Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Computer, notebook and tablet tech treasures

Computers and notebooks and tablets, oh my!

Page 8 of 12

Pavilion g6 notebook, by HP

If you go on the HP web site and start browsing for laptops, you find several categories: There are minis, ultra-portables, high-performance and the ENVY product lines. There is also the category of "everyday computing." HP's marketing department must have been on vacation the day they came up with that one, since that term doesn't really grab you and make you want to run out to Best Buy.

Then again, that is an accurate description of the no-frills, powerful, yet inexpensive and well-built Pavilion G6 notebook. Two things you notice right away are the utter simplicity of the form factor, and a big, sharp, 15.6-inch screen.

Remember when laptops had all kinds of buttons and dials and stuff above the keyboard? The G6 has none of that. There's a keyboard. There's a simple power button. There's a trackpad with right/left-click buttons. There's a webcam. That's it.

Under the hood, the Pavilion G6 packs a punch. It's not the fastest laptop you can buy, but it does sport an Intel Core i3 (2.53 GHz) chip, 4GB of RAM, and a 450 GB hard drive. The OS is 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium. For installed software, you get the basics: Windows Media Center, Paint, Snapfish, Cyberlink DVD Suite and YouCam, Microsoft Office Starter, etc. The Pavilion weighs in at a hefty 5.5 pounds. It doesn't have some of the latest bells and whistles, like touchscreen features. But for less than $500, you're getting a solid, well-built device that will satisfy your basic computing needs.

Cool Yule rating: 4 stars
Price: Starts at $449
Reviewed by Neal Weinberg

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