love many things about it, it really has good speakers and looks great. But I’ve had wireless problems since the day I opened the box. I’ve sent it in to HP for repair twice and had them send out a new wireless card once. Nothing fixed the problem. I knew from internet searching that this model had the heating/motherboard problem but HP refused to replace the motherboard. I’ve been using a USB wireless adapter which never fails but I shouldn’t have to rely on that with a new computer. I now just have to deal with heating problem. I doubt that the computer will be able to last long with the temperatures that it runs. I absolutely hate HP customer service, spent hundreds of hours online trying to diagnose my problem because HP refused or was incapable of fixing it. I would never buy HP again, though some friends love their HPs and claim to have no issues…

  25. MrFlashport Says:

    I bought an entry level HP G50 (model 126 NR) from Micro Center this past June. It is a daily use desktop replacement since. Sans the tons o’ bloatware loaded on it, it’s been a pretty decent machine. It stays on 24/7. No crashes, no problems. Keyboard is decent. It came with pretty good hardware for the sub 400 dollar price: 16″ widescreen, DVD/CD-RW burner, 250GB SATA, 3GB of RAM. Build quality is excellent, right up there with the old Thinkpad T41 I still have from 2003. I’ve never had to call HP or use any support resources, so I cannot comment. But I would buy another one of these. It does have an Intel Pentium Dual Core 3400 and Intel graphics chipset not the ATI’s that suffer from heat failures.

  26. Pibbsman Says:

    I’ve had a decent amount of experience with HP laptops, so I’ll give my good experiences and bad.

    The Good –
    Decent Repair turnaround, overall good build quality. Reliability better than most. Price point has always been good. Offers features in some price points not matched by anyone. Customer service can be excellent (“can” being the key phrase here.).

    The Bad –
    Online store has terrible service. Customer Service can be awful to deal with. Bloatware a huge problem on newer laptops (my wife has had to tell HP she doesn’t want an extended warranty at least a half dozen times). HP laptops tend to slow down after heavy use and age worse than any other brand.

  27. Andrew Says:

    My mom bought a HP laptop, we had it die 3 times due to heat related issues, the trackpad sucks and performance sucks. The notebook has a 12 inch screen but is thicker and way heavier than my MacBook.

  28. Malcolm Says:

    I have a 6930P and I’m thrilled with it. Long life, compact, plenty of power for what I do. And it runs my apps.

    I’m a PC and I don’t like paying too much for a computer and I like having apps available for my computer.

  29. Mac Says:

    I use my hp pavilion ze4125 daily. It was purchased approximately five years ago.

    It utilizes a 1.39-GHz Athlon XP GPU with 736MB RAM. While those are essentially netbook specs these days, this system is still suitable for getting online, surfing the web, and uploading photos. To speed up the system, I recently purchased a 500GB WD external hard drive for all of my files.

    Other notable system specs: Windows XP Home SP2, integrated Altec Lansing speakers.

  30. David Johnson Says:

    I have a DV6-1361SB I just bought 3 months ago. I can tell you the trackpad is ok … but has been noted, would be better if it had some mimimal resistance. It runs hotter than my old VGN-NS Sony. It’s battery life is the biggest disappointment. It’s under two hours and, again, is inferior compared to the Sony.

    On the plus side, it’s got a great screen, colors are very sharp and vibrant. I love the keyboard … superior to the chicklet style keys on the Sony and some of the Dell models. It’s got a lightscribe dvd burner, which is nice, as is bluetooth. For whatever reason, I find the touch media controls to be useful, if extremely limited. The fingerprint reader actually makes sense for painless logins.

  31. Jeff B Says:

    Maybe it’s just me, or maybe I just haven’t owned HP laptops long enough, but I have had pretty much entirely positive experiences with their products, all purchased in 2009. I own a DV8t-Quad, Core i7, (2 months) a DV7t-Quad Core i7 (been testing it for 2 mos, about to ship to my brother), a DV4t (5 months) and a g60 (3 mos.). Someone in my household has been using each of these almost every day for 2-5 months and, truly, we have yet to experience a single significant problem in 13 machine-months. The trackpads are the weakest areas mostly because they move cursors all over when you don’t want them to, but honestly problems with the chrome pads are overstated – fingers don’t “stick” to the metal and they are clean and shiny with one wipe of a Kleenex. HP support has been surprisingly good in all respects (just the opposite for printers – STAY AWAY!). First, they will always cancel an order or take back anything for any reason within the 21 day “approval” period. Second, they add discount on top of discount virtually anytime they inconvenience you (total of $370 on top of $400 from the original purchase due to 9 day shipping delays, my complaint that they keep adding discounts after my order was placed. Finally, if you call during the day, you usually reach a North American call center and the techs are knowledgeable and friendly. Now, from all I am reading I expect all my machines to begin to self-destruct in 1-2 years (!) but compared to all the complaints I read on forums for brand new machines, I seem to have been awfully lucky (4 times!) with mine. By the way, I am known best for my perfectionist tendencies, and I am fairly technically savvy…and I don’t work for HP!!

