HP 15-af030nr looks like an inexpensive notebook with decent components. There’s a quad-core AMD, 6GB memory and huge hard drive under the hood – something all casual users and even many professionals would probably like. The 15.6″ display features touch support that should be useful with Windows 8 (which will however be a thing of the past soon). But let me tell you more about this notebook below, there are some worse things that might not be so obvious yet…
Can it run most programs fine?
Simple answer, yes. HP 15-af030nr features a quad-core processor called AMD A8-7410 with 2.2GHz clock speed and 2.5GHz turbo. In terms of performance, it’s very similar to 4th (older) generation Core i3s that receive around 2500 CPU Mark points (the AMD A8-7410 gets ~2600). Core i3s have traditionally been known as solid general use processors, and looking at the CPU Mark grade, the same can be said about this AMD. Web surfing, YouTube, even some gaming all are possible here – you’ll also be able to fire up demanding applications like Photoshop now and then, but don’t rely on this processor if you need to run heavy programs all day.
The notebook has 6GB DDR3 1600MHz memory. It’s distributed to one 4GB and one 2GB module. The six gigabytes is a great amount, it’s more than four which might not just cut it for some power users, but less than eight gigabytes that is often overkill for many. You can upgrade the memory all the way to 16GB, but going for so much is not justified in my opinion.
There’s a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive installed in the machine. It’s responsible for data storage, and it’s pretty good at it: 750GB equals around 150 DVDs or 150,000 images. It’s not however very fast drive, Windows or program startup times are not as quick as they would be with a modern SSD. If speed is what you want, you can always take the hard drive out and put in a solid-state drive instead.
And what’s the case with games?
HP 15-af030nr has one major flaw that prevents it from running some games fluently. And that’s the graphics engine. It’s a cheap laptop so there’s no fancy graphics card inside, just a chip called AMD Radeon R5 integrated in the CPU. It’s comparable to Intel HD 4000, both reaching ~450 points in G3D Mark test. In real life, you should be able to get ca. 25 frames per second with GTA 5 if you don’t mind keeping settings medium and resolution 720p. Those games that don’t require so much from the system will of course have better FPS, those include Sims 4, Minecraft and many Steam games like CS: Go and Team Fortress 2.
Comments about the display
It’s not a magnificent display in HP 15-af030nr, but it should be decent for home use. The size is 15.6″ and resolution is 1366×768, a common combination in these budget screens. You can touch the display and it responds, this might be a desirable feature with Windows 8. However, once (if) you upgrade to Windows 10 you’ll find the computer work well with “traditional” input devices (a.k.a. keyboard and trackpad) again.
What devices can I connect?
You’ll be able to connect all the most important peripherals to HP 15-af030nr. All in all, the notebook has three USB ports, two are USB 2.0 and one supports USB 3.0. There’s also HDMI-out, that can be used to view the laptop on HDTV or PC monitor.
The HP comes with a DVD burner like these 15-inch models often do. In addition, media card slot is there for reading and writing data from/to memory cards.
Connecting to router/modem and getting Internet access is possible either with the 100Mbps RJ-45 port or integrated 1×1 802.11n WiFi card. As far as I know, Bluetooth is not supported.
There’s HD webcam installed in the screen bezel, it’s good for Skype video.
HP 15-af030nr is as portable as any 15.6″ incher, it weighs 4.83 pounds (average weight of these models is ~5lbs). With a single charge, the 4-cell 41Whr battery will last around 4-5 hours.
The keyboard is not backlit, but a numpad is available on the keyboard’s right.
Summing it up
As said in the beginning, a good thing about HP 15-af030nr is its low price yet quite a capable engine room. You shouldn’t worry about running most programs on the AMD quad-core processor and 6GB RAM, while the 750GB storage drive offers adequate space for text files, photos, images and plethora of games. But hardcore gaming would be quite a bad idea – as the notebook doesn’t feature a great graphics card, you’re limited to play only very simple titles such as Minecraft. That’s a common problem with budget laptops, however I must add not many are looking for a gaming notebook to begin with. So if you’re not a player, it might be worth your while to take a closer look at this HP.