HP 15.6 Inch Laptop (model 15-fc0037wm) Review

HP 15.6 Inch Laptop (model 15-fc0037wm) Review

Buy it at Amazon: HP 15.6 Inch Laptop (model 15-fc0037wm) [Affiliate Link]

Takeaway: Lightweight, decent performance, long battery life.

You’ll receive the laptop, a 45 Watt power brick with 6 ft of cable and barrel style connector, a 3 ft grounded power cable, and a quick start guide that’ll show you how to charge and power on the laptop, as well as what all the features are, and several gestures for the touchpad. This laptop has a lightweight plastic shell with a beautiful blue-gray matte finish called Moonlight Blue and mirror-chrome HP label in the middle; this model is also available in rose gold. The laptop measures 14” wide, 9.25” long, and 0.75” thick with a weight of about 3.5 lbs. The bottom of the laptop is cream-colored with two rubber feet that span the width of the laptop at the front and back and a large grille in the middle for ventilation; it’s also made using ocean-bound plastic as part of HP’s commitment to sustainability and reducing environmental impact. The stereo speakers are also on the bottom to the left and right sides towards the front.

On the left side of the unit in the back corner are a USB-A port, HDMI out, USB-C port, and combo mic/headphone jack. On the right-hand side in the back corner are the power port with status LED and a second USB-A port. Note that the USB-C port cannot be used for charging the device. When the device is plugged in and charging the LED will be red and turns white when fully charged, which takes only a couple hours thanks to HP Fast Charge. On a full charge, the battery can last over 11 hours depending on settings and usage. The laptop screen opens to a maximum angle of about 120 degrees and features a 15.6 inch diagonal with narrow bezels, full 1080p HD resolution, and 250 nits max brightness. Note that it is not a touchscreen display. Just above the center of the screen is an integrated 2.1 MP webcam with dual-array microphones and it has a built-in privacy cover that you can slide over the lens when not in use.

The screen is coated with an anti-glare matte finish, cutting down on reflections and increasing visibility in bright conditions, for example when using outdoors and near windows, but I find that it does reduce contrast somewhat with its slightly hazy appearance. The panel also only has a 6-bit color depth, so the colors can look a bit washed out in general and may not be accurate enough for digital artists and content creators. This is more readily apparent when connecting a second display via the HDMI port to mirror and extend the screen, as you can see the difference in color here. However, you can simply bypass the laptop’s screen and take advantage of the higher color gamut and resolution of your separate monitor.

The first time you power on the laptop, you’ll need to complete a few steps to setup Windows 11 Home 64-Bit. So while I’m doing that, let’s talk about this build’s specs. Inside, this machine runs on a Quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 7520U APU, which has a max speed of 4.3GHz and 2.8 GHz base clock, with integrated Radeon 610M dual-core graphics at 1900 MHz, 8 GB of on-board LPDDR5 SDRAM, and a 256GB NVME m.2 SSD. There doesn’t appear to be, however, any upgradable components by the end user. Once Windows setup is complete, we can see that there’s about 190 GB of free space on the hard drive out-of-the-box; outside of swapping out the pre-installed SSD any additional drive space would have to be attached externally, though all the USB 3.2 ports support SuperSpeed data transfer rates up to 5 Gbps.

The graphics card is able to deliver a 60 fps refresh rate at 1080p resolution, however, isn’t powerful enough to handle heavy graphics in games that have immersive 3D environments. I found performance in games like Warframe and Path of Exile to be quite laggy, and the visuals stuttered and smeared a ton during fast-paced gameplay. Thankfully, for simply watching video content, the experience was much smoother. The webcam quality is also surprisingly good, with full HD 1080p resolution and admirable performance in low-light conditions. The pickup from the mics is very clean with little to no background noise captured. And the speakers, while small, sound clear and crisp and only start to sound boxy at higher volumes.

The mouse trackpad is generously sized at 5”x3” and responds to taps, swipes, clicks, and multi-finger gestures, which is pretty neat. The keyboard has a nice tactile feel and springy keys that have easy-to-read large lettering, but note that it is not backlit and may be difficult to see in the dark. It does, however, have a 10-key number pad. The arrow keys also have a non-standard arrangement, with half-height up/down arrows, which took me a little getting used to. The top row of the keyboard features dual purpose function/quick launch keys for emojis, volume and brightness and media control. You’ll also find the power button just above the ‘Backspace’ key, and I appreciate that it, the Cap Locks and Mute keys all have integrated status LEDs, so you’ll know when they are activated; though curiously, the Num Lock key does not.

In terms of connectivity, this device has WiFi6 and Bluetooth 5.3 for fast connections to home networks and wireless accessories, delivering lag-free video and audio syncing with compatible Bluetooth headphones. Keep in mind there isn’t an Ethernet port, so it won’t be able to support wired network connections.

Overall, this laptop is solidly mid-tier and more than adequate for work, school, and casual use. It’s got nice aesthetics, is quick to boot up, and has a long battery life. Its size and weight are great for portability, giving you enough screen real estate to enjoy consuming media and content while handling video streaming and internet browsing very smoothly. It’s not a top of the line gaming system, so don’t expect it to perform well with AAA title games, but for casual gaming and those that don’t rely on heavy graphics rendering, they will run on it just fine. I also feel that the native panel isn’t the best for content creation or visual arts as the colors won’t be accurate or vibrant enough, though you can work around this by hooking up a separate monitor.

Buy it at Amazon: HP 15.6 Inch Laptop (model 15-fc0037wm) [Affiliate Link]


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