A way for a retailer to make extra money is to put returned items for sale again. Called refurbished goods, these products can have much lower price than brand new items, making them attractive choice for budget hunters. HP Pavilion 15-p020ca belongs to the refurb lot, with an entry-level AMD A4 processor, touch display and 6GB RAM. Let’s try to figure if this notebook should be your next choice or not.
The quad-core AMD A4-6210 processor has a clock speed of 1.8GHz. The clock frequency is not going to increase (unless you overclock), since there’s no turbo boost available. Its competitors are some slower Intel CPUs, namely the Pentium N3530, which this AMD beats by a little margin. The A4 still doesn’t quite reach Core i3 level performance, but is anyway recommended pick for most everyday tasks, such as Internet browsing, YouTube and occasional gaming.
6GB is the RAM amount of HP Pavilion 15-p020ca. It comes in 4GB and 2GB chips, so the two memory slots on mainboard are used. If, for some reason, you require more RAM, swapping the old chip(s) for larger ones is possible.
The hard drive in this model is 500GB big, a rather appropriate amount for such a cheap laptop. It’s adequate for daily activities, and can even suffice for some downloading – theoretically, such a drive can hold around hundred of thousand photos, for example. Its transfer rates are not that good however, just 5400RPM, which might result in general feeling of sluggishness. If you’re worried about that, there’s always the option to install an SSD.
Graphics and screen
HP Pavilion 15-p020ca enjoys a touch screen, so you’re welcome to use those touch and swipe features prominent in Windows 8.1. Otherwise, the screen doesn’t seem to be anything special with 15.6″ diagonal and 1366×768 resolution. It’s suitable for everyday computing, but not so much for professionals looking for higher quality and better resolution.
The AMD processor is a so-called System on chip, so there’s also a graphics engine called Radeon R3 in it. Not that it’s very good one, but some games will run. It can be (almost) compared to Intel HD 4000, so lighter titles like Minecraft, Fifas and Dirt 3 will be a smooth sail. The same can’t be said about many 2014-2015 games with fancy graphics, where FPS will unfortunately settle below 20.
A good thing about HP Pavilion 15-p020ca’s connections, it has two USB 3.0 (and one USB 2.0) ports instead of the usual single USB 3.0. You can also connect a HDTV or PC display to the HDMI output port.
Networking consists of a 100Mbps RJ-45 port and a 1×1 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapter. An useful little feature, Bluetooth 4.0 support is built in the wireless card.
The basic SuperMulti DVD burner is available on the right, with the ability to burn discs. SD card reader is likewise there for the benefit of digital camera and other small device owners.
Webcam is installed on the laptop, so you can (video) chat with friends and relatives on Skype.
What other things to keep in mind?
5.62 pounds, the weight of HP Pavilion 15-p020ca, suggests rather poor portability. Together with 4-cell battery giving only ~3 hours life to the laptop, your best bet would pick something else if you’re a devout road warrior.
Not surprisingly, the cheap laptop has no backlight on the keyboard. A numeric keypad is however available.
Like every budget HP Pavilion, also this model has its share of pre-installed bloatware. If you don’t want to see it, your solution is to go to Control Panel and uninstall those useless programs.
HP Pavilion 15-p020ca is a typical refurbished laptop: low price for what it offers, although the tiny risk of getting a defect is always there. But these items can also be returned, and there certainly are good things about this notebook, too. For example, it offers a quad-core processor, touch screen and nice amount of RAM for less than 350 bucks. If you don’t have too much money to spend, a second hand laptop like this could be a great choice.