HP Pavilion 17-f230nr Review

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March 5, 2015
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One of the newest models coming from Palo Alto is the HP Pavilion 17-f230nr. Its price is comfortably 500 bucks, offering Pentium-level performance and a large 17.3″ display. But the hot question is: Is this notebook useful to you? We try to solve that puzzle below.

Performance

HP Pavilion 17-f230nr has a processor called Intel Pentium N3540. It’s quite a new one (late 2014 model), with four cores and 2.2 – 2.7GHz clock speed depending on the burst frequency. However, despite these solid numbers, it still lacks in real performance, getting less than 1900 CPU Mark points. The reason I’m saying, for this price you can easily get a Core i3 powered laptop with much better processor performance. Of course, CPU is not everything, and for everyday computing a slower processor like the Pentium works decently.

One 4GB DDR3L memory chip is installed to the computer. That’s a good amount for basic use, professionals might want to have more. It’s not mentioned anywhere how many memory slots the mainboard has. Regardless, you should be able to install more, at least a 8GB chip by removing the old memory first.

The storage situation isn’t bad, with a 750GB hard drive giving you a lot of space. For example, the notebook would be able to host around 150 full DVD flicks. In case you value express speeds over storage, just remove the hard drive and install a solid-state drive in place.

Windows 8.1 (64-bit) is the operating system of this laptop.

Display and graphics

A distinctive feature of HP Pavilion 17-f230nr is the display. It’s 17.3″ diagonal, so bigger than a common 15.6″ screen. The resolution is also increased, although at 1600×900 it’s still not quite a Full HD. For movie watching and similar entertainment activities this kind of monitor should indeed work. Conversely, portability is decreased due to a bulky size.

There’s not a lot this laptop can do for gamers. It has an integrated graphics chip, bearing the name Intel HD (Bay Trail). It can’t keep up with the requirements of new games, and most 2014-2015 titles would indeed have unsatisfactory frame rates. Even Battlefield 4 wouldn’t run, with FPS between 10 and 15. Handful of games, those with less graphics, should work on low settings. Think of types like Minecraft and League of Legends.

Connections

HP Pavilion 17-f230nr has three USB ports, just like its competitors. But two of those are USB 3.0, while most other notebooks have just one USB 3.0. This is a nice thing if you’re planning to use a lot of peripherals. You can also plug this laptop to a HDTV or PC monitor, there’s a HDMI out for that.

Internet is accessible through a 10/100Mbps Ethernet port or a regular WiFi adapter. Bluetooth 4.0 support is built-in.

The notebook has an optical drive with the ability to burn CDs and DVDs. There’s also a reader for SD memory cards, good for image transfers from digital cameras.

A HD-level webcam is installed on top of the screen, allowing for Skype video chats.

Anything else to remember?

HP Pavilion 17-f230nr weighs 6.2 pounds, not really a compact model, but that’s what 17.3″ laptops usually are. There’s a 4-cell Li-ion battery installed with promised life for 5.25 hours. But take that with a grain of salt, you’ll most likely end up with around 3 hours on a single charge.

On right hand side of the non-backlit keyboard there’s a numeric keypad installed.

The system seems to come loaded with HP utilities. Many (including me) call this bloatware, but the cure is simple: Just head to Control Panel and remove each of these programs individually.

Final thoughts

Let’s start with the bad thing about HP Pavilion 17-f230nr, the processor. Pentium N3540 can be characterized as a budget CPU, with little performance only good for basic web surfing, MS Office stuff and some video streaming. For the same price you can get a much faster processor – although I can understand many don’t require a high-end CPU at all. Because there are also useful things in this HP, like the big display, for somebody who’s keen on watching movies and series from his laptop. If you’re this kind of person, and don’t really run advanced software, then you can be happy with the configuration this HP offers.


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