HP 620 review

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

HP 620
The poor keyboard design lets down what is otherwise a decent laptop

TechRadar Verdict


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    Decent performance

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    Hard drive

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  • -

    Weak graphics performance

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    Keyboard design

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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.

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