On this site, the featured HP Pavilions are usually low-cost notebooks running on entry-level components like a Celeron processor. However, that laptop series seems to have some powerful models too: HP Pavilion 17-f115dx is a Core i5 powered laptop at somewhat affordable price point. Exciting, indeed, and in this review we’ll figure out if it’s actually an useful computer for you.
The dual-core Intel Core i5-4210U processor offers clock frequency between 1.7GHz and 2.7GHz, depending if turbo speed is in use or not. In general, the i5 series, together with the flagship i7, belong to the heavy-duty line of Intel processors. This makes them sufficient for most people, be it casual users or professionals requiring solid multitasking capabilities. The majority of applications will run on these processor without a hitch.
HP Pavilion 17-f115dx is accompanied by 6GB RAM. A generous amount to start with, it’s installed on two chips and should be expandable to 16GB if you wanted to. But I’ve read you have to disassemble the laptop to perform the upgrade, and that’s not what every user can do.
There’s a 750GB hard drive installed on the laptop. Of course, it only runs on 5400RPM speed, but storage-wise offers space for large collection (tens of thousands) of music or photos. If you prefer quickness over storage, you should be able to replace the current HDD for a solid-state drive, too.
Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is the operating system of this notebook.
Display and graphics
The non-touch display of HP Pavilion 17-f115dx features 17.3″ diagonal with 1600×900 resolution. That’s OK for everyday use, but techies usually require a Full HD screen. For this price it might just happen, at least if you get some laptop with very good discount. Anyways, everyday computing is very possible on a “basic” resolution this notebook comes with.
The HP is adequate for some games. It has an integrated Intel HD 4400 chip which suffices for many titles when eye candy and resolution are kept at minimum. For example, Battlefield 4 should reach somewhat playable frame rates of 25-30. Many older or less demanding titles, like League of Legends, Minecraft and Sims 3 & 4 would run on much higher FPS, even if you had some eye candy turned on.
HP Pavilion 17-f115dx has the usual three USB ports for connecting your peripherals. Two of those are USB 3.0 for faster transfer speeds. HDMI-out can be used to plug a HDTV or PC monitor to this laptop.
A 100Mbps RJ-45 port and 1×1 WiFi adapter take care of networking. Bluetooth, as far as I know, isn’t supported out of the box.
DVD writer is installed on the notebook. It also has an SD media card reader if you’re into smaller memory cards.
The typical front-facing HP TrueVision webcam is available on top of the screen for HD video calls.
Anything else to consider?
HP Pavilion 17-f115dx’s weight of 6.23 pounds can be considered average. There’s a 4-cell battery responsible for giving power, and I’d say such a simple battery gives three or four hours running time.
The keyboard is a non-backlit one, with a numeric keypad available on the right hand side.
There’s a long list of pre-installed software mentioned in the specs. Some also call this bloatware. It can be annoying, but a permanent fix is to simply uninstall it.
HP Pavilion 17-f115dx responds very well to the needs of those who are not content with limited performance very cheap laptops offer. The Core i5 with 6GB RAM backing you up suffice for daily activies as well as for more complex software. 750GB hard drive is big, and more storage can be achieved with various cloud options or by using the built-in media card reader. Missing Full HD display is a pity, but when price is low(ish), compromises have to be made. If you don’t mind that, this Pavilion is probably a keeper.