HP 15-g173wm is an inexpensive laptop, but is cheap good this time? At a glance, I’d say yes: AMD A8 processor, 4GB RAM and a 750GB hard drive are all nice things for this price. But that’s just a part of what this notebook is. So let me tell you more about its good and bad sides below.
HP 15-g173wm features a processor called AMD A8-6410, offering 2.0 – 2.4GHz clock frequency (the latter reached with turbo). In comparison to Intel processors, the A8-6410 does a similar job to low-voltage Core i3s. It’s not a heavy-duty unit, although for lighter use – think of web surfing and Netflix streaming – the A8 works fine. As a plus, it has quad-core configuration while ULV Core i3s sport only two cores.
The 4GB RAM this laptop has is installed on one DIMM. I found out it is expandable, although the system has only one slot. It might be hard to make your way to the memory module, but once you get there, you can put in a bigger RAM chip. That will give you a noticeable performance boost, although it might be casual users don’t need a memory upgrade at all.
HP 15-g173wm has a 750GB hard drive. It’s great for this price – often budget laptops sport only a 500GB drive. The 5400RPM speed might bother those used to solid-state drives. If that’s you, the good news is that you can install SSD also on this model. As far as I know, there are no space for extra drives, so removing the HDD would have to happen first.
Display and graphics
The screen is 15.6 inches big, offering a 1366×768 resolution. It doesn’t have touch support, so you must use Windows 8.1 with trackpad and keyboard. That’s not a problem in my opinion. People didn’t exactly praise the display, but none of these cheaper laptops have a brilliant screen anyway.
The Radeon R5 (Beema) graphics engine is supposed to power your games on this rig. But it’s an integrated unit, so don’t expect too great a performance (it’s similar to older Intel HD units such as the 4200). Thus, heavier games will be barely playable: on low settings, Battlefield 4 runs at ~20FPS which for such a fast-paced game is not good. However, many games with less system requirements – like League of Legends or Diablo 3 – will work smooth at least with most eye candy off.
Just like the majority of 15.6″ laptops, also HP 15-g173wm features three USB ports. One of those is the faster USB 3.0 type. HDMI output is offered for people wanting to hook up an HDTV or desktop monitor.
The unit contains a DVD burner, not something every laptop these days has. SD media card reader is available too.
Networking options of 100Mbps RJ-45 and 802.11b/g/n WiFi are not excellent, although they should suffice for basic use. It doesn’t look like Bluetooth is enabled, but you can buy an inexpensive USB dongle if you want that.
Chatting with your friends on Skype is very possible. The laptop has a built-in HD webcam and microphone.
Other things to keep in mind?
HP 15-g173wm weighs 4.83 which is a bit below average for 15-inch laptops I’d dare to say. Battery life won’t exceed four hours, so nothing great, but understandable for this low price.
The keyboard has numpad but no illuminated keys.
Summing it up
HP 15-g173wm is a laptop for people who use their computer for very basic things, such as web surfing, music listening and perhaps some video streaming. The AMD A8 and 4GB RAM can take care all of that, even some games, although not many titles with eye candy on. Furthermore, all the essential connections are present. The unit is quite lightweight but battery life is average at best. For the current price the laptop is selling I can’t however complain. If it’s a solid starter laptop with neat purple covers you’re after, I don’t see a reason to skip this HP.