Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
Best HP Laptops for Home Use
December 11, 2019
It used to be that laptop computers were exclusively for the business and working crowd while desktop tower PCs were the “home computer.” Laptops were expensive and sacrificed speed and power for portability. But times have changed. These days, everything is kind of a computer, from the phones in our pockets to the TVs on the wall to the smart speaker/microphones we organize our lives with. Computers and the internet connect so much of our lives across devices that, in this new “home network ecosystem,” a good laptop often takes the place of a dedicated desktop computer.
The home laptop provides the kind of dedicated computer experience of the desktop, with more robust typing, storage, printing, and accessory support than tablets or phones. And they have the added bonus of portability around the house. No matter what your lifestyle needs are, there is probably an HP laptop to fit those requirements. With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of some of the best laptops for home use, delineated by specific needs, to help you figure it out.
1. HP Chromebook 14-inch laptop
Your needs: You need something to get online with. While you want more than a tablet, you don’t need a whole lot of fancy bells and whistles. You want to answer your email, shop online, pay your bills, and print documents.
When people primarily use their laptops to go online, HP Chromebooks are a kind of go-between from handheld devices to laptops made just for you. HP Chromebooks combine the form and utility of a laptop with a dedicated keyboard, touchpad, and computing power to connect to and run web applications and video, as well as to connect to a printer.
HP Chromebooks run Chrome OS, a web-only operating system that integrates into the Google suite of free web apps. They’re thin, lightweight, and inexpensive. But keep in mind that they’re web-clients only. They connect to the internet and run web-based applications, so don’t expect to be editing videos or playing games that aren’t in a browser window. HP Chromebooks range from just under $200 to around $500, with the more expensive models having larger screens and faster graphics processors.
The HP Chromebook 14-inch, in particular, is one of our best everyday laptops that sits in the middle of this range.
Operating system: Chrome OS
Processor: AMD dual-core A4-9120C APU (1.6 GHz base clock and up to 2.4 GHz max boost clock, and 1MB cache)
Graphics: (Integrated) AMD Radeon R4 Graphics
Display: 14-inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare WLED-backlit (1366 x 768 resolution)
Memory: 4GB DDR4-1866 SDRAM (onboard)
Storage: 32GB eMMC
Wireless tech: Qualcomm Atheros QCA6174A-5 802.11a/b/g/ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 Combo
Battery: 2-cell, 47.36 Wh Li-ion
Battery life: Up to 9 hours and 15 minutes
External I/O ports: 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Charging, power delivery, video, data); 2 USB 2.0 Gen 1; 1 headphone/microphone combo
Expansion slots: 1 microSD media card reader
Webcam: HP TrueVision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
Audio: B&O, dual speakers
Dimensions: 13.27 x 8.93 x 0.72 inches
Weight: 3.4 lbs
2. The HP 15t laptop
Your needs: You want a laptop computer that’s a real computer, but you’re not looking for the bleeding edge of power and technology. You want to go online, but also organize and edit your photos, run programs like Microsoft Word and Excel, store and listen to music, maybe play a casual game or two, if time allows - just the meat and potatoes basic computer needs.
One of the best laptop computers for home use, the HP 15t laptop is a relatively lightweight, decent-sized laptop that covers all the bases. The standard configuration is an attractive silver unit with a 15.6-inch diagonal WLED-backlit screen with 8GB of RAM. Windows 10 Home 64 comes standard, but Windows 10 Pro 64 is available for a little more, should you need it.
Although you can customize and add NVIDIA® GeForce processors to boost gaming graphics, the standard package will more than handle the majority of your computer needs. This includes an Intel® Core i7-10510U (with a 1.8 GHz speed and boosted speeds of up to 4.9 GHz, 8MB cache, and 4 cores) plus a GPU of Intel UHD Graphics. The HP 15t laptop does not come with an internal DVD/CD drive. However, an external add-on that’s connected via USB is available for purchase should you need to get information from older media formats.
