HP is one of the world's top laptop manufacturers and impressed us recently with its Intel Core i3-powered ProBook 6440b. The G62-a45SA is its latest Core i3 machine and its rather unexciting design is made up for by a strong set of features.
The plastic chassis has a similar brushed aluminium finish to the Acer in this group and is mostly solid, with only a little flex around the optical drive. It's a rather bland design, but doesn't suffer from fingerprints or dust coating the surface.
Weighing in at 2.6kg this laptop can be carried around if needed, although it's a little heavier than the other machines here.
Battery life is much better than the Toshiba Satellite Pro C650-197, with 278 minutes of power on offer from a single charge.
Usability is rather mixed. The keyboard is responsive, although feels a bit cheap compared to the solid Acer Aspire 5741-333G32Mn and Packard Bell EasyNote NM86 boards.
There is no dedicated numeric keypad, unlike the Acer, but a row of shortcut buttons along the left side allows easy access to internet software.While we found ourselves hitting these buttons by accident at first, we quickly got used to the layout.
Some users may dislike the touchpad, however, which is completely flat and undefined.
An Intel Core i3 processor provides ample performance for office tasks. The Core i3 350M chip includes integrated graphics, which all four laptops here use for image rendering and, while there's not enough power for running complex multimedia applications or playing the latest games, watching high-definition (HD) movies and basic photo and video editing is fine.
Storage is limited, with just 250GB available - less than the Acer and Toshiba - although the HP hard drive runs at a faster speed for fast access to your data.
The DVD drive features LightScribe technology, which allows you to burn monochrome labels directly on to CDs and DVDs – an unexpected inclusion at this price.
High-speed wireless networking is made possible by 802.11n Wi-Fi, but fixed network connections are slower than the Acer and Packard Bell.
HDMI and VGA connections are also in place, letting you output to an external display and a 5-in-1 memory card reader lets you instantly access holiday snaps and other media.
Overall the G62-a45SA is a good machine that offers strong Intel Core i3 performance at a reasonable price. Features such as LightScribe support and the fast hard drive are a welcome bonus, but the keyboard and touchpad may put off some users.
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