Do you need a laptop that doesn’t cost too much but works with all the common applications and programs? HP 15-ac010nr might be worthy of closer look: it costs less than 500 bucks and features entry-level components such as Intel Pentium processor and 4GB low-voltage memory. Operating system is the maligned Windows 8, but fortunately it can be upgraded to Windows 10 without paying anything. So, what kind of laptop this is, and would it be wise to spend your money on it?
What programs can I run?
HP 15-ac010nr is not a shabby computer for general (home) use. It has enough power for most applications, the Intel Pentium 3825U should make sure of that. It’s a dual-core processor with 1.9GHz clock speed, and despite being a Pentium (a.k.a. budget model) it still receives a nice ~2700 points in CPU Mark, the same then Core i3s of the 4th generation. Also the TDP (Thermal Design Power) of this Pentium isn’t high, just 15W, so I’m quite confident the unit shouldn’t get too hot in use.
There’s 4GB memory in the computer and it comes on one DIMM stick, that I’m sure about. However, it’s a bit unclear if there is only one or standard two memory slots inside. If there’s one, the maximum memory would be 8GB. With two slots (which I think there are) the most RAM this system accepts is 16GB.
The storage is something you could expect from a cheap laptop: a 500GB hard drive with 5400RPM speed. You don’t get too much space compared to 750GB or 1000GB models that you find in bit more expensive notebooks – however the current 500GB is still nothing to be worried about for home/office users or students. Some people who like to live on the fast lane might feel the need to replace the drive with a solid-state drive, though.
And can I also play games?
There’s a new integrated graphics card in HP 15-ac010nr to let you play some games. Called Intel HD Graphics (Broadwell), the unit is expected to be similar to the HD 4000 model. Neither are great gaming cards, but by accepting low details and resolution you can go far: you could try GTA 5 with just little eye candy on and I’d predict around 20 frames per second. On the other hand, some straightforward titles like Minecraft will work better than that, even if you had upped the settings to a degree.
Something special about the display?
HP 15-ac010nr features a no-frills 15.6″ display. I say that because the resolution is 1366×768, there’s no touch support and it is not an IPS (= better colors) panel. But there’s no need to be doubtful, for most users there’s nothing this kind of display couldn’t do. It’s the professionals in the fields of graphics and digital arts that would need a first-class screen, preferably one with Full HD resolution.
Connecting a peripheral or two to HP 15-ac010nr won’t be a problem. The notebook comes with three USB ports of which one supports USB 3.0. If you want to use this laptop with HDTV or your desktop monitor, that will be possible with the built-in HDMI output.
If you fancy DVDs (and perhaps CDs) you can conveniently use the HP’s internal optical drive. And if you’re into photography or snapshots, you can upload your pieces of art to the computer with its SD media card reader.
For networking, the notebook offers 802.11n Wireless card and 10/100 Ethernet port for wired connection. It doesn’t look like Bluetooth is available.
A webcam with 720p video support is there, so start Skype and have a chat or two with your pals if you want.
Something else to keep in mind?
It wouldn’t be too inconvenient to travel with HP 15-ac010nr, the system weighs 4.7 pounds which is some ounces less than its 15.6″ competitors are. The unit’s 3-cell battery will be good for the usual 4 hours.
The keyboard is non-backlit, pretty clear for so cheap notebook. Numpad is available on the right hand side.
It’s obvious that HP 15-ac010nr is a budget laptop, so it has budget performance. This means software like web browser, multimedia applications (YouTube) and games easy on the graphics card (Minecraft) run fine. Also plethora of files can be put on the 500GB hard drive, although in absolute terms, it’s still much, much smaller than terabyte drives in laptops with $100-200 higher price tag. The HP is not a performance monster, power user laptop or workhorse, but for daily computing it should be enough. If you’re OK with that, get the HP and update it to Windows 10 and you have a decent home laptop at your disposal.