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Hewlett Packard Pavilion DM1Z Fusion Ultraportable Review

We weren't sure what to expect when we were offered the Hewlett Packard DM1Z ultraportable laptop. I have been reviewing Fusion systems for months now and have been yearning to get a hands on with AMD's Fusion in the mobile marketspace.

The DM1Z is an amazingly impressive little machine, Hewlett Packard have clearly spent a long time in the R&D phase, ensuring that the overall package would stand out in a crowded marketplace. The end product is a showcase for attention to fine detail, exhibited in abundance.

The keyboard is built to a higher standard than anything we have seen in this price range, with absolutely no flex. The overall size is intuitive for people with even the biggest hands (like myself). This is the first time I have been able to type at 120 words per minute on an 11.6 inch machine, around 20-30 words per minute more than the MacBook Air I have in my possession right now.

While the associations with Apple are inevitable due to the appearance, it is justified. Hewlett Packard have clearly nabbed the best ideas, such as the row of function keys which don't need a secondary ‘fn' toggle to operate. The clear, subtle white lighting and stylish black back plate is also indicative of a Macintosh machine. The embossed lid design is also very striking and instantly eye catching in a public place.

Technically, AMD's Fusion technology makes a lot of sense in the superportable market. With a realistic battery life of close to seven hours this will prove a viable solution for a businessman or executive who doesn't want to be seen in public with a run of the mill, and often brutal looking netbook.

In regards to performance, the DM1Z delivers more than enough power to handle all office based demands and even some Adobe Photoshop work. I used the 64 bit version of CS5 on the machine and it was surprisingly responsive – as long as I didn't get carried away with the file sizes. Equally so, high definition entertainment is made thoroughly enjoyable by the superior TN panel and surprisingly good on board sound system.

The rear panel can be removed without a screwdriver, thanks to a clever tool-less design. Once inside we were pleasantly surprised to see 4GB of high quality Hynix DDR3 memory included as well as a capable Western Digital 7,200 320gb Scorpio hard drive. Quality components help Windows 7 performance, and while we would still swap out for an SSD at a later date, the ‘out of the box' performance is class leading, for the price.

Yes, you can even use it at 180 degrees

The DM1Z really is going to take some beating, and is easily one of the best ultra portable low cost machines on the market right now.

UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, but they start at $450 in the US. We will update this page as we get more information.

Pros:

  • fantastic appearance – very ‘mac like'
  • battery life of up to 7 hours
  • AMD Fusion hardware outclasses Intel ATOM
  • class leading build quality
  • function keys are a pleasure to use
  • keyboard is excellent, no flex
  • track pad is a good as we have seen in this sector
  • onboard sound system is a cut above others at this price
  • high resolution screen outclasses many others in the same price zone
  • Western Digital Scorpio 320GB 7,200rpm hard drive included
  • tool-less design for easy, internal access
  • HDMI out
  • 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • wireless connectivity is great, includes bluetooth

Cons:

  • no back lit keyboard. ‘Luxury version' in the future?

KitGuru says: This is the finest ultraportable we have tested to date, and a wonderful showcase for AMD Fusion, in the mobile space.

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Rating: 9.5.

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