  32. Eric Says:

    HP makes pretty good computers, but their quality control and support is subpar at best.
    I bought a dm3 ultraportable (dm3z-CTO) but it had some manufacturing defects in it. It wasn’t really put together properly, like the chrome trim wasn’t fitting well. I exchanged for an identical replacement unit, which was easy enough. The people I talked to spoke English as their native language, and were pretty polite.
    I received my second unit, and found it also had some problems. The keyboard had slanted keys, right part of the laptop wasn’t assembled well, and there was flex with some popping noises. I tried to get an exchange again. I guess I’m one of the more patient ones and I had fallen in love with the laptop, so I was going to give it another try.
    However, HP support wasn’t so nice this time. I spoke to at least 2 different reps but they all told me that I cannot exchange it since it was already exchanged once. I couldn’t believe it. HP’s page on returns/exchanges doesn’t say anything about not being able to exchange an already exchanged unit.
    HP sends out units with poor quality, then deserts the customers…
    I filed a complaint with BBB, but haven’t gotten a response yet.

  33. Tim Says:

    I have a dv9720 Pavilion Laptop. This is my 4th HP / Compaq Laptop I have owned over the last 10 years. I have never in my entire life had this many problems with a computer. It has been plagued with nothing but problems. Overheating,,, battery failure,,,system crashes,,,and very, very, very poor support.
    Phone support has been very polite when I deal with the Indian Tech department,,,but they have been unable to repair what is obviously a defective design problem.
    HP case managers refuse to repair my computer,,,are deceitful and less than honest IMO. They have been rude and useless.
    To make matters even worse{hard to imagine} the restore disk which HP charges you for do not work. They send you a generic disk set, in which the FBI GUI Manager just goes into an endless loop,,,and it then crashes. When you call HP support,,,they deny this,,,,yet on the HP.COM website,,,many, many posters have the identical issue.
    Oh,,,one more thing,,,this was not a cheap laptop,,,it was a 17″ screen,,,and costs over 1000.00 at the time of purchase.

  34. sue Says:

    Here are some sites to look at if you are interested in the massive defects with HP laptops over the past few years:
    http://www.hplies.com/

  35. John Says:

    I had a dv9000, and it was the worst peice of crap iv’e ever had. It’s hinges broke on 2 seperate occasions, on the first of which the screen fell backwards, and i had to prop it up with a laptop bag. Also, the power failed. It would not charge, and i would have to wiggle the power cord into place. It now sits alone, sad in the spare room, never to be used again.

    NEVER BUY HP!

  36. rlbrooks Says:

    Wow! There are a huge number of HP haters that view this website. Only thing I can say is that HP is the only brand that I have ever given repeat business to.
    I own a Pavilion DV6 that I bought in NOV 2006 with an Intel chipset and WinXP, and a DV7 I bought in DEC 2009 with an AMD chipset and Win7. The DV6 was a great machine. Early on I had a problem with the sound card. I used the online chat support. I try to always do this when I can in order to reduce comprehension issues, and to have a record of the event. They sent me a shipping box with attached postage. Sent it to them and received it back within 5 days.
    Only other issues I had were the DVD-R/CD-R Lightscripe Drive failing to read in the middle of burning, the computer failing to read the drive as a DVD-R drive at times, and unprompted opening of the drive door during read and burn operations. This was a huge point of frustration for me. Also, my left touchpad mouse button went dead. I was pretty rough on that button.
    I have owned Dell and worked with Acer, Gateway, and Sony. This is what sold me, and still sells me, about the HP Pavilions. Superb built in webcam, really second to none for resolution and lighting. Vibrant high contrast glossy screens that are a pleasure to view and don’t strain the eyes. Express card slot mini remote, that little guy is handy. HP media play software. I think it is more intuitive than windows media center. They are powerful multimedia machines at a very affordable price.
    For those who claim HP never corrects engineering issues, I totally disagree. My DV7, in comparison to my DV6 has many improvements. The laptop seldom gets warm and the fan kicks on about a third of the time less than the DV6. Mostly because the shell is totally redesigned and the heat flow totally changed in the two models. The feel of the touchpad is improved and there is far less resistance. With the DV7, my optical drive doesn’t ever fail to read/burn, or have inadvertent opening s during operation.
    I would like to make a few comments about earlier posts. I understand most comments and appreciate the frustration. I went through the same thing with Dell prior to getting my DV6, and I vowed to never return to Dell at that time. Since, I bought a friend a Dell mini DV to give the company another chance and I have to admit, they improved over the last 3 years. The tech industry is fluid. I think you hurt yourself as a consumer when you discard a builder because of one bad experience. That’s why tech websites like this are beneficial to the consumer. Some of you are bashing HP for defective products you got two to three years ago.
    For those saying the laptop battery sucks. Most of these are multimedia machines designed to be desktop replacements. What do you expect? For the person who sent there HP to support for a bad HD and didn’t backup your data before sending. Well, that’s on you. Every support sight informs you to backup your data before sending to support. For security purposes you should back up your data and do an OS re-install before sending in order to protect your info. You want some nameless tech person rummaging through your beach photos? And for people trying to compare Sony and Apple over HP, that’s a little unfair. Look at price-point. Pay double the price of an HP and you will get a better functioning machine. You get what you pay for.
    I have never had an overheating issue. I think if you are a good steward of your machine, this should be avoided. If someone is using the machine on their lap and feel their thigh getting hot; get a cooling pad, or put a folder between you and the machine. It needs to breathe people. Don’t leave the laptop on furniture or a bed either. It will suffocate it.

