With the complete overhaul of the HP 250 series, the OEM is looking for a larger piece of the pie in the lower-end business segment. And it looks like they deserve some recognition. With a sleek, simple and fairly sturdy chassis packing relatively big battery and excellent input devices, the 250 G6 really does make an impression.
Also, the laptop boasts quite the range of configurations going from Intel Celeron and Pentium all the way up to Core i7-7500U. For this review, we got the Core i5-7200U-powered unit with an SSD (M.2 SSDs are supported!), which is priced in the $550-650 range depending on the memory and storage configuration. But how the battery will handle the hardware in reality and is the screen good enough for your daily needs – these are questions we aim to answer in the thorough review below.
The notebook comes with the standard user manual, AC adapter and power cord in a relatively small box.
Design and construction
As far as the design goes, the HP 250 G6 has been altered ever so slightly compared to its predecessor while changing some small details here and there. In any case, plastic is the main order of the day as usual, which is rather expected given the price point. We can also say that for a 15-inch laptop, the HP 250 G6 is fairly portable measuring at just 23.8 mm in height and tipping the scale at 1.86 kg. Everything under 2.0 kg, especially at this price range and form factor, is more than we could ask for. And fortunately, the overall sturdiness of the case hasn’t suffered too much.
The lid is the first change we’ve noticed – now the plastic surface isn’t patterned but features smooth glossy-like metallic finish with HP’s logo in the middle. The color doesn’t allow fingerprints and smudges to stick easily. Pressing the middle of the lid results in slight flex, ripples appear on the screen and we observed the same while attempting to twist the screen. None of our twisting and bending tests, however, made a bad impression – it appears to be sufficiently stable for the price. Still, we would rather a bit looser hinges as it’s really hard to open the machine even with both hands. It’s a good thing there’s a protruding element on the lid that helps with the opening. Anyway, the hinges do appear to be pretty solid and stand out with a chrome-colored plastic finish. The bottom of the device features slightly roughened metallic gray plastic with the user-removable battery and unusual silicone feet. There’s just one small grill for cool air intake.
The bare minimum of connectors can be found on the sides so it should suit most of the users looking for a budget-oriented laptop. The left side accommodates the VGA, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports and a 3.5 mm audio jack. On the right, you will find the optical drive, another USB 2.0 connector and the SD card reader. We also find the port distribution rather convenient as most of the cables will be sticking out of the left side. Also, the main heat dispersing grill is on the left so it won’t get in the way even under load when using the mouse on the right.
Moving onto the interior, we find a similar plastic finish to the one used for the exterior – smooth surface but visually imitates brushed aluminum. Only strong presses result in slight bending around the spacebar, the middle of the keyboard and the area between the hinges – nothing to be worried about since it won’t be an issue in practice. Speaking of the keyboard – it’s nothing special but it’s definitely one of the best we’ve tried considering the price point. The keycaps feel a bit cheap to touch but each key press results in satisfying tactile and audible feedback combined with fairly long travel. All of this results in comfortable and fast typing experience. Also, the most important Fn shortcuts are here while the Numpad block is big enough for pleasant input. The touchpad, however, feels like a small step backward compared to the keyboard because of the slightly “sluggish” feel but it will surely get the work done on the go – the gliding surface is smooth while the mouse buttons feel pretty light.
Despite some of the obvious drawbacks, we understand the sacrifices HP had to make along the way to deliver such cheap business solution. Still, we call this a win since the most important aspects like general rigidity, hinge stability, portability and input devices are not overlooked.
Disassembly, maintenance and upgrade options
Unfortunately, there are no service lids so you have to remove the whole bottom to access the internals. Still, the battery is user-accessible and can be swapped at any time. Just make sure you’ve removed all the screws on the bottom, including the ones under the silicone feet as shown in the photos below, and the optical drive too. Then gently pry the plate up.
Storage upgrades – 2.5-inch HDD/SSD, M.2 SSD
It appears that there’s room only for a 2.5-inch drive or an M.2 SSD. In our case, the notebook came with a standard M.2 SATA SSD – SanDisk X400 2280 256GB.
|M.2 SSD 2280 slot 1||256GB SanDisk X400 M.2 SATA 2280 SSD||Buy from Amazon.com|
The motherboard hold two upgradable RAM slots each going up to 16GB of DDR4-2400. The unit we’ve reviewed has 8GB from SK Hynix.
|Slot 1||SK Hynix 8GB DDR4-2400||Buy from Amazon.com|
|Slot 2||Free||Buy from Amazon.com|
The Wi-Fi adapter is placed right nest to the cooling fan and it’s Intel 3168NGW.
As we already mentioned, the battery is user accessible and can be changed without a hassle at any time by pulling both of the levers right next to it. It’s rated at 41.44Wh.
The cooling system is pretty simple – it consists of just one heatpipe, a relatively big heatsink and a cooling fan pushing the hot air from the side. It should be sufficient given the configuration.
The notebook features a Full HD (1920×1080) TN display manufactured by BOE with model number N156FHM-N41. Thus, it has 142 ppi and 0.18 x 0.18 mm pixel pitch. It can be considered as “Retina” when viewed from at least 60 cm.
Viewing angles are limited due to the TN matrix.
We’ve recorded a peak brightness 205 cd/m2 in the center of the screen and 204 cd/m2 as average across the surface with just 7% maximum deviation. The correlated color temperature at maximum brightness is a bit colder – 7370K and shoots up to 15000K when going along the grayscale. This is fixed with our custom profiles. You can see how these values change at 140 cd/m2 (87% brightness) in the image below.
