Design and Build Quality
When it comes to design and build quality, our expectations are obviously taken down a notch considering the netbook space. Whenever you pay under $300 or $400 for a full-scale machine, it's understandable if things aren't exactly iron-clad. But HP has managed to seriously step things up with the dm1z. Granted, the MSRP here is $450, so a it's bit more than most netbooks, but still; we're really impressed with just how sturdy and well-made this notebook feels.
At just over three pounds, the dm1z isn't too burdensome, and while it's an all-plastic affair, the materials used in the construction are remarkably solid. Everything feels stiff, with the only notable exception being the LCD hinges. These are a touch loose, but honestly, most consumers who aren't looking for these kinds of things won't notice.
Along the front edge, there aren't any ports. It swells in depth going toward the back, and there's a 3.5mm headphone jack, two USB 2.0 ports, a VGA output and an Ethernet port along the right edge. The left edge is home to a single USB 2.0 port, an HDMI (full-size) output, a few status LEDs, an exhaust vent, a Kensington lock slot and an AC input socket.
The LCD hinge is a unique one; it can fold completely (yes, completely!) flat, which may be a highlight feature for some that need to compute in highly cramped places, or if you're standing over a kitchen countertop looking down at the machine, for example. The bezel around the LCD is around average size, with the bottom being thicker than average, likely due to the fold-flat nature of it.
Unlike many netbooks these days, HP decided against using a chiclet keyboard; instead, it's a pretty traditional layout. One very unique feature is the trackpad. For one, it's really wide. Secondly, it's right in the center of the casing, rather than being aligned directly beneath the space bar. This is more akin to a MacBook or MacBook Pro; most PC netbooks/notebooks always align their trackpad with the space bar, but we think the dm1z layout makes a lot more sense.