HP Pavilion DV6-1361SB 15.6-Inch Black Laptop - Up to 3.5 Hours of Battery Life (Windows 7 Professional)

The HP dv6-1361 is a great overall buy. well suited for the more experienced computer user that requires a more advanced machine for more complex tasks as well as the gamers who like to be mobile. After much searching the laptop was the best suited for my application and budget at the time.
The specs for this model are set well above what the average home owner needs today which (in my mind) future proofs it nicely. If you are on a tight budget you can get what you need for less (look at the HP Pavilion G60 line). If you have a little bit more to spend and you want some headroom to handle your computing needs for the next few years this is a great choice.

The specs for this model are set well above what the average home owner needs today which (in my mind) future proofs it nicely. 

CPU - The 2.53GHz Intel Core2 Duo P8700 (3MB L2 Cache, 1066 MHz FSB) is a great notebook processor and fairly high-end for a notebook. It can handle two software "threads" which means you can have the virus scanner running while you surf the web with no noticeable slowdown. There is a quad core version of the DV6 out now that uses the new Intel "i7" processor, but I think for most home users the increased power requirements isn't worth the two extra cores. If you expect to do a lot of video and audio editing then stepping up to the i7 would make sense. If you are mostly looking to use Office type-applications and browse the web I'd suggest sticking with the Core2 Duo. 

RAM - 4GB of DDR3 RAM (2 Dimm) Max supported 8 GB, running at 1066MHz is combined with a 64bit OS to which should provide more than enough memory for pretty much any application you can think of outside of extremely high end gaming. 

HDD - The 320GB (7200RPM) SATA Hard Drive, LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support, drive is far more space than most users need (few people will use more than 100GB) but if you know you need more there are DV6 models with 500GB drives. 

Graphics - This model is using an integrated ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650(M96) with up to 2.8 GB total available graphics memory with 1 GB dedicated  which is vastly superior to the usual low-end graphics that plague notebooks. You can actually do a some 3D gaming on those notebooks which is a truly rare thing. The cheaper DV6s use the Intel 4500MHD which isn't going to win any awards for performance will satisfy any non-gamer (it chokes on newer 3D games). 

Display - HP has a reputation for high-end displays and this one delivers. Tuned slightly for indoor use the 15.6" HP Brightview display is good enough for outdoor use though not as much as a more matte display. Indoors it is brilliant with surprisingly strong blacks (too many notebook displays are all brightness with no depth). I like that the screen provides a decent amount of vertical space without overdoing it. The difference between this and a 14" is surprising.

Sound - Surprisingly good sound for a notebook. The speakers are well positioned and deliver a good range. I've heard better but it was on a $3K notebook.

Battery - HP bundles their standard 6 cell Lithium-Ion battery. The HP Pavilion DV6-1350US has a 12 cell battery (which you can also order separately from HP). If you are on the road a lot the 12 cell is nice. Home users who plan to plug in a lot may not care.

Operating System - Being the "SB" or Small Business edition it comes with Windows 7 Professional. This has all the features of the "Premium" Windows 7 along with an improved backwards compatibility mode (it basically can run your older software in a virtual Windows XP) but you have to download some software from Microsoft to enable it. A minor pain but worth it if you need it. Most home users won't need this. It also comes with better backup support, but so does any external hard drive you buy so while nice it isn't essential.

I don't have any serious "cons" for this computer. The "Touch Media Controls" for things like the volume (as opposed to buttons you push) are a little odd at first but we got used to them quickly and hey, they look cool when they light up. I also don't find the included remote to be that useful but anyone planning to hook this up to their TV might like it. I suspect most people will just put in a drawer and forget about it.

So what are wait for......HP Pavilion DV6-1361SB 15.6-Inch Black Laptop - Up to 3.5 Hours of Battery Life (Windows 7 Professional) as your choice.

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