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Best HP Laptops

Updated November 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 51 Models Considered
  • 5 Models Tested
  • 40 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 78 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best HP laptops

    Last Updated November 2018

    The laptop market is downright crowded – sometimes it’s hard to tell different models apart even when they’re from the same manufacturer. Thankfully, we can still rely on one of the most trusted brands in computer hardware, Hewlett Packard, to produce quality, durable laptops that are perfect for everything from number crunching for work to watching HD movies in bed.

    At BestReviews, we’re not just product reviewers – we’re also consumers. That’s why we write honest shopping guides. We know how challenging it can be to navigate the sea of misinformation, fake reviews, and just plain hype out there on the internet.

    Read on for our no-holds-barred take on HP laptops. Then, when you’re ready to start shopping, check out our recommended models.

    If you expect to be traveling with your HP laptop, buy a spare power cable and keep it with your laptop. You’ll be able to recharge wherever you go, and you’ll still be able to charge the battery at home even if you lose the second cable.

    HP laptop battery life

    One of the biggest differentiators among different HP laptop models is how long the battery will last. Battery life is arguably a laptop’s most important feature, so as you’re comparing the available options to your needs, think about the following.

    • Carefully compare “standby” time versus usage time. Most HP laptop product descriptions provide two numbers: how long the laptop will last in “standby mode” and how long the laptop will last while in use. If you frequently go long stretches of time without plugging in, buy an HP laptop with the longest usage time you can afford. (And don’t forget that all published battery specifications are estimates, so your usage may vary from those numbers.)

    • Note that laptops with larger screens consume battery power more quickly. We love a big, beautiful laptop screen as much as anyone, but bigger screens use more power. If you’re making the jump from a 13-inch laptop to a 15-inch laptop, expect the battery life to take a modest hit.

    • Be aware that not all HP laptops feature user-replaceable batteries. Most HP laptops make battery replacement a straightforward procedure – a welcome feature that is disappearing all too quickly in the laptop market. If you expect to keep your laptop for more than three years, make sure you buy one that allows you to replace the battery. Models without user-replaceable batteries are typically thinner, lighter, and less expensive, but they become extremely problematic once the battery stops holding a complete charge.

    Form and function finally unite

    We love this jack-of-all-trades laptop from HP because it doesn’t skimp on features but still comes in at a rock-bottom price. The built-in DVD drive, USB 3.0 port, and HDMI support make this a solid choice for work or school. The resolution could be higher, but at this price point, that’s a completely acceptable compromise.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Most HP Windows laptops include additional applications provided by HP, ranging from simple games to apps for fine-tuning your laptop hardware. When you first power on your laptop, remove any pre-installed applications you don’t plan to use. It will free up vital space on the hard drive.

    HP laptops vs. HP 2-in-1s

    Hewlett Packard makes two different types of laptops: traditional and 2-in-1. Each is tailored to specific uses, so think about which kind best meets your needs before you start shopping.

    • HP laptops are traditional notebook computers for which the only input methods are a mouse and a keyboard. These laptops are generally more affordable, but you won’t be able to take advantage of touch-based features like pinching to zoom.

    • HP 2-in-1s are laptops with touchscreens. These machines utilize the Windows 10 “tablet mode,” where the entire interface is optimized for touch input. These laptops are ideal for anyone who needs both the “lean forward” experience of a laptop and the “lean back” experience of a tablet.


    Choose wisely. HP 2-in-1 laptops are generally more expensive due to the touchscreen, but you can’t add touch support to a traditional laptop. Once you’ve made your purchase, it will be too late to change your mind.

    EXPERT TIP

    If you decide to buy a 2-in-1 laptop, pick up a pack of microfiber cloths with your purchase. Touchscreens get dirty easily, and having the cloths handy will help you keep it clean and fully functional.


    Staff  | BestReviews
    EXPERT TIP

    Most HP laptops include a built-in webcam for video conferencing. However, laptop cameras can also get hacked, so buy a webcam cover for when the camera’s not in use.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Windows vs. Chrome OS

    HP manufactures laptops with both Microsoft Windows and Google’s Chrome OS. If you’re not sure which is right for you, consider the strengths and weaknesses of each before you buy.

    • Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operating system on earth – and it’s the operating system of choice for most businesses. The current iteration – Windows 10 – is incredibly powerful and even includes a built-in voice assistant, Cortana. However, Microsoft’s track record with software updates is slow, so it’s often considered a less secure OS.

    • Google’s Chrome OS is based on their popular web browser and can run any web-based application or browser extension you can throw at it. (Don’t worry if that sounds limiting; it isn’t – it just means that you’ll need to get used to working in a browser.) Chrome OS is less expensive to license and therefore typically comes on bargain-oriented laptops. If you’re looking for a competent laptop and you’re comfortable in a web browser, using Chrome OS is a solid choice.

    Built for speed, dressed for work

    HP’s Flagship laptop achieves the unlikely: it’s a 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop with a seventh-generation Intel processor, more than enough RAM, and a whopping 1TB hard drive. Perhaps best of all, the impressive internals are housed in a simple matte-black enclosure that creates a sense of elegance. (Just make sure to get a carrying case: at six pounds, this is one of HP’s weightiest models available.)

    Tips

    • If you plan on connecting multiple devices to your HP laptop, determine which USB ports support USB 2.0 and which support USB 3.0. Both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 slots look physically identical, but the latter represents a significant improvement in the amount of data and power that can be transferred to a peripheral device. Consider the devices you’ll be connecting to your laptop: which ones support USB 3.0 and which don’t? By pairing up each of your devices with the optimal slot, you ensure that your gear is getting the power and data it needs as quickly as possible. (Don’t forget that USB 3.0 ports are backward compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 hardware.)

    • If you frequently use a digital camera, get an HP laptop with an SD card reader. Some HP laptops include secure digital (SD) card readers, so you can insert an SD card directly into the machine to look at files. SD card readers are a must-have for anyone interested in photography – it’s the fastest way to transfer images from a digital camera to a laptop hard drive.

    • If you’re comparing different HP models, pay close attention to how much each weighs. One thing that’s easy to lose track of is how much each laptop weighs – but the differences among models can be dramatic. HP’s thin and light ultrabooks are typically around three pounds, while their laptops with DVD drives edge closer to six or seven pounds (and that’s before you add any peripherals). If you’re going to be carrying around your HP laptop, save yourself a sore back and buy a model that’s appropriately light.
    If you’re a gamer, pay close attention to the laptop’s video specifications. If a laptop lists having “integrated graphics,” it doesn’t have a dedicated video card and will likely have problems playing triple-A titles like World of Warcraft. Suitable laptops for gaming have a discrete video card, typically featuring video hardware from NVIDIA or AMD.

    FAQ

    Q. Why are some HP laptop hard drives described as “5,400 rpm” while others are listed as “7,200 rpm”? Which is better?
    A.
    Traditional hard drives use spinning platters to store and deliver data, and the speed of those platters is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm). Faster hard drives are more performative and often result in a computer feeling significantly more responsive. However, faster speeds wear out drives much more quickly. If you need to prioritize performance, get a 7,200 rpm hard drive – or better yet, get a laptop with a solid state drive (SSD) and see performance benefits from a hard drive with no moving parts. However, if you want to keep costs down, and you don’t need your hard drive to be lightning quick, a 5,400 rpm hard drive will do just fine.

    Q. Different HP laptops list different screen resolutions. Which is best?
    A.
    Laptop screen resolution can be a tricky thing because what looks like enough space at first can sometimes end up feeling like not nearly enough upon further use. If you don’t need impressive graphics, and you don’t expect to have more than a window or two open at once, a low-end resolution like 1366 x 768 will suffice. If you need an average amount of desktop space, and you want to watch movies in full HD, find a laptop with a resolution of 1920 x 1080. If you need as much screen real estate as possible, and you don’t mind your desktop icons being tiny, buy a laptop with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 (also known as 4K).

    Q. Is it important to buy a laptop that includes Bluetooth?
    A.
    Yes, if you have Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth functionality can help your laptop connect with a wide array of wireless devices, which clears up clutter from wires and, more importantly, frees up your laptop’s USB ports. Consider the most common Bluetooth accessories: headphones, mice, and keyboards. If you’re planning on using any of them, get a laptop with Bluetooth support.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Alice
      Web Producer
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jaime
      Jaime
      Writer
    • Katie
      Katie
      Editorial Director
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