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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.

Port-wise, the 15t Touch is rocking power, Ethernet, one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, and the audio jack on the left side, while the right features an additional USB 2.0 slot, an SD card reader, and an optical drive. The left side is also equipped with a sizeable ventilation grate, which unfortunately spins up noticeably loud at times.

You could always drown it out with the 15t Touch's speakers though. While lacking the B&O branding of its Pavilion x360 cousin, the 15t Touch's audio is respectably loud and clear. It does have the same flaw as the x360 though in that the main speakers are located on the bottom front of the laptop, meaning the audio is perfectly fine on hard surfaces but gets muffled and grainy when placed on any soft surface (i.e. a lap).

The specs

Like the Pavilion x360, the HP 15t Touch is pretty much neck-and-neck with the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series as far as performance goes. Unlike the Pavilion x360 though, the 15t Touch's benchmarks really do tell the whole story.

The Pavilion x360 is a perfectly serviceable machine, but a lot of its benchmark performance comes from a zippy 128GB SSD drive--allowing it to seemingly "outperform" the Inspiron 15 5000 even though it's only packing a Core M-5Y10c processor.

The 15t Touch, on the other hand, outperforms the Inspiron 15 5000 in certain tests because it basically is the Inspiron 15 5000. Except slightly better. Under the hood, the 15t Touch packs an Intel Core i3-5010U processor at 2.10GHz (compared to the Inspiron 15 5000's i3-5005U at 2GHz).

Aside from that, the 15t Touch and the Inspiron 15 5000 are identical--integrated Intel HD 5500 graphics, 6GB of RAM, and a 5,400 RPM hard drive (though the 15t Touch's is only 750GB as opposed to the Inspiron 15 5000's 1TB drive).

And no surprise, both machines turned out very similar benchmark scores. In PCMark 8's Home Conventional test the 15t Touch scored 2,159, which compares favorably to the Dell's score of 2,210 (though the Toshiba C55-C outperforms both with a score of 2,527).

The 15t Touch also outperforms the Inspiron 15 5000 in the Creative Conventional and Work Conventional tests, with scores of 2,000 and 2,485 to the Inspiron's 1,933 and 2,436 respectively. Again, both are outperformed by Toshiba's machine, with scores of 2,198 and 2,771. These are marginal differences though, and Toshiba's machine is nowhere near as sexy as either the 15t Touch or the Inspiron 15 5000.

And importantly, the 15t Touch performs favorably in our Handbrake test too. Here we feed the machine a 30GB MKV file in Handbrake and ask it to transcode it to a 1GB-ish file. The 15t Touch completed this task in 2 hours and 48 minutes, edging out the Dell's 2 hour and 55 minute mark--and handily beating the Pavilion x360's 3 hours and 43 minutes.

 

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