A visual tour
First impressions are positive. The HP Pavilion feels like a quality laptop from every angle. What you can't see clearly in the above picture is the 'Echo' design on the lid, so head on over to here to have a gander. Pretty cool, huh? The downside of the high-gloss, carbon fibre-like finish is that it smudges rather too easily.
The provision of a tablet screen makes the Pavilion a little thicker than most 12.1in notebooks; it stands 1.5in-high at the thickest point. The front has power and wireless switches that are separated by three audio-related sockets and an infrared sensor. The power switch requires it to slide from left-to-right for operation, but this can prove unduly tricky, often requiring that portion of the laptop to be raised, to get a better handle on it. A basic on/off button would have been better, we reckon.
Around to the left we have the flush-fitting optical drive that's also LightScribe compatible. The multicard reader sits above a 34-type ExpressCard slot, which interfaces with the system via a PCIe x1 interface. The power inlet rounds things off and there's no USB2.0 port on this side. Be aware that the charger needs to be fully pushed into the inlet, because it feels as if it's connected (but non-charging) when only halfway in.
The back is home to a couple of USB2.0 ports, modem port, and the battery. Note that using the also-bundled 8-cell battery will cause it to protrude from the back and also to increase the weight. As standard, the 6-cell battery provides around 3hrs of regular usage.
There is more action on the right-hand side. Going from left-to-right, the holder for the tablet's pen; single USB2.0; RJ45 (LAN); Expansion Port 3; VGA-out; S-Video-out. The Expansion Port 3 provides connectivity to an HP base or QuickDock.
Forward, play, rewind, and stop buttons are amalgamated into the chassis, which is a nice touch.
The laptop's fan spins up quickly when under load, enough for it to become distracting. Perhaps a little more care in thermal validation wouldn't have gone amiss, HP.