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  #1  
Old 12-03-2009, 03:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default HP dm3 Laptop Unboxing & First Impressions

<p><object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" width="600" height="360" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="src" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/sqatoL3eT-Q&amp;ap=&fmt=18" /><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="600" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/sqatoL3eT-Q&amp;ap=&fmt=18"></embed></object></p><p>This is my unboxing and first impressions video of the <a href="http://tinyurl.com/hpdm3" target="_blank">HP dm3</a> [Affiliate]; the dm3 is a new laptop from HP that's an evolution of the dv2 - it's thin, light, and not very expensive. In fact, I never did my review video of the dv2 - <a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/94177/hp-pavilion-dv2-unboxing-and-first-impressions.html" target="_blank">just an unboxing video</a> - because HP discontinued the dv2 about five months after they launched it. Bizarre, no? It's probably for the best though. There was a lot to like about the dv2, but the fact that the hot air vent was at the front of the left side, right where your hand would typically rest, was a real problem. <MORE /></p><p>The HP dm3 is an evolution of the dv2 and is similar in many ways. The dm3 uses the AMD Athlon Neo X2 dual-core processor, a semi-low power processor that uses 18 watts of power, but delivers better performance than the Intel Atom processors found in netbooks. Unlike many HP notebooks, the dm3 doesn't have a feminine-looking design on the lid. It has a brushed metal lid that looks absolutely fantastic - you'd swear you're looking at a $2000 laptop.</p><p>This particular model of the dm3 that I was sent on loan by HP Canada's PR people has 4 GB of RAM, uses a 320 GB 7200 RPM hard drive, has a memory card reader, 100 megabit ethernet, 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, four USB ports, and HDMI out. The 13.3 inch wide-screen display is 1366 x 768 pixels in resolution (driven by an ATI Radeon 3200 GPU), and it has a built-in Webcam and microphone. The keyboard is full-sized, and the laptop features Altec Lansing speakers. The 6-cell battery is rated for up to six hours of battery life, though in my initial battery test playing back the Lord of the Rings extended edition, at 100% screen brightness with WiFi off, it was down to 5% battery life after finishing the movie at 2 hours and 51 minutes. That's not a small feat though - many other notebooks I test can't finish that movie.</p><p>Stay tuned for my full review, and let me know if you have any questions.</p><p><em>Jason Dunn owns and operates <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Inc.</a>, a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys <a href="http://photos.jasondunn.com/" target="_blank">photography</a>, mobile devices, <a href="http://www.jasondunn.com/" target="_blank">blogging</a>, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with his lovely wife, his wonderful baby boy, and his sometimes obedient dog.</em></p><p><em></em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p><strong>Do you enjoy using new hardware, software and accessories, then sharing your experience with others? Then join us on the <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Thoughts Media Review Team</a>! We're looking for individuals who find it fun to test new gear and give their honest opinions about the experience. It's a volunteer role with some great perks. Interested? <a href="http://www.thoughtsmedia.com/reviewteam.php" target="_blank">Then click here for more information.</a></strong></p><p><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com//ppct/auto/1240336793.usr1.gif" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p>
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2009, 05:37 PM
Andy Dixon
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Thats a really nice looking bit of kit. It might even be a possible contender to replace my Dell M1330 which while still looks great and performs of, is starting to show it's age a bit. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on how it performs.
 
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2009, 08:04 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Dixon View Post
Thats a really nice looking bit of kit. It might even be a possible contender to replace my Dell M1330 which while still looks great and performs of, is starting to show it's age a bit. I look forward to seeing your thoughts on how it performs.
I too have an XPS M1330 that's starting to show its age - but while the dm3 is thinner and lighter than the M1330, the CPU is no where near the performance levels of an Intel Core 2 Duo from even two years ago.

In my ProShow Gold video encoding benchmark, my XPS M1330 with a Core 2 Duo P8600 at 2.4 Ghz completed the benchmark in 3 minutes 24 seconds. The dv2, which uses the same CPU as the dm3, completed it in 7 minutes 3 seconds. An Atom CPU at 1.6 Ghz? 13 minutes 32 seconds. So you can see the story here - the AMD CPU in this thing is almost 2x faster than the Atom CPU, but almost 2x slower than the CPU in the XPS M1330...so it depends on what you're looking for.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:07 PM
randalllewis
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Jeez Jason, couldn't you, like, move your left hand to avoid the vent?

I am still using my dv2, which I bought shortly after your unboxing demo. The dm3 is appealing. I have two quibbles with the dv2, and the location of the vent is not one of them. First, the shiny case. Even though HP included a microfiber cloth with the unit, wiping prints off does get old. Second, and more important is the AMD Neo. I have absolutely no complaints with the Neo's performance concerning e-mail, the web, and the office uses which occupy 90 percent of my use of the dv2. Where I notice the Neo really struggle is with more basic Windows stuff- copying files for example. And upgrading my dv2 to Windows 7 was a nearly day long event.

When you do your review of the dm3, please check on performance at this level. Thanks.
 
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:29 PM
Jason Dunn
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Originally Posted by randalllewis View Post
Jeez Jason, couldn't you, like, move your left hand to avoid the vent?
But why should I have to adapt my habits to a laptop? Blowing hot air at the front left or right of a laptop is a stupid design decision - I don't think I've ever seen any laptop designed that way, and with good reason.

I'm left-handed, but right-dominant, so when I'm using the touchpad with my right hand, my left hand is either positioned to the left of the laptop, right in line with the hot air blowing out, or it's positioned to push the touchpad buttons, in which case the rest of my arm is out to the left - again in line with the hot air vent.

I'm definitely not the only one to complain about the near-constant stream of hot air blasting out of that system. AMD's CPU is a power-guzzler compared to an Atom chip, and I think to get the laptop that thin they had to go with virtually no CPU heatsink...so that means a fan blowing all the time.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:30 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randalllewis View Post
When you do your review of the dm3, please check on performance at this level. Thanks.
The dm3 uses the same CPU as the dv2, so the performance is going to be essentially identical.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:57 AM
randalllewis
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Jason, you've used a lot more laptops than I ever have so, while I was kidding about moving your hand (note the emoticon), I respect your expertise about design of the product. That the dv2 was so short lived means there had to be some issue like the vent location and other stuff that made HP want to quickly move on to the dm series.

As for performance, my dv2 does not have the same CPU as the dm3. While both are AMD Neo and both are 1.6 Ghz, the dv2 I have has a single core Neo while the lowest cost dm3 is a dual core model. Certainly, that will make some difference in performance?
 
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2009, 06:46 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randalllewis View Post
Jason, you've used a lot more laptops than I ever have so, while I was kidding about moving your hand (note the emoticon), I respect your expertise about design of the product.
No worries, I saw the emoticon, but I thought I'd respond seriously because I felt it was a fairly critical flaw in the dv2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by randalllewis View Post
That the dv2 was so short lived means there had to be some issue like the vent location and other stuff that made HP want to quickly move on to the dm series.
I do have to wonder about the dv2 getting killed off so quickly...it's rather curious!

Quote:
Originally Posted by randalllewis View Post
As for performance, my dv2 does not have the same CPU as the dm3. While both are AMD Neo and both are 1.6 Ghz, the dv2 I have has a single core Neo while the lowest cost dm3 is a dual core model. Certainly, that will make some difference in performance?
Ah, right, sorry - I was thinking of the dv2 that HP sent it...it has the dual-core CPU, so it's the same as the dm3. But you're quite right, the extra core would make quite a difference in many scenarios. You should run the FutureMark benchmark on your dv2 and compare the results to the dv2 in my video to see the performance difference.
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  #9  
Old 12-06-2009, 09:39 PM
jrendel
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Very interested in how this thing handles basic gaming. And in seeing some PC Mark scores. Any idea when you'll get the full review done for it? I was debating about buying one of these this week, so maybe I'll wait for that review to make sure I know what I'm getting into.

Also, I was playing around with one in Best Buy and testing out the track pad. Now this isn't a big feature for me, but I know the track pad supports multi touch. It just didn't seem to work very well when I tried to use it just for zooming into some of the sample pictures included with Windows. Any comment on that?

Thanks for the info!
Jason
 
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  #10  
Old 12-07-2009, 07:01 PM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrendel View Post
Any idea when you'll get the full review done for it? I was debating about buying one of these this week, so maybe I'll wait for that review to make sure I know what I'm getting into.
I will hopefully be shooting the video today, and publishing it before the end of the week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrendel View Post
Also, I was playing around with one in Best Buy and testing out the track pad. Now this isn't a big feature for me, but I know the track pad supports multi touch. It just didn't seem to work very well when I tried to use it just for zooming into some of the sample pictures included with Windows.
The track pad on the dm3 is one of the worst I've ever used. I'm not at all impressed with it - sometimes it simply stops working. Complete disaster - frankly, it almost kills the whole product.
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