A basic budget laptop, that’s what you want, eh? The HP 15-g020dx is perhaps all you need. It features affordable sub 500 bucks price tag and sufficient performance for everyday computing. But the same can be said about all the other cheap notebooks, too. So how do you know if this HP really suits your needs? We’ll try to help you in that!
The basic things
The processor of HP 15-g020dx is called AMD A6-5200 with 2.0GHz clock speed and four cores. Its performance is closer to some older Intel Core i3 processors, so it’s not a top-notch CPU but an entry-level choice good for web browsing, YouTube and all the other daily tasks. There’s also an integrated graphics card that allows some rudimentary gaming, which I elaborate below.
A basic 4GB RAM is installed on this system. You should be able to upgrade it to 8GB (using one DIMM chip) if you wanted. But don’t worry about expanding the memory if you’re not a professional, the default four gigabytes is enough for most.
A terabyte hard drive is not something you usually see in laptops this cheap. Yet there it is, a 1024GB 5400RPM HDD, installed in this HP. The storage size is sufficient, should I say far more than you’ll probably ever need, because storing closer to hundred thousands photos or other small files is possible on that drive. Tradeoff is the speed: A 5400RPM drive like this can’t compete with quick transfer times of a swift solid-state drive.
The non-touch display in this model is dime-in-a-dozen 15.6″ diagonal featuring 1366×768 resolution. It goes for lightweight use, but power users usually long for a Full HD resolution. If that’s you, consider paying much more. Getting a decent laptop with 1920×1080 screen below four hundred bucks is unheard of.
Windows 8.1 (64-bit version) is the operating system of this computer.
Gaming in a nutshell
HP 15-g020dx has AMD Radeon HD 8400 running its graphics. That engine is integrated to the processor, and as you might know, these integrated chips are infamous for poor to mediocre gaming performance. But it’s not a disaster either: the heavyweight Battlefield 4 should run on 20 frames per second when eye candy and resolutions are at minimum. Minecraft should give more than that like all the less demanding titles (like WoW, CS:Go and various sports games). It’s the newest games with high settings you can’t really play on this rig.
HP 15-g020dx has only one USB 3.0 port. Two USB 2.0s are backing you up, but using the newer version is preferred due to ten times faster speeds.
Internet is reachable through both wired (100Mbps Ethernet) and wireless (1×1 802.11b/g/n WiFi) means. Bluetooth is not supported out of the box.
Using this notebook with HDTV or other display is possible thanks to the HDMI output port.
An optical drive is installed, good for reading and burning DVDs and CDs. Secure Digital card reader is also built-in.
The laptop has a webcam for video meetings, but only a VGA (640×480) resolution one.
Anything else to keep in mind?
I would consider the 4.8 pounds weight of this HP quite good compared to other 15.6″ laptops. That adds to portability, although operating time is only up to 4.5 hours on the regular 3-cell battery.
As you can see from the photo, trackpad is moved to left. It’s because of the numeric keypad on the right. Some find this inconvenient setting while some like fast number key access the 10-key pad brings.
All budget HPs come with bloatware pre-installed. This model also has a 30-day trial for anti-virus software which is a keeper if you don’t have a better one at your disposal.
HP 15-g020dx is an affordable laptop made with casual users in mind. It’s well capable for daily activities and some gaming, and portability is alright at least when the lowish 4.8 pounds weight is considered. There are all the connections one might need including an optical drive. For the price it’s a decent starter laptop for home, student dorm or perhaps a small office.