An excellent machine for daily use
09 Jul 2014
Reviewed On: flipkart.com
I have been looking for a laptop that was light in weight and was easy to carry around. I don't understand those 15 inch monstrosities that almost every OEM is pushing down our throat nowadays. 15 inch laptops are heavy (bordering on 2+ Kgs), have unnecessary numpads (not everybody needs them) and are generally big. When the OEMs are ready to manufacture machines with every conceivable hardware specifications (3rd Gen and 4th Gen intel cores, RAM, with or without graphics card), this disdain towards 14 inch laptops is puzzling. Anyway, my point is I wanted a decent 14 inch laptop which can do some heavy duty work without compromising on battery / performance. Achieving a balance between battery / performance is tough. Boost battery power and lose performance. Boost performance but lose battery in bargain. This is where the processor comes into the picture. Core i3 and Core i5. Although common sense says Core i5 is much more powerful and one should buy a Core i5 machine, it all depends on what you want out of your machine. Want to play 3D rich games? Core i5. Want to work on documents, browse for a while, listen to music or even play light games and still have battery backup at the end of the day? Core i3. The latter was my preference. It works out little cheaper also. I wasn't ready to spend more than Rs 40,000 on a laptop. This laptop fell right into all these sweet spots. (I got it for Rs 33,999 from Flipkart). Nowadays all laptops come equipped with 4GB RAM and option to upgrade it to 8GB or more. So I am not going to elaborate on that. 64 bit machines can read beyond 4GB but most OS's are able to work decently with 4GB RAM.
This comes loaded with Windows 8.1. If you are new to Windows 8 metro design, it will take a while getting used to the environment. I hated it right away. Sample this: Who hides a shutdown button deep inside the settings?. It takes two clicks to shutdown the laptop! What I didn't know was that MS has issued system updates for Windows 8.1 which moved the power button to top right of Start Menu and improved the Metro UI vastly. So it's highly recommended that you upgrade the machine as soon as you set it up the first time. The mobile approach of using apps has been carried forward to Desktop environment and one can install apps from the Windows Store just like you would install on a mobile. Mobile games like Asphalt and GT Racing are available for free and can be installed via Windows Store. Though there is a general lack of cohesion between the normal Desktop applications and the Start menu apps. I ran into trouble with the Dropbox app which refused to upload my files properly. The normal desktop application for Dropbox is much much better in this regard. If only the apps and the old desktop applications worked together seamlessly. Sure there are some minor things that puts me off Windows 8.1 but overall I like it. Fast and responsive.
Applications / Apps:
The OEMs never disappoint in loading their machines with unnecessary bloatware. Barring the recovery related HP software, I uninstalled many applications that I don't require. I prefer Avast/Bitdefender over McAfee anyday. Even if McAfee makes it free for life. A clean machine is a better machine.
The shiny black surface is really pleasing to look at but it's a fingerprint magnet! The rounded edges and sleek look adds to the beauty of the product. Personally, I would like to see little less bezel width on the edges of keyboard and screen. There are two stickers on the handrest. One with HP support numbers and other one the regular intel inside sticker. I removed both of them and the laptop looks much nicer with that shiny black plastic running all over. The various ports are arranged on the left and right side of the laptop. Nothing on the back of the laptop for you to reach out and make a mess of. Thumb drives are easier to insert and pull out this way.
Every OEM ships the laptops with UEFI boot nowadays. Nothing to worry about if you are sticking to Windows OS. Frustrating if you are trying to dual boot Linux also. I have been at it for three straight days with no breakthrough. There is a 15 inch variant of this same latop which comes with FreeDOS. Pretty sure that will install Linux without any fuss but a 14 inch machine is what I prefer. Also, I have taken a liking to this updated Windows 8.1. I had always planned to dual-boot and didn't want any machine with discrete graphics card like Dell provides. The integrated Intel graphics card works well with Linux over other proprietary ones.
EDIT: I was able to dual boot into Windows and Linux but it took some time to figure out things because of UEFI.
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