Here’s a laptop idea for you: Get a refurbished HP 15-r029wm, save money. Probably the laptop you’ll receive will be in pristine condition. And if it’s not, just return it and you’ll get refunded. No questions asked. So let’s find out more about this HP’s features and how they could possibly help you.
Intel Pentium N3520 is the name of the CPU in HP 15-r029wm. Its most important stats are four cores and 2.17-2.4GHz clock speed. Current Pentiums belong to the lower level processor segment unlike the Pentiums 10-15 years ago which were flagships of Intel. The modern ones are good for so called everyday computing which includes Internet surfing, MS Office stuff, Netflix and limited gaming. Conversely, these Pentiums tend to lack in performance professionals and hardcore gamers seek. But if you are either of those you know you can’t get a very powerful laptop for this price.
Four gigabytes of DDR3L memory is installed in this laptop by default. There’s one memory slot which is user accessible, so swapping the installed 4GB chip for at least a 8GB one should work. However, I don’t really recommend expanding memory unless you know for a fact that you need more. Most users are good with the default one.
Half a terabyte hard drive is the storage of HP 15-r029wm. It goes for a budget laptop because the space allows for storing tens of thousands of smaller files, like holiday photos. As you see, it’s not a quick solid-state drive, but in storage size it easily beats those SSDs.
A 15.6 inch 1366×768 resolution display is a very basic one, probably enough to satisfy casual users, but many techies would like to have a display with better features. For example, Full HD screen is usually desired. But let me tell you this: finding such a display for this price is impossible.
The operating system in this laptop is Windows 8.1 (64-bit).
How about gaming?
Think twice before you get this HP for serious gaming. The Pentium processor contains an Intel HD (Bay Trail) graphics engine, and together they form a rather powerless combo for rendering and running games. Old and/or lightweight titles, like Minecraft, League of Legends and WoW, will have playable frame rates of 40 and above on low settings. The same can’t be said about heavy games – FPS would decrease closer to 10 with Battlefield 4, Thief, Risen 3 and such. So with this computer, playing only less demanding titles with eye candy turned off is a feasible option.
HP 15-r029wm has basically the same connections than all the other budget notebooks. USB ports are three, with one being USB 3.0. For external monitors (like HDTV) you can use the HDMI output on the left hand side.
Internet works through 10/100Mbps Ethernet port (RJ-45) or a 1×1 802.11b/g/n wireless adapter. To my knowledge, the laptop doesn’t support Bluetooth, so you must use an USB dongle if you want that.
Happy thing for many, there’s a DVD burner available on this HP. In addition, a SD memory card reader is also built-in.
High-definition webcam with integrated microphone is installed for convenient video meetings.
What other things to keep in mind?
The HP weighs 4.92 pounds which is maybe a bit below the average weight for all the 15 inch laptops. Battery life is listed as 6 hours but I must tell you: You’ll only reach around 4 hours running time with the included 3-cell battery.
No backlight is available on the keyboard. There is however the numeric keypad, good for quick access to number keys, but also inconveniently on the way if you don’t really need it.
HP software is installed along which many (including me) deem unnecessary. There’s still one gem: a 30-day trial for McAfee anti-virus program.
HP 15-r029wm is a nice quad-core notebook with adequate performance for all the daily activities you’d ever do on a computer. But keep this in mind: As far as I know, it’s currently selling both as new and refurb versions. The brand new version sells for over 500 bucks which, for this kind of laptop, is a rip-off. But the refurbished version is totally a different case, and getting it for ~300 bucks is not a bad deal at all.