The solid-state drive (SSD) internal storage begins at 128GB, but customized purchases can boost this up to 512GB. SSD drives offer users solid, fast performance and speed up booting and program loading from even the fastest of the older spinning drives. All in all, this is a solid, reliable laptop for basic laptop needs. Prices start at less than $500 for the base model, before any customized option upgrades.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64
Processor: Intel Core i7-8550U (1.8 GHz, up to 4 GHz, 8MB cache, 4 cores)
Graphics: (Integrated) Intel UHD Graphics 620
Display: 15.6-inch diagonal HD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit (1366 x 768)
Webcam: HP Webcam with Digital Microphone (Jet Black)
Wireless tech: 802.11b/g/n (1x1) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 combo
External I/O ports: 1 HDMI 1.4; 1 headphone/microphone combo; 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (data transfer only); 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Data Transfer Only, 5 Gb/s signaling rate)
Dimensions: 14.11 x 9.53 x 0.71 inches
Weight: 3.85 lbs
3. The HP Spectre x360 13-inch laptop
Your needs: You want a system that’s stylish and elegant in form as well as function. You want solid, modern performance and long battery life; something you can use for hours around the house or to bring with you on the go for whatever reason. You don’t want to be tethered to a power cord for fear of running out of charge.
The HP Spectre x360 laptop doesn’t just perform well. It looks good while doing it. This ultra-light, 2-in-1 laptop combines the features of touch screen tablets with the robust capabilities of a dedicated computer. It has a 13.3-inch diagonal touch screen (with digital pen support) made of Corning Gorilla that displays 4K resolution images (3840 x 2160 pixels or Ultra High Definition). At a slim 14.5 mm thick, which is just a hair over a half an inch, there’s a lot of power and functionality that gets packed into that thin space.
The HP Spectre x360 has incredible battery performance. Benchmark tests show that it is capable of over 13 hours of high-intensity video playback at full brightness, and 20-plus hours at lower brightness settings.
It’s also built with an eye toward security and privacy. There is an IR biometric camera that’s Windows Hello ready and a fingerprint scanner, making the HP Spectre easy for you to access, but hard for a thief or unwanted user to. A privacy camera kill switch means you won’t have to mar the prettiness of the unit’s aesthetic with a Post-it note over the camera hole.
A thoughtful bit of industrial design is present in the placement of the power button. It’s tooled into a smart shape in the corner of the beveled gem-cut screen frame. This looks cool, but more importantly addresses and side-steps a problem with many portable and 2-in-1 devices: when picking it up and moving it around from place to place, or position to position, it’s easy to accidentally hit the power button.
Also thoughtful is the inclusion of a standard sized USB Type-A port, which will save you from having (and misplacing) a series of annoying dongles. It also has a Thunderbolt-3 port for external graphics and high-speed transfers. It is, in all ways, a premium laptop, so expect to pay a premium for it. Depending on options and upgrades, you will spend somewhere from $1,300 to $1,600.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64
Processor: Intel Core i7-8565U (1.8 GHz base frequency with up to 4.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 8MB cache, 4 cores)
Storage acceleration: 32GB Intel Optane Memory for storage acceleration
Wireless tech: Intel Wireless-AC 9560 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2 x 2) WiFi and Bluetooth 5 Combo (supporting Gigabit file transfer speeds)
Battery: 4-cell, 61 Wh Li-ion
External I/O ports: 2 Thunderbolt 3 (40 Gb/s signaling rate, DisplayPort 1.2, Power Delivery 3.0, HP Sleep and Charge); 1 USB 3.1 Gen2 (HP Sleep and Charge); 1 headphone/microphone combo
Expansion slots: 1 microSD media card reader
Webcam: HP Wide Vision FHD IR Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
Audio: Bang & Olufsen (B&E), quad speakers
Sensors: Accelerometer; Gyroscope; eCompass
Keyboard: Full-size island-style backlit keyboard
Security management: Fingerprint reader; privacy camera kill switch
Dimensions: 12.16 x 8.58 x 0.57 inches
Weight: 2.92 lbs
4. The HP OMEN 17t laptop
Your needs: You want to play the newest, most cutting-edge games that are out, with all the graphics options turned to their highest settings. You want speed and performance because the software that you’re most interested in demands the most of the hardware you run.
The HP OMEN line of laptops are built specifically for the demanding kinds of graphics and processing requests that computer video gaming requires. Nobody wants to play games on a system that barely qualifies as having the minimum requirements listed to run games.
