Eight months is dog years in the world of consumer electronics and yet, we still have a soft spot for the HP Pavilion dm1, a dirt-cheap 11.6-inch ultraportable that ushered in AMD's long-awaited Fusion chips. HP just announced the second-gen model, a refresh that includes some spec bumps, as well as a new design and some software add-ons (because we loved the bloatware load so much in the original!). Getting the performance boost out of the way, it'll now be offered with an ultra-low voltage Core i3 processor, while the Fusion options now include the E-300 and E-450 chips (until now, it's been sold with the E-350). The AMD versions will start at $399 with the Core i3 model fetching $599 and up. For some reason even HP doesn't seem able to explain, the Intel version will come with an external optical drive, but the AMD models won't. At least you know you'll be getting more than Intel's brand name for those extra two hundred bucks. The version with the black, non-reflecting lid will go on sale October 30, with a glossier charcoal number available September 21. Until then have a gander at our hands-on shots and walk-through video.
On the outside, HP's replaced the shiny surface with a material it calls Soft-touch -- a rubber coating that masks fingerprints and doesn't reflect light the way the first one did. We'll be honest: in our brief hands-on, the lid initially felt a little too much like a pair of Latex gloves, but it grew on us even after a few minutes.
Look closer and you'll start noticing lots of areas where the dm1's had work done. It now has a flush battery, the display sits higher and its profile has a slight upward curve toward the hinge -- a design flourish you might remember from machines such as the HP Pavilion dv6. It also trades a giant clickable trackpad for a traditional touchpad-and-buttons combo, although the trackpad now blends in with the palm rest. The keyboard, at least, remains the same, and, as you can imagine, Beats Audio is on board. All told, the matte plastic, flush, removable battery and flat trackpad make it look an awful like a slightly higher-end Mini 210. If that means a flatter bottom and less glare, that's not a bad thing.
On the software side, HP added a feature called Launch Boxes, which lets you pin custom categories to the Task Bar. So, you could create a photo-related box and drop in your image re-sizer, editor and any other relevant programs you use. The point, says HP, is to avoid pinning loads of programs as separate icons. If, you know, that's a pain for you. Personally, we don't mind pinning different apps one by one, but to each his own. HP is also loading some preset folders into the Start Menu, which organize all of that bloatware by category. You could drop in your own apps, we suppose, but really, it's meant to make those pre-installed programs easier to find. Thanks, HP!
As you can imagine, we're champing at the bit to get one of these in for review, and only then will we know what kind of an impact those processor bumps have on performance. The real story, of course, is the new look -- not a full-on makeover, per se, but a redesign nonetheless. So far, so good -- or so it would seem. We'll reserve judgment until our full review, but until then, nothing wrong with a little less shine and some cleaner lines, right?
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HP Unveils the Ultimate Ultraportable PC
Updates HP Pavilion dm1 Notebook PC, introduces HP Premier Experience
PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 8, 2011 – HP today introduced the updated HP Pavilion dm1, a consumer notebook PC featuring a gloss finish or HP Soft-touch Imprint design, Beats Audio and HP Premier Experience – an exclusive set of innovations designed to improve on the Microsoft Windows® experience.
The affordable HP Pavilion dm1 is the ultimate ultraportable PC, blending performance and mobility in a stylish package, and offering a battery life of up to 11.5 hours.
Building upon HP's MUSE design philosophy, the dm1 is the first notebook to feature HP Soft-touch Imprint technology, a unique printing process that creates a soft-to-the-touch surface by inlaying graphics into a rubber skin that covers the notebook exterior. The dm1 will be available in either a traditional charcoal gloss finish or a soft-touch ash black finish with a stylized pattern. The ash black design features a velvety finish that not only provides a tactile experience, but also collects fewer fingerprints compared to gloss surfaces.
With the addition of HP Beats Audio, a unique, high-performance technology developed by HP and Beats by Dr. Dre, the Pavilion dm1 offers high-quality entertainment for mobile users.
The dm1 features an 11.6-inch high-definition (HD) LED display, and the built-in HP TrueVision HD webcam captures high-quality images even in low-light conditions.
The compact machine has a range of storage options and also packs power with the latest AMD E-Series Accelerated Processing Units or Intel® 2nd Generation Core processors. AMD models also include AMD Radeon HD discrete-class graphics to enable crisper and more vivid video playback. Thin and light, the dm1 measures less than 1-inch thick in front and weighs 3.52 pounds.
Streamlined Windows 7 experience
HP Premier Experience delivers a streamlined Windows experience that makes HP Pavilion notebooks cleaner, faster and more intuitive.
Part of the HP Premier Experience, HP Launch Box allows applications to be better organized by grouping them for quick access on the Windows 7 taskbar. A simple mouse-over and click launches an application directly from the taskbar, freeing up screen real estate on the PC's desktop. Including the dm1, HP Launch Box is available on 70 percent of consumer notebook models.
Additionally, a simplified, organized Windows Start Menu allows users to find applications faster.
With HP Premier Experience, consumer notebooks have quicker boot-up, shutdown, sleep and resume times, allowing users to access their content quickly. The dm1 shows an approximate 29 and 25 percent improvement on shutdown and resume times, respectively. Boot times and sleep times also are improved.
Select models of HP notebooks feature some of the following HP Premier Experience innovations:
- HP CoolSense technology uses advanced hardware and intelligent software to automatically adjust performance and internal fan settings for a noticeably cooler PC. Whether at a desk or on the move, HP CoolSense technology keeps the PC's surface temperature at an optimum level of comfort.
- HP QuickWeb takes users directly to the web within seconds of powering on, bypassing the full operating system start-up. Users are seconds from chatting with friends on SkypeTM, updating Facebook posts or tweets, and viewing their social calendar all in one place.
- HP ProtectSmart features a built-in accelerometer that detects when a PC is bumped or dropped, locking the hard drive into place within milliseconds to help protect important files. The feature's safeguard modes run without interrupting day-to-day use.
- HP SimplePass provides added online security with a built-in fingerprint reader that auto-populates passwords for online accounts and websites. Valuable account information is locked with a user's fingerprint.
Elements of the HP Premier Experience are available today on 90 percent of HP's consumer notebook models.
Pricing and availability
The HP Pavilion dm1 with AMD processors is expected to be available in charcoal on Sept. 21 with a starting price of $399.99. The soft-touch ash black model will be available this fall.
The HP Pavilion dm1 with Intel processors is expected to be available in charcoal on Oct. 30 with an external optical drive included and a starting price of $599.99. The soft-touch ash black model will be available this fall.
Additional information is available at www.hp.com/personal and http://shopping.hp.com/go/newfromhp.