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The HP 15-ef2099nr is a laptop for budget buyers looking for something powerful enough to run most office and college tasks but costs half as much as Apple’s latest iPhone 15. If you want premium flourishes like a thin metal chassis a comfortable keyboard and a bezeless display, you’ll have to scale up in price to something like the Apple MacBook Air, which can cost hundreds of dollars more.
With the HP 15 laptop, you’re getting a practical machine with enough top-tier touches to put it above the more budget-friendly competition, and you don’t have to spend more bucks to get a stylish look and reliable productivity performance. We’re talking of an AMD Ryzen 5 chip, 8GB memory, 256GB SSD, and Windows 11 Home all at under $500.
About the HP 15-ef2099nr
The specs of our review unit are as follows:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5500U
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD
- Memory: 8GB DDR4 3200MHz
- Display: 15.6-inch 1366×768 IPS Display
- Connectivity: Realtek Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax (2×2) & Bluetooth 5.2
- Weight: 3.54 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.11 x 0.78 x 9.53 inches
The HP laptop 15 is available in other models, with memory ranging from 12GB to 26GB and storage from as low as 256GB to 2TB SSD. Our review unit is the base model with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD for under $500. If you need more power, you can boost it further via upgrades, or choose a higher model during purchase.
What we like
A premium design than its price tag
While the HP Laptop 15-ef2099nr isn’t going to outdo the Dell XPS 15, it doesn’t feel like a laptop that starts at under $500. It has a durable silver chassis with a hinge that glides smoothly as you open it. Despite its 15-inch design, it weighs just over 3 pounds and easily slides into a backpack without bursting at the seams.
Despite the size, you can still open it up and swap the memory and storage, which is a great way to save a few bucks on upgrades. HP has been at the forefront of creating thin devices that don’t compromise repairability or upgrades, and we hope other PC manufacturers will keep that tradition.
Combine that with other perks like a full-size keyboard with an integrated numeric pack, and you have a device that easily competes with laptops in and above its price range.
Decent performance bang for less money
Around this time every year, things are ever tricky in the laptop market. AMD and Intel are ever at loggerheads, and they’re ever attempting to see who will outdo the other; where the Ryzen 5550U CPU in this machine may have been released a few months ago, it still holds for daily productivity tasks. The easy conclusion would be that this machine can’t quite tach its Intel 13th-generation rivals in benchmark scores, but that’s far from the case.
The AMD Ryzen 5 is still a fantastic mobile processor, one which (combined with fast SSD storage and RAM) gives this a snappy feel and helps it keep up easily with day-to-day productivity tasks. In all its worthiness, it doesn’t feel like a lesser desktop replacement laptop.
What it doesn’t do, however, is offer much in the way of gaming performance. It relies on integrated AMD Radeon graphics which, while not useless, doesn’t promise much in terms of gaming performance. Again, while it feels perfectly slick on this laptop, you can use it as a gaming solution. This isn’t sold on its gaming prowess, so to penalize it based on its lack of a discrete graphics solution doesn’t make much sense.
Beyond performance, the keyboard and touchpad are comfortable enough for anyone who cares about typing office or college tasks regularly. The keyboard sports a full-size tenkey layout which is natural to get used to, and it features minimal flex and decent key travel. It’s comfortable to use, though you’ll struggle in low light as it doesn’t offer backlighting. Below it, there’s a decent-sized multi-touch trackpad with a good click to it, but it doesn’t include a fingerprint reader on the wrist rest.
What we don’t like
The display is sub-par
The 720p IPS display on the HP 15 is sharp for its 15-inch size, and the contrast ratio is pretty standard – but otherwise, this panel is mediocre at best. With only 250 nits peak brightness, the screen is a little dim, especially if you’re going to work outside where there’s lots of sunlight. (350 nits or more is ideal).
In addition, the screen covers about 64.6% of the sRGB color space used by most applications and websites. This means everything is going to look a bit washed out compared with more high-end displays, and colors will be far from accurate in use. It also means that the computer sends a specific shade to the screen. It might display a shade that’s somewhat off from the intended color. If you’re not into photo and video editing, that probably might not be a major hindrance, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
Battery life is mediocre
Generally, budget notebooks like the Acer Aspire 5 and Asus VivoBook 15 can last eight hours on battery alone; about enough to get you through a full workday without an outlet. The HP 15 laptop only lasts just under seven hours, while HP claims over 9 hours on a single charge. While not awful, that’s below average among laptops we’ve tested in the past few years and less than we’d like to see for all-day usage.
HP 15-ef2099nr Review | Verdict
The HP 15-ef2099nr is a well-built laptop for a great price. However, competing laptops like the Acer Aspire 5 and Asus VivoBook 15 are better. I’m often skeptical when recommending lower-cost laptops; too many have bland designs and awful keyboards, but the HP 15 laptop is solid and well-built for the price. You get snappy performance, a robust keyboard, and a touchpad that is a joy to type on and build quality that belies its price tag. And it’s remarkably portable, even for its 15-inch size.
That said, HP still had to keep costs down to reach this affordable price point. Its display is dimmer and lacks color accuracy, and battery life would be better given its size. A 720p display is just painful, while competitors are offering 1080p for even less money.
There are other laptops that give it a run for its money. The Acer Aspire 5, for example, is still one of the best cheap laptops you can get for $500, with better performance per dollar, good battery life, and good port selection. (Its keyboard is a bit horrible, so you’ll have to decide what you need.)
But if you’re in the market for a budget-to-midrange machine and don’t mind the screen resolution, the HP 15-ef2099nr should be on your shortlist.
The HP 15-ef2099nr is an affordable laptop with a fair amount of power, a near-premium design, and a comfortable keyboard, but its mediocre screen keeps it from being the best in this category.
- Solid, portable build quality
- Great performance for the price
- Very good keyboard and trackpad
- Display is sub-par
- Mediocre battery life
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HP 15 inch Laptop, HD Display, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, AMD Radeon Graphics, Windows 11 Home, 15-ef2099nr (2023),Silver
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