HP dm4-3000ea Beats Edition review

The dm4 has been given a redesign and beefy audio

TODO alt text

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Excellent audio quality
  • Decent performance
  • Good screen
  • Build quality

Against

  • Unresponsive touch on trackpad
  • Could have more grunt

HP's Pavilion range was never going to offer the same 'wow factor' as its premium Envy line and we couldn't pick out its previous dm4 Pavilion in a line up.

But HP's new dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is far from anonymous.

Thanks to the ubiquity of Beats Audio technology, HP has decided to give its non-descript dm4 Pavilion a chassis overhaul and specs update. That upgrade does bump up the price to £849, so it's not the very best value for money, but the Beats redesign is a success for various reasons.

It looks super-modern without being too cool for school, enjoys a solid feel for a 14-inch multimedia portable and – most importantly – it sounds absolutely fantastic.

Punching above its weight

Despite its slinky dimensions (338 x 225 x 32 mm), the dm4-3000ea is fairly heavy. A weight of 2kg for such a small chassis is surprising, but every component – including the great backlit keyboard – feels robust and well-made (although it's not the solid mag-alloy chassis that HP puts in its Envy laptops; just serviceable plastic here).

The board marries the same soft red and matte black hues that adorns the case. The Beats logo also sits front and centre, which could annoy, but the font design is so nice it actually really works.

It can be hard to type on dinkier laptops' keyboards, but the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition is the exception to the rule . It felt much better than the first dm4 Pavilion board and has isolated chiclet keys with a solid bounce.

HP has also binned the miniature navigation keys, making it fine to use for long periods for multi-tasking and browsing online. Our only bone of contention was the unresponsive touch tech on the trackpad which is still a novelty.

The 14-inch display is powered by 1366 x 768 LED-backlit BrightView screen, which works perfectly well in most brightness conditions. It's not over-glossy and coped admirably with the darker hues of The Dark Knight. We also had no problems streaming high-definition video content. Clearly, the HP dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition won't have any problems performing most multimedia tasks.

HP also gets bonus points for adding one of the better in-built webcams available. Thanks to the TrueVision low-light tech, it managed to pick us out accurately enough in murky lighting.

Under the hood

HP beats laptop

The rest of the specs under the hood are decent enough to make sure HP's dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition didn't suffer any staccato playback – even on number crunching apps.

HP has bundled a 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-2450M processor, a 500GB SATA hard drive and 4GB of memory with space for two more sticks if you fancy an upgrade. That should be enough oomph to boot the OS from cold in no time at all… but, irritatingly, HP has added the usual bloatware gubbins to slow everything down. That said, some of the pre-loaded software, like Norton and Windows Office Starter Edition is actually useful.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 174 minutes
Cinebench: 5629
3DMark 2006: 5622

Performance in our lab tests produced steady if unspectacular results, especially when you consider the power available from that Intel Core i5 chip. A score of 5629 in our processor benchmarks means that it's more than adept at multitasking, but it does seem low when compared with laptops such as the Packard Bell TS11 which achieved better lab tests.

Graphics were equally unspectacular, and we also got a mid-range score of 5622 in our 3D Mark tests. This is enough for light gaming, thanks to 1GB of dedicated graphics on its AMD Radeon HD 7470M GPU. Just don't expect to get anything out of Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3, though.

The 174-minute battery life using Battery Eater Pro's Readers' Test was pretty good – especially when you bear in mind that it has a 6-cell battery.

So, the question remains, how do you get enjoy audio fidelity on such a small laptop? The simple answer is to plug in decent headphones and bypass the traditionally tinny laptop speakers.

If you're not a fan of headphones, a more permanent solution is to upgrade to superior audio components.

While the Beats audio results good, you still can't been hooking up a decent set of speakers. That said, for audio on the go, the dm4-3000ea Pavilion Beats Edition comes highly recommended – and HP even throws in a pair of Dr Dre's Solo headphones as part of the package.

Overall the HP dm4-3000sa is a capable portable laptop, for those who want style while they're on the move. Admittedly, it's not packed with power, and there are lighter machines for the money, but the Beats credentials give it cool credibility that will attract students and younger users.

Anyone who does invest will be rewarded with a solid performer capable of work and play on the move, but those with demanding needs will want to look at portables backed up by a bit more grunt.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity750 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 7470M
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityDedicated
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyPavilion dm4-3000
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Keyboard BacklightYes
Processor Modeli5-2450M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameHP
Processor Speed2.50 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size35.6 cm (14")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory6 GB
Weight (Approximate)2 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, EPEAT Silver
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM67 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyBrightView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11b/g/n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1333/PC3-10600
Height32 mm
Width338 mm
Depth225 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Seriesdm4-3000
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product Modeldm4-3002ea
Product NamePavilion dm4-3002ea Notebook
Pointing Device TypeImagePad
Product LinePavilion
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberA8J29EA#ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

Thin, light and fully loaded. A stunning combination. Less than 1" thin at the front with a 14" awe-inspiring HD display. Enjoy studio-quality sound with Beats Audio plus two HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofers. And feel every rap, rock and rhythm. Anywhere you desire.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Pavilion dm4-3002ea Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter