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HP Pavilion dm4-1050ea review

A powerful and well-built ultraportable laptop with an unfortunate usability flaw

Although the Pavilion dm4 is a well-built laptop, there's a serious usability issue that almost threw us into a murderous rage. The problem is the touchpad, which had integrated mouse buttons along the bottom edge.

This may seem harmless enough, but you should definitely seek out a display model and try it for yourself if you're considering buying a Pavilion dm4.

HP pavilion dm4 1050ea

We found that we naturally rested our thumb on the buttons when using the touchpad, but because the buttons are sensitive to touch, this caused the cursor to go berserk and hop across the screen.

We also suffered from erratic cursor hops at times when we pressed the mouse buttons, which led to incorrect menu selections and severely increased blood pressure.

The Packard Bell EasyNote TX86 also had integrated mouse buttons, but those buttons weren't sensitive to touch. This prevented the crazy cursor syndrome, and we wish that the Pavilion dm4 followed the same design.

Still, at least the keyboard fares a lot better. The Pavilion dm4's keys are all well-sized despite the compact chassis, and an isolation-style design is used, with each key poking through an individual hole cut in the frame.

HP pavilion dm4 1050ea review

The resulting gaps help to separate the keys, which makes this an excellent board for touch typing. And because the gaps are covered, there's little chance of crumbs and dirt invading the Pavilion dm4's insides.

Our only complaint is that the keys feel a little plasticky compared to the rest of the build, although at least they're fairly quiet.

A 14-inch screen is in place, and it's superbly sharp thanks to the 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. Contrast levels also impress, so images are crisp and the display is perfect for working on intricate spreadsheets.

HP has used a glossy Super-TFT screen coating, and the result is more vibrant and realistic colours. Photographs and movies are pleasing to the eye, although the screen is slightly more reflective so you'll be squinting if you take the Pavilion dm4 into the garden.

HP has also crammed some excellent features into the Pavilion dm4. For starters, a fingerprint scanner can be found on the right side of the chassis.

HP pavilion dm4 1050ea

These scanners can be used as an extra security measure or as an alternative to a password, so only users whose fingerprints are recognised are able to sign onto Windows or access certain private files.

Networking is also strong. 802.11n Wi-Fi allows for fast connections to wireless networks, while speedy Gigabit Ethernet is also available for wired networking.

Three USB ports can be used to hook up peripherals including a mouse to the Pavilion dm4. One of these ports doubles as an eSATA port, which allows faster data exchange with external hard drives – perfect if you need to regularly back up your files, or want to increase your storage space.

HP pavilion dm4 1050ea

The Pavilion dm4's 320GB of storage is a little over the minimum we expect out of laptops this size, and provides enough room for a decent-sized media collection, stretching to many thousands of songs and hundreds of movies.

However, bear in mind that not only does Windows take up a decent chunk of space, but a section of the Pavilion dm4's hard drive has also been dedicated to a factory image of the hard drive for restoration purposes – something we're seeing on most modern laptops.

This reduces the amount of storage space available for your personal folders and application. Finally, there's a VGA and an HDMI port for connecting an external display or projector.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity320 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Finger Print ReaderYes
Solid State Drive CapacityNo
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyPavilion dm4-1000
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor Modeli5-430M
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameHP
Processor Speed2.26 GHz
Processor TypeCore i5
Screen Size35.6 cm (14")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory3 GB
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE, EPEAT, ENERGY STAR, REACH
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 1.24 GB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyBrightView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyGigabit Ethernet
Height32.2 mm
Width340.8 mm
Depth228 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Seriesdm4-1000
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product Modeldm4-1050ea
Product NamePavilion dm4-1050ea Entertainment Notebook
Pointing Device TypeClickPad
Product LinePavilion
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberWQ063EA#ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

With its lightweight but durable metal chassis plus thin and light design, the HP Pavilion dm4 is perfect for road warriors who travel in style. Enjoy powerful performance, energy-saving features, wireless connectivity and a 35.56 cm (14") HD screen.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Pavilion dm4-1050ea Entertainment Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Limited Warranty1 Year