HP ENVY dv6z-7200 Review

The HP ENVY dv6z-7200 Quad Edition is a 15.6” screen AMD processor powered laptop that sports the latest Windows 8 OS.  The ENVY dv6z-7200 is targeted at buyers that want a laptop with enough power to replace your bulky and immobile desktop PC yet still have a laptop that is of a reasonable enough size to move around or use in your lap.  The dv6z-7200 has a design that should appeal to a wide audience, and also has some improved features and of course big performance advantages over last years model.  The ENVY dv6z model under review was graciously loaned to us by the folks at HP Academy, the HP Academic Purchase Program (APP for short) offers sweet deals on HP gear for students, to get those deals simply register at our HP Academy portal and you’ll see a starting price of $527.99 on the dv6z-7200.

Inside the box with the dv6z-7200 you get the following contents:

  • dv6z-7200 Quad Edition Laptop
  • Power brick and charge cable
  • Documentation and warranty
  • Battery (6-cell standard, 9-cell optional extended life)

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You don’t get recovery discs, you’ll have to burn those if you want them.  No manufacturer includes restore discs these days, so it’s not just HP shorting you here. Before going any further let’s go over the specs of this ENVY dv6z under review:

  • Processor: AMD A10-4600M 2.3GHz
  • Screen: 15.6” Full HD (1920 x 1080 resolution) matte anti-glare finish
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon 7660G
  • Memory: 16GB DDR3 (2 DIMM)
  • Storage: 750GB 7200RPM HD
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium Ion, quotes 6 hours of battery life
  • Built-in WebCam
  • Weight: 5.5lbs
  • Ports: monitor out, HDMI, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), three USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, headphone jack, microphone jack, media card reader
  • Wireless: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Optical Drive: Blu Ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
  • Dimensions: 14.88” x 9.71” x 1.22” (Width x Depth x Height)

Design

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The ENVY dv6z is offered in just one color, midnight black.  The black design is classic and the subtle aluminum brush strokes are a nice touch.  The lid has a silver rim and features an illuminated HP logo, it’s a classy look from up above and it doesn’t pick up fingerprints too much.

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Inside the look is again all black, the bezel around the screen has a glossy finish that picks up a lot of fingerprints.  The keyboard tray area has the same glossy finish, though the keys themselves are a matte finish.  The palm rest areas have the same brush metal finish you see on the lid.  The sides of the laptop where the ports are located have a silver color finish, the material used here is plastic, but it’s solid and durable feeling nonetheless.  At the top of the keyboard and below the screen are two mesh like speaker grilles.

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The bottom of the dv6z-7200 is made of what seems to be a very rigid and durable plastic.  There’s a subwoofer located here.  You can easily remove the battery using a release button and accessing the hard drive, wireless card and memory is easily done with the removal of just one screw.  The overall look of the dv6z-7200 is great, it’s clean and appealing, the red Beats Audio logo branding at the top is subtle but actually looks cool against the black.

Build Quality

The materials used in the dv6z are a mix of aluminum and plastic, making it a rigid and solidly built notebook.  The lid and palm rest areas use an aluminum chassis while the side of the laptop are a rigid plastic material.  The bottom appears to be a rigid plastic.  There’s no flex to be found anywhere on the body of the laptop. Overall you’re going to find the dv6z-7200 is a high quality laptop with excellent build quality, and if you do have any issues HP will stand behind their product and fix or replace what’s wrong.  You can return any HP laptop ordered direct from HP.com within 21-days of delivery for any reason whatsoever, no restocking fee, that’s a pretty nice option that can give peace of mind.

Screen

HP offers two options for the 15.6” screen, the standard screen is a glossy 1366 x 768 while the premium upgrade is a 1920 x 1080 resolution matte finish screen.  The dv6z-7200 under review has the premium screen, it’s a $150 upgrade on HP.com and in my opinion well worth it.  This screen is amazing, it has excellent viewing angles and accurate color reproduction.  That’s all on top of the amazing Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution that allows you to easily fit two windows on the screen at the same time or see several rows and columns of a spreadsheet.  The matte finish is also much appreciated as it reduces glare on the screen and prevents eye strain. Below are a few pictures comparing viewing angles:

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It’s a no brainer to get the upgraded 1920 x 1080 screen if you can afford it, it’s one of the better screens I’ve seen in awhile and the viewing angles are so good it behaves like an IPS screen.

Performance

Of course one of the big reasons people are interested in buying the dv6z-7200 Quad Edition is due to the powerful AMD A10 2.30GHz processor.  That, combined with the AMD 7660G graphics card makes this a decent gaming machine, and at a price of well under $1,000 after coupons it’s also affordable.  Needless to say, for typical work tasks such as using the web or office applications this machine flies.  You really don’t need as much power as is under the hood here to do regular work.  If you’re into photography and do a lot of rendering or video processing, the AMD A10 on board will shine and churn through that type of multimedia software too.  