  37. SpraeK Says:

    I personally liked my hp touch smart till after exactly one year when my warranty went out. It almost seemed simultaneously that my DVDRW drive stopped writing /burning any kind of data to a dvd.. It reads them still but it wont burn. I think this is becoming a trend of rip offs that have been happening way to often As with everything that is attached to a microchip/computer these days! Pre programmed failures to be happening on schedule! Let the awakening begin. As with the HP brand in general . It started with there printers. There cartridges are pre programmed to print only around 10 pages at the most maybe 15 before they say that they are completely dry! give me a break ! i know that cartridge was still juiced on the last print was still nice and clear. yet it tells the computer that its empty and therefore refuses to print any more and that you need to break some bread to buy a new one or else no PRINTING for you.. Never will I buy aANOTHER hp PRINTER AGAIN.. i HAD ANOTHER PRINTER a CANON THAT ALSO SAID IT WAS EMPTY AND IT STILL PRINTED A GOOD 30 MORE PRINTS BEFORE IT STARTED COMING OUT DULL! Now its the dvd drive which is either Pre timed programmed to fail or just like the printers these days after so many burns .. say goodbye to the laser for burning that is .. it still burns the light scribe labels just fine! but the writing part is sorry to say no GOOD!!!! This trend happens with Computers that are in your automobiles, no matter how often you service your cars.The Mileage will tell the cars computer to shut down a certain component in your car so that you are forced to buy exclusively made parts buy your car dealer..

  38. Mike Says:

    I purchased a dv8t-1000 with 8GB of ram thinking this would be a good machine for virtualization. I installed Windows 2008 R2 and then added the Hyper-Visor role. When I set the VT bit in the BIOS it blue screens.

  39. Suz Says:

    Horrible, horrible, horrible company. Do not be fooled by the sleek design you see on the outside, because the hardware design inside and the customer service SUCK BADLY. The dv6000 series has a well-known overheating problem, which HP actually recognized and responded by merely extending the warranty to 2 years instead of 1. Fat lot of good that’ll do, they should have recalled the whole line!
    Anyways, my dv6000 laptop died out of the blue just six months after I bought it when the motherboard failed from overheating. I still had the warranty so I sent it in and got a new motherboard installed, but after two years my laptop lost its wireless ability due to overheating(AGAIN!), stripping from it any meaning of “mobility” that defines laptops. Of course, I could not apply the extended warranty because 2 1/2 years had passed already. Convenient? Customer service was a ginormous waste of time, they kept on telling me to buy a new motherboard… RIGHT! I SHOULD PAY FOR HP’S FAULTY PARTS SO THAT THEY CAN FAIL AGAIN IN A FEW MONTHS’ TIME! Well It has been another half a year after the wireless died, and my laptop is showing the same symptoms that I saw when the motherboard first died, so I am backing up all my data in case sweet old laptop decides to go pushing daisies. This is irresponsible I’m NEVER buying an HP laptop again… it may seem like a good value for a cheaper laptop, but there’s always a reason to something being cheap :(

  40. Suz Says:

    just to add a message to rlbrooks above:
    I don’t agree that the consumer should have to look up every fault and problem in a laptop model; it is the company’s job to build PCs that don’t HAVE those problems, and if there happens to be any serious problems, they should let the consumers know. Also, HP actually recognized the overheating problem as their design failure; I, for one, never “suffocated” my dv6000 like you said. In fact, that is kind of hard to achieve because your wrists will be uncomfortably hot within 5 minutes after putting lappy on a less-than-flat surface.
    Personally, I would give a second chance to their other products, if only the company itself showed an intention to FIX their existing problems or at least do a recall. However, neither has happened. So unless there seems to be a major rehaul of the company morals, no more HP for me and numerous other customers that have been let down continuously.
    By the way, I’m glad that your webcam works so very well. Mine went on and off from the very beginning, working only when it wants to. Just another common problem with this “multimedia PC.”

  41. Claire Says:

    I bought an HP Pavilion dv6 ONE MONTH ago, and already I have technical issues; sometimes, despite being fully charged and the battery not having a static charge issue (take out the battery put it in and repeat, etc), it simply WON’T turn on. Or the track lights flicker every 15 seconds. I’ve always been careful to make sure its charged and drains as necessary and I don’t use it for long periods of time, I don’t put anything on it, I turn it off properly, always- everything correctly. Its garbage.

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