I haven't been able to find any reviews for this system online, and having lurked on this forum for many years I've decided to give something back!
First of all a bit of history. Traditionally I have bought desktop replacement systems in the past, due to the fact that you can very rarely get the most up to date mobile graphics chipset in lower spec machines. Until now Dell has done me well and I have had:
However, the last system got stolen three months after I purchased it, and with the advent of Express card external graphics card, I decided to go for a lower spec middle of the range system this tiime. Having just been transferred over to HP employment and soon to be made redundant, I decided to take advantage of the employee discount while I could. So, on to the review:
Summary: A good price per performance system for users who want a little more then day to day word processing, perhaps the odd game here or there, or a cheap media centre PC.
Having never owned a HP laptop, I didn't know what to expect with this system. First of all delivery was incredibly fast as this was a prebuilt system, I ordered on a friday and was playing around with my new toy by monday afternoon. Kudos HP!
Aesthetically speaking, I was initially quite disapointed. The dv6317eu has a reflective black and metalic silver colour scheme, but suffers from the same toy like style that many manufacturers seem to be going for these days. This is a personal taste issue, but I prefer my laptops to look professional, even the consumer builds. At the top of the keyboard is an Altec Lansing speaker which streches the whole width of the base unit.
Underneath that is a row of propriatory HP buttons with the power switch on the left hand side. The power switch seems slightly unresponsive and has to be held down for a couple of seconds before the system powers on. In the centre is the HP media buttons, which are touch sensitive and consist of a button that launches HP Quickplay (haven't played around with this yet) a mute button, and a volume slider. Each button has a blew LED which if you like that sort of thing (and I do) looks lovely.
After boot up, the intial Vista set up routine took absolutely ages. Each section seemed to hang after moving on, and it was a good half and hour plus before I was able to get in and play around. I haven't used a preconfigured Vista system before, so can't comment whether this is due to the laptop spec, or whether that is Vista.
Once I was finally in, the first impression was how good quality the screen is. I have checked thouroughly and there are no dead pixels (which considering all three of my Dell systems had at least one dead pixel, and were two to three times the price, is impressive!). Viewing angle is excellent and the screen is readable almost up to 90 degrees. Aero looks absolutely gorgeous on this screen.
Once I had managed to strip out all the bundled bloatware, the system is very quick in day to day tasks. Applications start instantly and generally are very reponsive. However, notice I said day to day tasks. I myself usually have a good number of applications over, and this is when Vista starts to slow down. Add in any 3D affects such as Flip3D and things start to grind to a virtual halt. I managed to lock my system for a good few seconds yesterday when I plugged in my phone and media player decided to take it upon itself to set up a sync profile.
This is a system that is desperately in need of another gig of ram, and I shall be upgrading very soon. Keeping in mind that the base ram comes in two dimms, you will lose a 512 stick if upgrading.
Graphics: I have yet to test the graphics fully, but have had a quick walk around on Second Life. Even with all setttings set to minimal and all features turned off, this suffers from slow down.
Ports and connectivity:
Front: The front side had a Microphone and head phone jack, an IR reciever for the media centre remote and a slider switch to turn the Wireless on and off.
Left: This side has an S-Video tv out, VGA out, network and modem and a single USB port.
Right: The right side has the power connecter, a single USB port, the DVD Burner and a Express Card /54 slot. A note on this, the Windows Media Centre remote can be stored in the Express card slot when not in use, something I was particularly impressed with.
Back: the back of the laptop is completely bereft of any ports which struck me as particularly odd, as with all the ports located on the side, wires become entangled with your mouse.
Finally there is a touchpad on the front of the laptop. I prefer nipple mice myself and as such do not use this, however, it does have a button on the top which disables it when pressed. This I like as one of the particular annoying issues with the Dells I've owned in the past was the focus shifting from external mouse to touchpad if you acidently dragged your finger over it.
Thats it for now. All in all its a bit of a mixed bag, but I'd say worth it for the money. I shall be installing Ubuntu sometime this week and will come back with more thoughts then!