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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Attractive design with some premium touches
Includes a touchscreen
Decent battery life
Big hard drive
Touchscreen doesn’t feel great to use
Display resolution is only 1366 x 768
Lots of bloatware
The HP 15-BS013DX offers decent performance at a budget price, but the i3-7100U processor and the resolution of the touchscreen hold it back.
The HP 15-BS013DX is a version of the budget-category HP Notebook 15 series that includes an i3-7100U processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620, 1TB HDD, 8 GB of RAM, and a 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 touchscreen display. With those specifications, it’s an exercise in compromise, offering decent performance for basic tasks like word processing, but falling short on more demanding tasks like video editing and gaming.
Raw specifications only tell part of the story, so we recently put a 15-BS013DX to the test around the office and at home. We checked out how well it handles everything from web browsing and email, to image editing and even gaming, both in terms of benchmarks and real-world testing.
Budget laptops like the HP Notebook series tend to look and feel cheap because their low price points just don’t allow for any premium touches. The 15-BS013DX escapes that trap to a degree—its textured plastic case is pleasant to look at but less pleasant to touch. Despite its deceptive looks, the case still feels somewhat cheap and flimsy in the hand.
The 15-BS013DX is available in several color variations, but the gray version we tested has a nice two-tone look when its opened due to the darker gray of the bezel and interior deck of the laptop. Unlike the top and bottom case, the bezel and interior body are both metal. This part looks great and feels a lot better than the plastic exterior.
For a 15-inch laptop, the 15-BS013DX is decently portable. With a thickness of less than an inch, it’s easy to slide into a laptop bag or backpack. It does weigh almost four pounds, which is definitely on the heftier side but not too far out of the ordinary for a laptop of this size.
Despite its deceptive looks, the case still feels somewhat cheap and flimsy in the hand.
The rest of the design is functional and works quite well. Two USB ports, the HDMI port, the headphone jack, and the ethernet port can be found on one side, with the remaining USB port, SD card reader, and DVD drive located on the other. Having most of the ports and jacks on one side is a nice touch, since it means you’ll usually only have to deal with cables on one side of the laptop.
The HP 15-BS013DX is a Windows 10 laptop, and the setup process is pretty typical for this kind of device. We timed the initial setup process and it took about ten minutes to get to the desktop after our first time turning it on.
The laptop does ask you to provide some information to Hewlett-Packard during the initial set up process, but most OEMs have a similar process for warranty purposes. It also offers a free trial of Office during initial setup, which may be considered a useful perk or annoying bloatware depending on your needs.
While the computer is ready to use after the short initial setup, it does come with a lot of unnecessary bloatware, including about ten questionably useful apps from HP, that you may need to take the time to uninstall.
The display is perfectly competent for a budget laptop, but it is one of the biggest weaknesses of the HP 15-BS013DX. The issue is the resolution, which is only 1366 x 768. It isn’t unusable, but the majority of users would be more comfortable with a 1920 x 1080 full HD display.
Color depth and brightness are okay, but not great. The viewing angles are also decent from the sides, but terrible when viewed from even slightly above or below the optimum angle.
The display is a touchscreen, which scores the HP 15-BS013DX some major points (and will likely sway some people that prioritize a touchscreen over a full HD display). The downside is that the glossy screen doesn’t feel very good to use. It’s responsible, but your finger can’t glide smoothly across the surface.
The HP 15-BS013DX is held back by its i3-7100U processor and integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics chip. It performs basic productivity tasks well for a laptop in the budget category, but you should consider stepping up to a better processor if you want to do more demanding tasks like video editing or gaming.
We ran the PCMark 10 benchmark, and the HP 15-BS013DX notched an overall score of 2,169. It scored highest in the essentials category, which includes basic productivity tasks like word processing, and lowest in the digital content creation category.
We also subjected the laptop to a few gaming benchmarks from 3DMark. It scored predictably low on the Fire Strike benchmark, with a score of 815 and an average of just 4 FPS. The integrated graphics chip is definitely the bottleneck, as it scored a much higher 3,921 in the physics portion of the benchmark, compared to just 890 in the graphics portion.
The downside is that the glossy screen doesn’t feel very good to use.
We also ran the less demanding Cloud Gate benchmark, which is designed for lower end PCs. It scored a 5,232 in that one, with a more acceptable 31 FPS on average.
We installed Steam and fired up Capcom’s mega hit Monster Hunter, and it was literally unplayable with the default graphic settings. Even with every setting scaled back—running it in borderless windowed mode at the lowest resolution possible—we were only able to achieve a maximum of 12 FPS in Astera.
