Affordable gaming laptops are hard to come by. However, as of late, firms such as Dell and HP have been hard at work to deliver what the market craves; relatively cheap gaming laptops with huge potential for all kinds of tasks. That's where our review of the HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr comes to play; a low cost gaming laptop for the masses.
With a modest price point, this new Signature Edition laptop (no bloatware) strikes the market with a Full HD touchscreen, an i7 processor, a powerful dedicated graphics chip and a whole lot more. In the mood to find out more? Keep reading...
Review of the HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr, entry level gaming laptop
Full HD touchscreen display and a distinctive design
The HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr arrives with a very curious rugged design. The keyboard is backlit with a green light that while it's certainly original we're not sure it's entirely practical when it comes down to serving its purpose of lighting keys in the dark.
There are big air vents on both sides of this laptop to ensure that it stays cool under pressure with the subsequent gain in size of 0.14 inches in regards to competing models (1.14 inch thickness). Weight, as is standard on a gaming laptop is also on the heavy side of things with 5.6 pounds. A price we're more than willing to pay.
The screen, one of its main features, is a Full HD touchscreen with WLED-Backlit technology and support for up to 10 fingers at a time. The kind of panel deployed is an IPS panel but there's no anti-glare technology in place so we'd be dubious as to playing with this laptop when the screen is exposed to direct sunlight.
The Good/The Pros
Within the HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr we'll find a Skylake generation Core i7 processor that goes under the official name of i7-6700HQ.
This is a spectacular processor because unlike most of the models in the market, this is a quad core processor with 8 threads, 6MB of cache and a working speed of 2.6 GHz that can go to 3.5 GHz.
That's a lot of horsepower, so much so we really can't see anything that this processor would be unable to do properly and that, in itself, is a very rare quality in the market.
System Memory in this case is 8 GB of DDR3L SDRAM working at 1600 MHz. For the most intensive users, this is enough RAM to run several programs at a time while less demanding users will notice that most of the RAM goes unused which isn't a bad thing since it serves an additional purpose of future-proofing your laptop for future OS upgrades that require more RAM.
Gaming on this laptop is possible thanks to its Nvidia GeForce GTX 950M graphics card with 2GB of dedicated vRAM.
This will enable the HP 15-ak099nr to play most current games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Need for Speed 2016 at very good frame rates on medium settings and ok frame rates at the highest settings. Older games of the 2014-2015 generation will run smoothly in Full HD as well. You can look up the benchmarks over here.
We also love the battery life, which in this case is headed by a 4 cell lithium-ion battery that, according to the company, is capable of delivering up to 8 hours of continuous performance. At this stage, it's a pretty safe bet to assume that most people know not to trust official numbers so let's say that you can expect around 7 hours of real world usage which also isn't half bad.
The stuff that's ok
Once we've unraveled the best parts of this model in our HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr review it's time to take a gander at those features that are just "ok-ish". Such is the case of storage, which in the case at hand is a 1TB hard drive operating at a running speed of 5400 rpm.
Connectivity is also ok but not remarkable. We wouldn't have minded seeing support for WiFi ac connectivity but in its place we've got WiFi b/g/n connectivity with support for Miracast as well as your run of the mill Bluetooth 4.0.
There's also a DVD burner, Intel Real Sense 3D webcam and Bang & Olufsen audio technology. We've also got 3 USB ports, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI, ethernet and a headphone/microphone combo.
These features are all ok, but they're hardly remarkable traits or big selling points since they're pretty common amongst most laptops in the current marketplace.
The bad/The cons
Quite honestly, there's not much to pinpoint as an actual bad feature. Sure, weight is a bit excessive but it's justified with bigger air vents and a bigger battery. Other than that we would state again the lack of usefulness that we see in a green backlit keyboard but that also has a certain "cool factor" that we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss either.
The WiFi could be better of course but it's not bad in itself and storage would improve if it were of the SSD variety but that's a longshot at best at these prices. Overall, there's simply not that much to criticize.
Our conclusion: Is this laptop worth it?
There are two kinds of products in the market; those that are good in relation to their price point and those that are simply good regardless of that. After our review of the HP Pavilion 15-ak099nr we can safely say that this model falls into the latter. This is a good laptop, with or without a competitive price tag attached to it.
The quad core i7 Skylake processor is a big selling point on its own, add to that a Full HD touchscreen, the lack of annoying bloatware and a dedicated graphics chip that places no limits on what you can do and you got yourself a real winner on every front.
Should you buy it? Depends, if you're an intensive poweruser or someone who wants a future-proof laptop then yes, if not then you might want to look elsewhere.