Pros: Budget pricing, AMD quad core processor, 4GB of upgradable RAM, 15.6 inch display, 5.5 hours of battery life.
Cons: 500 GB hard drive, recommended upgrade to an SSD storage unit.
Entry level laptops have evolved quite a bit over the past couple of years. Now you can actually purchase a usable laptop for well below $300 something that would've previously been unconceivable and no, I'm not talking about cloudbooks or chromebooks, I'm talking about fully fledged computers.
Such is the case of HP's HP 15-ba009dx. This particular model packs quite a punch and has been the subject of great reviews because of it. On its core it comes with a powerful AMD processor, toggles 4GB of upgradable RAM and delivers roughly 5 hours of battery life. Without further ado, lets get on with our review of the HP 15-ba009dx to see if it's a worthy purchase after all.
Review of the HP 15-ba009dx, a great entry level laptop
Design and display
Overall, whilst you'd expect an entry level laptop to pack a flimsy build within a dull design, we're pleased to see that this isn't the case. In fact, we've got a space black design with a full sized keyboard that's pretty ergonomic and great for long typing sessions. Being a budget laptop this isn't a backlit keyboard but that's more than expected at this point.
The display at hand is a 15.6 inch WLED-Backlit panel with a 1366 by 768 pixel resolution, basically your run of the mill HD display with a 16:9 aspect ratio. It doesn't boost any fancy tech that reduces glare or anything of the sorts but it's pretty good overall.
What's on the inside?
Surely you're not looking to buy this laptop purely because of its looks. To that regard we must say that performance on the HP 15-ba009dx is pretty good all things considered. Under the hood you'll find an AMD A6-7310 quad core processor with 2MB of dynamic cache and up to 2.4GHz of speed. If you're used to having laptops with Intel processors then you should know that this would be the equivalent of a 4th generation Intel Core i3 dual core processor.
Storage is within our expectations with a single HDD running at 5400 rpm with 500 GB of capacity. While this is an entry level laptop you could easily upgrade the storage towards a 120GB SSD which would improve running speed as well as battery life.
RAM is good for an entry level laptop, packing 4GB of DDR3L RAM working at 1600 MHz. It should be noted that the motherboard on this model has two slots, one of which is already occupied with the aforementioned 4GB and another empty slot which we'd recommend using to upgrade RAM towards 8GB.
That said, 4GB is ok for light to moderate usage. If you're basically gonna use the HP 15-ba009dx to edit some texts, surf the web and watch movies then you might wanna test it out before opting to upgrade or not.
Can I play games? What's the battery life like?
As you'd expect from an entry level laptop, the HP 15-ba009dx in review was not built with gaming in mind. To that point it comes with an integrated graphics chip (AMD Radeon R4) which is good for watching movies and chatting with friends but that's about it from a graphical standpoint.
Battery life with its 3 cell battery isn't half bad and we might even say it's good with up to 5.5 hours of stipulated battery life. This asumes that you don't undertake heavy usage but rather do light tasks. If you're eager to expand battery life beyond said limit we'd recommend upgrading storage to the SSD variety which doesn't eat away as much battery.
Rounding it up
Wrapping things up we should also point towards the inclusion of 3 USB ports (one of 'em being of the 3.0 variety), an ethernet port, HDMI output, SD card reader as well as a DVD reader, something that's becoming increasingly uncommon amongst entry level models such as this one. In terms of wireless connectivity we've got a standard WiFi b/g/n support.
There's also a webcam as well as a couple of speakers which get the job done, you'd be wise to buy an external speaker if sound quality is pivotal to your experience.
What's the verdict?
For an incredibly low-cost laptop such as this one, our review of the HP 15-ba009dx shows that it offers quite a lot. The processor is pretty fast (for a budget laptop) and gets the job done whilst the battery life is pretty impressive all things considered.
If you're an intensive user and want to make this your main machine we'd advise towards upgrading the RAM and maybe even the storage unit but if you're a light user then you don't need to do anything and we're sure this laptop will fit your needs without draining your account.