The bottom line is that the HP 15-BS013DX isn’t designed for gaming, but it can handle older games and simpler indie titles. Just don’t expect to play modern games even at low settings.
The HP 15-BS013DX is suited to regular daily use like word processing, manipulating spreadsheets, email, and other basic productivity tasks. In the PCMark 10 benchmark, it notched scores of 4,997 in spreadsheets, 2,453 in word processing, 5,045 in web browsing, and even a respectable 5,431 in video conferencing.
Some apps were slow to start in our testing, with LibreOffice Writer taking almost 18 seconds to launch. Once the apps were opened, we didn’t notice any slowdown or other issues when performing basic productivity tasks. You can even have over a dozen tabs open in your web browser without any noticeable slowdown.
The dual speakers are located toward the back of the laptop, and they fire upward through a grill behind the keyboard that runs the entire length of the device. This is a good location, because there’s no danger of the speakers being muffled by your hands, desk, or lap.
The audio quality is decent enough, and we didn’t notice any distortion even with the volume at its highest setting. There isn’t a lot of bass, but the sound is clear and not unpleasant or harsh. You could easily get by using the speakers instead of headphones (although we still think a nice set of headphones will offer a better listening experience).
The HP 15-BS013DX supports both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. The 5 GHz and 2.5 GHz Wi-Fi connection both work quite well, providing decent upload and download speeds if you aren’t able to take advantage of the ethernet port.
We ran a speed test using Speedtest.net and found that the HP 15-BS013DX was able to achieve data transfer speeds of 217 Mbps down and 21 Mbps up when connected to our 5 GHz network. When connected to our 2.4 GHz network, it achieved 31 Mbps down and 27 Mbps up. An ethernet connection, at the same time, yielded 843 Mbps down.
The HP 15-BS013DX is suited to regular daily use like word processing … and other basic productivity tasks.
These speeds were in the middle of the pack for laptops in this price range: slightly slower than some we’ve seen, and significantly better than others.
The HP 15-BS013DX includes a built-in webcam that’s capable of capturing video in 1280 x 720 at 30 FPS. The image quality is good enough for basic video calls, but it is a little blurry and washed out to use for professional video conferencing.
The HP 15-BS013DX includes a three-cell lithium-ion battery with a nominal capacity of 31 Wh. During our testing, we found that it was able to stand up to five and a half hours of constant video streaming (with the brightness at 40 percent) before it finally shut off.
Hewlett-Packard advertises a nine-hour run time, which could probably be achieved with the Wi-Fi shut off and the display lowered a bit more. They also advertise an overall battery life of 10 hours and 15 minutes which is theoretically possible, but to achieve that type of battery life, you’d have to shut down the Wi-Fi whenever you aren’t using it and perform less strenuous tasks like word processing and light web browsing.
The HP 15-BS013DX comes with Windows 10 and free trials of both Microsoft Office 365 and McAfee LiveSafe. It also comes with a lot of bloatware, including about ten different HP apps like HP JumpStart, HP Connection Assistant, HP Support Assistant, and HP Audio Switch, that most users won’t want.
Some of this software may be useful to users who aren’t very familiar with computers, but everyone else can safely uninstall it.
In the configuration we tested, the HP 15-BS013DX has an MSRP of $499.99, but it isn’t a smart buy at that price. You can find better options, with higher-resolution screens and faster processors, for less.
That said, the HP 15-BS013DX can usually be found at a significantly lower price than MSRP. On sale, it’s actually a decent option for an inexpensive touchscreen (if you can get past the fact that it doesn’t have a full HD display).
The HP 15-BS013DX is in a good place compared to the competition, mostly because of the fact that it has a touchscreen. Most laptops in this price category, with similar specifications, don’t have touchscreen displays. For instance, the Lenovo Ideapad 320 has similar specifications, less RAM, no touchscreen, and sells for $280.
Another close competitor, the Acer Aspire E 15, has an MSRP of $329, a full HD display, and beats the HP 15-BS013DX in all important benchmarks, but it still doesn’t have a touchscreen.
The HP 15-BS013DX compares very favorably to its close cousin, the HP Notebook 15-DB0011DX, which is an HP Notebook 15 series laptop that has an AMD CPU instead of an Intel chip. That version of the HP Notebook 15 series sells for about $288, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen and scores lower than the HP 15-BS013DX in all important benchmarks.
A decent touchscreen option, but wait till it goes on sale to buy.
The bottom line for the HP 15-BS013DX is that it isn’t worth the advertised MSRP, but it’s worth considering when the price dips far enough below the $500 MSRP. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t have a full HD display, so you’ll have to decide if the perk of the touchscreen is a fair tradeoff.
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