Sunday, December 4, 2011

My New HP Pavilion g6

** please note: the following is NOT intended as a product review. this is simply an attempt to share my experience of a new gadget. thank you. **

i have a new member of my digital family. no it’s not the powerhouse MacBook Pro that i wanted. nor is it the even more powerful Thunderbolt equipped iMac either, or the modest discless Mac Mini with the specs all maxed out (as i would have wanted).

no people, this new addition doesn’t run on Mac OSX. It runs Microsoft Windows 7. it doesn’t even have an Intel i(whatever) processor, but an AMD A4 Vision. what it does have is 4GB of memory, a 500GB HDD, and 15.6” screen. it’s got a bluetooth 4.0 adapter, an HDMI connector, and an SD card reader.

this pass October i felt that i was in need of a laptop. something to help with homework whenever i’m away from home. a portable desktop to experiment with virtual machines with. something that could run my Windows apps natively. something with a battery in the event the power at home goes out and i’m left without some entertainment (which actually did happen).

my budget for a laptop was only $400, so it had to be something with just enough power without breaking the bank. so i looked up Best Buy online to see what they had, and somehow got fixated with the HP Pavilion g6 (g6-1c45dx).

though, i compromised on my better judgment i made the leap of faith, and so far i’m enjoying it. i was very skeptical about buying any laptops that didn’t bear that familiar fruit on the lid, but i just didn’t have the cash available to get one. don’t get me wrong, i don’t have any issues with Windows 7. in fact i have come to enjoy it equally to the Mac OSX. it’s the hardware that worries me. at the $400 price point i would worry that the hardware will fail, and it’s not worth getting it fixed.

i have yet to put any real mileage on the Pavilion as i just got it, but i figured as long as i’m careful with it - as i am with my Mac Mini - i hope to get a couple of good years with it. and perhaps by then i’ll be able to afford a MacBook Pro. if it’s going really strong by then perhaps i’ll continue to use it, and get an iMac instead for the home. not sure. right now my Pavilion is running beautifully.

one of things that i was attracted to (aside form the specs) was the clean design it had. smooth lines, and no distracting media buttons; just a regular keyboard & trackpad.

though plastiky it doesn’t feel too flimsy. sturdy enough to hold confidently in one hand without feeling that the weight will crack the motherboard inside.

the Pavilion g6 comes equipped with a webcam and a sounds system by Altec Lansing. the webcam is nothing to be impressed with. good enough for video conferencing, but if i desired to produce web blogs better off getting a dedicated webcam. same goes with the built-in microphone. audio recorded from it doesn’t sound very full. more weak than anything, but still good enough.

the sound system, on the other hand, is not bad. it’s nothing compared to my Jambox, but does the trick well enough. the speaker grills are located in the front of the laptop just below where i place my wrists when typing. and yet i find it pretty neat that the audio seems to radiate from the front of the screen. at first i thought this was some sort of trick the HP design guys used to simply bounce the sound off the screen giving it that auditory illusion. alas, no. it probably has more to do with the fact that Altec Lansing implements the SRS sounds system.

though the laptop screen is closer to a 720p resolution (1366 x 768), it can handle that as well as a 1080p TV via HDMI in Extend mode. the cpu+video processor seems to be powerful enough to handle a Netflix video running at full screen on the TV smoothly while simultaneously running a virtual machine install of Ubuntu 11.10 (using VirtualBox) on the local screen without a hiccup. i was not expecting that.

a note about vitualization on the Pavilion g6; in order to get VirtualBox to work with Ubuntu i had to reboot the machine, break into BIOS, and enable the virtual option - which is disabled by default.  i'm not sure if this affects system performance. so far i haven't seen much of a difference on a day-to-day basis.  i not using my machine to play games, or anything intensive, yet, but it's something to think about.

the bluetooth adapter is a real convenience. it’s capable of connecting to my Jambox, iPhone, as well as my Apple Mighty Mouse, and Apple Keyboard. which was such a relief, cause i thought i’d have to buy an all new bluetooth mouse just in case Apple was control-freak enough to not let their peripherals work with anything non-Apple related.

maintenance on the machine is pretty simple. HP provides utilities to help keep the laptop up to date with the latest firmware and software. this is not to be confused with Windows 7 updates. that still has to run using the Windows Update feature. it even has an app that helps to detect any hardware issue and attempts to fix it. there’s no system restore disc. instead HP provides the restoration software on a separate partition on the hard drive which can be accessed during the boot-up process.

the system did come with some useless crapware which i was able to easily remove. among the apps removed was Symantec antivirus, and a trail version of Microsoft Office. both were replaced with Microsoft Security Essentials, and OpenOffice.

i bought a 16GB SD card to occupy the SD reader. i use it to store all of my contents i generate. i have a habit of not keeping anything (i already don’t have a copy of elsewhere) local on the machine in case one day it fails to operate. a small insurance. plus it helps a little with system performance as flash memory is faster than HDD. sure i can accomplish this with a USB thumb drive, but the SD card is practically unseen when inserted.  it doesn't stick out like a sore (dare i say) thumb.

so there i have it. i’ve finally have broken away from Apple’s control with this new addition. but for how long? well, i’m hoping for quite some time. i never would have though the first laptop i would ever buy would come from HP, and so far no regrets. it’s been serving me well, and have been enjoying it.



Sean said...

If you're not worried about portability, the entry-level iMac is pretty darned powerful! Significantly better than my $2500 Intel iMac I got in '06, anyway.

Tinco said...

well...i am buying a new laptop and your post is very helpful~just to say thank you.

@riel said...

glad you found it helpful. it's a laptop that works for me. if you decide to get it I hope it works equally well for you.

Billy said...

Who needs laptops. Titanium abacus!! For the rest of us. The internet is overrated. What one needs is the stylish sounds of metal sliding on metal and adding +1. Take that Google+

Written on iAbacus

Brandon Hudson said...

Nice post with awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.

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