Product Type: Hewlett-Packard laptops
Newest Review: ... you want to get equal performance no matter where you are. Other, easier to run web applications like Facebook and its associated games (l... more
A decent laptop that gets dangerously hot
Member Name: Coolchris330
Advantages: Decent features, good components, nice screen and peripherals
Disadvantages: Overheats to a point of being dangerous to itself and a being a fire hazard
==The HP G60 laptop==
The HP G60 is a 'multimedia' laptop, meaning that it should be suited to playing movies, music and providing entertainment, as well as to some extent, playing video games.
It's specification is as follows:
AMD Athlon 64 Dual Core at 2.0GHz
2GB DDR3 RAM
Nvidia 8200M G, 512mb.
LightScribe CD/DVD Drive.
Right, let's get on to how it performs, shall we?
The HP G60 comes with Windows Vista Home Premium from stock. On Vista Home Premium, it worked satisfactorily, but due to the instability of the newly released operating system, and the fact that Vista wasn't the sleekest operating system to work with in the first place, meant that some major system operations did stutter and stammer along. This includes things as simple as software boot times to things as advanced as video transcoding.
Switch to Windows XP or Windows 7, and these issues are less of a problem, as the operating system uses the resources more wisely. The waiting time for Windows 7 Home Premium to boot up something simple, such as the 'My Computer' dialog, is about 3-5 seconds. This is not the fastest laptop, not by a long shot, but it is comparably higher than average, at least over some of the other laptops of the time.
Windows Aero is another feature of Windows that is resource intensive. This is where the operating system uses a variety of tasty graphics card tricks such as Pixel and Vertex Shaders to make the operating system have a more 'glassy' feel to it. Of course, this does have an impact on performance, and the entry level card inside the HP G60 doesn't handle the effects very well. It's a shame, but the Windows performance is lacking, but for the price, it is still usable.
Right, when I say 'Web performance', I mean how well it'll generally get along with internet applications such as YouTube.
YouTube is a good online application, and the HP G60 doesn't actually handle it too badly. At the default 360p settings, the videos load and run at a relatively good framerate (by this I mean the amount of frames shown in a second - as a benchmark, television shows generally record at a framerate of 29.97), and by 'a good framerate', I mean 30fps, which is generally what YouTube videos are recorded at - meaning that any lag you'll experience is pretty minimal.
However, notch the resolution up to the higher end such as 720p (1280x720) or 1080p (1920x1080) and the onboard card really begins to struggle in the rendering, and it can make a lot of noise because the fan is desperately trying to stop it overheating, or you can experience freezing and stuttering because the chip is just not fast enough, particularly when not plugged in, as the components underclock (by this I mean, 'make less powerful') themselves when not plugged in to preserve battery life, which is good, but generally aggravating if you want to get equal performance no matter where you are.
Other, easier to run web applications like Facebook and its associated games (like FarmVille, CityVille and other such online applications) will run fine, pretty much without a doubt, as they do not require anything higher than what is average in terms of performance to run at a satisfactory level - the only time you can expect something to get a tad 'laggy' is when there's a lot happening on screen, or when the web-app is extraordinarily badly coded.
The web performance is satisfactory, but by no means excellent.
For some users, gaming, and the ability to game, is a massively important point - and for these users, the G60 is not the ideal laptop. The laptop contains a fairly low end AMD Dual Core, not really specified for gaming, even when it was new. It gets very hot under consistent strain, and fails to provide playable results in even mid-range CPU benchmark tests.
As for the graphics card, it is marginally better than your average laptop card, the Nvidia 8200M G, which outclasses an 'Intel HD X4500' by just a scrape, is able to play modest games on their lowest settings, although it is not expected to perform any better than 20-30fps, and don't expect the games to look very good at all.
The other issue with the HP G60 laptop, and in fact the entire Pavilion series of laptops in general, in regards to gaming is that once you have booted up the game, the temperatures will begin to creep up, until such a point as the laptop is overheating, and I have experienced the laptop actually shutting itself off because of the heat being too high. The temperature at which the laptop turns itself off is approximately 115®C. This is very hot indeed, especially for a laptop. Annoying, this prevents the laptop from playing the games for an extended period of time.
If you do plan to play in short bursts however, I have noted that Call of Duty 4 and similar specced games run fine on the laptop, although extremely unoptimized console ports like Saints Row 2 and Grand Theft Auto 4 struggle along at a pretty unbearable speed, sometimes failing to hit 10fps, making for an extremely choppy experience, that is not favoured, especially if you're gaming competitively or with intent to win.
==Cleaning the laptop==
Cleaning this laptop is a necessity, a must, because of how hot it gets. At first, the temperature rises may be somewhat bearable, but by such a point as having the laptop for over a year, the fans will have been clogged up considerably, and the temperatures will probably be creeping up into the triple digits in Celsius, making for a toasty, and extremely dangerous computing session.
