The HP 15 Laptop, or the 15-DB0069WM, only costs $436, but for that relatively low price you have to deal with a washed out 15.6-inch, low-resolution panel and poor battery life packed in a dull design. While the HP 15 offers decent performance and features a comfortable keyboard, that isn't enough for us to fully recommend it.
HP 15 Laptop Price and Configuration Options
The configuration of the HP 15 Laptop we tested costs $436 and comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor with AMD Radeon Vega 8 graphics, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB HDD.
HP has a version on its site that starts at $519 and is packed with an AMD A9-9425 processor with an AMD Radeon R5 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD and a 1366 x 768 display.
HP's website sells another version of the laptop that starts at $1,239 and comes with a Core i7-7500U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD and a 1366 x 768 display, which is a complete rip off. You might as well spring for a Spectre x360, which is on sale for $1,099 (starting at $1,369) and is outfitted with a Core i7-8550U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a 4K display. Not to mention that its design leaps over the HP 15 Laptop.
Like the HP 15's namesake, the laptop's design is devoid of personality. The Jet Black design over engraved stitching on the lid is home to nothing but an HP logo, so it just looks empty. I've seen cheap Chromebooks that look classier than this.
The interior of the HP 15 is a carbon copy of the exterior, and with thick bezels to boot. I could barely even catch the speaker vent just above the keyboard because it blended in with the chassis so well.
At 4.4 pounds and 14.8 x 9.69 x 0.89 inches, the HP 15 Laptop is actually the lightest and thinnest among its 15-inch competitors. The Acer Aspire E 15 comes in at 5 pounds and 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches, while the Lenovo IdeaPad 320 measures 4.51 pounds and 14.9 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches. The 14-inch Acer Spin 3 weighs 3.79 pounds and measures 13.2 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches.
The HP 15 Laptop has a decent amount of ports, but has no USB Type-C port.
On the left, the chassis features the power jack, an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, two USB 3.1 ports and a headphone jack, while the right side has a security lock slot, a R/W DVD drive, one USB 2.0 port and an SD card reader.
It's hard to look past the HP 15 Laptop's dull and dim 15.6-inch display when its resolution is only 1366 x 768. We're willing to get over poor displays on budget and mainstream laptops, but it's most disappointing when a notebook can't manage 1920 x 1080.
I watched the trailer for Rambo: Last Blood, and the establishing shot of Rambo confronting a bunch of baddies atop a graffiti-ridden rooftop looked washed out; the panel overcompensated the low brightness with high contrast. And when a bunch of explosions kicked off over the barren landscape, the orange and yellow balls of fire looked tame and unthreatening. I also noticed that Sylvester Stallone's wrinkles weren't as sharp as they could've been.
According to our colorimeter, the HP 15 Laptop's display covered only 67% of the sRGB color gamut, falling below the 78% mainstream laptop average. To be fair, the Aspire E 15 (62%), IdeaPad 320 (67%) and Spin 3 (70%) didn't make the average either. But at the very least, the Aspire E 15 and Spin 3 have 1920 x 1080 panels.
At 222 nits, the HP 15 was so dim that the display compensates with unpleasantly high contrast. Regardless, the device didn't make the category average (243 nits) and it couldn't get past the Aspire E 15 (227 nits) or the Spin 3 (226 nits), either. The laptop did, however, beat the IdeaPad 320 (194 nits).
Keyboard and Touchpad
While the HP 15's keyboard feels a little mushy, the combination of its textured palm rest and deep travel make it relatively comfortable to type on. However, it's incredibly frustrating that the NumLock key does not have an LED to indicate whether it's turned on or not.
I hit 70 words per minute on the 10FastFingers.com typing test, which is right at my current average speed. The HP 15's keys travel at 1.5 millimeters and require 66 grams of force to actuate, which is in line with our 1.5 to 2.0 mm comfort zone and minimum 60 g of force.
