HP-Notebook 15

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Our verdict

The HP Notebook 15-ac121nr is a nice-looking 15-inch notebook with a Full HD screen and above-average battery life, but the keyboard could be more comfortable.

To the

Attractive design

1080p display

Above average battery life


Flat keyboard

Lots of bloatware

The HP Notebook 15-ac121nr is a reasonably priced 15-inch notebook with big ambitions. It features a sharp 1080p display for enjoying movies and photos, a large 1 TB hard drive for all your files and an attractive body, that looks great on your desk. The $649 laptop falls flat in some areas, but overall it's a good value.


The HP Notebook 15-ac121nr is made of plastic, but it is still an attractive device. The lid of the laptop features


Logo in black on a silver, diamond-textured pattern that creates an attractive, modern profile. Opening the lid reveals a silver deck with a subtle cross-hatch design (it's available in other colors including red, blue, white, and purple) ;a black chiclet keyboard;and a 1080p display surrounded by a chunky black bezel.

At 4.8 pounds and 15.1 x 10 x 0.96 inches, the Notebook 15 isn't the most portable device, but it's light enough to take with you

Toshiba Satellite L55-C5340

, that

Asus F555LA

and the

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

are all the same size. The Satellite L55-C5340 and F555LA are similar in weight at 4.8 pounds and 4.6 pounds, respectively. However, the Inspiron is much heavier at 5.4 pounds.

Connections and webcam

The HP Notebook 15-ac121nr has a DVD drive and numerous connections. On the left there is an Ethernet socket, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as the microphone/headphone combo input. On the right There is an SD card slot, another USB 2.0 port, the drive and a lock slot for security.

When I snapped a selfie in Laptop Mag's labs using the notebook's 720p webcam, I was disappointed with the image noise and lack of detail; my hair and beard showed up as brown patches, while the stitching on my sweater was almost non-existent It's good enough for the occasional Skype call with Grandma, but I wouldn't use it for business webcasts.

keyboard and touchpad

Number eaters will appreciate the full number pad on the HP Notebook 15's keyboard, but the typing feel is only adequate. The chiclet-style keys only have 1.1 millimeters of travel, which got me typing right away. However, the keyboard has virtually none Flex. This helped me achieve a typing speed of 108 words per minute with a 1 percent error rate on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, which is about average to me.

The 4.8 x 1.7-inch touchpad is precise but a little slippery. It's built right into the deck, which looks clean. Two separate buttons are used for left and right clicking - but both are on the stiff side, so you should tap to click. Gestures worked well, and I pinched, swiped, and zoomed around the web with no issues.


I have to commend HP for packing the Notebook 15 with a 1080p display - some laptops of this size make do with smaller 1366 x 768 displays, including competing devices like the Toshiba Satellite L55-C5340 and the Dell Inspiron 15 5000. But while the screen is sharp, it makes some other compromises in quality.

I watched the Ghostbusters trailer on the Notebook 15's screen and noticed that the colors just didn't pop out like they do on other displays. The slime that a ghost vomited onto Kristen Wiig was a pale pastel rather than a bright green, and the blue ghosts that flew across Times Square left paler than azure trails.

The display only reproduces 63 percent of the sRGB color space, which explains the lack of vivid colors. (The average for mainstream notebooks is 88 percent.) However, other mainstream budget notebooks don't fare much better - the Satellite L55- C5340 also covered 63 percent; the Asus F555LA performed slightly better at 70 percent; and the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 was worse at 59 percent.

The Notebook 15 returned a Delta-E color accuracy of 3.51 (the closer to 0 the better). That's not great, but competing devices - including the Inspiron 15 (3.8), the Satellite (4.5 ) and the Asus F555LA (6.3) - were less accurate.


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And at 220 nits, the Notebook 15's screen wasn't the brightest either. (The average for mainstream notebooks is 250 nits.) I found myself cranking the brightness up as much as I could. The Inspiron 15 5000 performed well performed better at 239 nits, but both the F555LA and Satellite were dimmer, falling below 200 nits.


You can't expect a laptop in this price range to be an audio superstar, but the HP Notebook 15 is great for streaming videos and listening to music while surfing the web.When I read "Low Life" by Future and Listening to The Weeknd, this laptop delivered crisp mids and highs and clear vocals - I could easily hear every word Weeknd sang - but the bass was a little weak.

I tried to fix that with the included DTS Audio Control Panel app. I was able to increase the volume and vocal clarity with sliders and preset equalizers, but I was never able to get the bass to be as punchy as I wanted.


