Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Review: New Laptop (HP ENVY 13-d053sa)

Today I thought I'd do a bit of a different post and share my thoughts on my new laptop which I got a couple of weeks ago while I was in the UK. To be honest I wasn't expecting to get a new one, although my old one was on its last legs and direly needed replacing - but it just sort of happened and I'm not complaining! Although I'm far from an expert on all the IT stuff I do know the basics, that is to say enough to make an informed choice (with a little help from some tech savvy family members) so I hope this post will be useful for someone.

The main thing I was looking for in a new laptop was lightness, portability and not too small a screen. As you might imagine this proved a little tricky to reconcile because in general the lighter the laptop, the smaller it will be and so the smaller the screen! My previous laptop was a 14" screen and to begin with I was adamant that I wanted to stick to 14", partly out of habit as I'd got used to it after previously downsizing from a 15", and also out of practicality as I need to use it for writing essays and would find that hard to do on a tiddly little 11" notebook thing. But in the end 14" turned out to be hard to find as most lightweight laptops tend to be 13" or 13.3" - my new one is the latter and I have to say after a couple of days I stopped noticing the difference. It's perfectly big enough for my needs and the convenience of the weight and portability easily makes up for losing 0.7" of screen.


Anyway, onto the important stuff. The model is an HP ENVY 13-d053sa (see it on PC World here) and I have to say it has some impressive specs. It weighs a mere 1.3kg, has a whizzy i7 dual core processor, 256 KB SSD storage, 3200x1800 screen resolution and three USB 3.0 ports.

The weight is unbelievably light for a laptop (I sometimes forget I'm holding it) and is the main reason I chose it as next year I'll be doing an uphill 30 minute walk to lectures every day and there was no way I could carry my old one which weighed in at more like 2.2kg. The i7 processor is a considerable upgrade and probably a lot more than I need as I don't game or use powerful programs, but it's nice to have things work that bit faster. The lack of storage is mildly disappointing, but it's just a function of the reduced weight and doesn't bother me that much as I don't keep movies and things that take up a lot of space on my laptop, especially now I'm using OneDrive to store photos and files. The screen resolution is meaningless to me but I have been assured it is excellent so I'll take it.

Look at it! So slim!
The keyboard is very swish and apparently an 'island-style' one, whatever that means. Some buttons are in a slightly different place to my old one which was off-putting at first but I'm getting the hang of it now. The only thing that still annoys me is the fact that you have to hold down alt to use the home key as it's part of the arrows, but I can probably live with it in the long term. The touchpad is a million times better than on my old one which was horribly unresponsive and had a weird textured feel, but I still use a mouse if I'm just sitting at my desk as I'm so much faster with it. A cool feature is the fingerprint reader which I use to sign into my Windows account - so much quicker than typing in a password!

All in all it's the perfect laptop for me and I'm excited to make full use of it next term when I go back to uni - it's lightweight, slim and generally super swishy. One feature which it doesn't include and which is pretty much vital for me is a DVD drive, but I've got around this by buying an external DVD drive/writer. This is pretty much the best thing ever because it means you can still watch DVDs on your ultra portable laptop without having to compromise on size. They come with a USB connector cable and are really easy to use (or at least this LG one was): all you have to do is plug it in, install the software and hey presto. Well actually not quite because I did still have to install a DVD player program (this one) as well, but now it works just fine.

I would definitely recommend this laptop to anyone with a decent budget looking for a portable laptop but not a tiny notebook, and especially to university students as portability can be pretty important if you take a laptop to lectures every day.

I hope this was helpful to someone or at least somewhat informative!


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