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HP 15t Touch review: Great looks, good performance, this budget laptop's got it all

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 18, 2015
If I didn't know better, I'd say HP had something to prove. Early on in this reviews round-up HP sent over its Pavilion x360 11T Touch Select--a beautiful machine, and already one of our top recommendations in the sub-$500 range. And then at the eleventh hour it sent over the HP 15t Touch, which not only looks better but performs better too.

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Credit: Rob Schultz

If I didn't know better, I'd say HP had something to prove. Early on in this reviews round-up HP sent over its Pavilion x360 11T Touch Select--a beautiful machine, and already one of our top recommendations in the sub-$500 range. And then at the eleventh hour it sent over the HP 15t Touch, which not only looks better but performs better too.

HP's not messing around.

The design

The Pavilion x360 HP sent over was clearly meant to stand out, with its bold candy apple red case. And the HP 15t Touch is clearly meant to stand out too--just not quite as overtly.

Here it's all about the subtle touches--a matte black finish with a faint diamond design that's almost soft to the touch. It's also, I should mention, an absolute fingerprint magnet. The 15t Touch looks fantastic fresh out of the package, but it's going to take some effort to keep it looking that way.

The diamond motif continues once you've opened the lid, where you'll immediately notice two-thirds of the hard plastic tray is embossed with the tiniest of diamonds. It looks almost like the tray's been drilled with speaker or ventilation holes, except it's purely decorative design work. Classy looking, too.

And then there's the trackpad, which is flush with the tray instead of embedded--and made from seemingly the same matte material as the rest of the interior. The only sign it's the trackpad is the lack of the familiar diamond pattern, plus the two physical mouse buttons located underneath. It's elegant--the type of trackpad you'd expect to find on a much more expensive machine.

It's not just a pretty face, either. This is one of the most responsive trackpads we've dealt with in the sub-$500 range, though I'd recommend turning up the sensitivity a bit. The hardest part is actually finding the trackpad. The trackpad is ever-so-slightly depressed into the tray, but not a lot. And since it's the same material as the rest of the laptop, it can be a bit difficult to figure out where your hand needs to go in the dark. I guess that's the price you pay for something that looks this badass.

The keyboard is also top-of-the-line for this tier. The keys are fun on the 15t Touch, with both an excellent click and a decent amount of travel. And as far as design, I was impressed by both the slightly rough texture of the keys and the understated typeface HP used. The 15t Touch is simply designed to look good.

A paltry screen is the only aspect of the 15t Touch's design I find truly lacking. Not only is it the standard $500-laptop resolution of 1366x768, but it's a lackluster 15.6-inch TN panel with very poor color (despite the WLED tech HP touts). And while the viewing angles are admittedly better than the screens on the Toshiba C55-C or the Acer E-15, it's a far cry from the IPS display on the Pavilion x360. The panel also doubles as a touchscreen, though it was poor at tracking fast gestures and I eventually gave up on using it--something I'm fine with, as I hate fingerprints on my laptop screen regardless.

 

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