Pros: 17 inch screen, DVD reader, sober design, quad core AMD CPU, very low price.
Cons: 500 GB of storage.
On 9to5gadgets we mainly talk about 13 and 15 inch laptops. However, for many users this just isn't enough screen real-estate. On the contrary, many seek 17 inch laptops that will also work as desktop replacements.
It's with this in mind that today we're going to take a long hard look at the HP 17-p121wm, a 17 inch laptop that gets noticed thanks to its extremely competitive price point as well as it's perfect balance between price and specs (see price here). Itching to know more? Then keep reading our in depth review of the HP 17-p121wm.
Elegant design on a plastic body
While we generally don't see elegant designs on top of plastic bodies, the HP 17-p121wm seems to be the exception to this rule. Though it's outsides don't project a premium look, the truth is this laptop has a sober and minimalistic design that we're quite fond of.
The screen, on the other hand, is your standard 17.3 inch display. This means we've got a WLED-backlit display with brightview technology and a resolution that goes beyond HD towards the 1600 by 900 pixels standard.
Aside from having a minimalistic look, the laptop also has minimalistic dimensions which translate into a weight of 6.24 pounds and a thickness of just 1.09 inches.
How's the performance?
Enough chit chat about the notebook's design. What you really wanna know is how it will perform with your everyday needs. Am I right? In this case, let's cut right to it.
The processor embedded within this laptop is an AMD Quad-Core A6-6310 that clocks in at 1.8 GHz and reaches turbo speeds of up to 2.4 GHz with 2 MB of L2 type cache. If you're used to Intel processors then don't worry, if we where to look for an Intel equivalent of the A6-6310 we would point you towards a 4th generation Core i5, specifically an i5-4200U model.
Currently Intel's on the 6th generation of their Core i5 CPU's so this would basically be like buying a laptop with a 2 year old i5 CPU. This isn't necessarily a bad thing however, as the 4th generation i5 was quite a "good batch" and there really hasn't been that much of an upgrade between the 4th and 6th generation.
Aside from the processor, the other key component within a laptop is its RAM and in this case we're not impressed but we aren't disappointed either with a 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM module. For most users this will be enough RAM but for heavy users is might fall a bit short. Specifically for those who do a LOT of multitasking and need to run several programs at the same time.
Personally I'm using a 2 year old i5 CPU notebook with 4 GB of RAM and typically have over 10+ tabs open and 3-4 programs running at any given time and my laptop works pretty well in most scenarios (not a gaming laptop).
Is this a gaming laptop?
The last "integral component" to tell how a notebook will perform is its graphics card. In this case we've got an integrated AMD Radeon R4 graphics card which would be comparable to an Intel HD 4000 graphics card.
Translated to english this means you can edit videos, stream HD movies, skype with friends and do pretty much all the "standard user" stuff but you can't play games nor work with graphic intensive programs.
All in all, the set of specs presented within the HP 17-p121wm set us up for a pretty solid experience if you're an average user. Sure, it's not your last generation specs but more of an entry level model but the truth is that for most users this will be more then enough.
How many movies can I store in this laptop? What's the battery life like?
As much as CPU and RAM matter for the more technical users (us geeks), storage and battery life are generally quite vital elements for the more practical set of users. In this regard, the HP 17-p121wm comes with a standard 500 GB Serial ATA hard drive that runs at 5400 rpm.
Taking into account that a standard HD movie will weigh around 750 MB and discounting the 50 GB of storage that's already used up by the OS this gives us enough space to store approximately 600 movies. Not bad.
That said, we should note that currently only entry level laptops feature 500 GB hard drives. If you're willing to splurge a bit more you will find that mid range laptops sport 1 TB of storage space.
As far as battery life is concerned, this notebook comes with a 4 cell battery which should afford us between 3 and up to 4 hours of battery life. Of course we're talking about a 17 inch laptop here so battery life is not such an important factor since most people will have it plugged in.
How many ports does it have? Does it have a DVD reader?
As we approach the end of our HP 17-p121wm review it's time to take a look at which peripherals we can connect. In this sense we've got one USB 3.0 port for quick data transfers, 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 HDMI port and one ethernet port.
Of course there's also a DVD reader as well as a front facing webcam with your standard VGA resolution (0.3 megapixels).
So...is the HP 17-p121wm worth buying?
It's never easy when we arrive at this point. It's never easy to conclude a review with a simple yes or no answer. We can't say that the HP 17-p121wm is for everyone. The more power hungry users will find this laptop lackluster and for many people 17 inches is far too big for a laptop.
However, for those who seek a 17 inch laptop and don't really need a powerhouse (nor want to spend as much money on one) then the HP 17-p121wm should prove to be a good purchase.
We like it's key components and after doing an in depth exploration, the truth is we can't really find a reason not to buy this laptop. Sure, it doesn't stand out for having stellar specs but it has something even more impressive then that; a good quality/price ratio . All in all a very interesting model that is sure to become a best seller within the 17 inch laptops.