A large 17.3″ laptop might be a perfect choice for people keen on watching videos and movies on their notebooks. HP Pavilion 17-f215dx is such a machine, sporting a WLED-backlit 17 inches screen. A nice feature for many, but definitely not everything this computer offers. So let’s see what other things there are, and if there’s something bad you should be wary of.
5th generation Intels are becoming more popular day by day. Such a processor has also found its way to this HP. The Core i5-5200U is an upgraded version of the 4th gen i5-4200U, with benchmarks showing around 10% better performance. It’s a dual core CPU like its predecessor, although the new i5-5200U sports higher base and turbo speeds, 2.2GHz and 2.7GHz respectively. Both casual users and professionals should find enough power in this processor, be it for everyday computing, multitasking or demanding applications.
HP Pavilion 17-f215dx has 6GB RAM installed. It’s a nice middle ground between four and eight gigabytes, and not many users would benefit from more RAM. Besides, the memory can only be upgraded to 8GB according to HP representative, and going from six to eight gigabytes doesn’t bump up the speed so much it’d worth the price.
The 750GB hard drive will take a lot of files but serving them isn’t that fast. These 5400RPM drives lack in performance the newer ones, especially solid-state drives, have. Of course, you are free to put in an SSD if you know how to. Your local computer specialist is willing to do that too, but of course it costs a bit.
Graphics and screen
The screen of HP Pavilion 17-f215dx is large, but I wouldn’t expect miracles from it. Quality displays in cheaper laptops are very rare. One thing that suggests the screen was budget-made is the resolution. 1600×900 is not optimal for 17 inches, especially if you ask a power user’s opinion. If you’re wondering whether Full HD movies play on this screen, I’ll tell you they certainly do, but you’ll be shown downscaled (although still very watchable) versions rather than true 1920×1080 content. In addition, the display doesn’t support touch, but I wouldn’t worry about that so much.
Intel HD 5500 might be a familiar name to you. It’s a graphics engine found in new 5th generation processors, said to be better than most older family members such as the HD 4000 and HD 4400. You should be alright with the HD 5500 as long as you don’t mind playing on lower settings and resolutions. On the minimum details, Battlefield 4 should for example give 30FPS. Another crowd’s favorite, CS: GO runs on similar frame rates but with high settings.
Connections of HP Pavilion 17-f215dx include three USB ports, of which two are USB 3.0. I’d favor those two, since one is USB 2.0 with speeds not up to 2015’s standards. There’s also a HDMI output in case you want to connect an external, Full HD screen like an HDTV.
Networking options are the basic 100Mbps Ethernet RJ-45 port and 802.11b/g/n WiFi. It doesn’t look like Bluetooth is enabled, so you’d have to get an USB adapter for that.
DVD drive is included like on most 17 inchers. As such, you don’t need an external drive for discs. SD card slot is installed as well. The built-in webcam works with Skype video chats.
Any other things to keep in mind?
These 17.3″ notebooks are good if you don’t have to carry them a lot. The weight of HP Pavilion 17-f215dx is 6.23 pounds, not a lot compared to other models with similar size, but still quite bulky if you’re an avid road warrior. The 4-cell battery is said to last 4.5 hours. That’s quite optimistic, maximum four hours is your best bet.
There are no illuminated keys on this model. A 10-key pad is available on the right for convenient number key access.
There are people I’d recommend the HP Pavilion 17-f215dx to. For example, if you’re a home user not planning to travel with this unit. It’s big, but on the other hand the laptop offers solid performance considering the price: i5 processor and 6GB RAM are very powerful combo for general use. It’s the resolution I might complain about, but getting a proper Full HD screen for this price is unheard of. So, if you want an affordable, basic home laptop, you might want to check this one out.