The maximum color deviation dE2000 compared to the center of the screen should be no more than 4.0 and if you are planning to do color-sensitive work, it should be lower than 2.0. But in this case, since the laptop is going to be used mostly for office work, web browsing, multimedia and office work, a deviation of 1.6 in the lower left corner is negligible. The contrast ratio is really low – 330:1 before calibration and 300:1 after calibration.
To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of 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 display covers just 50% of the sRGB color gamut, which means that half of the web-based and HDTV colors are missing.
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.
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.
We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and reverse.
We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 11 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.
We’ve detected PWM from 0 to 99% brightness but at really high frequency and low amplitude making it practically safe to use for long periods of time.
Blue light emissions
Installing of 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.
You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.
Obviously, the display has its apparent drawbacks – low maximum brightness, poor viewing angles due to the use of TN panel, low contrast and narrow sRGB coverage. However, we can’t expect more from a business notebook at this price range. The good news is that the panel uses high-frequency, low-amplitude PWM that shouldn’t affect the majority of users after prolonged usage.
Buy our display profiles
Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package is meant for HP 250 G6 configurations with 15.6″ BOE NT156FHM-N41 (FHD, 1920 × 1080) TN screen and the laptop can be found at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com
*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 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
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.
THealth-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.
The sound quality is decent – there are small deviations in the low frequencies but the mid and high frequencies remain clear.
The current specs sheet is for this particular model and configurations may differ depending on your region
HP 250 G6 technical specifications table
HP 250 G6configurations
We used the pre-installed Windows 10 for the writing of this review but if you wish to perform a clean install of the OS, we suggest downloading all of the latest drivers from HP’s official support page.
Despite the rather modest battery capacity, the notebook delivers considerably above average runtimes for the asking price maybe due to the use of an energy-efficient TN panel.
Of course, all tests were run using the same settings as always – Wi-Fi turned on, screen brightness set to 120 cd/m2 and Windows battery saving feature switched on.
In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.
For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.
CPU – Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel’s Core i7-6200U is part of the 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs and it’s the direct successor of the Core i5-5200U (Broadwell) and Core i5-6200U (Skylake). It’s also based on the same architecture as the aforementioned chips with little differences that should bring a small performance increase and a bump in power consumption. However, the new CPU is clocked at 2.5 GHz and its Turbo Boost frequency is 3.1 GHz opposed to the 2.3 – 2.8 GHz clocks on the previous Core i5-6200U.
Anyway, we still have the 2/4 core/thread count, 3MB last level cache, and a TDP of 15W, which includes the iGPU and the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller. Speaking of the former, the chip integrates the newer generation Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics chip clocked at 300 – 1000 MHz.
You can browse through our top CPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-cpu-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook we’ve tested with this processor: http://laptopmedia.com/processor/intel-core-i5-7200u/
Results are from the Cinebench 15 CPU test (the higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Fritz chess benchmark (the higher the score, the better)
GPU – Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel’s HD Graphics 620 integrated iGPU can be found in various ULV (ultra-low voltage) processors from the Kaby Lake generation. The GT2 version of the graphics chip uses 24 EUs (Execution Units) that can be clocked up to 1050 MHz and it has a base frequency of 300 MHz but the former can vary depending on the CPU. Since the iGPU doesn’t have a dedicated memory of its own – or eDRAM for that matter – it uses the available RAM on the system which is 2x 64-bit DDR3 or DDR4.
The TDP depends on the CPU model but it’s usually equipped with a SoC rated at 15W including the memory controller.
You can browse through our top GPUs ranking: http://laptopmedia.com/top-laptop-graphics-ranking/
Here you will find other useful information and every notebook with this GPU that we’ve tested: http://laptopmedia.com/video-card/intel-hd-graphics-620/
Results are from the 3DMark: Fire Strike (Graphics) benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 3.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Heaven 4.0 benchmark (higher the score, the better)
Results are from the Unigine Superposition benchmark (higher the score, the better)
For every laptop we review, we run the usual stress tests on the CPU and GPU to see how the cooling system handles heavy workloads and how will it fare in the long run after years of usage. Still, this method of testing doesn’t represent real-life usage.
We ran the CPU stress test for about an hour and as you can see from the screenshot below, temperatures were okay and clock speeds were within the Turbo Boost range.
After an hour had passed, we started the GPU stress test alongisde the CPU torture test. As expected, the CPU toned down to give enough headroom for the GPU to perform while maintaining relatlively low temperatures.
Temperatures on the surface remained low as well and there are no signs of overheating.
Surely, you won’t fall in love from first sight with the HP 250 G6 but if you spend enough time with it, you will learn to appreciate the most important aspects for a business solution in which the device exels.
Build quality isn’t exactly great but it’s decent enough considering the price point. The keyboard, however, shines through with excellent feel while the touchpad is good enough to get some work done on the go. Battery life is another great thing to consider here and it’s user-replaceable, which is essential for some users.
In terms of image quality, the HP 250 G6 is no stunner for sure. But once again, this is one of the sacrifices HP had to make in order to keep the price low enough to actually make sense compared to the more expensive ProBooks. Still, the absence of conventional PWM has to be taken into consideration for sure.
So will we recommend? Yes, as long as you can’t spend the amount of money a standard ProBook asks. The most important requirements for a business-oriented laptop like comfortable input devices, long battery life and stability are met and at a decent price point.
- Comfortable input devices
- Long battery life
- Relatively affordable
- We didn’t detect a convential use of PWM so it’s practically safe to use for long periods of time
- You can insert either M.2 SSD or 2.5-inch HDD, not both
- The screen could still be a bit better (exceptionally low brightness and contrast)