The HP Pavilion DM3—1005AX belongs to the ULV laptop category, which means that it is powered by an ultra-low voltage processor, has a slim design, is light in weight and hence very convenient to carry. While these traits are typical of ULV laptops, the DM3 is one of best you’ll find in this segment, mainly because it looks sexy, performs well and its build quality is simply superb.

The overall aesthetics and build quality are the two strongest assets of this laptop which impressed us the most. Of course, even when it comes to performance, it trounces many other ULV laptops. Though it weighs 1.86 Kg, which is on the heavier side for a laptop in this category, it deserves the praise for its style, which is mainly courtesy the brushed aluminum metal chassis. Except the glossy black screen frame and the black base, the entire unit has a superb metallic finish. Ergonomically, the DM3 is convenient to use and the chiclet keyboard and keys are good, but we’ve seen better. As far as build quality is concerned, the only things that failed to impress us were the mirror-like touchpad and the slightly tacky chrome power-on switch at the side.

About ULV laptops
ULV laptops are a dime-a-dozen these days, especially due to the dipping prices of hardware, and these basic yet stylish machines are gaining even more popularity. Laptops belonging to this category offer tremendous battery backup and are light in weight, despite their standard laptop form factor and utility. These machines are ideal for students and professionals who want something light that they can easily carry, and something that meets with their daily computing needs such as office applications, casual Internet surfing and such. Laptops in this category usually weigh from 1.4 Kg to about 2 Kg and the common screen sizes are 11.6-inch, 13.3-inch and 14-inch. It is mainly the ultra-low voltage processors, such as those belonging to Intel’s CULV platform and AMD Turion CPUs used in these machines, which make them special. They use less power and emit lesser heat than standard CPUs, so the use of battery power is minimal. In terms of performance, they cannot be compared to mainstream laptops that feature powerful dual-core processors and powerful discrete GPUs that are capable of running intensive tasks such as video-encoding, gaming and such. On a side note, the use of discrete graphics chips and optical drives is becoming common in this segment.

In terms of features, the most striking point of the DM3—1005AX is the core hardware, especially the 500 GB hard drive (7200 rpm), a good ULV processor and 4 GB RAM. The machine is built around an AMD 780G chipset, and powered by an AMD Turion X2 L625 processor, which is clocked at 1.6 GHz. The discrete GPU is courtesy an ATI Radeon 4330 and the screen size is 13.3-inch (1366 x 768). While the hardware makes this laptop a powerful and utilitarian one in this category, the battery life suffers, which is why you have the option to switch to onboard graphics when using basic applications. All you need to do is go to the ATI PowerExpress panel and choose from ‘high-performance’ GPU or ‘power-saving’ GPU. You can even make the settings so that the laptop automatically switches to onboard graphics when you disconnect it from the mains. Other features include, 4 USB ports, a VGA and an HDMI port, a webcam and a memory card reader. There is no optical drive. The standard connectivity options are gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi b/g and Bluetooth. Finally, the laptop ships pre-loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium and bundles with it a stylish black laptop bag.

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