Monday, January 17, 2022
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HP 255 G8 review – fast and portable device with great battery


Not so long ago, budget laptops were suitable for some light tasks like office work or browsing the Web. Today, we have much more powerful and versatile low-end CPUs as well as iGPUs. Because of that, you can use the inexpensive devices for watching 4K content, and even for some light games like CS:GO or Dota 2.

The HP 255 G8 is a typical example of a modern budget machine. It’s not a shiny ultrabook, but it’s light, it has slim bezels and it’s equipped with efficient hardware under the bonnet. This inexpensive device can be picked up with a decent variety of affordable AMD Zen, Zen+, and Zen 2 APUs.

This means you can rely on some power-efficient chips like the AMD Ryzen 3 5300U and AMD Ryzen 5 5500U. Expectedly, there are some powerful integrated graphics – the AMD Vega 6 (15W, Ryzen 4000/5000) and AMD Vega 7 (15W, Ryzen 4000/5000). The more budget-friendly configurations offer previous-gen products such as the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U.

The abovementioned specs sound decent for a laptop in the budget category. In addition, there is a 1080p IPS display option and two TN variants – one 1080p display and even a 768p variant. If you can afford the IPS display it’ll be the optimal solution, while the TN variants should be avoided if money isn’t a problem, especially the 768p display.

So, enough talking, let’s see how capable is the HP 255 G8.

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 2000GB SSD + up to 500GB 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

What’s in the box?

The laptop comes in a simple cardboard box and inside of it, you can find the notebook itself, some manuals, and a 45W power adapter. The more powerful variants are bundled with a 65W charger.

Design and construction

As you can see, the build is entirely made of plastic. Nothing bad in it, we’re in the budget area here. The most important thing is, the laptop looks modern, and especially for its price it offers a slim and light body – it scales at 1.74kg while the profile is 19.9mm. The machine is strong enough to withstand some twists.

The lid can’t be opened with a single hand and sadly, it can bend while it’s being opened. On the bright side, the bezels around the display are thin and we can spot a Web camera (HD or VGA, depending on the laptop model) in an orthodox position.

The base of the laptop houses a big speaker grill that is positioned under the display hinge. The Power button is placed above the “Escape” and “F1” keys.

The keyboard looks like a decent unit but unfortunately, it does not have a backlight. Nevertheless, the typing experience is quite nice because of the long key travel and clicky feedback. Also, the keycaps have a nice and grippy texture which is a good thing if you type a lot. Sadly, we observed some flexes around the keyboard area and we didn’t like the small “Up” and “Down” arrow keys. Accountants can be happy because this machine has a NumberPad.

The touchpad has a big enough surface for normal usage but the unit itself isn’t very accurate and tracking isn’t the best. The two dedicated buttons don’t provide good feedback while using them, their “click” is too short and both buttons feel somehow numb.

The bottom plate isn’t very exciting. It has two big rubber feet and a ventilation grill. The hot air is being exhausted from in-between the backside and the screen and that’s not an optimal solution because the lower side of the display gets warm during heavy usage.

Ports

The left side of the laptop has a LAN port, an HDMI 1.4b connector, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and an audio jack. The right side houses a charging plug, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, and an SD card reader.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

The removal of the bottom plate is a bit unorthodox. First, you have to undo 8 Phillips-head screws and most of them are placed under the two rubber feet. After that, you have to turn the laptop around, open the lid, and start prying the bottom panel off the laptop’s body.

This is a basic cooling solution – a single fan, one long heat pipe, and a decently-sized heatsink.

Upgradability-wise, the device offers a lot for a budget laptop. It has two SODIMMs, an M.2 slot, and a SATA slot.

The 41Wh battery unit dosn’t look like an optimal solution for a device with a 15.6″ screen.

Display quality

HP 255 G8 has a Full HD IPS panel with a model number AUO AUO23ED. Its diagonal is 15.6″ (39.62 cm), and the resolution 1920 х 1080 pixels. The screen ratio is 16:9, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 142 ppi, and a pitch of 0.18 х 0.18 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 60cm (24″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

The viewing angles are very good. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

We measured a maximum brightness of 241 nits in the middle of the screen and 233 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 8%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6440K – almost matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K, which is not bad at all.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

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. The contrast ratio is great – 1300:1.

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 in 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 255 G8’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers only 52% 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 255 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 = 31 ms.

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 255 G8’s display is PWM-free. It’s comfortable for long hours of usage, without harming your eyes 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.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for HP 255 G8 configurations with 15.6″ FHD IPS AUO AUO23ED.

*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

Just like the HP 250 G8, the HP 255 G8’s speakers offer a sound of pretty good quality. In addition, 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-255-g8-notebook-pc/38151405

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. Despite the fact the battery is just a 41Wh unit, it’s able to deliver about 9 hours of either Web browsing or video playback. That’s a great score for a budget device and much better compared to the Intel version of this device – HP 250 G8.

Storage performance

Our laptop is equipped with a 256GB NVMe drive and that’s the Kioxia KBG40ZNV256G. We inspect the drive’s performance with the 3DMark storage benchmark and here is the result:

CPU options

The HP 255 can be picked with a large variety of CPU options. That includes some AMD Zen, Zen+, and Zen 2 APUs – AMD Ryzen 3 5300U, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U, AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, AMD Ryzen 3 3300U, etc. We can definitely recommend the Zen 2 variants – the AMD Ryzen 3 5300U, AMD Ryzen 5 5500U because they come with an improved single and multicore performance compared to their older Zen and Zen+ siblings.

