The HP G6-1300 series is available as an Intel-based version featuring a Pentium 2.2GHz B960 or Core i5-2450M, or as an AMD model – less expensive, the AMD version of the G6 sports a dual-core 1.9GHz CPU. All feature glossy 15-inch 1366 x 768 displays and run the Windows 7 Home Premium OS. Here we review the entry-level G6-1352 which sells for 500 euros. The design of the Pavilion G6-1352 follows the charcoal gray pattern of the larger, 17-inch Pavilion G7, and contored edges and high gloss finish give a polished appearance.
Now at this price it will come as no surprise that the chassis is plastic, and workmanship is acceptable, although it isn’t designed to be thrown around; the lid teeters when knocked and the base flexes a little under heavy typing pressure. The G6 measures 374 x 245 x 36mm and weighs less than 2.4kg, meaning it’s portable enough to be moved from place to place.
The port selection is identical to that found on the Pavilion G7. VGA and HDMI outputs, three USB-2 ports, a card reader and audio jacks. Ethernet LAN socket is also present, of course. But no USB-3 or eSATA ports. WiFi is provided but Bluetooth hasn’t made the grade.
Whereas the larger 17-inch Pavilion G7 squeezes in a dedicated number pad, the 15-inch G6 must do without, disqualifying it from serious office use. On top of that, short travel and slightly clacky strokes mean this isn’t a machine for anyone needing to turn out serious amounts of copy. WiFi, brightness and volume are all controllable through the Fn keys. The touchpad, however, is much better – decently-sized at 90 x 49mm and with a dotted texture on its surface allowing for excellent feedback and razor-sharp precision. Multi-touch gestures also function well.
A 1366 x 768 pixel resolution is sufficient for casual use but users who like to multitask or enjoy movies would prefer at least a 1600 x 900 display, as on that HP Pavilion G7. The screen is nearly always the first to suffer on cut-price notebooks, and brightness is slightly below average, while the depth of black tones comes in at 1.5cd/m2, which is ‘very grayish’, to use a not very technical term. This means contrast ratios are extremely low, at 129:1. The glossy display goes some way to making up for it indoors, but at the cost of outdoor use, which simply isn’t possible in direct sunlight.
Audio is a mite tinny, as with most notebooks though maximum volume is good.
The AMD dualcore CPU’s base clock speed of 1.9GHz is pretty modest when lined up against Intel’s Sandy Bridge Core family of microprocessors, and L2 cache is just 1MB. Sandy Bridge processors are helped out with 3-8MB of L3 cache. But these sorts of details only affect user experience when multi-tasking or running heavy apps – anyone using a program heavy enough to tax this processor perhaps ought to be considering spending a bit more on a notebook.
Enjoy these HP Pavilion G6 pics:
This particular Pavilion G6 falls well short of the Intel i3-2310M in benchmark tests, trailing it by more than 40%. That’s even with 6GB RAM packed inside. Things aren’t really helped by the pairing of AMD’s integrated graphics with a low-end AMD Radeon HD 7450M graphics card. To cut a very complicated story short, the Crossfire-linked graphical solution only really justifies itself for decoding HD videos, which is about as the limit of capability of this particular machine. Current games are only playable at much-reduced settings. Yet for all that 90% of non-gamers would be perfectly happy with the G6′s performance. The 500GB 5400rpm Spinpoint hard drive performs well, delivering transfer speed of 80MB/s, and the OS responds snappily enough.
2 hours 44 mins of video looping or four hours of WiFi surfing is good battery life.
To sum up, there are more powerful alternatives available at this price, eg the Lenovo G770. But for anyone particularly struck by the Pavilion G6, an upgrade to the i5-2450M CPU is recommended.
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