HP Pavilion G6 2005 AX Review
Story so far:
My hunt for a laptop started many months ago (feb-2012).
Initially I was looking for one within a Budget of Rs.24,000 +/- 2k . You can find my initial query here
I was not in an immediate rush to by as my 6yr old desktop was still going strong! So few months passed - and need for a laptop grew stronger. Finally decided to purchase in May and asked TDF gurus advice for final decision, budget being around 30k. Contenders were the Asus X Series X53TA-SX096D and HP Pavilion G6 Series G6-1313AX (you can view that post here
But many members adviced me to wait for Trinity and Ivy bridge, so put the brakes on purchase and waited! But grew ever more impatient as time passed - and to add fuel to the fire; diablo 3 was launched and going by the history of llano launch in India, Trinity was expected in late 2012- sold my tablet and upped my budget to near 40k decided to go either for the K53 or the X53TA immediately - saw an youtube vid of X53TA playing D3 smoothly and that sealed it for me - K53 maybe having stronger performance but its almost 12k more than x53, so it's a big saving for me!
But X53's were out of stock nearly everywhere ; to my bad(?) luck, found one apparently in stock in snapdeal. You can read about the order and the outcome
Feeling disappointed, decided to go for the K53; went to the shop to buy the K53, but the sales guy threw a spanner in the works by showing me the Samsung NP305E5A-S01 IN (glad he did!). Couldn't decide between the K53 and the Samsung in the shop itself; so went home to take a final decision - logged into net to research data b/w the 2 and saw the Pavilion 2005ax in the new arrivals page - the rest as they say, is history!!
Order and Arrival:
Place the order on Flipkart on thursday, 7th june and opted for COD. But on 9th saturday; they called me told me that COD is only available for value upto Rs.25,000 - Immediately cancelled by order and put a new order and paid using bank transfer - so corrected order placed on 9th evening. Laptop reached on 13th noon - very speedy shipping! Flipkart service was excellent as usual - but they could have informed of cod limitation earlier ~ anyways;
Design and Build
The 2005ax follows a new design theme than the previous pavilion models - the laptop comes in a single colour finish - the paint is metallic dark grey - which results in a sober look. If you are looking for making a style statement, better look elsewhere - that said, the design is clean and neat-
The chrome HP logo offset to the lower left is a neat touch and adds charcter to the lid. The Edges of the lid taper downwards.
Inside, theres a webcam on the top bezel ; The speakers are placed above the keyboard and a chrome strip runs along the length of the laptop, seperating the 2 - it's a nice touch- The power button is on the top left ; and on the top right you can find the Dolby Advanced Audio and Altec Lansing logo
On the bottom left, you find an HP total care sticker containing helpline numbers and support e-mail IDs - this white sticker does not gel with the dark grey theme of the laptop. On the bottom right, there are the stickers for AMD Vision, Radeon Dual Graphics, Windows 7 and HP premier experience. The AMD Vision and Radeon Stickers look great.
The laptop is much more compact than I expected (dimensions lxbxh - 37.6 x 24.4 x 3.63 cm) of a full size 15 incher. Weight 2.47 kg (from HP site; i'll weight it with and without the battery when I get time).
The heat vent is on the left side and not in the bottom, so using this palced on your lap won't be a probelm
A design drawback I noted was that the status lights for Power charging and hard drive access is located along the right surface of the laptop, not exactly a biggie, but still..
The keyboard is an "island style/chiclet style" with dedicated number pad. Typing on the keyboard is good with a positive feedback from clicking the keys; the spacing between the keys is very good. But the keys are sized a smidgen too small I think; bit larger keys would have been easier to hit - But the compact keyboard ensures the more compact dimensions of the laptop. Interesting to note that the keyboard is set on a piano black surface; which distinguishes it from the rest of the laptop's metallic paint, it gels well into the dark theme
The touchpad is offset to the left and the surface is grooved (as opossed to a smooth surface)- so you can feel the pattern when sliding your fingers across - in the end it feels the same in operation as a smooth surface. The response of the touchpad is good. It has many features like pinch to zoom, 2 finger scroll etc which are nicely illustrated by videos in the Synaptics contol center.
There is a groove on the top right on the touchpad to disable the touchpad - also a small light adjacent to the left of the touchpad comes on if you hace disabled the touchpad. Pressing on the groove again enables it back and the light goes off.
The L/R mouse buttons are firm in placement and they don't 'wobble' when you touch them - the clicks are positive and overall it's good to use.
The laptop is well bulit and I couldn't find any loose panels/ill fitting bits.
This laptop does not have a latch on the monitor (like this: )
The lid has 2 rubber strips on either side on which it rests, when closing the lid - I prefer a latch mechanism, where we feel the lid has securely closed, but in this case it feels firmly shut as well.
