Top positive review
164 of 166 people found this helpful
Preloaded with lots of bloat, but once removed it is a great laptop
on November 21, 2012
Once you remove all of the bloatware and unnecessary HP apps, and adjust Windows 8 settings to your liking, this laptop is quite fast and enjoyable to use. But it takes a while to get there.
**Update 8-15-13: I decided to change my rating from 4 to 5 stars because I have enjoyed this laptop so much over the past 9 months.**
===== First, the hardware: =====
- Fast boot and resume times, especially after making the software tweaks mentioned below. Windows 8 boots quickly, and after you close the lid and reopen it to resume, it is ready in about 2-3 seconds.
- The laptop is a bit on the heavy side, but feels and looks well-built.
- The Beats Audio sound is great, as most Beats Audio sound devices are.
- The screen is bright and beautiful.
- The keys are comfortable, and the configurable multi-touch touchpad works well.
- The touchpad recognizes the following multi-touch swipe patterns: two finger scrolling, pinch zoom, rotating, three finger press, three finger flick, and four finger flick.
- The function keys also operate things like the brightness, volume, media operation, and turning wi-fi on and off to help conserve battery life.
- There are no built-in Bluetooth capabilities. An inexpensive USB Bluetooth dongle fixes the problem, but it would have been nice to have Bluetooth included.
- The camera works well, even in low-light.
===== Next, the software: =====
- I am not going to include my opinion of Windows 8 as part of the rating on this laptop. I am not a huge fan of Windows 8 on non-touch devices, but when you add a piece of software like the free, open-source program "Classic Shell" that adds back the old start menu as well as the ability to boot directly to the desktop, it makes things a lot more enjoyable.
- This laptop comes loaded with lots of games and applications you may not want to use, and there is no option to include or exclude any of these applications from your installation when you first boot up. Here is the list of pre-installed apps and links to online services:
Norton Internet Security 2012 (60-day trial); Windows Live; Beats Audio; Cyberlink Power2Go; CyberLink PowerDVD; CyberLink YouCam DE; eBay; HP CoolSense; HP Games by WildTangent; HP MyRoom; HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection (HP 3D DriveGuard); HP Recovery Manager; HP Support Assistant; Netflix; Skype; Amazon Kindle e-reader; iHeart Radio; HP Connected Photo powered by Snapfish; Solitaire; Mahjong; HP Connected Backup; CyberLink Power Director; CyberLink Photo Director; Windows 8 Store Apps; HP Online User Guide; HP Registration; HP Connected Music powered by Meridia
- There is no Microsoft Office license included. I recommend the free alternatives "Open Office" or "LibreOffice".
- The first thing I did when I booted this laptop was uninstall the HP-branded version of Norton Internet Security trial, as I already have my own license for it. I installed the regular version and turned off the smart firewall feature so I had full control over every application that wanted to connect to the internet. I was shocked at just how many different HP programs are installed and run at startup and try and connect to various websites for whatever reason. I am sure some of them were just checking for updates, but there were way too many different programs trying to connect to too many different servers for my tastes. This is a major pet peeve of mine. I immediately evaluated which HP apps I absolutely needed (almost none of them) and uninstalled the rest.
- I also noticed some other pre-installed apps running at startup, like some of the Cyberlink apps, so I disabled those as well. There were also some HP and other third-party Windows services running that I disabled. After uninstalling and disabling all of the unnecessary apps, the laptop ran much faster and smoother. And as I mentioned earlier, boot and resume times are very fast. The only exception to the nice speed is the opening of Metro apps, but it is not necessarily the fault of this laptop. I have seen many complaints online about Metro apps loading slowly.
- The screen brightness was constantly automatically adjusting, making for a horrible experience. I investigated the power options and noticed a setting for "Adaptive Brightness" so I turned that off, but the screen was still constantly changing brightness. I eventually found a way to disable this. Right-click on the desktop, select the AMD Vision Engine Control Center. Go to POWER > POWER PLAY and disable VARI-BRIGHT.
- TIP: To possibly improve the WiFi's range and/or performance, especially when running on battery, see my post on page 4 of the comments under my review.
===== Benchmark: =====
If you would like to run the freeware benchmarking program NovaBench on one of your current computers and compare it to this one, here are my average results after I made the changes mentioned above.
Total NovaBench score: 557
5603 MB System RAM (Score: 139)
- RAM Speed: 5142 MB/s
CPU Tests (Score: 230)
- Floating Point Operations/Second: 62790020
- Integer Operations/Second: 174282404
- MD5 Hashes Generated/Second: 536782
Graphics Tests (Score: 150)
- 3D Frames Per Second: 454
Hardware Tests (Score: 38)
- Primary Partition Capacity: 672 GB
- Drive Write Speed: 71 MB/s
===== Windows Experience Score: =====
Here are my scores from the System Control Panel:
Calculations per second: 6.7
Gaming graphics: 6.8
Primary hard disk and base score: 5.9
===== Summary: =====
I am quite happy with this laptop's looks and performance, but I had to deduct one star because of how many applications were pre-installed and pre-configured to run on startup, and because of how many of these programs try and connect to the Internet before I even open any of them.
If I can answer any specific questions for you, please ask.