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Our user experience of this hardware was generally a positive one.
It boots smartly, launches applications smoothly, and with six cores, it has no issue handling multiple tasks with aplomb. The screen is bright and sharp, and the contrast and saturation make it suitable for both work and play.
The keyboard is of the membrane variety, but there is sufficient travel action to make typing rapidly possible. And the trackpad is a quality design that doesn’t require excessive force to illicit virtual mouse clicks.
Provided with the system was an HP-branded 65w USB-C power adapter that can recharge the system from wholly discharged to full in around two hours.
The default Windows installation lacks many more recent patches, making the first few hours a little tedious as all these upgrades are installed, some requiring reboots. But, due to the excellent multi-tasking, this is less of an issue since you can use it while these patches and added features are being downloaded and applied.
Here's how the HP ProBook 635 Aero G7 scored in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark Wild Life: 5,224; Fire Strike: 2,818; Time Spy: 967;
Cinebench R23 CPU: 1162 (single-core); 5,570 (multi-core)
GeekBench 5: 1,087 (single-core); 4,541 (multi-core), 9890 (OpenCL)
CrystalDiskMark: Sequential Read: 1,792MB/s; Sequential Write: 1,049MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Read: 380.8MB/s; 4KiB Q32T1 Random Write: 369.8MB/s
PCMark 10 (Home Test): 4,606 points
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 15 hours and 44 minutes
Windows Experience Index: 8.0
Having six cores running at 2.3GHz, even without hyperthreading, allows for some performance that crushes less worthy mobile platforms.
And, almost across the board, the Aero 635 with this AMD Ryzen 5 Mobile 4500U processor delivers desirable scores in both single-core and multi-core tasks.
An Intel CPU to compare the Ryzen 5 4500U with is the 11th Gen Core i5-1140G7, sporting a slower 1.8GHz baseline with 4.2GHz turbo mode. This chip might be only quad-core but has hyperthreading to handle eight threads simultaneously, giving it a significant advantage on multi-threaded tests.
The i5-1140G7 is faster at a good number of the benchmarks, especially those that are graphics related. It wins those benchmarks because the new Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 is faster than the Radeon Vega 6.
However, once you take the GPU out of the equation, as in the CineBench 23 test, the Intel chip is only 9% quicker for the single CPU score and 25% slower on the multi-core CPU result. For its modest power consumption, the Ryzen 5 with Zen 2 architecture is a beast.
For those that want more graphics power on this platform, HP has a version of this machine using the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 4750U, sporting a Vega 7 specification GPU.
Overall, the AMD Ryzen 5 Mobile 4500U delivers a delicate balance between raw performance and power efficiency. Where the Intel Core i5-1140G7 might have the edge in a sprint, systems that use it typically provide half the battery life of the Ryzen.
And, that’s the killer performance feature of this design, battery life.
In our PCMark10 battery test, the HP ProBook 635 Aero G7 squeezed a truly impressive 15 hours and 44 minutes from its 53 Wh Li-ion pack, a level that equates to easily two working days of continuous use.
That’s Chromebook-like battery life in a PC running Windows 10, amazingly.
The one place that this system might have been better was the NVMe drive, an SK Hynix BC511. This SSD is a 512GB OEM drive with mediocre read and write speeds for an NVMe part.
It achieved just 1,791MB/s reads and 1,048MB/s writes on CrystalDiskMark 8.0.4, way below the performance levels we’d expect from a branded desktop part.
That said, it does have a power profile that would help battery life on a mobile system, drawing a maximum of 2.5w and an idle state of just 40mW idle.
With such average performance, it might be tempting to swap it for something with more grunt, but a desktop part could easily pull 8 watts, reducing overall battery life.
On many systems, that might be an unacceptable trade, but the excess battery capacity in this design make it a realistic choice.
Surprisingly, the Aero 635 is one of the easiest notebooks to get inside that we’ve encountered. Just five screws and some very light duty with a non-conductive spudger has the back off in minutes, and the panel even retains the screws, so you don’t get a chance to misplace them.
Once the access panel is removed, you have full access to the two SoDIMM memory slots, the M.2 NVMe drive, M.2 Comms slot and the battery. Those provide a wide range of upgrade and replacement possibilities.
But, with only a single M.2 slot, the existing drive will need to be externally imaged, and a USB recovery drive made if you wish to change out the NVMe for something better and want to avoid a complete reinstallation.
As notebooks go, the Aero 635 is one of the better choices when it comes to post-sales enhancements.
It’s great to see more laptop makers exploring the AMD mobile platform, as this silicon has the potential for substantially better power efficiency than Intel offers.
A machine like the Aero 635 G7 is all about being the lightweight machine that can go a working day, or further, on a single change. The choice of the AMD Ryzen 5 mobile CPU ticks that box and much more.
Compared with an 11th gen Core-i5, this machine lasts longer and performs just as well in most typical tasks. The Intel chips with the new Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 have more GPU performance but consume substantially more battery power to achieve that.
As laptops go, the Aero 635 G7 offers an uncluttered and elegant design that is competitively priced. We’d have preferred USB-C ports on both sides, and Thunderbolt 3 should have been an option along with a LAN port. For those with a docking station, these omissions are mostly irrelevant.
The screen is sharp, bright and has excellent contrast, and the keyboard is good enough for regular use.
One downside is that to keep the weight under that magical 1kg line, the designers chose to make the external panels all from plastic. Therefore, this notebook will need to be cossetted in a soft cover and kept away from sharp objects to survive a deployment cycle.
Overall, HP produced an excellent and keenly priced solution that underlines the lacklustre nature of many Intel mobile chipsets and how AMD Ryzen silicon has unique advantages.
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Mark is an expert on 3D printers, drones and phones. He also covers storage, including SSDs, NAS drives and portable hard drives. He started writing in 1986 and has contributed to MicroMart, PC Format, 3D World, among others.