Criteria for Choosing a Laptop and My Results

Why I Chose the HP dv6t Quad Edition 15.6” Laptop

The HP dv6t Quad Edition is my second HP Laptop. I was fortunate that the first one I owned, the Pavilion dv9000, was provided by a previous employer. The dv9000, with it’s big 17” screen was my primary computer for 4+ years. Its wonderful audio quality was a real bonus watching Hulu and Netflix while travelling on business and was large enough to work in Microsoft Excel at the office. If it weren’t for a few issue, some caused by my penchant for using Skype with a travelling daughter while cooking (keyboards and soy sauce don’t mix well), and others by my clear lack of sound internet security practices, I would still be using it.

My Search Criteria:

Size and weight: The dv9000 17” laptop was a beast to use on an airplane or to set up at a Starbucks and the almost 7lbs was just too big. I settled on 15.6”.

Resolution: I planned on getting a smaller laptop for portability, but hooking it up to a 20+” external monitor for working in the home-office. Most smaller laptops come with 1280 x 600 or some varation of that. I had worked on my partner’s 14” Sony Vaio and it just didn’t work for me. In addition, it wouldn’t be as useful attached to a larger monitor. My requirement for resolution was 1900 x 1080 or HD resolution.

Webcam: Skype is a big part of both my business and personal communications. With a partner based in the UK and a daughter roaming the planet, it’s a daily staple. I searched for a laptop with an integrated high resolution webcam.

Audio: No one would accuse me of being an audiophile, but I wanted above average sound for 2 reasons. A) See my Skype requirements above. B) Netflix and Hulu – the laptop serves as our upstairs TV, and nothing ruins a good show like tinny audio.

SandyBridge: As my 17” dv9000 has gotten older, it’s gotten hotter. (just like me). On planes, on the sofa, propped up in bed it’s a constant source of heat. Also, being a non-techie that keeps their computers wayyyy to long, I wanted to get the most current processor I could and not break the bank. Intel’s i7 “sandy bridge” processor was my pick.

Price: My budget was up to $1000, though I would try desperately to stay under that for all my requirements. The strategy was to pick the laptop, then look for a deal. Thanks to and their $400 discount discovery I found the HP dv6t!

Keyboard: After watching my wife struggle with her laptops lack of a  number pad when using Excel, I had to have one.

The result came about 12 days later when I got the HP! Here’s the configuration I chose:

dv6t Quad Ed
• dark umber
• Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit with Service Pack 1
• 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz
• 1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6490M Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
• FREE Upgrade to 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
• FREE Upgrade to 750GB 5400RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
• No Additional Office Software
• No additional security software
• 6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 5.5 hours of battery life +++
• 15.6" diagonal Full HD HP Anti-glare LED Display (1920 x 1080)
• SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
• HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
• Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN with Wireless Display Support
• Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad
• HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope

Total cost was $870, including shipping.

One day out of the box and the laptop couldn’t be more perfect for my applications. The resolution and LED screen are outstanding, making it very comfortable to work on detail projects. The video quality is great and after watching a 90 minute show on the laptop on battery power last night it wasn’t even warm – excellent. The real surprise has been how phenomenal the premium beats audio system is, you will likely not even need external speakers.

Watch for a comparison the 17” vs. 15.6” coming soon.