The 4.5 x 2.0-inch touchpad is soft, but frustrating to use due to how stiff the discrete left and right clickers are. On top of that, the HP 15 Laptop doesn't use Windows 10 precision drivers, so you can't disable certain gestures. Windows 10 gestures like two-finger scrolling and three-finger tabbing work, but occasionally lag or stutter.
Performance and Graphics
The HP 15 Laptop is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U processor with 8GB of RAM, which is surprising because many sub-$500 laptops typically have just 6GB or less of RAM. The device handled 10 Google Chrome tabs and one 1080p YouTube video easily. However, after doubling the tabs and videos, I noticed a slight slowdown, and after booting up 30 Chrome tabs and 4 YouTube videos, the HP 15 Laptop took quite awhile to start loading images.
On the Geekbench 4.1 overall performance test, the HP 15 scored 9,131, which actually surpasses the 9,088 mainstream laptop average. The laptop even got past the Aspire E 15's 7,871 (Core i3-8130U), the IdeaPad 320's 5,314 (Core i3-7100U) and the Acer Spin 3's 8,543 (Core i3-8130U).
The HP 15 Laptop took 25 minutes and 53 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark, and while that may seem long, it was faster than the category average (33:12) as well as the Aspire E 15 (31:40) and Acer Spin 3 (34:59).
The HP's 1TB HDD took 1 minute and 30 seconds to copy 4.97GB of data, which translates to 57 megabytes per second. While that fell below the average mainstream laptop (110 MBps), it surpassed the 1TB HDD in the Aspire E 15 (34 MBps) and the Acer Spin 3 (29 MBps).
On the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited synthetic graphics benchmark, the HP 15 Laptop's AMD Radeon Vega 8 scored 68,225, which flies over the category average (60,658). The Aspire E 15's Intel UHD 620 GPU (63,817) and the IdeaPad 320's Intel HD 620 GPU (51,856) fell behind, while the Spin 3's Intel UHD 620 GPU (70,127) did slightly better.
In real world testing, the HP 15 averaged 52 frames per second on the Dirt 3 benchmark, and while that climbs over the 43 fps category average, it does so at an unimpressive 1366 x 768. The Aspire E 15 scored a better 56 fps at a higher 1920 x 1080, and the Spin3 hit 38 fps at 1080p. Meanwhile, the IdeaPad 320 ran the test at 30 fps on 1366 x 768.
Even for a laptop with a low-resolution display, the HP 15 Laptop has disappointingly short battery life. After it continuously surfed the web over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the battery lasted only 4 hours and 57 minutes, which falls below the mainstream laptop average (6:38).
The device couldn't get past the Aspire E 15 (8:48) or the Spin 3 (6:00), which have higher resolution displays. However, the HP 15 did beat the IdeaPad 320 (4:24), which also has a 1366 x 768 panel.
The 720p shooter on the HP 15 Laptop produced low-res images that blended shades of purple, gray and black in my flannel shirt, making it somewhat difficult to determine the dividing lines.
I could literally see the pixels around my hairline and eyebrows. As far as the contrast goes, half of the ceiling was white due to the ceiling lights.
The HP 15 Laptop was cool throughout our heat test. After it streamed a 15-minute, 1080p video, the underside reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit, which is neatly below our 95-degree comfort threshold.
The center of the keyboard and touchpad measured 83 and 76 degrees, respectively. The hottest the machine got was 92 degrees, on the front right underside.
For $436, you shouldn't have to suffer through the HP 15 Laptop's short battery life, low resolution display and bland design. Sure, it has a decent amount of power and a comfortable keyboard, but there's a better option out there.
For a cheaper $329, you can get the Acer Aspire E 15, which features performance on par with the HP 15 plus longer battery life, a 1920 x 1080 display and a USB Type-C port.
Between the HP 15 Laptop's lack of features and its price, it's difficult to recommend this laptop. You can do better.
Credit: Laptop Mag