In the market for a new laptop? The single most important feature, in my humble opinion: a solid-state drive, which will help the system boot and load programs so much faster than you’re accustomed to. Sure, a traditional hard drive will give you more storage space (1-terabyte drives are pretty standard these days), but how much do you really need? You can always connect an external drive if you run out of room.
There’s a particularly good deal at HP right now: The HP Laptop 15t for $479.99. According to HP, that’s a $770 savings, though I don’t think this model ever actually sells at full list price. Even so, it’s a solid deal, especially with a few tweaks. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
Once upon a time, a laptop buyer could customize all manner of specs — processor, hard drive, screen and so on — but that’s rare nowadays. Usually you’re shoehorned into one of a few available SKUs, one of which hopefully has the configuration you want.
With the HP 15t, you can choose all the important options. The base configuration is good, as it includes an Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD — more than sufficient for everyday computing tasks. I do recommend at least one upgrade, however: An extra $50 nets you a full-HD (1,920×1,080-pixel) screen, a big improvement over the 1,366×768-pixel standard.
You can also double the SSD size for another $50. That gets you out the door for $580 (plus tax), still a great buy. I think the 15t is a fine choice for folks who spend most of their time at a desk, and could therefore benefit from a larger screen.
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