HP Pavilion 17-e118dx, the AMD A8 powered 17.3″ laptop sells for around 400 dollars. Sounds like a good deal. So what’s the catch? Well, the cheap version is a refurb. But from what I’ve seen these refurbished items sell well and are very rarely returned. So they must offer some great value. So let’s see if this laptop would be suitable to your needs to begin with.
A processor called AMD A8-4500M is the heart of this HP laptop. It was made to compete with Intel’s low end Core i3 CPUs. That AMD is already getting bit old, having been released in 2012, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless. On the contrary, for daily computing such an older processor works well. You don’t have to pay for a fancy CPU if you don’t need one.
The laptop has 4GB DDR3L SDRAM available on a DIMM chip. There’s a free slot on the motherboard if you want to upgrade the memory. 8GB RAM is the maximum this notebook supports which should suffice for power users, too.
Storage space is provided by a 750GB hard drive. It’s not a bad size, capable of hosting a music collection of 10,000s songs, for example. The “dark side” of these hard drives is of course the speed, which can make them feel a bit sluggish to use. If you want a quick storage, consider swapping this hard drive for an SSD. It should be possible on this laptop.
Operating system is Windows 8.1, the 64-bit version.
Screen and graphics
One of the main characteristics of HP Pavilion 17-e118dx is the large 17.3″ display. It is a budget screen, there’s no touchscreen support and the resolution is mediocre 1600×900. A Full HD would cheer up many professionals and graphics designers. That said, the 1600×900 resolution isn’t bad for everyday computing where huge amount of screen estate isn’t required.
An integrated graphics chip called Radeon HD 7640G is responsible for running the games. It’s surprisingly fast engine considering the low price tag of this laptop. You can easily play low-end games, like Minecraft and League of Legends, and probably even increase settings to medium or high. With heavier games, like Battlefield 4, you might end up with 30-40 frames per second if you keep eye candy down.
Three USB ports are available on HP Pavilion 17-e118dx. Two are USB 3.0 with one USB 2.0 for less fancy peripherals. The laptop also contains HDMI and VGA outputs so you can plug it in to various external monitors, such as HDTV.
Both 10/100Mbps Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n WiFi adapters are installed, so accessing Internet with or without wire is possible. This model doesn’t support Bluetooth by default, but installing it can be done with a cheap USB dongle.
SuperMulti DVD burner is located on the right hand side. The notebook also features an SD media card reader if you’re into memory cards (digital camera etc.).
There’s a HD webcam and microphone on the laptop so video calls work.
What other things to consider?
HP Pavilion 17-e118dx can’t be considered a good pick for on-the-go computing. It weighs 6 pounds which limits the portability. Also the battery life isn’t that good, with the 6-cell battery giving around 3 hours operating time if user reports are to be believed.
There’s no backlit feature on the keyboard so you won’t get any additional help typing in the dark. However, a 10-key numpad is available on the right hand side which allows for straightforward number key access.
The usual HP bloatware comes installed on this computer. It can of course be uninstalled. A 30-day trial for McAfee LiveSafe is also included.
HP Pavilion 17-e118dx has received a lot of positive user reviews, with people thanking its performance and appropriate size. Indeed, the AMD A8 processor with Radeon graphics engine isn’t bad for a budget computer. Most software have no problems running on it – and same can be said about many games, including the famous Minecraft and CS: Go. Of course, the notebook lacks some desirable features like a Full HD screen or Bluetooth. But if you can live with that this HP should be a powerful (yet rather affordable) laptop for your needs. It’s also selling as a refurbished version if you’re feeling like pinching a penny.