It would be easy to mistake the dm3 for an expensive laptop. The brushed aluminium lid immediately draws attention to itself, and tilting it back sees the swish, metallic theme continue inside, with the brushed finish pooling around the square keys of the scrabble-tile keyboard.
In fact, the Pavilion dm3 weighs in at a slightly pricy $1499, but the good points don't stop at mere looks.
The keyboard, for one, is excellent: each key has a positive action at the end of each stroke, and the wide channels between each key keep typos to a minimum.
Even the trackpad is free from issues, with the dainty button at its top edge allowing you to disable it for longer stretches of typing.
The glossy 13.3in display shares its competitors' 1366 x 768 pixel resolution, but image quality raises it substantially above the average. Vibrant colours and good contrast made the most of our test photographs.
The Pavilion dm3 can't claim to be a genuine CULV laptop, however. Instead of a low power Intel processor, AMD's Athlon Neo X2 dual-core processor takes pride of place, along with an ATI Radeon HD 3200 graphics chipset.
Performance is no better than the faster Intel processors here, scoring just 0.7 in our benchmarks despite its substantially faster 1.6Ghz clockspeed, but the ATI graphics chipset strides out in front of its Intel counterpart, proving capable of decoding HD video and light 3D gaming duties.
The big problem with going down the AMD route is that it compromises battery life. The Pavilion dm3 struggled to an unimpressive 4hrs 37mins in our light use battery life test, and under heavy load that figure dropped further to 1hr 43mins.
Its slightly porky weight of 1.9kg means that, combined with the below-average battery life, it isn't the most accomplished road warrior.
But that's not enough to dent the HP Pavilion dm3's appeal: its great looks, good build, and nice touches such as the external DVD writer, make it a fantastic all-round ultraportable.