Don’t buy HP laptops

I bought an HP Pavilion dv7 (dv7t-4100) a little less than a year ago (March, 2011)

It has been a big disapointment and I do not plan on buying an HP laptop again and can’t recommend that anyone else buy one either.

I chose the dv7 because I needed something with some processing power. My dv7 has anIntel i7 clocked at 1.87Ghz, with 6 gigs of RAM.

Update (January, 23, 2011)

The screw that was loose on the case eventually came out. Within a day the hinge near where the screw fell out of broke, and I could hear a piece of metal shaking around inside the case. The warranty expires at the end of March.

The HP support person I spoke with was professional in the way that a police officer who pulls you over for speeding is professional. He kept trying to get me to say that I had dropped, bumped or otherwise abused the laptop and warned me multiple times that if I sent it in and they found signs of abuse that I would have to pay for repairs.

Still, 50 minutes later and a box was on its way to my house. The box took 2 days to get here, 2 days to get to HP, and they must’ve fixed it that day because I got it back 3 days after that.

I had only complained about the hinge. The loose power plug and missing keyboard/worn off keyboard I had chalked up to wear-and-tear and didn’t expect them to fix under warranty, but they did.

So, do I love HP laptops now? No, but I’m happy with how their warranty service turned out, and hopeful that I won’t have these problems once the warranty expires!


The HP Pavilion dv7 Overheats

Unfortunately, the dv7 is inadequately cooled. When I start the computer temperature of the computer quicky reaches 75-78 degress (Celcius) and the fans are running loudly. As soon as I start a couple of desktop applications (Firefox, Pidgin, Thunderbird and a terminal) the temperature reaches about 85.

When I got this machine, I was excited because from time to time I rip VHS tapes (old homevideos) and convert them to DVDs for family members. The encoding process is long and slow, and I expected to benefit from all 4 cores.

Sadly, I can’t even run a video encoder at full speed on a single core without the computer overheating, and shutting down.  The computer shuts down if it reaches 100 degrees. I have to run ffmpeg (or mencoder) at 55% CPU usage (of one core) in oder for the fans to keep up with the CPU.

I’m effectivly stuck with a single core 1.03 GHz (55% of a single 1.87GHz core) computer since I can’t use more than that at once. Extremely disapointing.

TIP: If you're in a similar situation, and you're on Linux, you
can use the program cpulimit throttle a specific process or
program. When I try to encode video on Windows (in iTunes) the
computer overheats no matter what I do.

NOTE #1:  This happens in both Windows AND Linux, so it’s not some weird Linux bug. I nearly always use my laptop on a hard surface — and I have to have it on something hard with great airflow if I want to even think about encoding a video.

NOTE #2: My fans and vents are clean. I can see through them to the fans, and have used compressed air on them anyways just in case.

The HP Pavilion dv7 Has a Low Quality Keyboard

I admit that I use  my computer more than most people do. Between work and hobbies, it’s not unusual for me to be on my computer 10-12 hours a day, and often more.

This laptop however, is the first one that I have ever worn the letters off the keys. It is also the first one that I have ever had a key spring break during normal use.

Luckly the dv7 comes with a numeric keypad which I don’t use, so I took the keyspring from one of those keys and repaired my broken key.

Again, very disapointing

The HP Pavilion dv7 Case is Poorly Built

Within a few months of getting my dv7 I noticed that the screen wouldn’t stay in position. It would always settle back an extra inch from where I had pushed it. It turned out that the top plastic piece of the case was coming loose from the bottom piece, which in turn left the lid hinge a little loose.

I tightened the screw on the case, and have had to tighten it again every couple of months.

I’m Done Whining Now

I don’t want/need a replacement from HP badly enough to talk to someone in a call center. I’m just going to keep using this computer until it dies. I’m betting it doesn’t make it a year. My guess is that the threads for the case screw eventually wear out and the screen won’t stay up.

I have a rock-solid reliable P4 desktop computer (an HP, no less!) I can use if this thing goes, and next time I’ll buy something more reliable, like a Thinkpad or a Mac Book.

So, if you’re in the market for a laptop, use extreme caution when buying an HP Pavilion. You might not get as good of a machine as you expect.

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5 Responses to Don’t buy HP laptops

  1. Josh says:

    My wife had a HP DV6 and I have a DV4. Been there, done that on all but the keyboard. Of course I use mine about 3 hours a week or so!

    The DV6 had such a bad hinge issue it broke and the screen itself crapped out. Best Buy’s extended warranty took care of that plus a new battery. My DV4 runs hot almost constantly. Very annoying and loud!

    Sarah now has a Toshiba Satellite which has treated her well until this weekend where about 12 keys on the right side of the keyboard stopped working! No drops, etc.

    I think we’ll both save up for Macbook Pro’s next time!

  2. Craig Hopson says:

    I used to have DV6 with no problems but only used for 8 months or so then passed on. Got my self a Alienware MX17 r3 with SSD 16gb ram apart from its weight (about 120lbs) lol its great never looked back

  3. Justin says:

    First off, I think you are harsh to say “don’t buy HP laptops” with your title, but I’m not here to argue preferences.

    I bought my dv7t-4100 in December 2011 (Cyber Monday deal) and I would say I use it moderately and am fairly happy. Decent machine for about a year, and then the overheating issue came into play. Instead of getting a new machine, I took some advice on opening up the fan box and got some thermal compound in there and now I’m back to a normal, working machine. I would suggest Googling “hp dv7t-4100 overheating” and go to the second post titled “HOW TO FIX DV7 FAN/OVERHEATING PROBLEM!!”. Considering I use an extra monitor with this, I’m pretty happy with it. I worked with an extra monitor on a MacBook Pro for a year and had overheating issues as well. Ventilation makes a huge difference. Another suggestion might be to slightly elevate the rear of your laptop so the fan can breath better. Anyway, best of luck to you!

    • stuporglue says:

      Thanks for the response. I did write the “don’t buy HP laptops” when I was still pretty mad about the issues I had.

      I’m still not over it, but I’m glad you had better luck. I did keep the rear well elevated, but the issues persisted for me.

  4. Eugene says:

    You are so on point. I have had the same experience with my Hp dv7t-4100. Started having problems within the first month of my purchase. Had to deal with horrible customer service while I was on their “warranty” plan. Nothing was ever resolved and now the laptop is just sitting under my bed because of a broken hard drive from rough packaging before shipment. Think twice before you buy.. or just make it easy on yourself and go with a Mac. Trust me, I have always been a loyal Windows customer. Since this dv7, my whole mentality has changed.

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