I’ve got a HP 15 laptop here for testing out Intel’s Optane, but figured I may as well do a full review of it too while I’ve got it, so let’s find out what this thing can do. For the specs there’s an Intel i7-8550U, 4GB of single channel memory, Nvidia MX130 graphics, 15.
6” 1080p TN panel and 1TB hard drive which is accelerated with a 16GB stick of Intel’s Optane. For network connectivity there’s a gigabit ethernet port, 802.11ac wifi and Bluetooth 4.2. The body of the laptop is all plastic, a matte silver on top and then the interior is a dark grey with a smooth brushed pattern, no sharp corners or edges anywhere.
Despite the plastic build overall it felt fairly solid. The dimensions of the laptop are 37.6cm in width, 24.6cm in depth, and 2.25cm in height, so pretty average for a 15 inch machine. The weight is listed as 1.
77kg, and I found mine to weigh above 1.9kg. With the small 65 watt power brick and cables for charging the total weight increases to around 2.2kg, so still fairly portable. As mentioned the screen here is a 15.
6” 1080p SVA panel, HP’s terminology for TN, it looks acceptable front on, and then not really usable from any other angle due to colour shift. The screen doesn’t get that bright, 206 nits at 100% brightness in the center with a very low 100:1 contrast ratio, blacks looked grey and overall picture quality looked washed out.
I’ve also measured the current colour gamut using the Spyder 5 Pro, and my results returned 58% of sRGB, 41% of NTSC and 43% of AdobeRGB, so again not great. I’ve taken a long exposure photo in a dark room as a worst case backlight bleed test.
There was no observable bleed in my unit at all, but this will vary between laptops. There wasn’t too much screen flex despite the plastic build as the lid is a little thick, and it uses a large hinge that runs along most of the base for further stability.
Opening the laptop with one finger was only just possible, so perhaps a touch more weight towards the back, it sat fine on my lap in any case. Above the display in the center is a 720p camera. The camera looks quite grainy and the microphone quality is around average, but you’ll be able to judge both for yourself.
The keyboard has white printed lettering with no backlighting. It was actually pretty nice to type with, I liked the spacing between the keys and the numpad isn’t cramped, though the usual small arrow keys make another appearance.
Here’s how it sounds to type on to try and give you an idea of what to expect. There was a little keyboard flex while intentionally pushing down hard, but for the most part it was pretty solid for a plastic build, and no problems during normal usage.
The speakers are found just above the keyboard, and they actually sound pretty good for laptop speakers, much better than I was expecting from this laptop in any case, quite clear although no bass. The air exhaust vents are also just above the speakers and below the screen, though with the lid closed there is a little opening at the very bottom, so should be ok while docked.
The touchpad uses Synaptics drivers and worked fine, it’s got separate left and right click buttons down the bottom or you can two finger click the pad anywhere to right click, the touchpad itself does not click down when pressed.
The left side of the left button in my unit was a little difficult to press properly at times, otherwise it worked ok. On the left there’s the power input, gigabit ethernet port, HDMI 1.4b output, two USB 3.
1 Gen1 Type-A ports and a 3.5mm audio combo jack. On the right towards the front there’s a couple of status LEDs, SD card slot, USB 2.0 Type-A port, then near the back a kensington lock. Both the back and front are just smooth silver plastic.
Up on the silver matte lid there’s just a HP logo in the center with a shiny mirrored finish. Fingerprints were difficult to see on the silver lid and even after heavy use only just visible on the interior, and as a smooth surface they were easy to clean away.
Underneath there’s just a little air intake spot in the middle towards the back, and two rubber feet that do a good job of stopping the laptop from moving around while in use. The bottom panel should be able to be removed by taking out 5 screws with a phillips head screwdriver, however I wasn’t able to get the panel off without feeling like I was going to break it, so no look inside here unfortunately, that thing was stuck on real good.
Powering the laptop is a 3 cell 41 Watt hour battery, and with a full charge and just watching YouTube videos with the screen on half brightness and background apps disabled, I was able to use it for 6 hours and 2 minutes.
It was using the Intel integrated graphics in this test thanks to Nvidia Optimus. I wasn’t able to test the battery while running games as I had some serious issues every time the Nvidia graphics were used, often resulting in a blue screen.
