Pros: i5 processor, Intel HD 5500 graphics chip, 1TB of storage, great customer service, vey affordable price, DVD tray
Cons: No "breath taking feature".
HP is good at two things; building reliable products and offering an exceptional customer service support. When these two things come together and align themselves with a budget friendly laptop it's clear we've got a winner on our hands. It's in that spirit that today we introduce the HP 15-ac151dx.
While it's name might not say much, HP's newest laptop is part of its Pavilion 15 line and as we all know, this line offers a solid build as well as a good price to spec relationship. It's newest laptop houses a Core i5 processor, 1TB of storage and a good Intel HD graphics 5500 graphics chip amongst other virtues. Interested in knowing more? You're not alone, keep reading our review of the HP 15-ac151dx to find out everything worth knowing and then some.
HP 15-ac151dx Review of a Mid-level budget laptop
Discrete Design and a standard display
Sometimes there's a lot to say about a laptop's design, other times there isn't and that's fine, especially when looking at a mid-range model such as this one. HP's newest mid level laptop offers a discrete black design with a rugged surface around the trackpad to guarantee a firm grip.
It's a pretty light machine, with just 4.7 pounds, considering most of it's competitors are diving dangerously close to the 5 pound territory it's not bad. Thickness-wise things are good with 0.95 inches. No, it's not the lightest nor the thinnest laptop in the market, but that's often the case when we look at mid level laptops that don't want to compromise their specs in lieu of a more "modern design".
The screen is a 15.6 inch IPS LED-Backlit display with an HD resolution. It's not touch sensitive and considering there aren't that many touch enabled apps at the moment that's hardly an issue. In fact, a lot of people - myself included - prefer a non-tactile screen when choosing a laptop, especially when there's not that much to gain from it.
You buy an HP laptop for its reliability, HP invests heavily in this and that's why it places quality components in its laptops. Maybe they lack the "pasazz" factor of other models but you know what you're buying into; a good experience.
To that point, the HP 15-ac151dx features an Intel Core i5-5200U processor. This is a dual core processor that works with 4 threads, 3 MB of cache and its processing power amounts to 2.2 GHz, increasing to 2.7 GHz when needed.
I'm gonna be straight with you; it's not a latest generation i5. Currently we're on the Skylake generation (6th) which offers an improvement of around 10% on performance over the previous generation. Will you notice the difference in performance? Most likely no. Will you notice the difference in pricing? Most likely yes.
An HP laptop with a 6th generation i5 will be more expensive. We've done the research for you guys and you can check what an HP laptop with a 6th generation i5 and 4 GB of RAM costs over here.
When all's said and done, the i5 in place is a pretty good processor if you want to go beyond simple computing. This processor is ideal for those looking to do some heavy lifting such as image editing, running virtual machines and so forth.
In regards to the RAM, HP embedded the HP 15-ac151dx with 4 GB of DDR3 SDRAM. For most users this will be more than enough. However, if you're a true poweruser who needs to run 5 or more programs at any given time then it would be advisable to upgrade your RAM to 8 GB.
However, we do advise seeing if the current 4 GB's meet your needs since many times it actually does meet the users requirements but because of some irrational fear they opt to increase RAM even before giving it a shot.
Any word on Gaming?
This is by no means a gaming laptop. It does quite well on average uses but for gaming it's Intel HD 5500 graphics chip will fall short very fast.
Games that are "playable" at low settings include 2015's Dirt Rally, Fifa 16 and 2014's Call of Duty; Advanced Warfare but we use the term "playable" loosely as this laptop is really not meant to be used as a gaming machine.
Is this portable? How about storage?
Battery life is typically good when a laptop goes ahead and implements a Core i5 Broadwell processor. In the case of the HP 15-ac151dx we've got a 3 cell battery but no official word in regards to battery life. That said, it's fair to assume that battery life moves along the 5 hour mark which is standard.
Storage is based upon a 1 TB Serial ATA hard drive working at 5400 rpm. An SSD would be a major improvement over this and if you're a speed junkie we definitely recommend upgrading to a lower capacity SSD.
On the flip side, if you don't mind waiting a few seconds more to boot up and boot down as well as download files then you could save yourself some money and keep the bigger capacity hard drive in place.
How about ports and all that other stuff?
We should mention that unlike many of its competitors, the HP 15-ac151dx comes with a DVD reader. It also comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports, a USB 3.0 port for fast data transfers and whatnot, a standard SD card reader to see the pics you took on your vacations, an ethernet port for you to finally start using a faster and more secure internet connection and a WiFi b/g/n antenna for you to postpone that yet again.
There's also Bluetooth 4.0, a webcam and a couple of speakers with DTS technology.
In conclusion, the HP 15-ac151dx is not "the bad boy"
As you might be able to tell by now after reading our review of the HP 15-ac151dx, this is not an "exciting laptop". It doesn't really have any stand out feature that will make you dribble nor does it have a design that will be the envy of all your geeky friends. No, this is not "that kind of laptop".
The HP 15-ac151dx is a reliable, solid, well built machine that wants you to know you've got your bases covered while also offering up a good customer service in case you need it. If we went with an analogy then the MacBook (wayyy more expensive) would be the bad boy you date for a while and this laptop would be the good guy you end up marrying for his dependability and reliability.
Should you buy it? Well, while it doesn't excel, it also doesn't disappoint and if you want a laptop with a good processor to do some heavy lifting and be assured that you'll have it for a few years to come then this is your model. You can check pricing and availability here.