The HP Pavilion series of laptops are known for their overheating, so I can safely say that it is not just the laptop that I have used that has these heat issues, but other, similar laptops also. Anyway, trying to actually get to the fans is an absolute nightmare, while my other laptop (A Novatech X16 HD) has three screws that need to be removed to get access to the whole motherboard and the full range of components, the G60 requires the whole laptop to be essentially dismantled before you get anywhere near the CPU fan, and there isn't a GPU fan in sight.
This cramped design is more than likely the reason for the notorious overheating problems that come bundled with this laptop, and the fact that the entire computer must be dismantled to get access to any kind of fan whatsoever, makes it a daunting task to clean it - especially since getting into the internals and putting it back again may prove problematic and take many hours.
This is the main reason that I do not recommend an HP G60 to anyone, especially home users that will have to pay an oversaturated fee to have the laptop cleaned, simply because the task is too daunting.
Let's move on to the good part of the laptop, shall we? The screen is brilliant and large, and on the highest brightness settings (although prone to overheating) it is bright, vibrant and great to look at, far surpassing many different laptop screens. However, the screen resolution, despite the fact that the screen is lovely, vibrant and good to look at, leaves a lot to be desired.
The native screen resolution of the HP G60 is 1366x768, which is relatively feeble considering the size of the screen itself - this means that you miss out on an otherwise far more defined computing experience, and it's a shame that HP gave a low-resolution screen as opposed to a high-resolution screen, and instead making it slightly smaller to reduce the price.
The speakers in the laptop are also considerably loud and clear, with a particular emphasis on the bass in audio. This makes watching movies a more 'cinematic' experience, although when listening to music, it can lead to the bass being completely overpowering, and it doesn't help if you want to use your own, separate, earphones that the heat that the laptop generates can actually damage the headphone and microphone jacks that come on the laptop to a point of them not working at all.
However, when the headphone jack does work, the audio chipset on the laptop leaves a lot to be desired, delivering comparatively low quality sound compared to some other laptops with similar aims, which is a shame, because I would have expected HP to be better than this at audio, especially seen as this series in particular is seen as a 'multimedia laptop'.
The HP G60 does come with a wide variety of peripherals, including the potential to plug an SD card into the laptop, which eliminates the need for another USB cable to come trailing out of your laptop. The included keyboard is large, and it feels great to use, allowing your fingers space to move around - although probably less than ideal for people with 'smaller' hands.
The trackpad that comes with the laptop is large, and it's smooth, it is also incredibly difficult to get grubby (unlike a lot of trackpads). With the correct drivers, it also has a physical feature where you can push a button and the trackpad will become inactive, allowing you to use your own mouse, if you were gaming, for example, allowing you to have a higher level of precision and ensuring that your aim is not thrown off by the slip of a hand.
It also comes with a multitude of USB slots, as well as a slot that allows the laptop to be plugged into an external monitor or television for larger viewing, or for gaming from a distance with a controller. The included slot is an HDMI, and the cable costs approximately £5.99 from most online retailers (price taken from eBuyer.co.uk).
A shame it has only a small harddrive, totalling only about 120GB, allowing for very little storage compared to similarly priced laptops, but hey, the more powerful-than-normal CPU and Graphics Chip had to have a knock on effect on the other parts, and the harddrive suffers most here.
==Value for Money==
The HP G60 is generally seen for less than £400, and for that price, the laptop is really not too bad, but it's not great either. The majority of laptops in a similar price range contain lower-speed components, but the sheer components in the G60 cause massive overheating problems, that are not ideal for any users in any situation, apart from perhaps enthusiasts that want a cheap laptop that they don't mind having to take apart and clean on occasion.
The laptop runs games much better than most in the price range, although this is still not very good at all, since the benchmark for gaming laptops is about £500, making building your own PC (from as low as £320, in some cases) a more viable option for gamers. This is a good multimedia laptop, it has all the bells and whistles, and delivers some respectable performance. It's just a shame that it has a massive potential to catch on fire while it does it, all the while having an incredibly small harddrive.
The HP G60 is exactly what it is advertised as - it's a multimedia laptop more powerful than a lot of the other laptops in a similar price-range, an excellent movie watching device and a semi-OK low-end gaming machine, but it is impossible to recommend to the average user due to the insanely high heat that the laptop generates, sometimes to the point of dramatically reducing the life-span of the laptop.
Sadly, regardless of the pretty good components in the laptop, the overheating makes it impossible to recommend, therefore I give the HP G60 laptop a 2/5.
This review was also posted on Ciao.co.uk under the same username.
Summary: It's the best laptop you should never buy.
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