Wednesday, July 28, 2021
LaptopsWindows laptops

HP 250 G8 review – thinner bezels and a smaller body but a familiar story overall


Okay, everybody, we are back in the budget territory today, and the laptop we’re going to test is the HP 250 G8. Ultimately, this is the third iteration of the HP 250 we’re reviewing, and the previous two all came with TN panels, which was a bummer. At the same time, it is somehow expected, since this is the main cost-cutting factor. Well… this, and the materials for the build.

Unsurprisingly, we also got a TN model, which now feels weird in 2021, but it’s good to know that you can still buy an IPS version. If you can spare the money – go for it. Nevertheless, this laptop offers a lot of choices when it comes to configuration. There are AMD versions (branded 255 G8), Celeron and Pentium options from Intel, as well as the flagship Ice Lake and Tiger Lake Core series.

Also, you have Wi-Fi 6 options. Now, we have to mention that HP is completely aware of the market situation, and they will probably sell out this particular device, regardless of what it is. However, we are sincerely hoping it will bring some fresh air in buyers’ faces, instead of just relying on the fact that it’s going to sell out anyway.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-250-g8/

Contents


Specs Sheet

HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 – Specs


HDD/SSD

up to
1000GB SSD + up to 1000GB HDD


OS


Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, No OS


Dimensions


358 x 242 x 19.9 mm (14.09″ x 9.53″ x 0.78″)


Body material


Plastic / Polycarbonate

Ports and connectivity

  • 2x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Card reader SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Ethernet LAN 10, 100, 1000 Mbit/s
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Audio jack 3.5mm Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Digital Microphone
  • Speakers Stereo Speakers
  • Optical drive optional

What’s in the box?

Inside the package, we found some paper manuals and a 45W power brick. Keep in mind that some models might come with 65W adapters instead.

Design and construction

So, the first thing we see is not very optimistic. We are talking about an all-plastic build. However, the most important, and positive thing about it, is that HP has not reused the older design. As a reminder, last year, they managed to shave a lot of the weight, and the profile of the laptop. This year, we get 40 grams lighter body – 1.74 kg, and one that is 2mm slimmer – down to 19.9mm. Also, the chassis seems really sturdy and resistant to flex.

Well, this can’t be said about the lid, though, which is bendy, thus resulting in severe ghosting on the TN panel. Thankfully, though, the matte display is now surrounded by bezels that are a lot thinner and actually look good. Additionally, the top one houses an HD (or a VGA) camera.

Now, let’s move to the base, where we will start with the speaker grill, which is located above the keyboard. Between them (the grill and the keyboard), there is the Power button, located on the left-most side of the base, right above the “Escape” key.

Unfortunately, the keyboard, itself, lacks a backlight and suffers from some deck flex. Nevertheless, the textured keys have a long travel and satisfying clicky feedback, making it far better than some of its more expensive cousins out there.

Moving to the touchpad, we see something a bit disappointing. Both the gliding and the tracking are not the best, but what upset us the most were the dedicated buttons. They have a very short travel and offer too much of a resistance in our opinion.

Lastly, we have the bottom panel, which only has some ventilation grills. Hot air, respectively, gets exhausted from a slot on the back, or more accurately – in between the lid and the base.

Ports

On the left side, you will find an RJ-45 connector, an HDMI 1.4b connector, as well as a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack. If you look at the other side, you’ll notice the charging plug, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, and an SD card reader. As you can see, we have lost the optical drive from last year.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

Once again, HP has decided to play their favorite game and has hidden most of this laptop’s screws beneath the two rubber feet. After you locate and undo all 8 of the Phillips-head screws, turn the laptop around, open it and start prying the bottom panel off the chassis.

For cooling, the manufacturer has used a very thin but long heat pipe. Thankfully, the sizes of the heat sink and the fan look decent.

Memory-wise you get two RAM SODIMM slots, which support dual-channel mode. According to some sources, they can fit up to 32GB in total. In terms of storage, there is one M.2 slot, which should fit both NVMe and SATA drives. Also, there is a 2.5-inch SATA drive bay.

Our unit comes equipped with a pretty small 41Wh battery pack.

Display quality

HP 250 G8 comes with a Full HD TN panel, model number Innolux CMN1526. Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution – 1920 х 1080p. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 142 ppi, their pitch – 0.18 x 0.18 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 60 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

The viewing angles are uncomfortable. We offer images at different angles to evaluate the quality.

The maximum measured brightness is 292 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 264 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 15%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6070K (average) – warmer than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 70% Brightness (White level = 144 cd/m2, Black level = 0.35 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is mediocre – 415:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows HP 250 G8’s color gamut coverage.

Its display is limited just to 53% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of HP 250 G8 with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 12 ms.

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

HP 250 G8’s display backlight uses PWM up until 80 nits. Thankfully, the flickerings have a high frequency, which renders the display comfortable for long periods of use in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

HP 250 G8’s TN panel is something very rarely seen in 2021. And although we hoped that this will be the first year, where we won’t test such a device, it happens pretty early on. Nevertheless, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, narrow viewing angles, and modest color coverage. However, it doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment, and it is quick in terms of response time.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for HP 250 G8 configurations with 15.6″ Innolux CMN1526 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) TN.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard - screen profile

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

All

Sound

HP 250 G8’s speakers produce a sound of pretty good quality. Moreover, the low, mid, and high tones have no deviations from clarity.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://support.hp.com/us-en/drivers/selfservice/hp-250-g8-notebook-pc/38151396

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. Here, the 41Wh battery pack lasted for 6 hours and 59 minutes of Web browsing, and 6 hours and 15 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This laptop and its 255 siblings can be found with a ton of different CPUs. Some of them include the Core i3-1005G1, Core i5-1035G1, Core i7-1065G7, Core i3-1115G4, Core i5-1135G7, Core i7-1165G7, Celeron N4020 from Intel, and a couple of AMD processors, like the Ryzen 3 3250U, and Ryzen 5 3500U.


HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 CPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the CPUs that can be found in the HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different CPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / CPU.


GPU options

And graphics cards you can pair the integrated solution with are the GeForce MX130, MX330, and MX350.


HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 GPU variants

Here you can see an approximate comparison between the GPUs that can be found in the HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 models on the market. This way you can decide for yourself which HP 250 G8 / 255 G8 model is the best bang for your buck.

Note: The chart shows the cheapest different GPU configurations so you should check what the other specifications of these laptops are by clicking on the laptop’s name / GPU.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i5-1035G1 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP 250 G8 2.16 GHz (B+116%) @ 74°C 1.97 GHz (B+97%) @ 75°C 1.74 GHz (B+74%) @ 67°C
Acer Spin 3 (SP314-54N) 2.21 GHz (B+121%) @ 73°C 2.16 GHz (B+116%) @ 86°C 1.77 GHz (B+77%) @ 80°C
ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 2.88 GHz (B+188%) @ 91°C 1.63 GHz (B+63%) @ 72°C 1.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 70°C
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 1.90 GHz (B+90%) @ 77°C 1.89 GHz (B+89%) @ 89°C 1.49 GHz (B+49%) @ 72°C
Dell Vostro 15 5501 2.37 GHz (B+137%) @ 99°C 2.12 GHz (B+112%) @ 99°C 1.65 GHz (B+65%) @ 78°C
Dell Inspiron 15 5501 2.47 GHz (B+147%) @ 99°C 2.17 GHz (B+117%) @ 99°C 1.62 GHz (B+62%) @ 74°C
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX325 2.35 GHz (B+135%) @ 97°C 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 97°C 1.37 GHz (B+37%) @ 68°C
Lenovo Ideapad 5 (15) 2.46 GHz (B+146%) @ 84°C 1.95 GHz (B+95%) @ 76°C 2.06 GHz (B+106%) @ 74°C
Dell Vostro 15 3591 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 75°C 2.09 GHz (B+109%) @ 84°C 1.77 GHz (B+77%) @ 85°C
Acer Aspire 5 (A515-55) 1.98 GHz (B+98%) @ 79°C 1.68 GHz (B+68%) @ 79°C 1.52 GHz (B+52%) @ 79°C
Dell Inspiron 5593 2.53 GHz (B+153%) @ 99°C 2.14 GHz (B+114%) @ 94°C 1.88 GHz (B+88%) @ 87°C

Interestingly, the cooling solution on this device happens to work great. However, HP was really conservative with the clock speeds, hence the 250 G8 doesn’t get everything out of the Core i5-1035G1 in our case.

Comfort during full load

In terms of noise under extreme workloads, we heard the fan spinning quite rapidly. However, even during playing games, it was barely audible. As for the maximum temperature on the keyboard, it is rather cool.

Verdict

Unfortunately, performance is not among this laptop’s most prominent features. Although our unit came with the Core i5-1035G1, we found that it underdelivers. However, almost everyone that buys or is interested in buying the HP 250 G8 wants one thing – something good on the budget.

Here, the result is far from straightforward. Let’s start with the good stuff. First, this laptop is incredibly versatile when it comes to upgradability. It offers both a 2.5-inch slot and an M.2 slot, which itself, fits NVMe and SATA devices. Also, you get up to 32GB of DDR4 memory in dual-channel, depending on the configuration, and some models will feature a Wi-Fi 6 capable WLAN card. So far, so good.

We also consider a small victory the fact that HP hasn’t taken away the SD card slot. Also, they provide a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port to the equation. And although we say goodbye to the optical drive, we think that this had to be done.

By doing this, they managed to drop the weight, compared to last year, and now the laptop stands at 1.74 kg. More impressively, the body is narrowed down both in profile and in footprint. The former is about 2mm thinner than that of the predecessor, and the latter is improved by the far narrower bezels around the display – something that brings this laptop in 2021.

HP 250 G8’s TN panel (Innolux CMN1526) is something very rarely seen in 2021, however. And although we hoped that this will be the first year, where we won’t test such a device, it happens pretty early on. Nevertheless, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, narrow viewing angles, and modest color coverage. However, it doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment, and it is quick in terms of response time.

In addition to the unsatisfactory display, there is the battery life, which delivers about 7 hours of Web browsing and 6 hours and 15 minutes of video playback.

Despite the pretty rigid structure of the chassis, the plastic here feels cheap – both on the lid and on the body. As for the keyboard – it is somewhat of a win-lose situation because it is very comfortable for use, but at the same time, lacks a backlight, and generally feels inexpensive.

What is a big no, on the other side, is the touchpad. It’s simply a mediocre unit, that has one of the worst dedicated buttons on the market – they are very resistive and have short travel, which makes them pretty uncomfortable.

If you want a laptop that will do the job, and would like to keep your budget short, it would be smart to dig deeper than the specs. As we said, this laptop is underperforming, and we feel that it is pointless investing in a higher-specced model.

Pros

  • Wide configuration options
  • One of the best keyboards for the price
  • Doesn’t use aggressive PWM for brightness adjustment (Innolux CMN1526)
  • Great upgradability
  • More portable than ever

Cons

  • Poor build materials choice
  • Its TN panel has poor viewing angles, mediocre contrast ratio and covers only 53% of the sRGB color gamut (Innolux CMN1526)
  • Underpeforming
  • Uncomfortable touchpad

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-250-g8/





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