Keyboard and Touchpad

The dv6z uses a chiclet style keyboard and has enough space to accommodate a number pad on the right side.  The keys have a fairly short travel distance, which is good for fast touch typists but if you’re a clumsy typist this could result in more key press mistakes.  The keyboard is firm, you really have to push down to find any flex.  My favorite aspect of the keyboard is most definitely the backlighting option.  It is $25 extra to get the keyboard backlight, but the cost is well worth it.   The look is cool and it’s all the more usable in a dimly lit room. HP includes is a fingerprint reader as a standard feature, this is nice as an alternate form of login for Windows and can be used on any website that requires use of login, the software will store your login credentials after you login to a website for the first time and from then on a finger swipe can be used to login. The top row Function keys (F1 – F12) act as dedicated media type buttons, for instance you can just push F10 to turn up the volume,  you don’t have to hold Fn + F10.

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The touchpad is a decent size and works well, it uses synaptics drivers and has all the scroll and multi-touch features you’d expect.  Unfortunately the touchpad area is not backlit like the keyboard.  The mouse buttons below the touchpad are a let down, while they work fine, they have very little travel distance and don’t give convincing feedback – the feel is pretty chintzy.

Battery Life

While battery life isn’t the most important aspect of a desktop replacement style laptop, it’s still nice to have a long lasting battery in case you need to be mobile and away from a power outlet.   You can choose between either a regular 6-cell or larger 9-cell battery.  HP quotes the 6-cell battery as offering 6-hours while the 9-cell should offer around 9 hours.   This review unit has the regular 6-cell.  I put it to the test by putting the Windows power setting to “Power Saver”, screen brightness on the 3rd notch, wireless on and had a web browser open that refreshed the page every 60 seconds.  Under this light usage scenario the dv6z-7200 was able to achieve 5.5 hours of battery life.  I consider that a pretty good number considering this is a large laptop and you probably won’t be trying to use it on a long flight, more than likely it’ll be desk bound.

Ports

As you would expect with a 15.6” screen notebook designed to be a multimedia / gaming machine you get a good selection of ports. On the left side you have a monitor out port, HDMI, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), two USB 3.0 ports, headphone jack, and microphone jack:

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On the right side, you get another USB 3.0 port, USB 2.0 port, the power jack and the optical drive which is Blu-Ray in this case:

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On the front side you get an SD card reader:

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Speakers and Audio

The dv6z-7200 has four speakers on top, two above the keyboard and two on the screen, and then a subwoofer underneath.  HP uses the Beats audio branding on this machine and touts its superior audio capabilities.  I tested the speakers out by playing “Fort Battle” from the soundtrack of Last of the Mohicans, it offers a lot of bass and treble to test speakers out.  The subwoofer did give some nice bass, better than you’d expect from a laptop.  However, the quad speakers did not live up to their billing.  There was a good amount of tininess and nothing like the audio quality you’d get from using headphones, which is what I recommend to do if you’re an audiophile.

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Ease of Upgrades

HP makes if fairly easy to reach internal components and make upgrades in the dv6z.  You can remove a panel on the bottom of the laptop by removing one screw, by doing so you get access to the hard drive, memory slots and wireless card.

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Conclusion

With the HP Academy pricing of $527.99 to start out you get an insanely good price for such a high quality laptop that has so much power.  This notebook is solidly built with an aluminum chassis and rigid feel all over.  The Full HD 1920 x 1080 screen is a dream, it has excellent viewing angles, color reproduction and anti-glare finish.  It’s not all rainbows and butterflies though, disappointments included the cheap feeling mouse buttons, annoying glossy screen bezel and there was a lot of bloatware that needed to be removed within Windows 8.  No laptop is perfect, and these are small complaints for an otherwise excellent machine.  If you’re looking for a powerful laptop with a bit of mobility and don’t want to break the bank, look no further than the HP ENVY dv6z-7200.

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Filed Under: Feature Articles, HP Student Laptop

About AJ

I'm a big believer in the importance of technology usage in education, but not just having blind faith in technology gadgets and using them in a school setting for the sake of it. I review and write about technology devices such as laptops and tablets that have a clear purpose and provide a learning advantage for students.

2 Responses to HP ENVY dv6z-7200 Review

  1. clam November 20, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    Can you please check if this one has an IPS screen?

    • Lobsters2 November 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

      No one seems to know for sure, but it has all the markers of an IPS panel. The only thing that might make you think otherwise is that it’s not being marketed as an IPS. Which is just idiotic on HP’s part, as a lot of people searching for the rare notebook with an IPS panel at this price would be able to find it.

      This leaves me fairly convinced of its quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3uUtHJhxxg

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