The HP Pavilion G60t is a no frills 16-inch screen laptop powered by an Intel dual core mobile processor. The major appeal with the G60t is the price, it starts at a mere $529.99. Though there’s nothing fancy about the G60t, it certainly gets the job done for the basic needs of most PC users and if you’re on a budget it could be the perfect fit.
The HP G60t is a relatively new model to the company’s “Everyday Computing” lineup. It’s basically a budget version of the more multimedia oriented Pavilion dv6t. The dv6t offers faster processor and dedicated graphics card options, so if you need that kind of extra power you’ll need to pay more for the dv6t. The HP G60t starts with the option of a budget Intel Pentium 2.0GHz dual core processor and integrated Intel 4500 graphics.
With a 16” screen laptop you get ample viewing space for those times you’re at your desk doing work yet the laptop’s weight is still moderate, at around 6 lbs, that it’s feasible to carry around in a backpack on campus. The price for a budget configuration of the G60t starts at a mere $529 at the time of this writing. However, if you desire a more powerful laptop with dedicated Nvidia 9200 graphics, a fast 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor and high capacity 500GB hard drive then you can configure the G60t as such and pay a higher price of around $955. No matter how you configure the Pavilion G60t you still get the same looks and decent quality build that will be discussed further in this review.
Specs for HP G60t Review Unit:
Color: Black lid
OS: Genuine Windows Vista Home Basic
Processor: Intel Pentium T4200 (2.0GHz)
Screen: 16″ diagonal WXGA High-Definition HP BrightView Widescreen Display (1366 x 768)
Memory: 4GB DDR2 System Memory
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD
Hard Drive: 160GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Wireless: Wireless-G Card
Optical Drive: LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
Battery: 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
The 4GB of RAM was a free upgrade during the time of purchase, which is an amazingly good deal.
Design and Looks
The G60t comes with a black color lid which is basic looking yet attractive. The glossy finish is appealing to look at but a fingerprint magnet (HP mercifully provides a fiber cloth to clean the lid). The keyboard area has a silver metallic finish.
HP G60t Front side:
HP G60t Left side:
HP G60t Right side:
The overall shape of the notebook has a slight curviness to it, there are no sharp edges to be found. There is a tasteful HP logo on the lid, it does not light up like the fancier laptops in the HP Pavilion range.
A very important aspect of a laptop that you’ll be carrying around on campus is how durable it is. A laptop you’ll be pulling in and out of a backpack and likely dropping to the floor in that backpack needs to be built of quality materials. Unfortunately, the Pavilion G60t is made of medium-strength plastic that is not designed for too much rough housing. When pushing in on the case of the G60t you can find a bit of flex in the palm areas, but nothing horrendous. Frankly, I think the G60t would be best used as a laptop that is kept on a desk or not moved around too much. I’m just not sure that the case wouldn’t eventually succumb to cracks if it were shoved in a bag with lots of books repeatedly.
The paint finish of the notebook seems like it will hold up its looks over time. It’s hard to predict how a laptop will look in three years time, but so far there has been no keyboard wear, palm rest wear or noticeable paint scratches suffered.
The weight of the laptop is about 6.5lbs, with the power cord included the travel weight jumps to close to over 7lbs. Six lbs isn’t too bad to put in a backpack and carry around, but over 7 lbs with the power adapter really starts to push the “mobility” factor.
Processor and Performance
A very important part of a PC is of course how fast and responsive it is, nothing is more annoying than a slow user experience for surfing the web or installing and using programs. In this era of multi-tasking, many students are used to having several applications and browser windows open at once. If you go with the base option Intel Pentium dual core processor then performance will be decent. Most importantly, make sure you have over 2GB of RAM to run Vista – HP is pretty generous with RAM, at the time of this review they were offering 4GB as a free upgrade.
Performance of your laptop does rely a lot on uninstalling various bloatware programs HP installs. I was disappointed at the sheer number of garbage trial software applications HP placed on a new G60t machine, it took nearly an hour for me to go through and uninstall things like Wild Tangent games, Norton anti-virus (I use Avast anti-virus software), MS Office Trial and several other “free” software apps that took up disk space and begged you to pay for a full edition. Removing all of this stuff will do wonders for bootup time.
If you’re into serious PC gaming then the G60t is not for you. You can get dedicated graphics in the form of the Nvidia 9200m card but this will not allow for good gaming performance. While Intel has done a decent job of improving the graphics performance of its Integrated graphics chipset in the latest generation, it’s still far from adequate for running the latest games like Crysis or GTA IV. The Nvidia 9200GM graphics available with the G60t might help out a bit with gaming performance, but in general you should look to the HP HDX16 with Nvidia GT130m graphics if you want to do serious gaming. If all you’re interested in doing is work and web related stuff, definitely skip the Nvidia graphics as it costs $100 more and won’t offer any advantages.
