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HP Pavilion dm1z

Three Sub-$500 AMD Brazos-Based Notebooks Rounded Up

The HP Pavilion dm1z is much closer to what we originally envisioned a Brazos notebook would be. However, the $449.99 retail price tag is $100 higher than what you would pay for the NV51B08u. With that said, this notebook is still under the $500 limit that AMD originally promised. Sporting the company's faster E-350, this netbook is the “powerhouse” option of our mobile roundup, though that doesn't mean you'll see adequate performance in most DX11-based titles. You’ve already seen that reflected in benchmarks for ASRock’s E350M1.

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The construction of the dm1z feels very familiar, and is reminiscent of the HP Mini 210 HD that we looked at last year (Tom's Definitive 10.1" Netbook Buyer's Guide: Fall 2010). The entire case is buffed smooth. But it lacks a high-gloss finish, so fingerprints aren’t readily apparent. The top shell feels as if HP used very thin wires to achieve the design markings. The bottom of the notebook lacks any sort of aesthetic design.

The texture of the keyboard doesn’t match the case. Instead, HP opted for a matte finish that creates a better typing experience. Remember that while this is a full-sized keyboard, that description says nothing about the individual key size. This only describes the size of the keyboard in relation to what you would see on the desktop. As expected from a netbook, the dm1z has smaller keys, which is going to be a problem for users with larger hands.

Compared to the Mini 210 HD, this system's touchpad is improved, but not perfect. The two buttons are integrated seamlessly into the touchpad and are marked off by raised grey borders. This allows the whole area to be used as a touchpad if you aren't performing click operations. If you are clicking and dragging/selecting, the touchpad allows the selection finger to run into the button region without the cursor behaving erratically. However, your clicker finger must remain still because the system cannot accept multi-finger contact (excluding gestures). When more than two fingers move on the touchpad, the cursor will either lock up or start bouncing around the screen.

We should point out that the touchpad sits on a minor incline because of the integrated buttons. As a result, if we press anywhere 50% south from the top edge, the whole touchpad descends like one big button click. HP manufactures the touchpad in such a way that you must be within the button regions to get a click reaction. There is still some mid-click confusion toward the center, though. This can be a bit distracting if you aren’t aware of where you are clicking.

Audio is decent on the dm1z. However, because the small stereo speakers are placed on the front lip, you'll find that any audio is slightly distorted if this notebook is sitting in your lap while you play media content.

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