Top positive review
Good laptop 'if" you can spend on the upgrades
14 August 2018
Using this laptop to play 4K content on a 4K TV drops the frame rate to less than 15 and it really struggles. Tested this on a latest 55 inch 4K Sony TV. I suspect its the basic GPU on this unit which cant do more than this. I personally dont own a 4K display yet, so still fine for my purposes for now.
Edit 2 - More observations after the upgrade
1) Photoshop and light room works just fine to edit 24 MP files from my SLR.
2) Tried all sorts of video files (4K, DTS 7.1, X265 etc) with some of them having file size as much as 34GB. It worked on all flawlessly but slightly stuttered only on the biggest of 4K files which doesn't play even half as good on any other computer I have. Even the bluray ISO files played flawlessly. The 8th gen processor is very good at this.
3) Track pad sensitivity is excellent and is just as good as anything else I have used. I bought a HP laptop for my brother 2 years back and the track pad was very ordinary on it. Great improvement here.
4) Movie play back clarity on this screen is top notch. But need to get it max brightness to be able to see clearly in dimly lit scenes. This may compromise battery life.
5) Battery life is 4.5 hrs (it shows remaining time if you change it in BIOS). I wasnt expecting it to be any better either.
6) Fan sound continues to draw attention. My daughter asked what the sound was as she hasnt heard any of my other laptops or PC make so much sound. With the room windows closed and AC on, my wife asked if it was raining outside (wasnt really expecting others to find it so obvious)
7) Multi tasking is good. Opened multiple CPU crunching apps and they worked just fine. Tried opening a large Excel file with lots of formulas which sometimes makes lesser laptops struggle a bit. Worked just fine.
8) Tablet mode is very good. I connected the laptop to my music system via bluetooth and makes it very convenient to listen to music and watch movies.
9) Installed Asphalt 9 just to see how it handles. Works without any slow down but kicks up the fan to full speed and heats up as well. During installation, I tried browsing with firefox and it worked just fine. I dont use Chrome as it eventually becomes too heavy to handle.
10) As you may all know, SSD makes the boot up and down really fast. This also helps in opening of apps quite fast.
11) The RAM usage is now 60% on idle. With the added 4GB. it has more headroom than before and its noticeable.
12) Headphone output is loud but not the best quality of sound ive heard. (Tested with audio technica ath m50x). Just decent sound. B&O play enhancements DO NOT work when connected to headphones via the 3.5mm audio output port. Search forums and you will see what I mean.
If you are confused between 8th gen core i3 vs i5, consider the base clock speed. The i3 is 2.2 Gz and i5 is 1.8Gz. Higher the clock speed, faster the performance of tasks which only needs single core.
Even though modern apps may have the capacity to use multiple cores, over 90% of them still utilizes only a single core to work. So i3 should suit your purposes just fine. If you are into gaming, you anyway need to consider i7 for its much faster clock speed & higher cores. I tried some basic testing in the shop on multiple laptops with i5 and i3. Not all i3 were better than i5 and not all i5 were better than i3. So I made an educated guess and bought this laptop with the upgrade predetermined. It worked out well in the end.
Edit - This is my revised review on top and the original one at the bottom.
Performance of the laptop is now good. Here is what ive done to get there.....
1)Upgraded the laptop with Samsung 256GB SSD and added Transcend 4 GB DDR4 RAM (both purchased in Amazon India)
The install was done via HP authorized service center. I did the disk cloning before I went there. If they are to do that, the will charge lot more.
2)Got rid of bloatwares ("HP assistant" is the biggest of them and also the Intel rapid storage). These are real system performance killers
3) Installing Samsung Magician will handle the rapid performance, so don't bother with any other settings for this.
4) Got rid of the Mcafee AV (even though this laptop comes with a subscription) and installed Avast (my Favorite). This is just my preference.
if any of you have installed Kodi (Home media SW), you know it takes few seconds or more when we exit that program. After the above steps, it closes down almost instantly.
I honestly didnt think the performance could be improved so much with these upgrades and tweaking on this laptop.
I will eventually try photoshop and other image editing programs as well.
Now im OK with this Laptop. Also I anyway had decided to upgrade to SSD and 8 GB RAM when I finalized to buy this model laptop.
The fan doesnt kick up as often as it did before for basic use but its still loud when system is under load. Hence the system heat up is also less frequent. However parallel tasks like working on the system while windows is installing updates in the background can be really slow.
If you want much faster performance, buy a core i7 processor based laptop with SSD and 8 GB RAM. If this is too expensive, get the cheapest you can with i7 processor and upgrade to SSD and additional RAM.
Initial impressions after few hours of use: (without any upgrades) - original review
1) Price was cheaper than the shop by 3K. Good discounts on top of that which shaved the cost further by almost 4K.
2)Touch screen is pretty good. Screen clarity is good as well. (Though I prefer Matt over Gloss.)
3)The supplied touch pen maybe useful for some apps.
4)Laptop is fairly compact and light.
5)Sound from laptop speaker is better than most compact laptops but nothing to write home about.
Not so good:
1)Weak processor. The fan starts off with minimal work load and gets louder than my PC. Im yet to install any apps other what came with the laptop. I checked the CPU load on task manager and the CPU load spiked to 84% while opening the task manager itself. Ofcourse it dropped back to normal but my other laptop & my PC doesnt struggle so much on older gen processors.
2)4GB RAM may not be enough either. The RAM usage on basic operations is over 60%
3)Heat management is very ordinary. I barely used it and while lifting up the laptop the temperature was bit too hot to be kept in lap. If this is in August, I cant imagine how hot it will feel in May in a non air conditioned room in Chennai.
4)The characters on the keys are very lightly printed. You cant see the keyboard too clearly without backlight or a fairly bright light in the room.