The Bottom Line
Apr 5 2012 - While the list price of the HP Pavilion dv4-4270is is over $600, it is easy to fine this system for under $600. At this price point, it offers a good deal of portability compared to the competition thanks to the 14-inch screen but it doesn't sacrifice much to achieve this. The laptop offers more memory, hard drive space and longer battery life than many similarly priced systems. The only real downsides are the lack of new high speed peripheral ports and a keyboard layout that is a bit different and lacks a numeric keypad.
- More Compact Than Most Budget Laptops
- Larger Hard Drive
- 6GB DDR3 Memory
- Lacks USB 3.0 or eSATA Ports
- Smaller Size Means No Numeric Keypad
- Intel Core i3-2350M Dual Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 14" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With 1.3 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 3000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless
- Three USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 13.4" x 9.3" x 1.4" @ 5 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter
Review - HP Pavilion dv4-4270us
Apr 5 2012 - The average budget class laptops tends to feature a 15-inch display panel and weigh roughly 5.7 pounds. HP is one of several companies that offer a 14-inch laptop for those looking for something a bit more compact without sacrificing the features. The Pavilion dv4-4270us is a decent laptop in terms of performance thanks to the slightly faster Intel Core i3-2350M dual core mobile processor it is based around. What makes the system a bit better than most in the $600 price range is the 6GB of DDR3 memory. This allows the system to run a bit smoother with the Windows 7 operating system when multitasking.
One of the nicer aspects of the HP Pavilion dv4-4270us is the inclusion of a 640GB hard drive. This provides roughly thirty percent more storage space than the average 500GB drive found in other laptops in this price range. This can be very beneficial for those that like to store a large amount of media files on their laptop. The drive does spin at the traditional 5400rpm spin rate which means that performance is a bit more modest than systems that use 7200rpm drives but that is fairly uncommon in this price segment. One big downside with laptops in this price range including the HP Pavilion dv4 is the ability to use high speed external storage. The system features just three USB ports but they are all of the older 2.0 rather than the new USB 3.0 speeds.
In order to keep the system more compact, the Pavilion dv4 is based around a 14-inch display panel rather than the more typical 15.6-inch panel. It still features the same 1366x768 native resolution as the larger screens which means that text is actually a bit sharper than the larger screens. The panel itself still suffers the same level of limited viewing angles, color and reflections that the average budget system with a TN panel comes equipped with. The graphics are driven by the standard Intel HD Graphics 3000 that are built into the Core i3 processor. This is fine for most people as long as you aren't looking to use the laptop for some casual 3D gaming. The graphics do support accelerated media encoding when used with QuickSync enabled applications.
Even with its slightly smaller size, HP didn't skimp on the battery to try and keep the costs and weight down. It comes equipped with a six cell battery pack that features a 55WHr capacity rating. This is roughly twenty percent larger than the 48WHr packs used in most similarly priced laptops. In DVD playback testing, this results in just under three hours of running time before the system went into standby mode. More typical usage should yield just over four hours of running time. The closest budget laptop with similar running times is the ASUS K53E.
A small downside of the smaller size of the HP Pavilion dv4 is the keyboard. Most 15-inch keyboards include a numeric keypad. In order to reduce the width of the system while keeping the keys a reasonable size, HP had to remove the numeric keypad. This isn't a huge issue for many uses but it is something to consider for those that do need to do frequent number input. They did include the home keys to the right side of the keyboard which can make using the backspace, enter and right shift keys a bit more challenging.