I have no idea what the problem was, I tried different versions of Nvidia drivers and even reinstalled Windows fresh but the problem persisted, I have my doubts that it’s a widespread issue as I can’t see other reports of it with this model so it may just be an issue with this specific review unit.
Thermal testing was completed with an ambient room temperature of 20 degrees celcius, so expect warmer temperatures in a warmer environment. I wasn’t able to manually change fan speed, and as already discussed GPU testing was basically out, so I’ve only been able to look at CPU stress test results.
At idle the CPU was a little warm, but not too bad, the laptop was completely silent though so no fan spinning at this point. I’ve stress tested the CPU using Aida64, and at stock it rose to 68 degrees celsius, and with a -0.
150v undervolt applied to the CPU it only dropped back slightly. These are the average clock speeds of all 4 CPU cores while running those same stress tests, we can see that with the undervolt applied in yellow there’s a small performance improvement but still a fair bit below the specified 3.
7GHz all core turbo speed of the 8550U, as in both instances we’re still capped to a 15W TDP which I was not able to modify with Intel XTU. To demonstrate how this translates into performance I’ve got some Cinebench CPU benchmarks here, and we’re able to get a small 11% boost in performance with the undervolting applied.
I’d expect performance to be worse with a combination of GPU load, but as mentioned that wasn’t possible to reliably test. As for the external temperatures where you’ll actually be putting your hands, at idle the body of the laptop gets to around 30 degrees towards the left and a little warmer in the center of the screen as that’s where the heat is exhausted.
With the CPU stress test running there’s not very much difference, the keyboard only felt slightly warm to the touch. As for the fan noise produced by the laptop, I’ll let you have a listen to these tests.
At idle it was completely silent, and then even while under load the fan only just very slightly spins up, there’s no real point in it going faster, the CPU isn’t even passing 70 degrees under load due to the power limit throttling previously discussed.
Now for some gaming benchmarks, I did mention extended GPU testing wasn’t possible, and trust me it was very difficult to get the little results that I do have due to constant blue screens and crashes while loading the games.
Overwatch was tested at 1080p and 720p using the low settings preset, at 1080p there was noticeable lag between moving the mouse and the screen updating, but at 720p it was somewhat playable, although there was still occasional stuttering.
Fortnite was tested at 1080p only, I wasn’t able to load the game up anymore after this test to try 720p, and it took about 5 attempts of blue screens to get into the game. It was sort of playable on the low preset, but not a great experience.
For detailed storage benchmarks I’ve actually got an entire video benchmarking Intel’s Optane, otherwise just quickly these are the speeds with Optane enabled in Crystal Disk Mark, honestly not a good real world indication of real performance as the Optane module caches the data highly skewing the results.
That said Optane does noticeably improve performance compared to not having it at all, as we can see here with the differences in Windows boot times. The first boot with Optane enabled takes longer while data is cached, then subsequent boots are significantly faster, but any data that’s not cached will still be extremely slow and go to the hard drive.
Here’s how the 1TB 5,400RPM hard drive performs without Optane caching to give you an idea, and here’s how the SD card slot performs with a high speed card, acceptable but nothing special. Pricing will change over time, so check the links in the description for the most up to date prices.
At the time of recording, here in Australia it’s going for around $1200 AUD, and I can’t really see any other pricing for it, so it might be a model specific for this region. Converting the price without tax to US dollars for my international friends that’s around $750, but also worth keeping in mind stuff here costs more too, so probably even cheaper still.
So what did you guys think of the HP 15-DA0066TX? A pretty nice model name I admit, but overall it wasn’t great, mainly due to the issues I had trying to use the Nvidia graphics, again no idea if that’s just my model.
The screen wasn’t very good, the CPU power limit throttles restricting full performance quite a bit, and despite Intel’s Optane cache at times it still felt slow to use, I personally would have preferred a $30 120GB SSD for the same price as the 16GB Optane stick, but that’s just me, at least this way you have 1TB of storage I suppose.
Otherwise the laptop actually had decent build quality, surprising speaker quality, and ran fairly cool and very quiet even under load, so probably decent for a work machine in an office, with the ability to do extremely light 720p gaming.
Let me know what you guys thought about the laptop down in the comments, I haven’t reviewed many other laptops in this price range yet so I don’t really have much to compare it to. Thanks for watching, and don’t forget to subscribe for future tech videos like this one.