Low price. Handsome, textured design.
Modest performance numbers. Lacks VGA and USB-C ports.
- Bottom Line
The HP Notebook 15 (ba009dx) is a highly affordable desktop-replacement laptop for budget-conscious users with modest computing needs.
The most notable thing about the HP Notebook 15 (ba009dx) is its bargain-basement price, one of the lowest we've seen recently for a desktop-replacement laptop that runs Windows. For $259.99, you get a notebook with a pleasing design and solid-yet-basic features, among them a 15-inch screen, an optical drive, a quad-core processor, and an SD card reader. The components are typical of a low-priced laptop, so it won't win any speed records. It's no match for the Editors' Choice Acer Aspire E 15 (E5-575-33BM), but the HP ba009dx costs about $100 less, and is a solid, usable budget laptop for those with modest wallets and computing needs.
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Handsome, Textured Frame
The laptop measures 0.9 by 15.1 by 10 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.7 pounds, a good size and weight for a budget 15-inch desktop-replacement. It's nearly the same size as the Asus F556UA-AB32 (1 by 15 by 10.1 inches). It's a little lighter than the Asus's 5.1 pounds, though. At $199, the Acer Chromebook 15 (CB3-532-C47C) is one of the few 15-inch laptops that costs less—and at 4.3 pounds it's lighter than the ba009dx—but as a Chromebook running Chrome OS it is strictly for light-duty use and reliant on web-based apps. The ba009dx runs Windows 10 Home. The ba009dx is too large and heavy to be what we would consider easily portable, but you could carry it in a pinch.
This matte-black laptop has a handsome frame with a grooved texture on top and to the sides of the touchpad. It sports a 15.6-inch screen with native 1,366-by-768 resolution. Although this resolution is common among budget laptops, both the Acer E 15 and the Asus F556UA-AB32 sport full HD (1,920 by 1,080) screens. It's easy to see the difference in screen quality here: When viewing video and still images, colors are on the dull side.
The keyboard is comfortable and responsive, but the touchpad's dedicated left- and right-click buttons are a bit stiff for my taste, requiring more pressure than I would have liked. Sound from the dual front speakers is good, and volume is typical for a general-purpose laptop, suitable for a small room.
The ba009DX has a basic set of ports, sufficient for most home users or students, if unexceptional. On the laptop's right side are a USB 2.0 port, an optical-drive bay that holds a DVD/RW drive, an SD card reader, and a slot for a Kensington lock cable. The left side has a jack for the power plug, a USB 3.0 port, a second USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and an audio-out jack for headphones. The bsa009dx lacks both VGA and USB-C ports, but their absence (especially the USB-C port) is not surprising for a notebook at this price. The ba009dx supports 802.11bgn Wi-Fi. HP provides a one-year warranty for this laptop.
A Laptop for Undemanding Tasks
Under the hood, you'll find an AMD A6-7310 quad-core processor with AMD Radeon R4 integrated graphics, 4GB of RAM and a 500GB (5,400 rpm) hard drive (small compared with the 1TB HDDs in the Acer and Asus models). The combination of the quad-core processor and integrated graphics produced test scores near the low end of what we expect from a budget desktop-replacement laptop. This makes it best for relatively undemanding tasks such as email, working with office documents, web searching, and media viewing.
In PCMark 8, which measures overall system performance in a variety of tasks, the ba009dx scored 1,920 points, well off the 2,631-point pace set by the Dell Inspiron 11 (3179). The Acer E 15, the Asus AB32, and the Dell 3558 all scored in the 2,400 range. Its 162 points at Cinebench, which tests a system's 3D-rendering ability, was well off the pace set by the Acer E 15 (256) and the Asus AB32 (249). It took 10 minutes, 9 seconds for it to complete our Photoshop CS6 test, more than twice as long as the Dell Inspiron 3179 (5:02) and much longer than the Acer E15 (5:46) and the Asus AB32 (5:56). On the Handbrake video-encoding test, the ba009dx took 4:43, considerably slower than the Acer E15 (2:50).
As is generally the case with budget laptops with integrated graphics, 3D gaming isn't the ba009dx's forte. Its scores in our gaming tests proved it unplayable for any but the most simple titles. You'll want to stick to solitaire on this notebook.
In our battery rundown test, the ba009dx played video and its audio track for 5 hours, 37 minutes before shutting down. Although it's sufficient if you don't plan on traveling from an outlet often, it is modest for even a budget desktop-replacement laptop. The Acer E15 lasted 9:49, and the Dell 3558, 8:44. The Acer Chromebook 15 managed an extraordinary 14 hours, 17 minutes of battery life on the same test.
A Desktop-Replacement for Shoestring Budgets
The big selling point for the HP Notebook 15 (ba009dx) is its very appealing price. Unfortunately, the old adage "you get what you pay for" is applicable here. Components are basic, and its test scores are low for a laptop of its ilk. For $100 more, you could get the Editors' Choice Acer Aspire E 15 or the Asus AB32, both of which include features like 1080p screens and 1TB hard drives, have longer battery lives, and fared better in our performance testing. Nonetheless, the ba009dx is worth a look if you're on a super-tight budget and your computing needs are very basic.
As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since 2004, first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing, Tony has written articles on digital photography and reviews of digital cameras, PCs, and iPhone apps Prior to joining the PCMag team, Tony worked for 17 years in magazine and journal… More »
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