My 2019 Laptop Buying Dilemma Revisited

By Joe Callison
26 January, 2020

I can’t believe a year has passed since writing about “my 2019 laptop buying dilemma.” During the after Christmas 2019 holiday sales I finally gave in to buying a new HP Envy 17t after a $200 price reduction. It had enough of my desired features at the right price to go ahead with the purchase:

  • Display: 17 inch (non-touch) full HD 1920 x 1080 LED backlit
  • Processor: 10th generation Intel i5 processor (4 core)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA Geforce MX250 with 2GB graphics memory
  • RAM: 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2666
  • Disk Storage: 1 TB 7200 rpm SATA plus 16 GB Intel Optane memory
  • Audio: Premium B&O with front facing speakers
  • Wireless: 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 combo
  • Ports: 
    1 USB 3.1 Type C
    3 USB 3.1 Type A
    1 HDMI
    1 Headphone/microphone
    1 Ethernet (gigabit)
    1 SD memory card reader
    1 DVD R/W
  • Keyboard: Full size with numeric keypad and backlit keys (2 levels + off by function key)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Warranty: 1 year

The only significant compromise I made was getting the 1 TB hard drive with 16 GB Optane memory instead of paying $100 more for a solid state drive. My rationale was that if I later decided to replace the 1 TB hard drive with a solid state drive, I could do so myself at the same cost or less and still keep the hard drive for other uses. The Optane memory cache with a 7200 rpm hard drive (most laptops have 5400 rpm) provides overall disk performance near that of a solid state drive, and can be used with a future solid state drive to provide even higher performance than a solid state drive alone.

With the 17 inch size and mostly metallic case, the laptop is still pretty heavy at over 6 pounds, but is noticeably thinner than the old laptop. The backlit keys are nice for use with low lighting, but need to be turned off in a well lit room in order to get better contrast of the letters on the light silver keys.

The laptop was ordered from the HP website and delivered directly from China. One surprise was that the Windows 10 operating system was still at version 1903, so it took a lot of updating to bring it to version 1909. So far we are very pleased with the looks and performance of the laptop. I was especially pleased with the price, which was several hundred dollars less than a similarly equipped laptop could be purchased for a year earlier.

Posted by Joe Callison


Nancy Ridge Gardner

Joe, I’m a SenCom member and I attended a class on Windows 10 to find out about it since I have been trying to decide on buying a Desktop. I remember using a Dell Desktop in the class and the keyboard I liked because the keys were not flat like they are on my Laptop. Can you tell me what Dell Desktops are used in the classroom? I am looking at Dell 24 5000 with a touch screen and it’s all in one. There were some reviews that were rather discouraging. Do you have any thoughts on this product? Any experience with the all in one that does sound nice since it avoids a lot of wires or cords. I’d appreciate your input on anything you can tell me. Thank you, Nancy

Thank you for your questions. I will give you my opinions and reasoning, but other opinions or preferences are valid also. First of all I would not recommend making a desktop computer buying decision based on the keyboard furnished. Most desktops come with very inexpensive wired keyboards and mice included. They all are sloped and the angle is usually adjustable with some fold out stands on the back. They are the same for most if not all of the desktop models a manufacturer makes. Many people prefer to use their existing keyboard and mouse or buy ones that they like better at their favorite computer store. Since most new desktop computers have Bluetooth now, you can buy a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and avoid the wires. As for the all-in-one style, I can understand the attraction of the simplicity, but I personally do not like the idea of a computer and monitor being combined because if one fails, or you want to upgrade the monitor in a few years, you will likely have to replace the whole unit. I don’t like all-in-one printers for the same reason, but that is about all you can find anymore. I also have not found touch screens very useful for desktops, or laptops for that matter. Raising my arm to touch a screen repeatedly is very tiring and I find I quickly stop doing it if I have a keyboard and mouse, so why pay more to get something I am not going to use?

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