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HP 15-g094sa review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £380
inc VAT

A reasonable performer with generous storage, but a poor touchpad and disappointing screen means it isn't the best way to spend £380

The HP 15 g094sa is a general-purpose laptop that makes a striking first impression due to its purple colouring. It’s fairly well built, too. There isn’t much flex from the chassis and the screen hinge mechanism is reasonably sturdy. It weighs 2.2kg, which is just about light enough to carry around with you in a backpack, but you’ll certainly know it’s there.

The keyboard is a little shallow for our liking, with not enough tactile feedback or depth to each key press. This makes long periods of typing slightly uncomfortable, so to avoid painful fingertips you’ll need to type with a light touch.

While the keyboard is mildly uncomfortable, the touchpad is nothing short of atrocious. It’s made from a slightly textured material that feels unpleasant, and it has a very awkward dead-zone towards the left and right edges of the pad, where no amount of swiping will provoke a response from the on-screen cursor. This would be inexcusable for any laptop, but is particularly unforgivable here because this is exactly the sort of laptop you can imagine using in bed or on the sofa without an external USB mouse.

On the left side of the laptop is a single USB3 port alongside a full-size HDMI output, gigabit Ethernet port and a combined 3.5mm audio input and output jack. On the right side are two USB ports and a DVD writer. The laptop uses 802.11n Wi-Fi to get you online, which isn’t bad. There’s also a generous 1TB of storage. The mechanical hard disk isn’t particularly fast, and you can tell that when you use Windows 8’s search function to look for applications and files on your laptop.

Processing performance comes from the quad-core AMD A8-6410 processor which runs at a base clock speed of 2GHz and 2.4GHz. It provides similar single-core performance to lower-end Intel Core i3 processors, which can be found in similarly priced laptops. The 15- g094sa scored 31 overall in our PC benchmarks, and the PC provided smooth performance when web browsing and word processing, but tasks such as video-editing and music production may prove more taxing for the processor, depending on the package used.

We also challenged the 15-g094sa with a bit of gaming. AMD is known for its fairly powerful on-die graphics, and the A8-6410 certainly performed a little better like-for-like than Intel HD Graphics. In our Dirt Showdown test with High settings a resolution of 1,280×720 the laptop produced an average frame rate of 21fps. This, of course, isn’t playable, but is better than the 16fps we typically see from Intel’s onboard graphics. Very basic and old games may be playable, but don’t bank on the HP 15-g094sa being able to play 3D titles at a decent frame rate.

As you’d expect from a sub-£400 laptop, screen quality is pretty middle-of-the-road. We measured sRGB colour coverage of 58.6 per cent on the 1,366×768 screen, and a mediocre contrast ratio of 381:1. The screen doesn’t provide a visual feast, but it’s perfectly adequate for watching a bit of BBC iPlayer or browsing the web. The screen is reasonably bright at 250cd/m2, but in brightly lit outdoor conditions you will struggle to see anything on screen.

Battery life is about average; in our benchmark test it lasted 5 hours 9 minutes which means you’ll be able to venture out into the world for a few hours without having to worry about taking the charger with you.

Overall, the HP 15 g094sa is a relatively good-value laptop, except for the poor touchpad. However, we’d prefer to buy the slightly more expensive HP ProBook G2.

Core specs
ProcessorQuad-core 2GHz AMD A8-6410
Memory slots (free)Inaccessible
Max memory8GB
SoundRealtek HD Audio (3.5mm headset port)
Pointing deviceTouchpad
Screen size15.6in
Screen resolution1,366×768
Graphics adaptorAMD Radeon R5
Graphics outputsHDMI
Graphics memoryShared
Total storage1TB hard disk
Optical drive typeDVD-RW
Ports and expansion
USB ports1x USB3, 2x USB
Networking802.11n Wi-Fi, gigabit Ethernet
Memory card readerSD, SDHC, SDXC
Other portsNone
Operating systemWindows 8.1
Operating system restore optionRestore partition
Buying information
Parts and labour warrantyOne-year collect and return
Price inc VAT£380
Part number5B55EA

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