HP 620 review

  • £399

A tough and capable 15.6-inch laptop, but its awkward keyboard disappoints

TODO alt text

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1366 x 768
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Decent performance
  • Hard drive
  • Connectivity

Against

  • Weak graphics performance
  • Keyboard design

While HP's EliteBook, ProBook and Compaq laptops are its flagship business models, it also offers more affordable corporate machines, such as the 620.

Built for basic office use, it has a lot to offer, but is let down here by a significant design flaw.

The first thing you notice is its resilient build quality. With similarly tough, textured plastics as used by the Acer Aspire 5551-P32G32Mn, it is pleasingly resilient to scuffs and scratches. This makes it a great choice for family use, as it is a machine built to last.

Despite its large 15.6-inch screen, the 2.5kg chassis is light enough for basic travel use. The 227-minute battery life is good for this price point and lets you keep working for nearly four hours.

Where the HP falls flat, however, is its poorly thought out keyboard design. Featuring a vertical panel of multimedia keys on its left-hand side – used to pause and skip through your music, for example – such essential keys as the Shift and Ctrl buttons have been indented by 20mm.

When typing at speed this means that it is all too easy to strike the wrong keys with your left hand, resulting in frequent errors. Over time we found that our typing slowly adjusted to this layout, but it's nevertheless a poor choice for such a crucial element of a laptop's design.

HP 620

The rest of the 620 is far more pleasing. The 15.6-inch screen provides striking images, thanks to an impressive display of brightness, colour and contrast, with its matt-TFT coating eliminating reflections and making it easy to work outdoors.

Performance also impresses. The dual-core Intel Pentium processor proves suitably speedy for this low price, running office software with aplomb and even allowing entry-level photo-editing software to run with ease.

Poor graphics

Unfortunately, graphics performance is less capable and falls well behind the Acer Aspire 5551-P32G32Mn and Samsung R730. While the integrated Intel graphics chip provides enough power for watching movies, there isn't really enough power for video editing.

Where the HP again excels, however, is its ample storage. The 500GB hard drive provides ample storage, while the DVD rewriter provides support for HP's LightScribe technology, letting you create CD/DVD disc labels with ease.

With its impressive performance, ample storage, vibrant screen and resilient design, there is a lot to like about the HP 620.

Its limited graphics and awkward usability are its Achilles' heel, however, so it is unfortunately hard to fully recommend this machine against the excellent Acer and Samsung.

Follow TechRadar Reviews on Twitter: http://twitter.com/techradarreview

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity500 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelGMA 4500MHD
BluetoothYes
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
Graphics Memory AccessibilityShared
Maximum Battery Run Time5.25 Hour
HDMIYes
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyEssential 620
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelT4500
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameHP
Processor Speed2.30 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size39.6 cm (15.6")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1366 x 768
Standard Memory4 GB
Weight (Approximate)2.36 kg
Cache1 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEPEAT Gold, ENERGY STAR, WEEE, RoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelGL40 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Labeling TechnologyLightScribe
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Bluetooth StandardBluetooth 2.1
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Total Number of USB Ports3
Memory StandardDDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Height27.5 mm
Width371.8 mm
Depth249.6 mm
Screen ModeWXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product Series620
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product NameEssential 620 Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Product LineEssential
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberWT246EA#ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

You shouldn't have to compromise on performance just because you're looking for value. Powered with Intel processors, 39,6 cm (15.6") diagonal HD display and wireless technologies and 2MP webcam, the HP 620 Notebook is your link to the world.

Maximum Memory8 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • Essential 620 Notebook
  • Lithium Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Power Cord
  • Limited Warranty1 Year
    Bus Speed800 MHz