For a budget mainstream laptop, the

2.3GHz Intel Core i5-6200U CPU

, 8GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drive performed competently in the HP Notebook 15. With 10 tabs open in Google Chrome (one of which was streaming 1080p clips from Saturday Night Live) and OpenOffice Writer running in the background, I noticed only a slight lag when Scrolling and switching between websites.

In Geekbench 3, a synthetic test that measures CPU performance, the HP Notebook 15 scored 5,784. The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 with identical specs scored 6,331, while the Toshiba Satellite (2.2 GHz core i5-5200U CPU and 8GB RAM) achieved a lower score of 5,564. The Core i3-powered Asus F555L predictably fell behind the field with a score of 2,080.


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It took 2 minutes and 50 seconds for the Notebook 15's 1TB, 5400RPM drive to copy 4.97GB of mixed media files, including music, photos and videos. That's 29.57Mbps, the slightly better than both the Satellite L55 (28.4 Mb/s) and the Inspiron 15 5000 (28.4 Mb/s). The Asus F555L was slightly faster at 32.2 Mb/s.

The Notebook 15 showed some brawn in our spreadsheet test, where it matched 20,000 names and addresses in 4 minutes and 30 seconds -- 45 seconds faster than the category average. The Dell Inspiron 15's score was identical to the Notebook 15's The Satellite L55-C5340 needed 5:10, the Asus F555LA was sluggish at 6:31.

This computer wasn't meant for gaming; its built-in ones

Intel HD 520 GPU

scored 51,066 on the 3DMark graphics performance benchmark. This type of score indicates a system that is better prepared for Facebook games and low-impact titles like World of Warcraft on low settings than for high-end titles Steam.

The Notebook 15 performed better than the Asus F555LA (46,285), but it did not perform as well as the Inspiron 15 6000 (62,763) and Satellite L55-C5340 (54,638).

battery life

In the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness, the notebook lasted 15 5 hours and 51 minutes. That's 6 minutes longer than the category average. The Dell Inspiron 15 5000 lasts at 6 :22 longer, but both the Asus F555LA (5:44) and the Toshiba Satellite L55-C5340 (5:14) are too short.


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You don't have to worry about the Notebook 15 getting too hot. After 15 minutes of streaming HD video from Hulu, the laptop was still cool. The touchpad was only 79 degrees Fahrenheit, the point between the G and H keys reached 81.5 degrees and the bottom of the computer reached 85 degrees - all well below our comfort level of 95 degrees.

software and warranty

The Notebook 15 comes with a lot of software preinstalled, but very little of it is useful. Much of it is pure bloat, including Snapfish photo app, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Evernote, Simple Solitaire, Hearts Deluxe, Flipboard, Candy Crush Soda Saga, Twitter and almost 30 games through WildTangent. There is also a link to Priceline.com in the Start menu.

On the plus side, the device comes with 25GB of Dropbox storage for a year. While the CyberLink suite of media apps isn't for professionals, they can be valuable for amateur video and photo editors. HP offers little in the way of proprietary software – the most useful are HP Recovery Manager and HP Recovery Media Creation to help you backup and restore your laptop.

The 15-ac121nr notebook comes with a one-year limited warranty.

bottom line

The HP Notebook 15-ac121nr pairs a Full HD display and an attractive design with an above-average battery life at a quite good price-performance ratio. This Core i5-powered notebook is not the fastest in its class, but it offers one for its price commendable multitasking performance. However, we wish the keyboard had more travel and HP had less bloatware.

If you're just looking for a 1080p display, this is it

Asus F555LA

offers it for just $375, but you'll sacrifice performance. If you're willing to live with a lower-resolution screen, the

Dell Inspiron 15 5000

offers more speed and battery life for $600. At $649, the HP Notebook 15-ac121nr costs more than either of these laptops, but it manages to meld some of their best parts together, making it a solid pick.

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HP Notebook 15 Specifications


Bluetooth 4.0




2.30GHz Intel Core i5-6200U

card slots

SD memory reader

corporate website


screen size


graphic card

Intel HD Graphics 520

disk size


hard drive speed

5,400 rpm

disk type

SATA hard drive

native resolution


operating system

Windows 10 Home

optical drive


Connections (except USB)

Kensington Lock, USB 2.0, SD card slot, RJ-45, headphone/microphone combo jack, HDMI, USB 3.0




15.13 x 10 x 0.96 inches

touchpad size

4.8 x 1.7 inches

USB ports



1 year warranty


4.8 pounds

Wireless Internet access