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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.

All this to say the 15t Touch isn't just a good-looking machine. There's a decent amount of power backing up HP's fantastic design work.

The bloat

Unfortunately, the 15t Touch is just as packed with useless/semi-useless software as HP's Pavilion x360.

McAfee's set up squatting rights on the 15t Touch, as per usual. Like always, I recommend finding yourself a better antivirus program (if you're going to run one).

There's also the usual suite of HP first-party programs, with HP Connected Drive and Connected Music leading the charge.

But even worse is the absolutely phenomenal amount of third-party apps HP stuffs their machines with. Our review laptop came loaded down with Netflix, Dropbox, CyberLink Media Suite et al, WildTangent Games, SnapFish, Simple Solitaire, Microsoft Mahjong, Amazon, The Weather Channel, mysms, Evernote, and--most baffling of all--Priceline and TripAdvisor.

Like the Pavilion x360, none of the stuff HP's loading onto these laptops seems harmful, per se. It's all from names you know, like Netflix. But it's still ugly clutter on a brand new machine.

The verdict

It's a tough call, but I'd say the HP 15t Touch is overall the best sub-$500 laptop. Other laptops come close--the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 and HP's own Pavilion x360 11T are both great all-around machines, and the Toshiba Satellite C55-C obviously takes the performance crown.

But damn, the 15t Touch is a gorgeous machine. I was impressed with the look of the 15t Touch as soon as I pulled it out of the box, and aside from its penchant for fingerprints I'm still impressed with it days later. And considering it has a great trackpad, fantastic keyboard, and the specs to back up its sleek look? And you can find the model we reviewed for only $430? I'm definitely comfortable saying the 15t Touch is the best laptop we took a look at in this tier.

If HP came into this with something to prove, it proved it.

 

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