HP recently released the 255 G3, a budget laptop that you may find interesting, at least due to its Operating System. In the world of laptops, there are two Operating Systems that dominate: Google’s Chrome OS and Microsoft’s Windows OS. The new HP 255 G3 runs neither, as it is instead powered by the Ubuntu Operating System, which is a more secure choice than either of the aforementioned Operating Systems. But what about the laptop’s other features? In this article we will review the Hp 255 G3 and at the end we hope you will be able to form an opinion whether it is the right laptop for you or not.
When it comes to exterior design, you shouldn’t expect the HP 255 G3 to innovate; it feature a standard design, with round margins and a matte black finish. You won’t find any embellishments, nor any markings on it (with the exception of HP’s logo, of course) but some people like it simple. Compared to other laptops it may not be pretty, but it’s not ugly either. On the inside, the silver plastic around the keyboard is a nice touch and provides a nice contrast to the black keyboard, which is responsive and of pretty good quality. The same can be said about the trackpad which is big enough.
The HP 255 G3 is equipped with an AMD A4-500 processor clocked at 1.5 GHz and an AMD Radeon HD 8330 GPU, both of which offer pretty good performance in both apps and games, though you may not be able to play the latest games in full High Definition, at a decent performance. The latest budget laptop from HP also comes with 4 GB of RAM which should be enough for most office and browsing related tasks, though you shouldn’t try to edit Photoshop files on this laptop model. For storage purposes it comes with a hard drive of 1 TB which should be enough, unless you decide to store your movie or photo collection on your laptop.
Another interesting thing about the HP 255 G3 is that it comes with a DVD writer, which is always a plus even though today’s world is heading to an all digital direction, what with everything being cloud based (the Chromebooks are very good examples). When it comes to connectivity, the latest laptop from HP offers 2 USB 2.0 poerts and one USB 3.0 port, a 10/100 Ethernet port, HDMI and VGA out, a 3.5mm audio jack and of course, an SD card reader. Basically it has the standard ports for a laptop.
We should also talk a bit about HP 255 G3’s display. It features a 15.6 inch LED panel and unfortunately, it is not of the best quality. Not only is it stuck in the past when it comes to display resolution (being capable of a resolution of only 1366 x 768 pixels, which is dated by now in most laptops) but the image is not very clear and the viewing angles are some of the worst you will find today in LED screens. Without a doubt, the display is one of this laptop’s major downsides, at least in our opinion.
As we mentioned in this article’s opening paragraph, the HP 255 G3 runs Ubuntu 12.04. Ubuntu is a Linux Operating System and it is open source. If you have never used a Linux distro before, adapting (and learning) Ubuntu is going to take a while. While it does have an user interface similar to that of Windows and Mac OS X, it is pretty different under the hood as you may find the workflow and the way you perform task a bit unusual. However, after about a month of using it, you will probably come to appreciate Ubuntu for what it is and for what it offers.
We mentioned that user interface is similar to that of Windows and that is true. You a settings menu (think of the control panel from Windows OS) that can be accessed by clicking on an icon found in the upper right part of the desktop and you have a quick launch bar in the left part of the desktop. This means that you won’t have much trouble opening apps. The only part that you may find annoying is the lack of the same software options available on Windows or Mac OS X. However you will find many free alternatives to the apps and programs that you were used to on Windows and Mac OS X.
This laptop (as any other laptop out there) is also aimed at the business sector. But how can it perform well for the business sector, if it doesn’t have the Microsoft Office suite installed (since it doesn’t run Windows), you wonder. The answer is simple. The HP 255 G3 does have an office suite that is very similar in functionality to Microsoft Office. You have LibreOffice Writer which is Word for Linux, you have LibreOffice Calc which is Excel for Linux and you have LibreOffice Impress which is PowerPoint for Linux. As you will find out all these programs are able to read Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in addition to save in those formats so you have nothing to worry about if you want to buy this laptop for business purposes.
Unfortunately, the HP 255 G3 is not among the most powerful laptops out there. It can be said it’s not even close, since when it comes to performance the results aren’t exactly stellar. The default web browser is Mozilla Firefox and it isn’t as smooth as on other laptops especially when you have lots of tabs and videos running. The web browsing experience overall is pretty… mediocre, though if you want to use the HP 255 G3 only for business purposes, the LibreOffice suite runs smoothly. Don’t expect to be able to play demanding games unless you reduce all graphical settings.
When it comes to battery life, things aren’t much better. Our test show that you will get around five hours of battery life, but only if you change the power settings so that the screen turns off faster. Otherwise you will probably only get four hours per charge. And this takes into account that the HP 255 G3 laptop was optimized for best power saving settings, with faster sleep mode for its display. Unfortunately, this is not ideal for those moments where you are not near a power socket, so make sure to take this into account if you buy it for ‘on the
All in all, if you are the kind of users that values a good display and good battery life, you may find that the latest budget laptop from HP, the HP 255 G3 may not be for you. On the other hand, if you don’t value the aforementioned things that much, you may find it is a pretty good laptop, especially considering the price tag. And we have to mention the price tag of £199 is very tempting, for anyone that wants to buy a laptop. So if price is a factor (and let’s be honest here, for most of us price is always an important factor) then you should definitely check out the HP 255 G3. And if you only buy it for office and browsing tasks, odds are you will find the latest budget laptop from HP to be a pretty good deal.