HP’s 15 Series line of laptops is effectively the more affordable alternative to its premium Envy and Spectre line of Ultrabooks. But, in recent months, more and more of the premium features have trickled down into the 15 Series, and the latest HP 15-dy1036nr keeps the trend going with plenty to offers at a more reasonable price.
The HP 15 offers decent performance and features a comfortable keyboard, and that might just be enough for us to fully recommend it.
The HP 15 readily sits on the upper side of the thin-and-light category at 3.5 pounds and 0.71 inches thick. You can toss this laptop into a backpack that weighs more than it, and it feels light enough on your back for most part of your working day, of course with slight breaks as you head out for the day.
The chassis is set on a natural silver finish that feels soft to the touch. On the base of the laptop is a sturdy construction with minimal flex, and the screen portion of the screen isn’t susceptible to flex too. It uses a micro-edge screen design, meaning you have tiny bezels surrounding the screen, giving you a bigger viewing area.
Port selection is excellent for a laptop that costs this much, including: a single USB 3.1 Type-C port, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a single HDMI port and a single headphone/microphone combo. Yes, it doesn’t include a Thunderbolt port, but at this price point, the USB Type-C is more than sufficient for most digital peripherals.
With a 1920 x 1080 resolution micro-edge display, it looks as sharp and vivid as we’d expect of a full-HD screen. It uses IPS (in-plane switching) display technology, that offers impressive viewing angles, though it slightly dims when viewed from the sides, top, or bottom.
The screen is slightly dimmer that we’d like, measuring about 220 nits, below our comfortable indoor average of 250 nits. Then again, we’ve reviewed dimmer displays on laptops in this price range, but you’ll be able to view the Pavilion’s display comfortably indoors. Outdoors viewing might experience some difficulties viewing the screen.
Keyboard & Touchpad
The keyboard on the 14-dh2011nr is pretty comfortable for the work-from-home user or student who needs to churn hundreds of term papers. Its square, flat keys feel solid rather than the wacky, with good key travel and satisfying mid-stroke bump. If you occasionally find yourself typing a lot, the keyboard here is among the best you can get, especially at this price point.
On the other hand, the trackpad is a bit on the wide side, which means your palms will frequently drag over it as you type. That wouldn’t be a concern if the trackpad were better at rejecting accidental swipes; alas, the Pavilion’s cursor occasionally jitters across the screen as your palm brushes the trackpad, especially on the right side. It doesn’t include a fingerprint reader, like the one you have on the more expensive Pavilion x360, but it works as it should, and that’s what matters when buying on budget.
The HP 15-dy1036nr as configured, is on the beefy side for a sub-$800 notebook, that offers better performance than competing Chromebooks, like last year’s HP Chromebook 14. The 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 is a new mobile chip that offers strong performance matched with efficiency, and the 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage gives it a serious boost over similar machines with traditional rotating hard drives. For graphics, you have Intel UHD graphics card that is quite usable for basic tasks that utilize an integrated card, though itself is definitely not enough to power AAA gaming.
On day-to-day use, the HP 15 will easily keep up with your demands. Four cores of computing power is plenty for most tasks, and with headroom to boots clock speeds to 3.6GHz, it can burst as needed. This keeps the laptop feeling snappy, with the SSD launching programs quickly, and some simple tasks, like basic photo editing, working fast.
For its strong performance, the HP 15-dy1036nr also manages to offer better efficiency with a long-lasting battery. It features a three-cell, 41Wh battery and supports fast charging, you can go from drained to 50% charge in 45 minutes.
On typical use, that involves surfing the web, streaming videos at 50% brightness, it lasts 8 hours 23 minutes but if you bump up the brightness everything drops to just over five hours. That’s enough time for some short intercontinental flights, an it could go even longer with brightness lowered.
The HP 15-dy1036nr puts a lot into one package, almost going premium in some ways while keeping the price well below some of its competitors. The notebook’s design does earn plenty of credit, and its overall performance leaves little to be desired outside of serious multi-core workloads.
Should you need a backlight keyboard and a fingerprint reader, the Acer Aspire 5 (A515-54-59W2) offers all those and even longer battery life for around the same price. Still, among its contemporaries, the HP 15-dy1036nr is an excellent-value laptop.