Battery Life

The big news with Brazos, and by extension the HP dm1z, is the substantially improved battery life over Nile. While performance is nowhere near a strict win over that platform (Atom on the other hand...), power efficiency absolutely is. Take a look at this.

While portable gamers are probably still going to want to hang with Alienware's M11x, Brazos basically tells Intel's dual-core Atom to pound sand. The dm1z doesn't hit the battery life HP advertises (9.5 hours is pretty optimistic, probably only possible with wireless and Bluetooth disabled and the screen at the lowest brightness), but it still pulls more than seven hours of useful running time with a reasonable screen brightness and runs roughshod over Nile.

Heat and Noise

Unfortunately, where things get a little dicey (at least with the HP dm1z) is noise. First, the good news: heat output.

The internal components run at fairly reasonable temperatures, if a little on the high side, but fortunately those temperatures don't translate into an uncomfortable user experience. Quite the opposite in fact: the dm1z can happily be used on your lap without scalding you.

 

At idle the HP dm1z remains nice and frosty, and under sustained load the outside temperatures don't increase enough to make using the dm1z uncomfortable. But remember what I said about noise?

Part of the reason the dm1z is able to stay so comfortable is because the fan is almost constantly running. It's fairly low and not too obtrusive, but I have an AMD-based 15.6" Sony notebook on hand for review that runs quieter than the dm1z does at both idle and load. That may not be entirely fair because the 15.6" machine has more breathing room in the larger chassis, but it's nonetheless an issue. The fan in the dm1z doesn't spin up that much under heavy load, which would be more appreciated if HP was able to tune it to run just a little quieter at idle. This isn't make-or-break noise, but it's worth bringing up.

Update: Several of our readers pointed out that the HP dm1z has a utility called CoolSense as part of the HP Support Tools. It's supposed to allow some customization fan speeds to allow users to configure their laptop to prefer lower temperatures/higher noise, or lower noise/higher temperatures. As a matter of course we disable most of the manufacturer utilities to allow for optimal battery life results, so the above remarks reflect using the laptop without CoolSense enabled. Unfortunately, the dm1z has already been returned, so we are unable to run updated results. Anecdotally, noise is much better with CoolSense enabled.

Almost There For Mobile Gaming Another Mediocre Netbook Screen
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  • Impulses - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    At the same time, this is cheaper than many tablets AND far more powerful and capable than just about any tablet... It may be anemic compared to a full fledged laptop, but you can get a lot more done on this than on a tablet. Frankly I think the market for this kinda system is larger than the market for tablets...

    IMO, the only people spending $500+ on a tablet are A) wealthy B) people who don't need an actual laptop for work/study C) people who have a big desktop replacement laptop and want something lighter to read, etc. It's just a total luxury item for someone that already has a smartphone and also needs a laptop.

    Maybe I'm just blinded by my own usage habits, but I read a lot on my phone, and when I put it down it's because I want an actual keyboard (so I pick up my netbook), or I need an SD card slot or ample storage space, or I need to do stuff only my desktop can do (gaming, video editing/encoding, etc.). So a tablet's value to me would be pretty much limited to the couch, as a replacement for my phone when I'm watching TV, meh.
    Reply
  • Powerlurker - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Most people, especially if they don't have school-age children, don't use their home computer to do "work". They do their work on an employer provided computer at their place of employment. They use their home computer for general web-browsing/media consumption, email/IM/Skype, and casual gaming. Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    Have you heard of Tiny 7? It is a stripped down windows 7 install that fits on one CD. It uses 145MB of RAM. There are many different groups all simultaneously discovering that win7 need not take up much more space or resources than win xp. The UI can be changed pretty easily also. For example, icons can be blown up really big on Windows 7. It is just a matter of getting x86 tablets out there in quantity for cheap. (ie under $200). Once there is a good base of tablets, there would be a whole bunch of hacking and optimizing going on. The only reason it is not happening is because tablet manufacturers are all hellbent on 200%+ markup. There just is no market for $600-$800 tablets, except for dumb yuppies who all bought ipads already. Reply
  • Dex1701 - Tuesday, February 22, 2011 - link

    No offense, but a comment like that can only come from someone that values a sexy gee-whiz gadget over an actual portable computing device. Tablets are great fun and have their place, but if you actually want to get something done in an acceptable amount of time they don't work. Tablets = low-powered ultra-portable entertainment devices. They're great for some things, but if you want to be productive (even on a personal pursuit such as an artistic hobby) they're extremely limited even compared to a netbook.

    Does it really matter to you that much whether such a device is running MacOS, iOS, Linux, or Windows? Again, a comment like that can only come from someone that's more interested in image than results.
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - link

    I think you're late to reality.

    Atom based netbooks were useless for most work tasks. Same with pretty much all tablets. They're recreational devices, you cant do any meaningful work with it.

    This puppy seems to fill the gap just fine.
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Sunday, February 27, 2011 - link

    Tablets are a fad - and talk about anaemic! As soon as people realize how good they look in commercials but how so-so they actually are to use compared to a netbbook or laptop, they'll die out.

    I've said it before - give me a tablet with a hard cover to protect the screen and a decent amount of storage, say 300GB. Oh, wait, that's a laptop, never mind. Or, give me a tablet I can stick in my pocket. Oh, that's a smart phone. I guess I didn't want a tablet computer after all.

    Something about the tablet reminds me of the Etch A Sketch, not sure what . . .

    ;)
    Reply
  • helboy - Thursday, March 10, 2011 - link

    well IMO tablets are for ladies and people who dont like to get their hands dirty ;) ... Reply
  • Gigantopithecus - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    Tablets are great for consumption but those of us who produce need a real keyboard, real hard drive, and not to mention, better connectivity than what's offered with the iPad at least.

    I'm waiting for the X120e (love the nipp...err, trackpoint), but I expect its performance will be similar.

    One question, Dustin - is the mini-PCIe slot mSATA enabled? I.e. does it support Intel's Soda Creek SSDs?
    Reply
  • zepi - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    I believe that vast majority of computer users are consumers. Most people don't actively generate new content, they merely consume it.

    Thus, for most of the people tablet could very well be The Ideal computer.

    I vaguely remember seeing stats that only 10-20% users actively produce content and that the rest of us just read it. I couldn't find it now, but I suppose that Anandtech forums / comments could be used a quick statistics...

    I wonder how much pure readers does Anandtech have in comparison to users who actually participate in creation of the content? Though I suppose Anandtech is not the site whose users portray the Average Joe that accurately.

    For the entire history of computing, computers have been generated by Creators for Creators. Tablet, feature rich home consoles and internet-enabled televisions might just be a start of an era where most devices are based around consuming content, instead of generating it.

    This applies to Jarred's post also. Anandtech Crew is definitely in the subset of creators, which I believe to be a tiny minority of all people.
    Reply
  • freezervv - Monday, February 21, 2011 - link

    And you don't see anything wrong with converting the majority of people into consumers, rather than creators? Reply

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