How can AMD A8 powered laptop be priced at less than 300 dollars? The answer is simple: HP 15-g013dx is a refurb. Someone has used it before, so the item is not brand new. There’s a risk of wear and tear, and thus the merchant decreases the price. This can be an excellent deal for the buyer if he receives unit in pristine condition. Well, we can’t really say how yours will be, so let’s concentrate on the measurable aspects of this notebook below!
AMD A8-6410 is the processor of HP 15-g013dx. It has four cores and is clocked at 2.0GHz. The frequency increases to 2.4GHz with turbo speed. On average, these A8s perform similarly to many Intel Core i3 models so they could be called lower mid range processors. No basic task, including HD videos, is too demanding for this AMD. It also works for occasional gaming thanks to the integrated Radeon R5 graphics.
The laptop contains 4GB RAM installed on one module. That’s the minimum you want to have these days, especially on a Windows 8.1 powered machine. As far as I know, you could also add more by replacing the old model with a 8GB chip.
The hard drive size is 750GB, plenty for this price. Most laptops with similar price have a 500GB drive. The thing about these cheap drives is slow speed. They’re almost all the time 5400RPM ones, offering quite sluggish user experience if you compare them to solid-state drives. The solution is, of course, to swap the installed drive for an SSD which should be possible also on this model.
Display and graphics
Another thing where budget laptops don’t get high grade is the screen. The usual size is 15.6″, alright for many uses, but what annoys most is the 1366×768 resolution. If you’re a movie freak or a professional you’re much better with a Full HD display. That being said, lower resolutions also have their uses, and a casual user wouldn’t get that much out of a 1920×1080 screen in my opinion.
So there’s a Radeon R5 card ready to render your games. How good is it? According to benchmarks somewhat slower than the common Intel HD 4000 engine. This is no good news for friends of new games. Many graphics heavy titles from 2014 or 2013 will struggle to get more than 20FPS on low settings. Battlefield 4 should get ~25 frames on HP 15-g013dx. Older games, from 2012 and before, should however run with acceptable frames as long as you don’t put too much eye candy on.
HP 15-g013dx offers the basic connectivity one could expect from a budget laptop. Three USB ports (one is USB 3.0) are installed. There’s also the HDMI out if you want an external monitor.
Networking choices are a 100Mbps RJ45 port and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. Bluetooth isn’t supported, but you can use a cheap USB dongle to achieve that.
The HP has a DVD burner which is getting rare as Internet is becoming the number one place to download programs. SD media card reader is there too, good if you prefer small memory cards over bulkier discs.
There’s a webcam installed although it only offers VGA resolution. For basic video chats it should be adequate.
Other noteworthy things?
HP 15-g013dx weighs 4.83 pounds, less than many other 15.6″ laptops do. The 3-cell battery will let you use the computer for just ~3 hours on a single charge.
No surprise, the keyboard is not backlit. The numeric keypad is handy if you frequently need to hit number keys.
A common thing among cheap laptops, they tend to come with bloatware installed. This one has them disguised as HP utilities. Uninstalling that software through Control Panel will do the trick.
If you don’t need strong performance HP 15-g013dx might be all you need. It indeed offers everything one could need for everyday computing with less than three hundred bucks. And what about the refurb status? People have opinions about them. Mine is, you don’t have to be too afraid. Should you get a lemon simply return it – because also these things can be returned.