Budget laptops are many, so how do you know which one to pick? One good idea is to read professional reviews like this, heh. The notebook in question today is HP 15-ay191ms, one of the more inexpensive models. Cheap price often interests people, but is there a flipside to this…?
Performance in general
I must say the processor in HP 15-ay191ms does a good job. The 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U is a typical dual-core chip with 2.4GHz clock rate (without turbo). But when you compare it to other models you’ll see its strength: CPU Mark score gives this unit ~3800 points, very close to what i5-6200U gets. So in a sense, it’s i5-level performance in i3.
The RAM sector is all good, with one 8GB DDR4 2133MHz stick installed. It’s unclear whether there are extra slots available, but at least you’re able to upgrade the current stick to 16GB one if you want to. That would give some extra performance but not so much that the RAM upgrade is really justified.
Admittedly, it’s not the best storage drive in this notebook. The 1TB 5400RPM hard drive reminds me of the old times, yet here it is in this modern laptop. But such a spinning disk drive can’t be bashed too much: you can hardly ever fill it up with data! And if you, or someone you know, has skills, upgrade to SSD can be done.
Would this computer work for gaming?
I have to be the bearer of bad news in this regards: HP 15-ay191ms is not an ideal gaming laptop. You might already know the reason which is indeed the integrated graphics unit, the Intel HD 620. To be fair, many games do run with acceptable frame rate count, but in exchange require low to medium settings. One example is GTA which gets ~30FPS when you use low presets and 720p resolution. On the other hand, people’s favorite Counter-Strike: Go runs like nobody’s business on high settings.
What ports and connections does the notebook offer?
There’s nothing special in the ports department. You’ll find the usual USB ports (two USB 2.0, one USB 3.0) on the sides which are waiting for your peripherals to be plugged in. Likewise an extra monitor can be used with this rig, available is HDMI-output on the notebook.
Not every modern laptop comes with DVD burner but HP 15-ay191ms surely does. Also, the unit sports a memory card reader, they come handy when you need to upload files to the computer or from it to another device.
You’re free to connect the HP to Internet with cable (100Mbps RJ-45 port) or wireless (802.11n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 combo adapter).
Other interesting things?
It’s not that exciting to look at the display’s specs, a regular 15.6″ screen with 1366×768 resolution. Some people see the missing Full HD support as a definite disadvantage. Remember that it’s a touch display which can be convenient (however I find it a redundant feature). There’s a webcam on top which works well with Skype video and other similar programs.
The unit contains a 3-cell 31Whr battery, too bad I can’t find user reports about how long it actually lasts. But often these budget models run for ~4 hours under lighter use, after that a charge is required.
There’s no backlit keyboard which I can understand given the price!
Someone noted elsewhere that HP 15-ay191ms is a “good machine for the price”. I can agree with this. You surely can’t expect bleeding-edge components and latest features here, but for everything you can do with web browser, office programs and lightweight games the HP suffices well. To reiterate, if you don’t have too high expectations, this laptop should be good for you!