The HP 15s is a budget mainstream laptop which is often the default Windows-powered machine for students and office professionals. Featuring the Intel 11th Gen Intel processor, the laptop is aiming to be the jack of all trades. The specific model under review, the HP 15s, boasts a 512GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. It also comes pre-installed with the Windows 11 OS, just like most other new laptops nowadays.
Despite its impressive internals, the HP 15s has its share of drawbacks. Yet, its features align well with the needs of a student. The laptop's design, performance, and build quality make it a strong contender in the mainstream budget laptop category. The review highlights its lightweight and sturdy build, minimalistic yet stylish design, and commendable audio quality. Along with some of its quirks as well.
The HP 15s features a comfortable full-size keyboard that provides a tactile typing experience. The keys are well-spaced, ensuring accuracy and speed while typing. The keyboard also has 1.5mm key travel. Therefore, if your work involves a lot of typing, then the keyboard won't disappoint you. The touchpad is responsive and allows for precise cursor movements and multi-finger gestures. It does not have a separate left and right click button though. But I'd still suggest getting a mouse if you want a faster workflow.
One of the standout features of the HP 15s is its build quality. The laptop boasts a sleek and modern design with a slim profile, making it both stylish and portable. The construction feels solid and robust, ensuring durability. The laptop's subtle design is complemented by its Natural Silver colour, giving it a discreet look. It is the kind of laptop that avoids looking like a boring office device and embraces some richness. Additionally, the laptop offers a good selection of ports, including two superspeed USB-A ports and a single USB-C port, an HDMI, and a headphone jack, catering to various connectivity needs.
Crafted primarily from high-quality polycarbonate materials, the HP 15s strikes a good balance between portability and chassis strength. The polycarbonate build helps the laptop a lot in looking good and absorbing wear and tear. The chassis of the HP 15s also feels solid. The reinforced corners and edges ensure that the laptop can withstand minor accidental drops and bumps. The hinge mechanism, often a point of concern in many laptops, has been robustly constructed in the HP 15s, allowing for smooth opening and closing without any wobble.
The construction also takes into account the laptop's thermal management. The underside features strategically placed vents that facilitate optimal airflow. Considering the laptop only features an Intel 11th Gen Core i3 processor, the given cooling system is good enough.
In terms of display, the HP 15s leaves much to be desired. The HP 15s uses an FHD display with 250 nits of claimed brightness. In our display tests, the HP 15's actual peak brightness came out to be 230nits. Moreover, its sRGB and DCI-P3 colour space coverage was also pretty low at 65 and 48% respectively. Furthermore, in terms of colour accuracy, the screen scored an Average Delta E value of 4.7, making it not colour-accurate. Overall, the 15.6-inch screen, despite its size, lacks vibrancy, making it suitable mainly for work-related tasks.
If you're mainly buying this laptop to finish projects and write documents then the 15.6-inch display might be enough. But for entertainment purposes, I'd suggest you look elsewhere as the display's viewing angles are also not good. However, as mentioned, the laptop does feature an Anti-Glare coating, making it ideal for work in conditions where there are a lot of overhanging lights.
The HP 15s, equipped with an 11th Gen Core i3-1115G4, truly delivers adequate performance. The dual-core chip is optimum for basic tasks like opening apps, light multitasking, running office apps and the works. In terms of raw numbers, the laptop scored 1277 and 2946 in the Cinebench single and multicore rendering tests respectively. For reference, an Intel "H" series Core i5 chip scores 1571 and 8641 in single and multicore tests respectively. So the single-core performance of the 11th Gen Core i3 chip is decent. But its multicore performance is average at best.
The laptop also features a 512GB SSD, which has 2739 and 3507 MB/s write and read speeds respectively. Furthermore, the SSD speed figures are good and will shorten load times across the board. In terms of memory, the HP 15s I reviewed came with 8GB DDR4 RAM running at 3200MHz, which can be upgraded, if you're so inclined.
HP 15s also lacks a dedicated GPU and the integrated graphics included with the Intel Core i3-1115G4 are also not good enough for any graphically intensive task. So don't expect this laptop to run any games. Even eSports titles, which run fine on AMD Radeon integrated graphics, struggle to run on the Intel chip. Lastly, The HP 15s achieved a battery life of 378 minutes or 6g 18mins in our PC Mark 10 test. The test was done with 100% screen brightness and the battery set in performance mode. Overall, a good battery life for use.
The HP 15s positions itself as a reliable choice for students and professionals seeking a budget-friendly, Windows-powered laptop. With its 11th-gen Intel processor, it aims to be versatile, catering to a range of basic tasks. Its build quality is undeniably one of its strongest suits. However, the display is where the HP 15s falters. Despite being an FHD screen, it lacks dullness. Its brightness and colour space coverage are underwhelming, making it more suited for work than entertainment. That said, the Anti-Glare coating is a redeeming feature, especially for those working under bright lights.
Performance-wise, the laptop delivers adequately for basic tasks. Its 11th Gen Core i3 processor manages well for everyday activities, though it's not cut out for heavy multitasking or gaming. The SSD speeds are impressive, ensuring swift load times, and the 8GB RAM, with potential for upgrades, is a decent inclusion. However, the absence of a dedicated GPU and underwhelming integrated graphics means this isn't a machine for gamers or graphic-intensive tasks. In conclusion, the HP 15s is a solid choice for those prioritizing build quality, everyday performance, and budget. However, if display quality and gaming are high on your list, you might want to explore other options.