The market of high-end budget laptops (an oxymoron, anyone?) is crowded with powerful notebooks ready to tackle most tasks without breaking a sweat. HP Pavilion 15-p037cl is such a capable but rather affordable computer, featuring a 15.6″ touchscreen, AMD A10 series processor, an upgraded graphics chip and a respectable 750GB hard drive. Sounds promising, but let’s take the laptop under a closer examination to find out its good and bads.
The essential things
Hardware of this HP laptop is powerful. The processor is AMD A10-5745M, a quad-core CPU of 2.1GHz clock speed and 2.9GHz turbo speed. The performance can be compared to Core i3 processors, so there’s no danger the AMD would choke even on demanding use. The Radeon HD 8610G graphics engine is also better choice for gaming than regular Intel HD chips – but more about this later.
The memory amount is quite big – with 8GB DDR3L RAM you’ll get a smooth user experience for virtually any kind of use. However, if you’re feeling like experimenting, you can add more memory all the way to 16GB. However, the current 8GB is installed on 2 x 4GB DIMMs, so you’d have to replace the old memory chips before adding more.
A 750GB 5400RPM hard drive is responsible for the storage of HP Pavilion 15-p037cl. Three quarters of a terabyte beats usual 500GB drives in size, so somebody with lots of files would appreciate this laptop. The speed, as you might’ve guessed, isn’t that good – a solid-state drive would be a lot faster but also much smaller in storage than this hard drive.
The laptop features a 15.6″ touch display which should work well with the pre-installed Windows 8.1 (64-bit). Resolution is just 1366×768 though, so enjoying video in Full HD isn’t possible on this machine.
So the graphics engine in this computer is Radeon HD 8610G. A fancy name, it performs similarly to high-end Intel HD graphics chips. Getting playable frame rates (>20) should be possible on most titles, provided you keep settings and resolutions low. The older (or more lightweight) the game, the better your situation is, and sports games, Minecraft, World of Warcraft and Sims 4 would all run well even with some eye candy enabled.
For Internet, HP Pavilion 15-p037cl offers a 10/100Mbps LAN port and a wireless adapter. Bluetooth isn’t supported by default.
There are one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports available on this HP. Likewise HDMI output is installed so you can use a HDTV as the laptop’s monitor.
The HP has a high-definition webcam with dual array microphone for video calls.
An optical drive with CD/DVD writing capabilities is installed on this notebook. There’s also a SD media card reader for transferring files from digital cameras and similar devices.
What other things to keep in mind?
The keyboard in HP Pavilion 15-p037cl is not backlit. It features a numeric keypad on right.
The weight of 5.6 pounds is slightly above an average 15.6 incher’s weight. Battery life is listed as 4.5 hours, but being a regular 4-cell battery on a touchscreen model I would expect at most 4 hours running time.
A free 30-day trial for McAfee LiveSafe anti-virus program is pre-installed – along with some bloatware. That said, getting rid of unnecessary programs is rather effortless with Control Panel’s Uninstall a Program feature.
Wrapping it up
HP Pavilion 15-p037cl is a tool for demanding use and occasional gaming on budget. The quad-core AMD CPU, eight gigabytes of RAM and a Radeon graphics chip will be enough for web browsing, office tasks and low-level gaming alike. The touch display is an advantage with Windows 8. The biggest hurdle for power users is probably the lack of Full HD screen. Other than that, for around 500 bucks, the HP laptop offers quite an OK value.