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Hewlett Packard Pavilion DM1Z Fusion Ultraportable Review

Our Hewlett Packard Pavilion DM1Z laptop arrived in a plain brown box.

The bundle includes literature on the product, a full colour quick start guide and a power adapter.

When I first saw the DM1Z I felt it had an ‘almost Apple' style appearance, which is meant as a compliment. The lid has an embossed style pattern which is subtle, yet adds a layer of depth to the design. The HP logo is visible in the corner.

The rear of the machine is covered with a deep black fascia which yet again reminded me of unboxing an Apple laptop. The DM1Z is an extremely pretty design and the surfaces don't act a a dust or fingerprint magnet. Hewlett Packard have said that the design intentionally avoided glossy surfaces, even on the lid.

There are a total of 3 USB 2.0 ports on either side, two on the right and one on the left. There is also a card reader, HDMI port, VGA out and headphone and microphone port. This is a fairly loaded configuration for an ultraportable machine and much better than many we have looked at in the past. The large vent on the left hand side is a cooling vent, which forces hot air out sideways.

The laptop ships with a protective felt cover between the keyboard and screen to help prevent any markings during shipping.

The screen is an 11.6 inch 1366×768 TN LED panel. It has a very high pixel density and the resolution is perfectly matched to the real estate available. This really is a huge step up from the ‘average' ultraportable machine on the market, which is normally limited to 1024×768.

The power key resides to the left of the chassis, right under the screen, a good position for easy access.

The DM1Z is supplied with a Chiclet keyboard which is almost full sized and extremely comfortable to use. I often have problems with keyboards on smaller laptop designs, but this one has been well thought out. The keyboard is 96% the size of the overall width at 275mm.

There is no keyboard flex, the keys are very firm indeed and offer tactile feedback response. Typing is a joy on this machine and I rated at my maximum 120 words per minute with online tests. I am normally limited to this speed on full sized boards such as the DAS keyboard, which is my desktop favourite.

The row of function keys along the top of the keyboard also hints at ‘borrowing' an idea from Apple. You don't have to press the FN key to access screen brightness or volume for instance. Simply pressing the keys activates the function, and this to me is a huge bonus point – I really do hate fumbling for the fn key. Being an Apple Macintosh laptop user, I always wondered why more PC makers didn't opt for the ‘single key' button press. F12 for instance toggles Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, with a faded in alert appearing on screen to notify the user. Very nice indeed.

The images above are deliberately taken in poor light conditions to highlight the lovely white lighting subtlety positioned in various parts of the chassis. Hard drive and power lights are indicated above, but we also like the fact that when various functionality is disabled, then the white lights change to ‘orange'. Not something you expect on a modestly priced machine such as this.

A large speaker runs along the side of the chassis. It is much better than those included on any other netbook we have tested in the last year, but it won't be replacing a dedicated sound system or quality headphones. Still it is quite surprising as it can produce decent volume without too much distortion.

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