[Review] HP 15-ef1020nr: A Reliable Student Laptop


Pros
  • 256 GB of SSD Storage
  • Over 9-hours of battery life
  • Ample Connectivity including SD card reader
  • Touchscreen
Cons
  • HD display
  • No ethernet port

When it comes down to researching student laptops it's not a very easy decision with the market cluttered by dozens if not hundreds of mid-range options. However, once in a while, we see a laptop that manages to meet all of our requirements and then some. Such is the case of the HP 15-ef1020nr. A perfectly balanced student laptop with a punch that's killing it thanks to its extremely tight price point and rave reviews.

HP's latest venture onto the student laptop scene presents itself with all the specs we need, though it definitely lacks in the bells and whistles department. Without further ado, let's get on with this review of the HP 15-ef1020nr.

Design, Display & Keyboard



We're starting off this review with what's possibly the least impressive segment of this notebook. Specifically, the design doesn't really feature anything new with your standard silver chassis and brushed metal look on the palm rest that's become so common these days it doesn't really contribute anything new to the conversation.

As far as the weight goes, it weighs in at a standard 3.75 pounds. Pretty much what we've come to expect on a 15.6-inch mid-range notebook.

Moving onto the screen, we're slightly disappointed that HP didn't go with a Full HD touchscreen, opting for a standard 1386 by 768-pixel resolution instead. We understand that the company likely did so to improve battery life which is respectable in any case. However, that doesn't mean we wouldn't have appreciated a Full HD resolution, such as the one we've seen on the HP 15-dy2024nr.

Finally, the keyboard is not suitable for those who need to look at it to type. If you're like me and you are a touch typist then you're fine but if you need to look at your keyboard to type then you might run into a problem in dimly lit environments.

It's not enough that the keyboard in itself isn't backlit but HP also opted for a slightly dark grey color for the letters against a silver backdrop, making it fairly difficult to see the keys when there's not enough lighting.

We're not going to sugarcoat it: HP didn't do the best job in this segment.

Performance

While design leaves much to be desired, what's really critical when it comes to choosing a mid-range laptop is performance, and here's where HP wins us over. Specifically, the HP ‎15-ef1020nr features a powerful dual-core AMD 3250U processor, clocking at a base speed of 2.4 GHz and reaching 3.3 GHz when working on more CPU-intensive tasks.

Couple that with a generous 8 GB of fourth-generation RAM (DDR4) and 256 GB worth of SSD storage and you've got yourself a laptop that's much more than a pretty paperweight.

This is where the HP 15-ef1020nr really shines with an overall score of 6,038 on Geekbench which tests processing power, memory speed and storage performance which puts it squarely on par with some of the better equipped mid-range laptops on the market.

To translate that into "non geek english" that means you've got a laptop that's perfectly suited for browsing the web with multiple tabs open at any given time, streaming video, editing documents and even doing some more intensive stuff like programming using an IDE or doing some light photography retouches, as many buyers will attest to

What's more, you can even upgrade the RAM on the HP ‎15-ef1020nr, a relatively simple procedure that will take you all of five minutes and will further improve the multitasking capabilities of this notebook and take them to a whole new level. Something that's worth noting for the power users that are reading this review.

Battery Life

HP has made a lot of noise about the battery life this laptop can achieve and we're happy to report that those claims are not just idle marketing talk.

Specifically, this laptop really gets the job done and we averages between 6 to 7 hours of battery life on a single charge with WiFi turned on, normal brightness levels and doing mundane tasks like browsing the web or typing up a paper.

If you're planning to use this as your main device for those two years in college without being near an electrical outlet then this might just be what you're looking for.

In terms of charging time, we're happy to report that this unit features fast charging technology, meaning you can charge over 50% of the battery in just 45 minutes.

Ports & Connectivity

The HP 15-ef1020nr has got you covered if you're looking for a decently sized range of ports to plug all your peripherals into, which is something that's becoming increasingly rare nowadays.

On the left side, we've got a couple of USB type-A ports. On the right there's a single USB Type-C port as well as an HDMI port and SD card reader.

We very much appreciate the fact that HP opted to include an SD card reader on this notebook since it's not all that common these days.

As far as wireless connectivity is concerned we've got WiFi a/c, also known as WiFi 5, and Bluetooth 4.2. Finally, there's a webcam with a decent HD resolution for video calls.

Bottom line: Is it worth buying?

Overall, this is an impressive laptop with a lot of power under the hood, all the necessary connectivity options you could ask for and most importantly: a very competitive price.

As far as mid-range laptops are concerned this one is hard to beat so if you've been looking for something that has the horsepower to keep up with your busy lifestyle but isn't too expensive then this might be what you're looking for.

It's got a great set of internal specs, a nice touchscreen and respectable battery life. And while we would've appreciated a Full HD display and perhaps a backlit keyboard to boot we have to say the HP ‎15-ef1020nr is still one of the best deals in the market.