HP Pavilion G Series Keyboard Replacement
Though it wasn’t much to look at, we’ve always thought HP’s non-Pavilion G-series laptops were decent for bargain hunters at the very low end of the price scale. The HP G62 we looked at last year was usually available for around $500 and included a workable, if entry-level, Intel Pentium T4500 CPU. HP apparently thought it had something of a hidden gem (or at least a cubic zirconia) on its hands, as the revamped 2011 version not only moves up to be an officially Pavilion-branded system, but also includes a much better Intel Core i3 processor.
Of course, all this wouldn’t matter if the price got a significant bump as well. Fortunately, HP is selling this configuration on its site for $549 right now, although we’ve seen other retailers selling it for up to $100 more.
Our main complaint is that the Core i3 included here isn’t the latest 2011 version, but instead one from last year. That means battery life isn’t going to be as good (in fact it’s pretty terrible), and you don’t get Intel’s improved onboard graphics. You can build a version of Dell’s Inspiron 15R with similar specs and that newer Core i3 for $619, if better gaming and better battery life are of prime importance.
Price as reviewed $549
Processor 2.54GHz Intel Core i3-380M
Memory 4GB, 667MHz DDR3
Hard drive 500GB 5,400rpm
Chipset Mobile Intel HM55
Graphics Intel GMA
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
Dimensions (WD) 14.7×9.7 inches
Height 1.2-1.4 inches
Screen size (diagonal) 15.6 inches
System weight / Weight with AC adapter 5.3 pounds/6.1 pounds
Slightly less slablike than last year’s HP G62, the new Pavilion G6 mixes light-gray and dark-gray plastic on its body, and has a highly glossy lid that still manages to be very fingerprint-resistant. The chassis doesn’t feel as cheap as some low-end laptops we’ve tried, but there’s definitely a little flex to the body and some squeaking from the plastic screen hinges.
The keyboard is slightly different than on HP’s higher-end Pavilion laptops, with the up and down arrow keys shrunk down and without a row of dedicated media control keys. The flat-topped keys, which are wider at the bottom, clacked loudly while we typed and wiggled a good deal under our fingers. But keeping the price in mind, it was an overall acceptable typing experience.
The touch pad, in contrast, was a very pleasant surprise. Instead of a large clickpad-style surface, as seen on many of HP’s other laptops, you instead get a simple rectangle of textured plastic etched right into the wrist rest with a pair of mouse buttons underneath. This usually isn’t our preferred setup, but in this case it worked very well. The touch pad’s texture had just the right amount of drag, and the buttons were large and sturdy. Our main complaint would be the sluggish gesture controls; even simple two-finger scrolling is a pain.
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