HP ProBook 655 G3 review

Discussion in 'HP' started by IMNOTDRPHIL, Feb 23, 2018.

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    IMNOTDRPHIL Notebook Enthusiast

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    I recently bought this machine as I ran out of functional laptops at my house. My performance needs for a laptop aren't great, I primarily Web browse and run a remote application from work over Citrix. My old Dell E5400 had its screen hinge break, rendering it useless. I then used my wife's old Dell D531 for a couple of years until its motherboard suddenly failed recently so there were no more spare functional laptops at home.

    My wife got a Dell Inspiron 7437 a few years ago and significantly dislikes it- it's a pretty typical newer machine with a soldered-in ULV CPU, soldered-in memory, Chiclet keyboard, glossy touchscreen, Windows 10 (originally 8), internal battery, thin-height HDD, no optical drive, no expansion slot, and no network jack.

    I went to look for something that was as similar to my previous Dells as possible, as I liked them as they worked well. Ditto with the Lenovo T530 I use at work. I don't want a 10 pound fire-belching laptop like the Gateway 600YG2 I had 15 years ago but I also don't want something that is essentially a tablet with a keyboard like my wife's Inspiron 7437. I looked long and hard and the ProBook 65x series were the closest to what I was looking for. I prefer AMD CPUs so it was the 655 over the 650.

    I ordered my machine custom built so I got the 1920x1080 non-touchscreen panel, no webcam, no fingerprint reader, no WWAN, no Windows (I run Linux and have for the last 15 or so years), an optical drive, the Intel 7265 802.11ac 2x2 WLAN NIC, and a single 8 GB DIMM so I could stick in another one for half the price of getting one from HP.

    The machine arrived at my door about 20 days later for under five bills. The first thing I did was stick the 256 GB SSD from the old dead Dell into the HP and fired it up, and it resumed from the hibernation that the Dell never did with zero issues, despite the hardware it resumed to being 11 years newer. The only hiccup was that the Intel 7265 WLAN NIC has a known bug on all OSes of failing to resume from power-saving mode and becoming unresponsive. I worked around that by issuing the "iwconfig $WLAN_NIC power off" command on each boot or resume and that fixed the issue. The OS also cannot pick up any sensor data from the CPU or motherboard. Otherwise Kubuntu 16.10 amd64 runs flawlessly on this machine and all of the special buttons, hibernate, resume, and all of the ports work properly.

    Performance is MUCH better than the Turion X2 TL-64 than was in the D531 or the C2D T9400 I had in my E5400 before it failed. The machine is sturdy, quiet, and has a very nice screen. It's light and quiet for a 15.6" full sized laptop. It has an internal battery but it is replaceable and much more easily than the one in my wife's Dell- the HP has a plastic-cased battery with an edge connector rather than a film-encased battery with a ribbon connector that breaks. The CPU is unfortunately a BGA model but no laptop CPU maker has made a socketed laptop CPU in a few years. There is an Ethernet port, HD15 analog monitor port, several USB ports, a serial port, an optical drive, and an SD card reader. The keyboard is not a chiclet keyboard and has an OK feel, but for some odd reason HP decided to use a 90% sized keyboard sized for a 12" computer on this unit and then stuff in a numerical keypad, so this unit has essentially a full 104 key keyboard, except for the scroll lock, pause/break, and Sys Rq keys (the latter would have been useful, I run Linux and the SysRq key has some useful functions on a locked up system.)

    Overall, the machine is pretty decent and a good value, especially if you are like me and ordered the machine sans OS to run Linux, as HP is one of the few vendors that will let you order a machine without paying The Microsoft Tax.
    dm48 likes this.
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