Is it a budget laptop you want? Great, then we might have one candidate for you, the HP 15-f215dx. It’s AMD A8-powered notebook with 4GB RAM and a 15.6 inches 1366×768 screen. Not too powerful, but should suffice for many casual users. Let’s see more what this computer offers below…
The AMD A8-6410 processor is often found in these cheaper laptops. With quad-core configuration and 2.0 – 2.4GHz (with turbo) clock speed, it doesn’t feature a high-end performance comparable to Core i5 or i7s CPUs. Instead, it’s powerful enough to compete with ULV Core i3s, reaching ~2500 grade in CPU Passmark tests. There’s enough oomph for web browsing, video streaming and such, but very specialized applications and games would do much better on a fancier processor.
HP 15-f215dx contains 4GB RAM. It looks like it comes on one chip, which means the other memory slot is free. Some people commented it’s hard to add more memory, but it’s definite doable. It’s also recommended, especially for power users who want a nice performance boost for their budget machine. The maximum RAM for this model seems to be 12GB.
The storage drive isn’t anything glorious. It’s a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive. I’ve seen a lot of posts saying that without SSD this model is slow. That is probably true, but sadly installing solid-state drive is quite a task on this unit. You’d have to remove some installed components and peripherals first, including optical drive and several others. Of course if you want the easy way, you can take only the DVD drive out, get an SSD & caddy and be happy with that.
Graphics and screen
There’s nothing special about the non-touch display of HP 15-f215dx. The 15.6″ size and 1366×768 resolution is usual combination for cheap notebooks. It’s not really bad if you’re used to it, but if you’re a Full HD fan you’ll obviously be disappointed. That being said, you won’t be getting a full-featured 1920×1080 laptop for this price. Perhaps a Chromebook, but not a true Windows rig.
The laptop doesn’t offer much for gamers, the integrated Radeon R5 graphics makes sure of that. It’s actually a bit slower than the HD 4000 from Intel side, so playing latest games is pretty much out of the question. For example, the famous Battlefield 4 should get only ~20 FPS with eye candy and resolution turned low. Far from optimal, but playable. Minecraft should work better though, and you can always use the Optifine mod to squeeze out more frames per second.
HP 15-f215dx has three USB ports, and as far as I know, two are USB 3.0. Not bad for this low price. On top of the USBs, there’s an HDMI out, which means connecting HD television is possible.
Networking is pretty basic, consisting of an 802.11b/g/n WiFi and 100Mbps RJ-45 port. Bluetooth isn’t enabled – it rarely is in budget models – so USB dongle should be used for that.
A DVD burner is installed in this laptop. Media card reader is there too, uploading images from digital cameras is convenient. The built-in HD webcam should be fine for Skype video chats.
Some other things to keep in mind?
HP 15-f215dx weighs 4.82 pounds, so you can carry it around like any other 15.6″ notebook (most weigh around 5 lbs). Battery is a 3-cell one, advertised to last 4.5 hours, however I seriously doubt that. People reported only two or three hours with a single charge, which to be honest is pretty bad.
Not a surprise, the keys on this model are not backlit. A numeric keypad is available on the right hand side.
There seems to be at least one great thing in HP 15-f215dx: the price. You’ll be paying only a little, and you’ll get a decent laptop for various lightweight tasks at home or perhaps small office. Don’t dream on gaming with it, but for everyday computing this low-cost HP works fine. There are pretty much all the essentials save a great battery, and if you decide to add RAM and possibly SSD you’ll up the speed big time (which of course costs a bit). So, if you’re not after huge performance but a decent budget laptop, you might find this HP a great choice.