That's why we're so excited about this HP. It's not pretty, it's not fancy, and it doesn't have a fancy schmancy name like "Spectre." But if you need a laptop under $200, the HP 14-an013nr (available at Amazon) is undoubtedly the best I've tried.
Its big, 14-inch HD IPS screen is far and away the best-in-class, it's got just enough ports, and just enough power to handle day-to-day tasks like Netflix streaming and light multitasking, without getting too bogged down.
The battery life isn't great and there isn't very much internal storage, but for students or anyone who needs a good laptop at a low price, this is the best of the bunch.
Unlike a lot of the laptops you can buy for around $200, this HP uses an AMD chip inside, giving it a surprisingly zippy character for light games and web browsing. That, plus 4 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC storage give it a quick boot time from a cold start of around 12 seconds (from pressing the power button to the lock screen). All versions of this laptop have the following system specifications:
•AMD E2-7110 quad-core processor
•4 GB DDR3 RAM
•32 GB eMMC flash storage
•14-inch Full HD (1920x1080) IPS LCD screen
•Radeon R2 integrated graphics
•WiFi AC/Bluetooth 4.2
•10/100 wired ethernet
In my time with the HP 14-an013nr, there were a couple things I noticed that were good and bad. Thankfully, I found way more more positive points than negatives. HP's put together a laptop that's easy to love.
It's plenty zippy with a good amount of ports
The quad-core AMD processor inside this HP, along with its 4 GB RAM, make for a pleasant Microsoft Office and web browsing experience. Even some low-end games will get very decent performance from the AMD guts, thanks to built-in Radeon graphics.
Even though there's only one fast USB 3.0 port onboard, you also get plenty of other ports to choose from: two USB 2.0, a VGA port, 10/100 ethernet (!), HDMI, and a headphone jack. There's also a full-sized SD card slot, which you could use for additional media storage. Of course, if you need more ports you could get an Acer Aspire E15, but then you're spending at least $350 for that improved I/O.
This has the best screen on any $200 notebook computer
I'm used to seeing some downright dowdy, cramped displays on budget PCs. It's frequently the corner that's easiest for PC manufacturers to cut. That's why the 14-inch full HD IPS display in the HP 14-an013nr is a breath of fresh air: it's head and shoulders above the rest for color, resolution, and contrast.
Sure, it's not the brightest display around, but it's more than good enough for getting work done or even relaxing with your favorite YouTube videos. Content and productivity apps both look wonderful on the 14-an013nr. If I were to ding the screen for anything, it's that it's a glossy panel that is prone to glare, so it's best used indoors.
The keyboard and trackpad are just dandy
The keyboard on the HP 14-an013nr is nice, and I found that typing on it was effortless and fast. The layout is fairly standard, the keys aren't too squishy or overly flat, and I found it easy to adapt to. Sure, it's not backlit, but for $200, you can't expect much. When so many laptop makers have been busy ruining their best keyboards, HP stuck to the tried and true here.
The trackpad is okay, but at least it supports gestures. Scrolling and multitasking gestures are smooth and reliable. The only annoying part of the trackpad are its loose-feeling physical right and left-click buttons. Once you get used to it, though, it's not a dealbreaker.
Beware the small 32 GB eMMC storage
If there's one aspect of this product that's flawed, it's something it shares with a lot of $200 Windows notebooks: 32 GB of storage can be a challenge to manage. HP did itself no favors by adding in McAfee and a few other apps you'll want to uninstall in order to stake out as much space as possible.
Add in your apps, files, and the constant Windows updates, and you'll be out of space in no time flat. Our recommendation is to use an SD card or a flush-fit USB thumbdrive to store bigger files, and learn to use the built-in Disk Cleanup app to free up space.
Battery life is short, but it's easy to swap out
In our intensive PCMark 8 Home battery life test, the HP 14-an013nr struggled to make it past three hours. That's not a great result, and in the real world you're likely looking at 4-5 hours of work and multitasking. But, this laptop's old-school design has an external battery that's easy to detach and replace, so if you need extra runtime, you could always pick up a second to carry with you.
Yes! For $200, it's almost impossible to find a better option.
HP's outdone itself here. Even though its Stream notebooks have been a great option in the past, the HP 14-an013nr is a far superior laptop. Its class-leading display, zippy processor, capable keyboard, and plentiful ports help make it easily worth its low, low $200 cost. It even easily outdoes HP's previous $200 model, the HP Stream 11, which sticks with a low-res, grainy 11-inch screen.
Does it rival a MacBook Pro? Of course not! But you can buy eight HPs for the cost of one Mac. If you only have around $200 to spend on a laptop and need Windows 10, the HP 14-an013nr is definitely the one to pick up.
Meet the tester
Brendan is originally from California. Prior to writing for Reviewed.com, he graduated from UC Santa Cruz and did IT support and wrote for a technology blog in the mythical Silicon Valley. Brendan enjoys history, Marx Brothers films, Vietnamese food, cars, and laughing loudly.
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