In case you’re looking for a laptop for very basic use there’s one excellent thing compared to fancier notebooks: low-end units are very cheap. HP 14-ac159nr is such a basic laptop with Intel Celeron processor and 2GB RAM, and the affordable price probably makes it look tempting to you. But whether this kind of rock-bottom notebook can really work is totally a different thing…
Comments about performance
It’s a dual-core Intel Celeron N3050 powering this HP 14-ac159nr. If you know the Intel’s processor family, you also know these Celerons are the cheapest a.k.a. slowest. You can’t expect great performance here, in fact the 1.6GHz dual-core unit (with 2.16GHz turbo) reaches only 800 points in CPU Mark. That might not tell you anything, but just know that mainstream Intel Core i3s tend to get over 3000 points these days.
Other essential components are also budget ones. 2GB DDR3L memory is installed, I don’t see why you couldn’t upgrade it to 4-8GB if you really wanted to. The storage drive is a 32GB embedded MultiMediaCard – it’s indeed soldered on the mainboard and can’t be upgraded. These eMMCs are often viewed as poor man’s versions of solid-state drives, offering better performance than hard drive but worse than a real SSD. You’ll be left with around 20 gigabytes worth of storage after operating system files.
Is gaming possible?
Gaming wouldn’t be a good idea on HP 14-ac159nr. The core components discussed above are weak, so is the graphics engine Intel HD which is integrated into the processor. Many 2014-2015 games you install on the hard drive will be too much for this computer, but all browser titles would work here. Also a handful of installable games, such as Counter-Strike: Go, would be playable using low settings.
It’s very basic yet sufficient selection of ports you’ll find in the computer. There are three USBs (of which one is USB 3.0) for connecting devices, and for hooking up a monitor you can use the HDMI and VGA outputs. Connecting to Internet is possible through the 10/100 RJ-45 port and, of course, 802.11n WiFi (without Bluetooth support).
Bear in mind the local data transfer is limited to memory cards because there’s no internal DVD drive in the unit. If you worry about that, one option is to get a cheap external optical drive.
The usual front-facing HP’s webcam is available for video shooting or chatting.
Other important things
HP 14-ac159nr is quite a compact laptop, it has the 14 inches 1366×768 non-touch screen with a total computer weight of 4.2 pounds. There’s a lightweight 3-cell 31Whr battery, although I think with the current, low-energy components you’ll reach more than 5 hours under web surfing.
Windows 10 Home (64-bit) is pre-installed on the eMMC. Keyboard is not backlit here.
Summing it up
I don’t see why HP 14-ac159nr wouldn’t work for things like browsing the web or writing papers, it has all the required performance for that. But I’m afraid the laptop will feel a little slow to use anyway, and indeed most gaming and specialized software are way off-limits. But that’s the “price” you have to pay for getting a damn cheap laptop like this. If you don’t mind, why not give it a try.