We've had this laptop for around 10 days now and it was purchased from Argos for only £299.99. We felt with its specifications this was a very reasonable price to performance ratio. The laptop isn't aimed at gamers clearly as reflected in the price but we gave some games a go anyway to see how this would fare as a laptop purchased for say a high school child for homework and leisure on a budget, which we explore later on.
The Specifications :
About the hardware
The AMD A8-7410 just like its predecessor the A8-6410 is a lower-mid range mobile processor. Running at 2.2Ghz with a maximum turbo boost speed of 2.5Ghz this QUAD-CORE the processor consumes only 15w during heavy load usage, leading to a very efficient machine with potentially decent battery life. Both processors are very similar performance wise but the A8-7410 is slightly faster in general usage, whilst using less power. Processor wise its most comparable to an i3-4030U which you will mostly find in ultra-thin laptops.
The laptop comes with a single 8GB DDR3 1600 memory module with the option of adding a second. 8GB of memory for this sort of laptop is vry generous and the option to expand can be very tempting especially with the believe you might gain extra performance, however the laptop only operates in single channel memory mode so although more memory is rarely a bad thing its unlikely to add to the laptop performance at all in real world usage, so we believe this sort of upgrade would just be a waste of money for the vast majority of people.
Your storage needs are met by a 1000GB WD Scorpio Blue 5400rpm hard drive. Though there is faster out there, it is very nice to see this level of storage on a laptop that is under £300 retail.
The R5 APU which is integrated with the Processor on a single chip has similar performance to the Intel 5500/520 series integrated graphics which means it is quite capable of running casual or light games like Minecraft and League of Legends, as well as some slightly more demanding titles with reduced/low settings. This too is more efficient than the previous generation of APU so extends the battery life that little bit further when running games by comparison, whilst giving better performance at the same time.
The screen is a 15.6 inch TN HD LED backlight panel with a maximum resolution of 1366x768. Manufactured by a company called ChiMei, unfortunately this panel has very poor viewing angles, which is not uncommon at this sort of price range. The screen is glossy which means it is quite reflective coupled with its relatively low brightness levels (which does help improve battery life) the laptop can be quite annoying in rooms with direct light sources, so it is not great outdoors or in rooms with bright lighting as a result.
As with most modern laptops the 80TJ features a webcam and inbuilt microphone which is enough for basic video calling however you can tell these are budget components, but for the price of the laptop it is a welcome addition.
SD-card reader, a pretty standard feature these days on laptops though still nice to see, this laptop being fairly recent supports all SD cards up to and including the SDXC standard (64GB+ size), with quite reasonable read/write speeds with a peak read of 33.6Mb/s and write of 31.5Mb/s on our benchmarks.
This laptop features Dolby Stereo speakers which considering the low price tag is quite impressive, it is ideal for watching TV shows on catch-up TV, the odd movie, video calling friends and family or some light gaming.
Wireless network is obtained via the Realtek RTL8821AE module which provides you with 2.4 and 5GHZ at up to Wireless AC speeds as well as a Bluetooth 4.0 for those wireless mouse or headset needs.
The keyboard has dual function keys at the top (F1-F12) which are the reverse of normal usage, they are triggered by simply pushing the F1-F12 keys accordingly. This is a very handy feature especially for quickly accessing things like disabling/enabling WiFi and other functions. Yet in normal use the need to hold FN to be able to use the F1-F12 keys for simply things like refreshing a webpage (F5) is quite annoying and this is the reason its normally the other way round.
There is some irregular secondary function placement on the keyboard (FN+C for scroll lock is a first for us).
We found the build quality of the touchpad to be quite cheap which is common on a budget laptop as well as a little too sensitive which quickly becomes irritating, we recommend using a Bluetooth mouse and using the FN keys to disable the on-board touchpad
Connectivity wise as well as the WiFi, Bluetooth and SD card reader we already discussed there is a single USB 3.0 port, a single USB 2.0 port, a gigabit Ethernet port and a HDMI video out port which comes in handy for the odd catch-up on Netflix via the TV or the likes.
The laptop also ships with a DVD-RW drive which we were quite pleased with considering although fairly standard these days it is often left out of the new slimmer laptops especially budget ones.
The battery on this laptop is only a 3-cell unit, this was presumably to do with keeping the weight down as well as price, and as such what could have been a laptop with LONG running times between charges is somewhat diminished. The most we managed out of this laptop was about 2 hours which all things considered we felt was quite reasonable. The battery is removable so if you wanted to swap it out with a second battery or in future years when the old battery is not holding a charge so well maybe a higher capacity replacement you can.
We tested numerous games on this laptop even Battlefield 4 (yes it can actually run this!), and was quite surprised with some of the results.
If you reduce the resolution to 1280x720 and run low pre-sets in Battlefield 4 it achieves a very playable 35-45fps average.
With the APU (Accelerated Processor Unit) aka the on-board graphics being a 15W TDP graphics/processer combined chip, when under load the temperatures are quite consistent too, during our testing it didn't exceed 75 degrees and the laptop doesn't feel 'warm' on your legs while playing games on your lap so this is another nice bonus.
We also tried and tested The Division but as expected it doesn't handle this game very well, we achieved around 15fps maximum on low pre-set even with the resolution set as low as 1024x768 but if you can handle a fair few stutters you might still be able to play it.
Older games is where this cheap laptop really shines. Games like the original Dungeon Siege series and GTA Vice City as expected run flawlessly on this laptop. We would suggest from our tests that any game from 2014 or earlier within reason should be very playable on this laptop. Anything newer than this is likely going to be a struggle especially if it is a very graphically intense game.
Pros and Cons
As with most things there are Pros and Cons which should always be considered before you make up your mind and consider purchasing this laptop, here are the main ones:
This laptop really surprised us, we were expecting another near netbook experience laptop with decent storage but generally too slow for anything but the most mundane of tasks. We were pleasantly surprised however to find it was very responsive, functional and even allowed a little light gaming. We would highly recommend this laptop to anyone who has need for a basic internet friendly laptop. It is also ideal for younger generations as a laptop for homework, social access or even a little light gaming like Minecraft, League of legends or slightly older titles.