A capable machine in a great size, but that trackpad really lets it down for us.
Slim and light
Strong battery life
Great Core i5 performance
Sharp and colourful screen
Slightly plasticky keyboard
Lack of graphical power
Hard drive could fill up fast
At the upper end of ultraportable weight
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HP has just refreshed its entire laptop range, with the Pavilion series receiving several updates and a new model in the Pavilion dm4-1050ea. At £649 including VAT, this is a mid-range laptop that packs a satisfying amount of power and some great features into a dependably solid ultraportable frame, although it's not quite perfect.
An attractive brushed aluminium chassis mimics that of the HP Pavilion dm3, and it gives the Pavilion dm4 a premium appearance.
A subtle lined pattern decorates the palm rests and the lid, while the bottom corner of the Pavilion dm4's lid features HP's logo, which glows when the laptop is powered on – a pointless feature, but a nice touch regardless.
Thankfully the Pavilion dm4 feels just as solid as it looks. This is a laptop you'd happily throw in a bag and carry around all day, without worrying about it getting beat up. We only noticed some slight flex around the DVD drive, certainly nothing too concerning.
The brushed aluminium surface is also scratch resistant and can withstand a few knocks, which is perfect for regular commuters.
Even better is the weight. The Pavilion dm4 just squeezes into the ultraportable category, as it weighs a shade under 2kg.
We're seeing an increase in the number of ultraportable laptops lately as components shrink in size, and you no longer have to spend thousands on a powerful machine that weighs a little less than a pregnant hippo.
While the Pavilion dm4 clearly isn't as light as a netbook, and there are other laptops at this price point that weigh considerably less – the Asus UL20A, for instance, which costs £499 and comes in at 1.6kg – this machine can definitely be carried around in a rucksack without wrecking your shoulders.
The Pavilion dm4 is also refreshingly compact, with a 14-inch screen and a thickness of just 32mm when closed. We found it would fit with minimal hassle in any reasonably sized satchel or bag.
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