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

HP 255 G8 relies on iGPUs only when it comes to graphics power – the AMD Vega 6 (15W, Ryzen 4000/5000) and AMD Vega 7 (15W, Ryzen 4000/5000) as well as some older versions like the AMD Radeon RX Vega 6 (Ryzen 2000/3000) and AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 2000/3000).

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 (internal display)

cs-go-benchmarks

Gaming tests (external display)

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.

AMD Ryzen 3 5300U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP 255 G8 3.55 GHz (B+37%) @ 66°C @ 29W 3.24 GHz (B+25%) @ 70°C @ 23W 2.91 GHz (B+12%) @ 66°C @ 15W
Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gen 6 (14″) 3.30 GHz (B+27%) @ 68°C @ 25W 3.12 GHz (B+20%) @ 75°C @ 22W 2.97 GHz (B+14%) @ 72°C @ 18W

No matter the fact that the cooling solution looks basic, it does the job well. In short-to-medium loads, the HP 255 G8 is slightly edging the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Gen 6 (14″) in terms of clocks but the HP device has better thermals. During longer loads, HP 255 G8 CPU is staying relatively cool while the processor frequency is 2.91 GHz.

Comfort during full load

When the device is under heavy stress, you can hear the fan but it’s moderately loud, luckily, the fan isn’t turning the laptop into a vacuum cleaner during longer usage. The left side of the keyboard gets a bit warm but that’s all – you’re going to sense just a little bit of heat under your fingers.

Verdict

It seems that the HP 255 G8, in the configuration that we’ve tested, is a great device that offers a much longer battery life compared to the Intel version that we have also tested. This is mainly because of the fast and efficient AMD Zen 2 APUs. Speaking of which, despite the fact that our device has just one preinstalled stick of 8GB DDR4-3200MHz RAM, the performance is definitely there.

The laptop feels snappy enough for everyday usage, every program starts fast not just because of the CPU – the NVMe drive adds a lot of good responsiveness to the whole package. Dual-channel RAM will add even more CPU and iGPU performance so it’ll be good if you get a 2x8GB DDR4-3200MHz configuration. This will make the laptop a bit more futureproof.

The good news is that the iGPU can be used for light games – sure, this HP notebook is not a gaming device but you can have some fun after work with games like CS:GO, Dota 2, Rocket League, Team Fortress 2, etc. The AMD Vega 6 (15W, Ryzen 4000/5000) is a good choice for light gaming on a budget because it’s an integrated solution that doesn’t take any additional space inside of the laptop and that leads to lower heat dissipation and power consumption.

No matter for what you’re planning to use this laptop, the 1080p IPS display with a model number AUO AUO23ED is a decent choice for a budget device – it offers great viewing angles, decent contrast ratio, and it’s PWM-free so you don’t have to worry when you’re going to use the laptop for long hours of work. The good viewing angles also contribute to the good overall experience especially if you want to watch some YouTube videos or a movie with your buddies. And yes, the bezels around the display are thin and the laptop looks like a modern machine thanks to that. The only downside of this display is the narrow color coverage. Try to avoid the other two TN display options – they have terrible viewing angles and one of them even has a 768p resolution.

At first sight, the cooling solution looks like a budget and a rather basic solution, but in real-life situations it doing a decent job. The CPU boost above its base clock all the time no matter the load, and the temperatures are always in check. Despite the fact that the cooling has just one fan, the noise during heavy stress is okay – not silent but it’s clearly acceptable for comfortable daily usability.

The upgradability options are another pleasant surprise. For such an inexpensive device, this one has two SODIMM slots as well as an M.2 port for fast NVMe drive and a SATA port for regular SSDs or HDDs. You can add one big hard drive for backup or maybe it can store your collection of movies, pictures, music, etc. Having two SODIMMs instead of soldered RAM means that you can add more memory in the future and that extends the device’s lifespan.

The I/O of the HP 255 G8 isn’t too populated, but it offers an SD card slot and a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 1) – not bad for such a budget notebook. In terms of connectivity, HP 255 G8 has a Gigabit Ethernet port and if you want a fast wireless connection, you can pick a machine with an optional Wi-Fi 6 WLAN card.

The good news is that the laptop comes with decent portability – it’s not too thick and the weight is on the low side. Additionally, the lid and the bottom plate have a grippy surface and that helps when you’re carrying the device from room to room. Moreover, despite its plastic build, the HP 255 G8 is a rigid machine that can survive some twists while the machine is closed. Last but not least, this device has a great battery life – you can watch one or two movies, you can browse the Web for hours – the laptop can survive in this situation when it’s away from the charger.

Now it’s time for some drawbacks. One of them is that you can’t open the lid with a single hand, and the lid itself is a bit bendable. The display color coverage is too low but that’s not a big problem if you’re not going to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The plastic build seems normal for that kind of price tag and we observe some flexes around the keyboard deck. Sadly, but the touchpad isn’t a great unit, it’s not that accurate and its surface doesn’t provide good gliding.

In short, the HP 255 G8 is a light and budget device that can be a decent performer if you choose a configuration with AMD Zen 2 CPUs. These processors are fast, the iGPUs can be used for light gaming and 4K video content, the battery life is great, and the notebook has a comfortable keyboard.

Pros

  • Tons configuration options
  • Great keyboard for this kind of price tag
  • PWM-free display (AUO AUO23ED)
  • Great upgrade options
  • Portable and light

Cons

  • Plastic build
  • Low sRGB color coverage (AUO AUO23ED)
  • Uncomfortable touchpad

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





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