Despite being quite cheap, we were stunned to discover that the HP G62-b32SA packed a powerful Intel Core i5 460M processor. This gives incredible value for money in terms of performance, although the G62 also has its flaws.

In our benchmarking tests, that powerful processor beat everything here except the Dell Inspiron 15r. We found we could perform any number of tasks at the same time – for instance, burning a DVD while listening to music and surfing the internet – and there was next to no slowdown. This is a truly remarkable result, given the low price point.

There's only 3GB of memory compared to the 4GB that comes installed in most modern laptops, but even that doesn't seem to impact on how well the HP runs programs.

Of course, sacrifices have to be made somewhere and the G62 has to contend with integrated graphics. This is where the processor has to handle images on top of everything else, instead of a dedicated graphics card doing the work.

Tech Labs

Tech labs

Battery Eater '05: 172 minutes
Cinebench: 8495
3DMark 2006: 3989

Quality audio

Still, HD movies sound rather good, thanks to the powerful built-in Altec Lansing speakers, and look decent on the 15.6-inch screen. It's not a remarkably bright or vibrant display, but it does the job well.

It features a glossy Super-TFT coating. This helps bring out colours a little more, but is also highly reflective, so you'll be struggling to see if you try using this laptop outside.

If you plan on taking a large collection of MP3s, movies or software to university, you might prefer a laptop with a larger hard drive, which offer up to 640GB of storage space. The G62 comes with a 320GB hard drive, which will still suit anyone who doesn't have a huge media collection. A 5-in-1 memory card reader allows you to expand this storage if needed.

The silver chassis looks solid and, for the most part, is, although the lid fl exes rather easily under pressure. You'll want to carry it in a padded bag just to be sure it doesn't get damaged. At 2.6kg, it's one of the heavier around, but still portable enough for everyday use.

Almost three hours of battery life while watching films is a decent result, although the MSI CR640-020UK and Packard Bell EasyNote NS44 HR-033UK have significantly better battery lives.

HP has omitted the dedicated numeric keypad, meaning there's more room on the keyboard for the other keys. It's a firmly set, well-sized board and comfortable to type on. However, HP has included a column of shortcut buttons along the left edge that perform functions such as printing the screen or opening your web browser. We found ourselves hitting these by mistake when going for the Shift, Tab and Ctrl keys.

HP

Featuring a powerful processor commonly found on more expensive laptops, the HP G62-b32SA is great value for any students on a tight budget. However, if you have a huge media collection or wish to perform heavy multimedia tasks such as editing video, there are more suitable laptops.

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