The HP name is one of the oldest and most respected in consumer electronic products for the home and office. The Palo Alto based Hewlett-Packard Company also happens to be the overall world leading PC maker in terms of sales as of 2012
Laptop market position
According to IDC, as of November 2012, HP continued its global dominance with a 15.9% share of the laptop market followed closely by Lenovo at 15.7%. Recent surveys on the top brands showed that HP is highly regarded by both home and business users who like its reliability, optimum portability and lightweight models that make it easy to use in various environments. It scored highest for its laptop’s small footprint and high marks for affordability. However, the brand scored low on service quality when it comes to aftersales service and warranty period, indicating that the other brands have better performance in this area.
Multimedia and Gaming
HP laptops cover the entire market range from the cheapest $300 laptops to the EliteBook and Envy top ends at the $1,800 to $2,000 price points. For multimedia purposes, even the low end HP laptops powered by dual core CPUs from Intel or AMD can provide a satisfying HD movie watching experience. But for gaming, the better solutions start in the $450 price point preferably those with quad core muscle, but more importantly with the a midrange graphics card from NVidia or AMD. They are more able to run the most demanding games at low to medium graphics settings. Having said that, we’d advice prospective buyers to stay clear of any laptop with the Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated with the CPU as these are severely challenged to play the latest demanding games. The latest Intel HD Graphics 4000 would be the better place to start.
Some cheap bang for your buck HP laptop models
The HP Pavilion g7-2238nr
The HP Pavilion g7-2238nr at $531 sports a large screen for a cheap HP laptop. Its 17.3” LED-backlit display with 1600 x 900 resolution makes for a superlative HD movie watching experience. Powered by the AMD Dual core A6-4400M with 1 Mb cache and supported by a 4 GB DDR RAM, this laptop comes with its own separate AMD Radeon HD 7520G graphic engine that gives it excellent gaming abilities for many of the most sophisticated FPS games and RPGs on the market at low to medium setting.
HP Envy dv6-7210us
Going for a slightly higher budget, the HP Envy dv6-7210us at $699 is one great value for as cheap HP laptop. It is powered by the next generation AMD A8-4500M clocked at 1.9 GHz and integrated with the AMD Radeon HD 7640G sharing the a 6 GB DIMM system RAM. With a friendly weight of 5.4 lbs and a slim 1.28-inch profile, it sports a gorgeous 15.6” display with a 1366 x 768 HD resolution that is typically above average with most laptops in this price range. In comes bundled with Windows 8 that makes multimedia a delightful experience as well as provide superb gaming for many of the most popular titles in the market at low to medium game setting.
HP Pavilion g7-2270us
The best value so far has to be HP Pavilion g7-2270us. At $629, it sports a large 17.3-inch display with 1600 x 900 resolution and is powered by a modest third generation Intel Dual Core i3-3110M clocked at 2.4 GHz and a large 6MB L2 cache. Integrated with a decent Intel HD Graphics 4000 sharing a 6 GB DDR3, this Pavilion provides the best value among the cheap HP laptops in playing many of the latest RPG and FPS games for casual gamers who don’t mind low settings for these games.
HP Envy dv6-7218nr
The HP Envy dv6-7218nr retails at a price of $899 and features a typical 15.6-inch LED-backlit screen with 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Under the hood is a 2.7 GHz AMD dual core A6-4400M with 4GB DDR3 RAM while its graphics is powered by the AMD Radeon HD7520 GPU which is 10% more muscled than our Intel HD Graphics 4000 which is the minimum that can allow a laptop to play many FPS and RPG game sin their low to medium setting. HDD is standard at 640 GB SATA running at 5400 RPM and comes bundled with Windows 8 at 32-bit.
HP Pavilion 15-b150us Ultra-Thin TouchSmart Sleekbook
Few laptops that are around 3-inch thick and weighing less than 6lbs have the muscle to make it as a gaming laptop and the HP Pavilion 15-b150us Ultra-Thin TouchSmart Sleekbook is an excellent specimen that cost only $749 . Sporting a 15.6-inch LED backlit display with 1366 x 768 HD resolution, it is powered by the AMD quad core A8-4555M clocked at 1.6 GHz with 6 GB DDR RAM while its graphics engine uses the AMD Radeon HD 7600G which is roughly 15% more powerful than the entry level Intel HD graphics 4000. Weighing a backpack friendly 5.6 lbs from its 3/1-inch profile, this HP Pavilion Sleekbook is installed with a 750GB SATA drive running at 5400 and comes bundled with a 32-bit Windows.
Check out the review of each of the models mentioned above for more details. Among gamers looking for a cheap gaming computer, these three come highly recommended based on your budget and what games you have in mind to play.