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HP Pavilion dv3510nr


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As one of the inaugural notebooks of Best Buy’s Blue Label program, HP’s Pavilion dv3510nr ($1,099) offers features that the big-box retailers’ customers have been asking for, including a thinner and lighter design (this is HP’s first consumer 13-inch notebook) and a backlit keyboard. This system also sports a fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of RAM, discrete Nvidia graphics, and a stylish design. HP even throws in a remote control for music and video playback. Some buyers may be turned off by its below-average battery life, but overall the dv3510nr is one of the most attractively designed and best performing notebooks for the price.


The dv3510nr is one of the more stylish 13-inch notebooks we’ve seen. Like the Pavilion dv7 and dv5t, this system features an HP logo that lights up on the lid and chrome accents around the sides of the chassis. However, the pattern on the deck and lid is HP’s Intersect Imprint finish, which looks like cool intersecting diamonds done up in bronze. At 12.6 x 9.0 x 1.4 inches and 4.8 pounds, it fits snugly into a messenger bag, and isn’t too heavy to carry around.

Keyboard and Touch Controls

The dv3510nr has a very firm and responsive keyboard. We appreciate the protective coating on the full-size layout, but it felt a little slick. Pressing Fn+Space Bar activates the backlight on the keyboard. We could easily see the keyboard in a darkened room, and the layout was evenly lit, with the letters giving off a subtle glow. Too bad the backlight doesn’t turn on automatically, like on the Apple MacBook.

The silver touchpad worked fine but provided more resistance than we’re accustomed to, which means you have to use a little more effort to move the cursor around. The silver mouse buttons had just the right amount of resistance and were fairly quiet.

Above the keyboard are backlit multimedia touch controls. Unlike the keyboard, these responsive buttons are permanently backlit. Pressing the MediaSmart button brings up an application panel that lets you choose between DVD playback, music, photos, TV (if you spring for an external TV tuner), and videos.

The volume controls work well, and we like that the dv3510nr provides audible feedback when you raise or lower the volume. Just keep in mind that stabbing at the plus and minus buttons won’t work; you need to glide your fingers from one to the other or press and hold either button.

Display, Webcam, and Speakers

The dv3510nr’s 13.3-inch, 1280 x 800 display had excellent horizontal and vertical viewing angles, although the screen tilts back only 45 degrees. When we watched a DVD of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, visuals were bright and crisp; when we output the movie to a 46-inch 1080p Samsung TV via the HDMI port, the Nvidia graphics card was easily able to handle it, and both video and audio remained in sync.

Despite a resolution of just 0.3 megapixels, the dv3510nr’s webcam produced very good visuals. While the video was a little greenish, it was very sharp and wasn’t grainy at all during Skype chats, and the two microphones that straddle the webcam picked up our voice clearly. The included CyberLink YouCam application provides a number of fun visual effects. You can also easily upload video recordings to YouTube.

The Altec Lansing speakers on the dv3510nr are sufficiently loud for a few people gathered around the notebook. When we streamed The Kooks over Pandora, the volume was impressive even at the medium level. Cranking it up all the way made the music sound a little harsh. Two people can listen to tunes or a movie at the same time via the dual headphone jacks on the front of the system.

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