For those interested in benchmarks, here are a few scores that the G60t under review scored:
Windows Performance Index: 3.5
PC Wizard 2008: 2489
Input and Output Ports
Another important consideration for a laptop is what ports it offers you for expansion and attaching accessories. Since the HP dv6t is a fair size laptop there is room to fit in all of the ports you’ll likely need as a student. In total, here is what you get with the dv6t:
VGA monitor out port (left side)
Ethernet LAN port (left side)
HDMI video out port (left side)
ExpressCard/54 slot (left side)
Media Card Reader for SD, MS/Pro, MMC, XD cards (left side)
3 USB 2.0 Ports (one on left side two on right side)
1 headphone jack (front side)
1 Microphone jack (front side)
Power jack (left side)
Overall this is a decent number of useful ports. Most of them are located on the left you’ll notice. Missing is any type of fast transfer ports such as eSata or FireWire.
Keyboard and Other Inputs
The Pavilion G60t keyboard is for the most part sturdy, I found some flex on the right side, but you won’t notice it unless you’re a heavy handed typist. The overall travel of the keys is decent, but the feedback is a little softer than I’d like. The most annoying thing is the placement of the Home, End, PgUp and PgDn keys. You have to use an Fn + combination to use them and they sit way up above the number pad so are hard to reach. The arrow keys are also shrunken while the right Shift key is massive in size. HP shrunk the arrow keys and moved the placement of the Home/End keys to fit in the NumPad keys on the right. Having a NumPad is nice, but for my needs a better laid out right side of the keyboard would have been better. Overall the keyboard gets a C grade for key placement and B- grade for feel.
The touchpad on the G60t works as well as you would expect, the mouse buttons feel kind of cheap and the travel isn’t very good. I found using an external mouse to be much easier.
HP is only offering one type of screen resolution with the HP G60t, and that is a WXGA 1366 x 768 resolution. The 1366 x 768 is an HD friendly resolution, icons and text are quite large so you won’t have to squint or put on your reading glasses.
The colors on the G60t screen are vibrant and really pop. The brightness level at max is just perfect, I wouldn’t want it any brighter to be honest. The contrast levels are good with the blacks being nice and deep and the whites a true white you would expect. The viewing angles are decent, as is typical with notebook LCD screens the vertical viewing angles are not as good as horizontal. Also, the glossy screen provides quite a bit of reflection so if you have strong lighting behind you the screen will act like a mirror. Some may find that very annoying, but I wouldn’t give it up for the advantage of more vibrant colors that a glossy screen offers
Battery Life Performance
Once again, your mileage may vary a lot based on the particular configuration of the dv6t you select. If you opt for the fastest Intel processor and Nvidia 9200m graphics then you’ll see lower battery life performance than with the integrated graphics and Intel T6400 configuration that I have. HP also offers different battery sizes, I got the basic 6-cell battery, you can get up to a 12-cell. Using the Vista power saver mode I was able to achieve 2 hours and 25 minutes of battery life while using Microsoft Word to type a report. My screen brightness was set to mid-level and wireless was on. Overall, the battery life is quite poor, but if you’re at your desk and plugged in then there’s no worries.
HP offers a few wireless options. The base 802.11 option is a standard 802.11 a/b/g card from Broadcom. You can upgrade to Intel 5100AGN or 5300AGN wireless if you want the faster 802.11n wireless capabilities. Although I usually say most wireless cards are equal these days, I’ve read several complaints of the Broadcom wireless card having an adverse affect on audio in HP notebooks. For whatever reason, it seems that some drivers for the Broadcom wireless has been interfering with audio enough to make MP3s skip when they play. Even though I have not experienced this problem, I’d recommend going with the upgrade to an Intel wireless card just in case.
Bluetooth is available as a built-in option, this is nice to have if you want to use a Bluetooth wireless mouse instead of the touchpad for cursor control. It’s also useful for pairing your notebook with a SmartPhone.
The speakers on the G60t are Altec Lansing branded, they offer decent sound quality even up to a very loud volume, but as with most laptop speakers the bass is poor.
Warranty and Support
HP offers a standard 1-year warranty on its notebooks. These days the HP tech support you get is from overseas. In my experience with HP support the service reps have always been easy enough to communicate with and very pleasant. I had to return an HP laptop a year ago due to some graphics card malfunctions it was having and the process was rather smooth and support was on the whole helpful. This will obviously vary by the rep you get and also based on what your problem may be.
If you want to completely protect yourself you can get a 3-year accident proof warranty, this will cost you but it will also cover you in the invent of accidents such as spilling liquids onto your laptop and frying it. That kind of protection is better called insurance than a warranty and if you’re a careful enough person or simply avoid having drinks by your laptop you can skip the extra cost.
I recommend using a credit card such as American Express or Master Card to make the purchase of a laptop because with these cards they’ll automatically add a year to the warranty.
The HP G60t price to feature ratio is one of the best out there for a 16-inch screen form factor laptop and will suit many people’s needs as a basic PC. If you’re going to be walking around campus a lot, then you may want to consider the smaller and lighter 14-inch screen Pavilion dv4t. However, if your laptop will mostly be sitting on a desk in your dorm then a 16-inch screen laptop will suit you well. For a starting price of $529, and even better prices depending on the current deals, you can’t go too wrong with the G60t.
Good price to performance ratio
Basic look and design to suit many peoples tastes
Easily configurable online at HP.com
Good port selection
Too much pre-loaded bloatware software that slows the machine down and must be uninstalled