15.6″ HP 15-r210dx Notebook via Amazon
Black HP 15-r210dx is a new medium level affordable laptop with a 5th generation Intel i5 processor that can handle more than the basic daily things and will be great for performing anything other than advanced gaming. It is suitable for office, multimedia, multitasking and more demanding applications, is a bit smaller in size and more energy efficient than the previous generation i5 processors and is still faster than the Intel i5-4200U. Thermal Design Power is only 15 watts and will help with longer battery life. So the HP 15-r210dx includes the dual core Broadwell Intel i5-5200U processor (3MB L3 cache) at 2.2 GHz speed with turbo boost for speed up to 2.7GHz for energy efficiency or performance boost when needed and smart 4-way processing with hyper threading, 6GB DDR3L SDRAM for smooth multitasking, 750GB Serial ATA hard drive at 5400rpm rotating speed as large storage space plus free Cloud based Dropbox storage of 25GB for 6 months and fast read and write times and English 64-bit Windows 8 OS.
15.6 inch LED-backlit non-touch display with Brightview technology, regular 1366×768 pixel resolution and no IPS panel- good enough for general use but do not expect it to be like Full HD, stereo speakers for OK but not great sound quality (fair enough at this price range and you may need to use external speakers or headphones) and a low-resolution front facing VGA webcam with a built-in digital microphone for chatting live with family and friends. Intel HD 5500 GPU is a mid range Broadwell GPU, uses up to 3GB of shared memory, helps offer very clear images and performs better than Intel HD 4000 and 4400 and you can still play the latest 2015 games but at lower settings.
Black liquorice HP 15-r210dx weighs 4.92 pounds and measures 14.88 x 10.20 x 0.9 inches- is lightweight, slim and portable. Keyboard is not backlit but has a numeric pad on the side for easy data entry and a trackpad with separate physical left and right clicks that supports multiple gestures and the full-size island style keyboard is nice, spacious and comfortable to type on. It has a 3-cell 2800 mAh lithium ion battery but no info on battery life- we expect it to be around 4 to 5 hours. Connectivity options are the Multiformat DVD±RW/CD-RW drive, 1 x USB 3.0 port and 2 x USB 2.0 ports to connect peripherals easily, 802.11bgn wireless, 10/100Base-T Ethernet LAN with RJ-45 connector for easy wired connection, a Digital Media Card Reader that supports SD format, an HDMI output, there is no Bluetooth by default and all you need is a cheap USB dongle if you wish to use the Bluetooth functionality.
Conclusion: We like the quite capable Quarter 1 2015 release Intel i5-5200U processor with a Passmark benchmark score of 3558 as of today and larger memory and hard drive but they can not be upgraded by the user within the warranty period as they are the Authorized Service Provider parts but you realise that it is only a 5400rpm hard drive and many of you would know the difference of having an SSD- it is much faster and you can of course swap it after the 1 year warranty period. You’ll find the CyberLink Power Media Player, Power Director and PhotoDirector as well as other software including the 30 day trial version of Microsoft Office 365. It is quite a capable system for school work, office work, home entertainment including video watching and some level of gaming, web browsing and more. Keyboard is nicely spaced out and comfortable to type on. You can save quite a few photos, other multimedia and regular files on 750GB storage and 6GB should be enough amount of memory for most people and no problem having heavy apps and several browsers open at the same time. Intel HD 5500 is capable enough to run average games- older and less demanding but for more advanced 3D gaming you do need at least a mid-range dedicated graphics card. Overall it is quite a good system for how much it costs and the reviews online are quite positive.