Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
Excellent for the price
on 1 July 2014
You would be hard pressed to find a laptop with better bang for your buck than this; £360 for 6GB of ram and a 1TB hard drive is good value by any standards. The only model that comes close to matching it is the Toshiba Satellite series, and having previously ordered one of those and subsequently returned it I can confirm that the HP beats it in every respect.
It looks far sleeker for a start, with the incredibly stylish deep blue design and slimline body giving the impression of a much more expensive machine. It also sounds impressive; you are never going to get audiophile quality sound from a tiny, tinny notebook speaker, but the HP has considerably more satisfying sonics than any laptop in the price range, with a chunky, balanced output. You could easily watch a film on here without feeling the need to hook it up to your main system. The CD/DVD drive works quickly and reliably to both rip and play music/video.
The overall performance of this laptop lives up to the specifications. Once you get rid of all the unnecessary rubbish that comes bundled in it runs smoothly and efficiently. It is easy to set up, easy to run and can run lots of software simultaneously without compromising on speed. My computing needs are essentially functional; MS Office, browsing the internet, watching videos online and from disc, listening to music, creating documents, chatting on Skype etc. You will have zero problems doing any of those things on here, and it works extremely fast out of the box. I don't use any high specification games or video editing software so can't speak for their functionality, but my music editing software works quickly enough. The screen on this model is excellent, clear and bright and high quality pictures look beautiful on it. The amount of hard disc space is huge, so you can keep massive collections of files, although I would advise users to partition the drive so if C: develops a problem and needs a complete reinstall all your stuff won't get wiped out. 18GB of the drive is reserved for disc and settings backup, which some users may find useful, especially if the machine crashes.
The laptop comes with a lot of modern features; you can sync it up to a smart television wirelessly, and it also has a HDMI socket making it very easy to hook up to your TV, and watch downloaded or streamed content on your big screen. The webcam is pretty good. People have complained about the touch pad but it works fine for me. You can get a cheap wireless or USB mouse if it bothers you too much.
Windows 8.1 has come in for a lot of flack, and it does take a bit of getting used to. Programs are now 'Apps' and there is a horrible start screen that puts you off instantly. Luckily, with a bit of simple tweaking you can get rid of all the unnecessary changes designed for touchscreen devices, and get the interface looking and working like Windows 7. I expected to have to buy an old disc and downgrade, but in reality the operating system is perfectly fine once you become accustomed to it. The initial setup sees Microsoft wanting you to register an email account and sync everything up with your computer - with the recent controversies about privacy and data sharing this can be quite alarming. However, it is easy to counteract this once you get running, by turning off all the synchronise and online backup features, and using a local account to login to the computer rather than an email account.
Cons? It is a bit noisier than my last laptop - you can hear the hard drive whirring and the fan will be whistling away if running on battery until you change the power settings. It isn't consderably louder than a Macbook, though. The keyboard can also make a bit of noise, especially if you are a heavy typer like me. The body can feel a bit frail, due to the sleek, lightweight design. Some users will consider Windows 8.1 as a drawback, although since you can't actually buy a new machine with W7 installed this is a problem common to all new machines.
On the whole, though, this is an excellent laptop for the price. For most regular users it will be fast, functional and easily sufficient for their needs. In terms of looks and sound it outperforms many more expensive notebooks. Hopefully it will have reliability to match the high performance, only time will tell on that front. Reccomended.