Ask any laptop manufacturer and the answer is always the same. It just so happens their model is the right choice for you. But ask Tech For Pennies about professional opinion and the answer might be something else. So today, it was time to take HP Pavilion 17-e117dx, a budget 17.3″ notebook from California under scrutiny.
HP Pavilion 17-e117dx has Intel Core i3-3130M CPU running on two cores and 2.6GHz clock speed. Benchmarks show it does OK compared to the beefiest processors in market. There’s nothing particularly bad or good about this Intel – chances are it won’t be the bottleneck as long as you don’t do particularly heavy stuff like latest games full of eye candy on this HP.
The RAM amount is unsurprisingly 4GB (1 DIMM module). Again, that’s the average in modern budget laptops and there are not many cases 4GB memory couldn’t handle. However, if you require more, HP Pavilion 17-e117dx supports up to 8GB RAM. There’s one free slot so upgrading should indeed be easy.
Hard drive is 750GB 5400RPM one. It’s over average since many laptops in the budget range have just 500GB hard drive. Such 750GB drive can host, for example, movies in high hundreds so you won’t run out of space fast. With that being said, if you have a habit to download lots of huge files to your computer hardly nothing is ever enough. In that case, one could resort to an external USB hard drive. But it’s safe to say that the majority of users will never use all the installed 750GB anyway.
Operating system for this HP is the latest, pre-installed Windows 8.1 64-bit edition.
Screen & graphics
The display of HP Pavilion 17-e117dx stands out from the crowd. It’s 17.3 inches while many budget laptops have a 15.6″ one. The resolution stands at 1600×900 which is again higher than your average 1366×768 on smaller displays. The display is however not a touch screen so you won’t enjoy the Windows 8’s touch features on this HP.
HP Pavilion 17-e117dx has Intel HD 4000 responsible for bringing you a nice graphics on your screen. It’s the cookie cutter graphics engine of budget laptops. It does rather good job on older games and not so good job on later titles. So, unless you’re a big time gamer, going for such an integrated graphics chip shouldn’t pose a problem for you.
HP Pavilion 17-e117dx has 1 USB 2.0 port and 2 USB 3.0 ports. Most other HP budget laptops I’ve taken a look at have similar configuration. Both VGA and HDMI outputs are also present and allow you to plug this laptop to a larger, external monitor like HDTV.
Accessing Internet is possible either through Ethernet or WiFi adapter. The Ethernet is 10/100Mbps and WiFi is single-band, but especially the absence of Gigabit Ethernet just doesn’t matter unless your Internet connection is so fast. The single-band WiFi signal is bit weaker than that of dual band’s, so a person in huge office or house might benefit from dual band WiFi more. But again, that’s one of the very minor tradeoffs one has to accept for cheaper price.
Anything else to keep in mind?
There’s a DVD drive that allows you to write and read CDs and DVDs. Also media card reader for SD cards is installed as well as front facing HD webcam.
The keyboard of HP Pavilion 17-e117dx is non-backlit, full-size keyboard with numeric keypad. That’s obvious choice for a big laptop like this, and will give you quick access for numbers. For others, though, the 10-key numeric pad is just a nuisance.
Weight of the laptop is 6.39 lbs. It’s indeed on the heavier side, and carrying this 17.3 incher around takes more effort than a compact notebook would. If you’re a traveler or just looking for a lighter option, have you considered a Chromebook?
Despite its minor shortcomings, HP Pavilion 17-e117dx looks like a good pick. It has everything you would want: a comfortable size display, adequate performance and aesthetically pleasing design. Some minus points must be given for the absence of Bluetooth, but other than that there’s not much to complain. The usual ramblings about inadequate performance for hardcore gamers stand true. But that’s the case for basically any cheap notebook. So in conclusion, this HP should suffice for users looking for a solid home or office laptop without huge emphasis on gaming.