HP 14-DK1003DX - $239.99 at Best Buy
This exceptionally affordable HP laptop from Best Buy contains the AMD Athlon Silver - a processor found in only very few other laptops. It also comes with a range of freebies to sweeten the package, like free antivirus and cloud storage. If you don't mind the antiquated display resolution, it's well worth a punt.
You won’t find this laptop on HP’s own website, but the 14-DK1003DX - a Best Buy exclusive at $239.99 (roughly £190/AU$350) - has an intriguing quality that not many have picked up on.
The machine is one of very few business laptops to come with an AMD Athlon Silver processor. Athlon was the iconic CPU brand that helped drive the company forward the beginning of this century and has been in limbo for about a decade. It's now back and (surprise, surprise) is powered by AMD’s Zen+ architecture.
The Athlon Silver 3050U has not yet been tested, but we know it's similar to a Ryzen 3 3200U (with two cores and two threads) and a GPU that has one fewer compute units. Its GPU, the Radeon RX Vega 2, should be more powerful than anything else found in this price range.
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The rest of the specification is adequate for the price: there’s 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD (not eMMC), a 14-inch display, Windows 10 Home in S Mode (which can be upgraded to Windows 10 Home), a 3-cell Lithium-Ion battery, a Gigabit Ethernet port, Wireless AC Wi-Fi and a webcam.
Reviewers say the memory is upgradable, so you should be able to pop in a second 2.5-inch solid state drive. There are also a few unexpected freebies, including a touchpad with real buttons, a 6-month subscription to Webroot Internet Security with Antivirus for three devices (worth $29.99), McAfee LiveSafe and 25GB of Dropbox cloud storage for a year.
Perhaps the only major sore point is the fact the screen resolution is a measly 1366 x 768 pixels. That's the kind of resolution that belongs to the early 2000’s and there’s no reason for this lapse in quality today - especially considering most entry level smartphones are now full HD.
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Bear in mind
- Unfortunately, BestBuy does not deliver globally, so non-US customers will have to use a specialist parcel-forwarding service to take advantage of the deal.
- If you've managed to get hold of a cheaper product with equivalent specifications, in stock and brand new, let us know and we'll tip our hat to you.