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I purchased my HP Pavilion Laptop (model number dv6625em) in January 2008 after my previous laptop finally stopped working (and was beyond repair after 4 years of use and multiple failing components). I did a lot of research in order to find the best laptop at a reasonable price (I had £500), because I have heard lots of horror stories about unreliable laptops, or ones that are unpleasant to use.
I chose the HP dv6625em because it matched my requirements and was available from John Lewis. They have a good name as a retailer and provided a free 2-year guarantee, which seemed sensible. I do not have a branch of John Lewis nearby, so I ordered it online.
Iím going to write mainly in the past tense, just as a style of writing. I do still own the laptop but Iím not currently using it, as I will explain later.
The laptop specifications are as follows:
120GB hard drive; 2048MB of RAM; a DVD/CD writer featuring LightScribe technology; a 15.4 inch High Definition Bright View screen; A 1.5GHz Intel Core Duo T5250 processor; integrated Wi-Fi; 2 headphone ports; 3 USB2 ports; multimedia card reader; Windows Vista Home Premium; Recovery partition (including possibility to recover system, applications and drivers separately); Altec Lansing speakers.
When it arrived I set it up and was immediately impressed. The screen was lovely, and the unit was very shiny and pretty looking with a black exterior and silver interior, all decorated with a subtle swirling lines pattern. The trackpad was lovely and smooth to the touch (I dislike rough trackpads), and the keyboard felt good quality to. The speakers were good quality and could reach a high volume, and there were 2 headphone ports which was a nice touch. The unit was fairly lightweight, which was a relief after my previous heavy laptop, and it didnít get too hot. Battery life was excellent and the software ran very smoothly because of the high specifications. There were also handy touchpad style keys to control media programs (ie stop, play, fast-forward and volume control buttons). Unfortunately there are other buttons on that row that will launch a HP Multimedia program, which happened by accident a fair bit. I would also have preferred a physical volume wheel but itís not really a problem.
The laptop also came with a remote-control for multimedia applications Ė I havenít made much use of it but it is nice to have, and very impressive. Itís designed to be stored in the PC card slot but I nearly got it stuck in there once so I havenít dared put it in there since.
Laptops these days donít usually come with Recovery Discs so I had to burn my own using the software provided. It told me I had only one chance to do it, but the operation failed, making me rather nervous. I updated the HP software required and managed to burn them successfully, after doing some research on the internet.
The LightScribe technology is a nice touch Ė if you buy compatible blank DVDs or CDs you can burn a monochrome image onto the top of the disc. The instructions are easy to follow and the results are nice Ė much more tasteful than writing on the disc with a marker.
After a few months, slight cracks appeared on the lid, which concerned me very much. The laptop was treated very carefully and never left the house so I have no idea how the cracks occurred. Luckily the screen wasnít damaged. I can only think that the plastic used somehow deteriorated, or was poor quality.
I also had an incident whereby my Windows installation seemed to become corrupted Ė it crashed, I had to force it to power-off, and then I couldnít get it to load Windows properly. I booted it in Safe Mode, backed up my files and then used the special partition in the hard disk to reinstall Windows. It worked brilliantly; all the drivers were reinstalled and everything worked. I am not terribly good with computers, so I think itís great that HP included a foolproof system for restoring the system. It was as good as new. All I had to do was reinstall software Iíd purchased, and download all the Windows Updates.
In December 2008 the unit began not to charge properly. Luckily I could determine from the way the fault manifested itself (and through wiggling the cables), that the fault was merely in the A/C adaptor. I was still comfortably within my guarantee period, so I called John Lewis who referred me to HP.
The HP agents were polite but I found the whole operation a bit unprofessional and I had to wait on hold a fair bit. HP promised to send me an A/C adaptor through the post immediately. I was told to give it 7-10 working days to arrive. On the 10th working day it had not arrived, so I called back, to be told that I should wait a few more days. I wasnít happy but thought it was fair enough. About 5 days later there was still no sign of it so I called back and asked where it was. This time, I was informed that they hadnít sent one out to me, because they were out of stock. I asked when they would be back in stock and they said they had no idea, but that theyíd post me one as soon as one was available.
I was not impressed; I would rather have been told the truth immediately than been kept waiting for an A/C adaptor that never arrived. I would have thought replacement chargers would be fairly easy to come by; itís a commonly-replaced part. I called John Lewis back to complain but they said they couldnít do anything. I knew despite HPís claim that I would never receive a replacement A/C adaptor so I bought one myself from eBay, ensuring that it was a genuine HP product so I didnít void my warranty. I sent a complaint to HP via their website but never heard back.
The laptop worked again, but gradually, a charging fault developed again. I was unable to tell whether it was the laptop itself or the A/C adaptor. The power jack is a point of failure on many laptops and the fault manifested itself differently. I called John Lewis, hoping to deal with them directly this time, but they told me I had to deal with HP again.
I mentioned to the HP agent the previous problems Iíd had but didnít get any recognition or apology for their useless Ďcustomer serviceí last time. They said they would send me an A/C adaptor within 7-10 days and that they wouldnít arrange a repair until I had used the A/C adaptor to check it was definitely the laptop at fault. I suppose thatís fair enough. They also told me I had 15 daysí warranty left when I have about 2 months left, but said they would accept proof of purchase and update their information to the date when I bought the computer.
I sincerely hope that it is only the A/C adaptor that is at fault because if HP arenít even able to deliver a replacement part to me, then I doubt their competence in arranging a laptop repair. I envisage having to buy another adaptor myself, but fingers crossed, perhaps theyíll deliver this time.
In conclusion, the laptop is lovely to use and the HP recovery partition was a real help in restoring my computer to health. However, I think it is poor show that cracks appeared in the lid without any obvious cause, suggesting bad materials/design/workmanship. I am also disappointed that HP A/C adaptors seem so unreliable, and there may also be a problem with the power jack, which is quite a fragile design. Most of all Iím annoyed with HP customer service, to the extent where Iíd avoid buying a HP product again. Perhaps theyíll redeem themselves this time, but Iím not holding my breath.
*** Update: HP sent me a replacement A/C adaptor very promptly this time, with no bother - it's seemingly resolved the charging problem so I am MUCH happier! ***