HP is currently the number one laptop seller in the world and has achieved this position by providing a range of machines at key price points. The HP Pavilion G6032EA (£449 inc. VAT) is aimed at entry-level users and has a plastic chassis that feels surprisingly robust and sturdy for a machine at this price point.
There is plenty of protection behind the display and the large single hinge holds the widescreen panel firmly in place. When open, the screen rolls back to cover the back of the machine, so you won't find any ports located on the rear of the unit. Instead, HP has fitted all the ports on the sides. Not that there are many, simply the bare essentials, including three USB ports and a S-Video out adapter.
The panel is bright and impressively sharp for the price, making this a great choice if you want to watch DVDs or edit digital images. Graphics are provided by an entry-level nVidia GPU, which is very much on a par with Intel's own integrated solution. While you'll be able to carry out basic functions, this isn't really a multimedia machine. Altec Lansing stereo speakers can be found above the keyboard and deliver good sound quality.
The most impressive aspect of this laptop is the keyboard. The keys are of a good size and have a dip in the middle, which makes typing on the move easier to accomplish. The keystroke is reassuringly firm. Slightly less appealing is the touchpad, which proved rather erratic at times. However, there is a small button that allows you to disable it when required, which is a neat touch.
Powered by an AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK-53 processor, this dual-core processor delivers sufficient performance for basic tasks, such as word processing and entry-level editing tasks. That said, with 2048MB of memory, the Pavilion proved a very versatile laptop on test. While you won't be able to use this machine for high-end applications, we found it ran with minimal lag and always proved reliable.
Weighing 2.6kg, this is a semi-portable machine and with a battery life a little short of three hours, it can be used about the house without having to rely on mains power. Connectivity is standard, with 802.11g wireless LAN and fixed Ethernet, so connecting it to a network won't be too problematic.
The HP Pavilion G6032EA is a great all-round laptop for the price. The design may be minimal, but the build quality is excellent and the screen and keyboard wouldn't be out of place on a far more expensive machine. Overall, this is a worthy medal winner.