The HP OMEN family of hardware blows past those minimums. In terms of graphics and processing power, they’re all what’s referred to as “VR ready.” This means it is ready, out of the box, to run the most graphics-intensive applications in gaming, up to and including virtual reality (VR) software, running on connected Head Mounted Display goggles (HMDs). You don’t need to participate in VR gaming to want a gaming rig that’s VR ready; it means that the system will be able to handle whatever other games you throw at it as well.
When you buy a gaming laptop, you’re not looking for a slight footprint and featherweight gear. This is a portable-around-the-house system that provides all the power of a standalone tower, packed with processing units and boosted-performance hardware. Plus, with gaming, having a solid, sturdy, and responsive keyboard with good action and heft is integral to the control schemes you’ll need to play. So it’s a beefy laptop, weighing in at 6.3 lbs. The HP OMEN 17t laptop is designed to look imposing and serious, because it brings imposing and serious specs and capabilities to your game.
Operating system: Windows 10 Home 64
Processor: Intel Core i7 9750H (2.6 GHz, up to 4.5 GHz, 12MB cache, 6 cores)
External I/O ports: 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gb/s signaling rate, DisplayPort™ 1.4, HP Sleep and Charge); 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (HP Sleep and Charge); 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Data Transfer Only); 1 headphone/microphone combo
Keyboard: Full-size island-style dragon red legend 1-zone lighting red backlit keyboard with numeric keypad and 26-key rollover
Webcam: HP Wide Vision HD Camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
Wireless tech: 802.11b/g/n/ac (2 x 2) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 combo
Dimensions: 15.94 x 11.01 x 1.06 inches
Weight: 6.43 lbs
Every laptop need is different
Every home is different and therefore your best laptop for personal home use may vary from another’s best laptop for home use. Depending on your needs (and your budget) you may want a laptop that just performs the basic functions of email, web browsing, document creation and printing. Or you may want something beefier that can handle multimedia creation or even gaming. The bad news is that it’s often hard to pin down just which model is the one that best suits you. But the good news is that whatever your particular needs may be, there’s an HP laptop built to fit them.
Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.
Prices, specifications, availability and terms of offers may change without notice. Price protection, price matching or price guarantees do not apply to Intra-day, Daily Deals or limited-time promotions. Quantity limits may apply to orders, including orders for discounted and promotional items. Despite our best efforts, a small number of items may contain pricing, typography, or photography errors. Correct prices and promotions are validated at the time your order is placed. These terms apply only to products sold by HP.com; reseller offers may vary. Items sold by HP.com are not for immediate resale. Orders that do not comply with HP.com terms, conditions, and limitations may be cancelled. Contract and volume customers not eligible.
HP’s MSRP is subject to discount. HP’s MSRP price is shown as either a stand-alone price or as a strike-through price with a discounted or promotional price also listed. Discounted or promotional pricing is indicated by the presence of an additional higher MSRP strike-through price
The following applies to HP systems with Intel 6th Gen and other future-generation processors on systems shipping with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 Pro systems downgraded to Windows 7 Professional, Windows 8 Pro, or Windows 8.1: This version of Windows running with the processor or chipsets used in this system has limited support from Microsoft. For more information about Microsoft’s support, please see Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle FAQ at https://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle
Ultrabook, Celeron, Celeron Inside, Core Inside, Intel, Intel Logo, Intel Atom, Intel Atom Inside, Intel Core, Intel Inside, Intel Inside Logo, Intel vPro, Itanium, Itanium Inside, Pentium, Pentium Inside, vPro Inside, Xeon, Xeon Phi, Xeon Inside, and Intel Optane are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and/or other countries.
In-home warranty is available only on select customizable HP desktop PCs. Need for in-home service is determined by HP support representative. Customer may be required to run system self-test programs or correct reported faults by following advice given over phone. On-site services provided only if issue can't be corrected remotely. Service not available holidays and weekends.
Microsoft Windows 10: Not all features are available in all editions or versions of Windows 10. Systems may require upgraded and/or separately purchased hardware, drivers, software or BIOS update to take full advantage of Windows 10 functionality. Windows 10 is automatically updated, which is always enabled. ISP fees may apply and additional requirements may apply over time for updates. See http://www.microsoft.com.
HP Rewards qualifying and eligible products/purchases are defined as those from the following categories: Printers, Business PCs (Elite, Pro and Workstation brands), select Business Accessories and select Ink, Toner & Paper.