The desktop replacement category has continued to expand with the entry of more powerful laptops that pack decent features and functions that make them competitive with desktop computers. A case in point is the mid-priced HP 15-ay196nr that comes in the way of casual users to offer a decent performance for everyday use. The laptop is powered by the latest 7th generation Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7GHZ, 8GB DDR4 RAM and 1 TB 5400RPM hard drive. The 15 inch touchscreen display comes with a resolution of 1366×768 and an integrated graphics unit the Intel HD 620. This combination of features will easily satisfy a casual interested in handling office work, college assignments or just as a home entertainment system to replace the desktop in the house.
The laptop measures 15 x 2 x 12 inches and weighs 4.7 pounds, which is still considered to be light enough for occasional trips or moving from one room to the other while in the house. The laptop is big enough for all day use without having to plug in an external monitor for purposes of a larger display. It flaunts a silver lid and a keyboard deck while keeps the bottom of the chassis black. This is an all plastic chassis that fits well into this category considering mid-range price. However, with a little more bucks you can settle for a metallic chassis.
Under the hood, the HP 15-ay196nr is powered by the Kaby Lake Intel Core i7-7500U processor clocked at 2.7 GHz clock speed that can run up to 3.5 GHz with Turbo boost technology. The processor remains one of the highlight points of this laptop thanks to its low voltage unit that saves on battery life. The processor is coupled with 8GB DDR4 RAM that is not expandable but for casual this is more than enough to get the job done. But for the computer geeks they always feel at home with the flexibility the extra memory brings on board. The system has the oomph needed to handle day to day web surfing, editing documents and spreadsheets and playing of music and watching your favorite movies and videos.
HP stumbles when it comes to storage for the HP 15-ay196nr, it is embedded with a 1 TB 5400 RPM hard drive. The hard drive gives you ample storage for all your movies, files and music but will not give you the speeds associated with a Solid state drive for quick boot times and loading of programs. Unfortunately, the system does not have an empty for an extra unit. So if you want to upgrade your system, you will have to remove the HDD and replace it with a fast SSD. However, if you don’t know a thing or two about computers but still want to upgrade, you can consider the HP 15-ay018nr that comes already installed with a 256 GB Solid state drive.
The gamers too won’t find this system welcoming but it can handle some few games when restricted to lower settings and resolution. The laptop comes with an integrated Intel HD 620 graphics unit that offers dismal performance when compared to a dedicated graphics unit like GeForce. As such, it will only offer some playable frame rates for games such as GTA at 30 FPS on low details and 1366×766 resolution. For entry level gaming, you will want to look at the Dell 15.6 Inch Gaming Laptop but with an adjusted budget upwards. HP promises that the 3-cell 31 Whr battery will give you up to 9 hours of battery life nut in real life it will give you around 5 hours of usage.
In terms of connectivity, the laptop features two USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.1 ports for connecting other devices and fast connectivity. The laptop misses on the new USB Type-C connector, perhaps we are being overambitious to expect one on this system. There is an HDMI port for extending the display, a SD/MMC card reader and a headphone output/microphone input combo. It also hold on to the traditional DVD +/- RW drive at a time when most manufacturers are phasing out the optical drive. Internet connectivity is available by use of 10/100 Ethernet port for cabled connection, and wireless 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 takes care of wireless connectivity.
The system flaunts a 15.6″ HD touchscreen SVA WLED backlit with a resolution of 1366×766 pixel. We expected to find a full HD display here as seen in the HP 15-ay018nr, nevertheless it will get to offer some crisp detail on images, web pages and when watching movies. The display also offers a 10-point capacitive touch that we could have easily traded off for a superior resolution. There is a webcam on the top bezel of the display that comes in handy for video conferencing and chatting with friends and family via Skype.
The HP 15-ay196nr suffices as a decent desktop replacement laptop despite some misses here and there. It is an ideal system for casual users who want to just surf the web, edit documents and spreadsheets. The inclusion of a powerful 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor, touch screen display and 8GB DDR4 ram gives it the power to offer a decent performance. However, the disappointment will come for those who will want to upgrade the RAM in future and the inclusion of a 1TB 5400 RPM could be a deal breaker to some. Additionally, the low screen resolution might add up to make you look on the side of the Hp 15-ay018nr which comes with a full HD resolution. It also comes with 8GB RAM and 256 GB Solid State Drive for storage and fast boot speeds and loading of programs. If all you need is a basic laptop for casual everyday use, then you can’t be wrong to include the HP 15-ay196nr in your shopping list.