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HP G72-a10SA review

It's huge, it's cheap, but is HP's low-end 17-inch laptop any good?

Our Verdict

A budget laptop that looks and performs like a far more expensive model

Product features

  • Screen Resolution : 1600 x 900
  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Huge screen
  • Good resolution
  • Excellent case design
  • Capable internals

Against

  • Not much power
  • Super-heavy construction
  • Invisible trackpad
  • Odd keyboard layout

Business is booming at the low end of the laptop market. The PC platform has basically levelled out in terms of the functionality most of us expect. You don't need to shell out on a Macbook Pro or a high end Dell laptop such as the Latitude XT2 XFR to get a slick desktop performance – around £350 will do the trick.

So here's one of HP's best efforts in the low end 17-inch laptop sector – and yes, appropriately enough, the HP G72-a10SA is a 17-inch monster with relatively modest insides.

Not that you'd know of its inadequacies from looking at it, though. In terms of presentation, HP has done an incredible job – the G72 sports the seemingly ubiquitous textured casing of the current generation of laptops, a huge trackpad which blends seamlessly with the rest of the wrist-rest, and a solid construction reminiscent of much more affluent machines.

There's a touch of the Sony Vaio F about it, and a definite whiff of Macbook Pro in the flattened edges and well spread ports. Don't look too hard at the bulbous underside, though – that classy appearance is something of an illusion.

Even before we go into detailed testing, it's clear that the HP G72 is an exquisitely designed unit. And if you needed any evidence of the effort that's been lavished on it, a glance at the LED colouration – beautiful clean whites, mostly, routed from the motherboard for a super-classy look – just about says it all. This is neat, it's tidy, and it'll fool your friends into thinking you've spent twice as much, if not more.

The barrel-bottom HP G72-a10SA sits in the low-end bracket, and sports a rather flimsy 1.86GHz P6000 Pentium processor, so it's not winning many awards for number-crunching muscle.

You're also stuck with the previous generation of Intel HD graphics. This doesn't help matters much, particularly as it pulls its memory from the measly 2GB on board – a 3D powerhouse this is not.

Thankfully the memory is easily expanded because there's a single DIMM on board, but still, it's pretty weak – even on cheap machines, 2GB is starting to look a bit inadequate. Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit does a good job of managing these limited resources, though.

Of course, the things that count at this level are more physical than logical. The prism-patterned casing – biscotti-coloured, apparently, though we'd steer towards platinum or even slightly yellowy grey – is tough and neat.

There's a huge full-sized keyboard with a separate number pad, though we'd argue it's a bit close to the main keyboard given the number of times we managed to switch on Num Lock instead of deleting a character. And there's that single-touch pad, which is huge. That has its disadvantages – if you're cursed with big palms and sausage fingers, you'll be bent sideways trying to avoid it while typing.

One thing that's really striking is the G72's weight. That 17.3-inch form factor and the really very good 1600 x 900 screen mean it's heavy, almost like HP's ultra-light and pretty great 2230s with half a breeze block strapped to it. Alright, it's not the sort of thing that's going to tear the straps off your bag if you decide to carry it anywhere, but be aware that the G72 is both huge and weighty if you're considering any sort of significant travel.

You'll get the same with any machine of this size, so it's worth considering whether you need an enormous screen at all.

Tech Specs

Product TypeNotebook
Green CompliantYes
Hard Drive Capacity250 GB
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ManufacturerIntel
Graphics Controller ModelHD Graphics
Wireless LANYes
Optical Drive TypeDVD-Writer
WebcamYes
Backlight TechnologyLED
Product FamilyG72-a00
Operating System Architecture64-bit
Processor ModelP6000
ColourBiscotti
Operating SystemWindows 7 Home Premium
Brand NameHP
Processor Speed1.86 GHz
Processor TypePentium
Screen Size43.9 cm (17.3")
Number of Cells6-cell
Screen Resolution1600 x 900
Standard Memory2 GB
Weight (Approximate)3 kg
Cache3 MB
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityENERGY STAR, WEEE, EPEAT Silver, REACH
64-bit ProcessingYes
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelHM55 Express
Number of Total Memory Slots2
Optical Media SupportedDVD-RAM/±R/±RW
Dual-Layer Media SupportedYes
Labeling TechnologyLightScribe
Graphics Memory CapacityUp to 762 MB
Display Screen TypeActive Matrix TFT Colour LCD
Display Screen TechnologyBrightView
Wireless LAN StandardIEEE 802.11n
Ethernet TechnologyFast Ethernet
Height37.4 mm
Width412 mm
Depth269 mm
Screen ModeWSXGA
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Product SeriesG72-a00
ManufacturerHewlett-Packard
Product ModelG72-a10SA
Product NameG72-a10SA Notebook
Pointing Device TypeTouchPad
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberWY989EA#ABU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.hp.com/uk
Marketing Information

For desk-based performance in a stylish, sleek mobile design, look no further than the HP G72 Notebook. Powerful processors, great features, and HP quality combine to give you everything you need for everyday computing - and at a great price.

Maximum Memory4 GB
Battery ChemistryLithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Package Contents
  • G72-a10SA Notebook
  • Lithium-Ion Battery
  • AC Adapter
  • Limited Warranty1 Year