Connectivity and Storage
It comes with the standard wireless connectivity of these days - 802.11b/g/n ; Bluetooth 4.0
For the wired connectivity options; on the Right side we have
A lone usb port, charging port and a tray loading DVD drive
On the left side we have
A VGA port, an HDMI port, an RJ45 ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm stereo jack, a 3.5mm line in and a Card Reader.
There are no ports / status lights on either the front / back edges
For storage, a Samsung Spinpoint (modelno. HN-M500MBB) 500gb 5400rpm does duty under the hood (thanks to rish's method to confirm) ; flipkart still lists it at 7200 rpm
Display and Sound
The display is a 15" LED backlit LCD with a native de riguer resolution of 1366x768
When first using the laptop, I felt that the colors were too withish and there was a tinge of blue to the whole picture. I fiddled around in the AMD vision control center settings and found out that the color temperature was the culprit. Set the temp to 5700k and got the result I was looking for.
The picture quality is very good and the display is very bright at max brightness. Viewing angles are very good as well - But the display I saw on the samsung laptops are much better with more vivid colours and matte finish.
The sound from the Altec Lansing speakers is very clear, especially at loud volumes, dialouges are clear and there is no distortion. But what I would have like to see was more bass for listening to music - my bro's old toshiba satellite has much better bass than this (and it has no special branding on it's speakers) and listening to music is a better experience on his laptop - let me see if I can play around with any settings etc to get more bass - but for watching movies this is very good - as the dialouges are very clear
The one section you guys have been waiting for!
Funny thing is that I get the same score when Running with dual graphics and without dual graphics
I'll list out the Benchmarks done
1. Unigine Tropics
Eveything High/Occlusion Off/Anistropy 2x:
Eveything High/Occlusion On/Anistropy 4x:
Note: Ambient Occlusion tanked the FPS in both the Tropics and Heaven Benchmarks
2. Unigine Heaven
3. 3D Mark 11
Overview of tests done
Settings Used (its unchangeable for basic edition)
4. World in Conflict DX 10 Mode
Settings used for getting 30 fps in bench mode
5. Resident Evil 5 DX 10 Mode
6. Crysis x64
Used these setting to get best frame rate of 30-45 fps
7. Battlefield Bad Company 2
Again, used these setting to get best fps/quality - fps was 30ish while occasionaly dipping to ~25 during intense fights
Processer Arithmetic test
3. USB 3 Copying
Time to copy 700 mb file from external HDD to desktop - 4-5 seconds (it was very hard to take this screenshot as the dialog box would disappear when I took the screenshot!
Time taken in USB 2 for same file - 14-15 seconds
c. Real world
Multitasking is excellent on this laptop - I had multiple tabs open in Chrome, One HD Movie in VLC, Music open in WMP, Some Word documents open and still I could zip through all of them with no lag.
Did a test with Battery at 100%, Dual graphics disabled (APU only), brightness set to 50% sound 50% and CPU clock set to 1400mhz from AMD control center (lowest possible) and watched an HD video of around 1 hour 38 mins and there was still 56% battery remaining - couldnt run it down to 0 that day. Did the test again and I could watch 2 movies of roughly the same length (1 hr 40 mins) and charge was at ~8% so that equates to around 3 hours 30 minutes when we hypermile with this laptop
Update: Did a test with Battery Eater (thanks to Sam for the Link)
Set the power mode to high performance [max brightness, no autodimming display, no auto sleep], charged battery to 100%, started the test in classic mode (this mode determines the absolute minimum time you can get from your laptop battery). Here are the results
Note that at when laptop went below 10% battery, it hibernated, so the test did not completely drain the battery, it ended with battery having at around ~8% charge (thats why graph did not touch 0 )
So that equates to around 1 hour: 30 minutes when you do intensive work on this laptop.
Temperature and Cooling
This area has been much discussed upon. When using the laptop for prolonged periods, doing normal tasks such as Web browsing, watching movies etc, it remains very cool, with just the heat fan area getting slightly warm;
But when you push the laptop to the extreme for prolonged periods (benchmarking, high load games), the heat churned out by the fan is "Kebab maker" hot - but interesting thing is that While the fan blows out hot air, the rest of the chassis is cool to the touch, only the upper left corner vent gets warm. How effectively can a cooling pad keep the temps down for prolonged periods? When I exit the games, the temps quickly come back to normal in 10-15 seconds.
Here are some temps
After cold start
After running a Tropics bench
After multiple tropics benchmarks
Having spent around 4 days testing this laptop, I'm convinced that I made a good decision to buy this laptop - for 32k, you get a laptop which can run all the games at High-Mid settings and is very good at everyday tasks too. The only problem is the heat output when using high performance applications for prolonged periods and the so-so music listening experience from the speakers
Thanks to all the TDF members for their valuable advice!! Hope you enjoyed this review!
Being a first review for me, please tell me anything to add to it!