The Bottom Line
- Very Comfortable Keyboard
- Fast Hard Drive
- Single Core Processor
- Trackpad Difficult To Use
- Poor Viewing Angles On Display
- Intel Pentium SU4100 Mobile Processor
- 4GB PC3-6400 DDR3 Memory
- 320GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 13.3" WXGA (1366x768) LED Backlit Display With Webcam
- Intel GMA 4500MHD Integrated Graphics
- Fast Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless
- Four USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 12.8" x 9.1" x 1.2" @ 4.2 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Works, MediaSmart, Cyberlink DVD Suite, Norton Internet Security
Guide Review - HP Pavilion dm3-1040us 13.3-inch Ultraportable Laptop PC
Mar 19 2010 - HP's Pavilion dm3-1040us is designed as a low cost ultraportable laptop that offers a better experience than a netbook while still offering a fairly long battery life. Much if this is achieved through the use of a single core Pentium SU4100 processor from Intel. This does hamper its performance compared to many ultraportables using dual-core processors but it pulls far away from the netbooks in terms of performance. The four gigabytes of DDR3 memory also help it with multitasking although it does run at a slower speed putting it on par with systems using DDR2 memory.
While the HP Pavilion dm3-1040us doesn't come with an DVD burner, they didn't skimp on the storage functions. The hard drive may have an average sized capacity of 320GB but the performance is quite strong thanks to the 7200rpm desktop spin rate. This allows for quicker access of data files compared to the average hard drive based ultraportable. It still doesn't top solid state based drives but it is much more affordable.
The 13.3-inch display on the Pavilion dm3-1040us is hampered by some very limited viewing angles. Moving just slightly off center can cause some very dramatic color shifting. This may be useful for those looking to have some screen security but it can be annoying at times as is the glossy coating that can produce a fair amount of glare and reflections under certain light. At least the Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics allow for HD video streaming even if it can't handle any sort of 3D gaming.
HP advertises the the Pavilion dm3-1040us can achieve up to ten hours of running time. In my streaming video test, the laptop was only able to achieve around three and three-quarter hours before it went into standby mode. More typical usage would probably yield around five hours of time which is well below HP's advertised running time. This places it well behind the new crop of ultra-low voltage systems design for running time and more in line with traditional ultraportables.
Those who have to do frequent typing on their laptop will be pleased with the keyboard on the Pavilion dm3. It uses the now common isolated keyboard layout. The layout for the most part is also quite well done although the arrow key layout might be a bit confusing at first for the up and down arrows. The trackpad on the other hand could really use some work. The surface of the pad can get a bit too sticky when moving your finger over the surface and the buttons are quite stiff and difficult to press.
What most people will like about the Pavilion dm3-1040us is the price. With pricing as low as $600, the laptop is not much more expensive than some high end netbooks but provides a much more stable computing experience. Of course, for just a few hundred more it is possible to get some ultraportables with even more performance.