*No USB 3.0
Buying a computer is one of the most dauting tasks that anybody will ever have to do. There is such a vast universe of computers, with such a variety of designs, sizes, names, hardware, software and so on, that I personally find it near impossible to make a choice when it comes to a purchase...I mean god forbid I pick the wrong model.
Whenever somebody is in the market for a piece of computer hardware certain criterias have to be known well before they actually enter any type of shop. First and firemost, the budget. If its limited then I suggest avoiding Sony shops, since they are generally a bit more expensive for essentially the same material. HP and ACER would probably the best options.
Also what exactly are you expecting the pc to do? If its gaming, then you should definetly be looking for a pc not a laptop/netbook/notebook etc....But if its merely a good piece of hardware for every day use; like watching films, writing papers, browsing, chatting and so on, then a simple and inexpensive laptop would be more than enough. And in that case The HP BLACK LICORICE seems to fit the bill.
The HP BLACK LICORICE is a reasonably priced notebook, but just to be clear, you are paying pretty much exact for what you are getting. With an Intel Pentium B960 processor, The LICORICE is hardly a powerful piece of machinary, and the INTEL HD GRAPHICS card is one that is suitable for some light gaming and generally browsing and film watching. It doesn't came with much added features (like 3d technology). It has 4gb installed RAM, but the processor does have the option of rising to 16gb which is pretty good. The computer is pretty darn quick though, despite its relatively average machine specs, and it should be a breeze to browse, installing software and watching anything imaginable.
This particular notebook does follow HP tradition of carving out a slick and stylish model. The all black cover really shines and looks absolutely marvelous, there isn’t really all that much computers who offer such a stylized external ‘physique’ (sadly a better phrase currently escapes me), but how important such a quality is depends entirely on the user. Unfortunately the outside looks great, but is a bit susceptible to finger marks.
The Licorice comes with a 15.6 inch HD widescreen (1366 x 768 resolution)…combined with the INTEL GRAPHIC CARD, a lush and spot-on experience awaits the browser/film watcher. I tried the new One Piece movie on it (simply because One Piece is damn awesome), and the film looked absolutely spot on, despite the fact that I didn’t even have a particularly great version of it.
The Licorice weighs 5.4 lbs and is quite compact and comfortable to carry.
The touchpad on the Licorice is a good size (and comes with the click pad which is important for me personally), but is also very sensitive. I’d often find myself opening tabs/files that I had no intention to do. After a-while I did manage to adjust to it, but it could have been slightly better. The keyboard is weaker though. No number pad (aghhhh!) and the keys are way too cramped. Considering there is still a relative amount of space left on all sides of the keyboard, that’s pretty disappointing. Somebody who writes a lot on the pc will be left frustrated.
320 GB hard drive is enough for most people, but is pretty low compared to most moden laptop who usually have a minimum of 500 Gb. The transferring of files is pretty quick though (the Licorice is fast in general). Sadly, the speed of the Licorice suffers a tad due to no USB 3.0 ports being added to it, with 3 2.0 ports being installed instead. This is by no means a deal breaker...but again a minor nuisance. The installed WEBCAM and MICROPHONE are both surprisingly great, especially the WEBCAM, which is HD and allows for video chatting easily (Thank god for Skype!). As expected a multi-format DVD/CD writer/reader is in place.
The Licorice comes with Windows 8, which seems to lead to a love/hate relationship for most people. The lack of a touchscreen does not allow the Licorice to take advantage of some of the best features of Windows 8, so it really depends on what the buyer thinks about the latest Windows model.
The Licorice should come with a 1 year warranty for both parts and labor. HP customers care is not particularly great IMO (I’ve spent countless hours ‘on hold’ waiting to complain about their customer service), and it depends from where you buy the PC. I’d suggest going to somewhere you trust.