A brief review of the HP 510 laptop

Picture of the HP 510
I got a little less time than expected to write this review, so it will be short.

The specifications of the 510 model I have here:
CPU: Celeron M 1,4 ghz
Memory: 512 MB
Disk: 60 gb
Wireless 802.11g
2x USB ports
Sound in/out
PCMCIA slot (at least that’s what it looks like to me)
VGA out
Ethernet plug
Modem plug

I have been using Ubuntu on this machine – as mentioned in a previous article, a few steps are required to get the hardware working correctly.

Build quality: This thing screams plastic. The lid is quite sturdy, though, stiffer than the one on my Macbook. The hinges are quite firm – to open the lid, I have to hold the bottom part of the laptop. The ports seem OK. The keyboard is about average to type on (I’m using it now) – except for a tendency to squeak on a few of the buttons in the middle, I have no objections. The CTRL button is to the left of the Fn key – a plus in my opinion. The squeakiness might be an annoyance for some users (of course, it could be that I was unlucky with this specific machine).

Performance: I haven’t tried anything apart from Ubuntu on this machine. Desktop effects in Ubuntu work and look nice, but slow down performance a bit. Remote desktop over VNC doesn’t work with them on – I can connect, but the image on the remote machine does not update. If I didn’t need VNC functionality I would probably have enabled desktop effects. Overall, the machine feels quite snappy in Ubuntu, though I have not done anything more heavy on it than 10-20 firefox windows, Flash videos, Gaim and OOO Writer.

Noise: The fan starts when I play youtube videos, but isn’t particularly noisy. It is audible, but pretty low frequency.

Heat: I put “laptop” in the title for a reason – I am writing this with the machine on my lap. This works just fine, and that’s probably because of the pretty weak CPU and relatively roomy chassis, allowing for decent cooling. The machine gets warm, but not overly so, and nowhere near as hot as my Macbook.

Speakers: These can play pretty loud, but with distortion. Given the price point, I am happy with them. The sound is tinny. I won’t make any calls on the sound quality of the headphone out – it works and I couldn’t find any immediate cause for complaint.

Screen: This is bright and with a decent viewing angle. It is reflective, in principle like the Macbook screen, but this manages to be glossy without reflecting the surroundings as much as the MB screen. I’m quite happy with it. (1280×800 resolution.)

Battery: The battery lasts about 1 – 1.5 hours with desktop applications and wifi usage. HP sells one with twice the capacity, I believe.

Trackpad: I have never seen a trackpad with this design before. It is just an array of small holes in the chassis. It works well for me, though. Also has a vertical section on the right for scrolling.
HP510 trackpad
The machine also has a dedicated button for wifi on/off.

Overall, this is great value for 3995,- NOK (which tends to be about 400$). It is certainly the cheapest full-featured laptop I have seen, and it is actually usable too. I would have liked a keyboard without any squeaking (maybe it will improve with use?)…. and, well, that’s about it really. Of course bluetooth would be nice, but once you go down that road, you want to have firewire, digital sound in/out, DVI and so on, and that’s not what this laptop is about.

That’s about it, I think. Feel free to add questions in the comments, of course.


20 Responses to “A brief review of the HP 510 laptop”

  1. m0rphy Says:

    i liked the way u’ve reviewed it
    may be u can take a look at our reviews at http://www.incbuy.com
    thanks and keep on this is a great blog

  2. Torgeir Says:

    “you want to have firewire”

    Do you? I’ve actually never used firewire, so I don’t really care, but I guess it’s a bit different for you Mac guys. Next to all external hardware comes with a USB interface.

  3. Are Wold Says:

    The firewire port on my Macbook has been very heavily used over the last few months, for importing digital video. I believe firewire is the primary interface for digital video cameras (where it is also known as iLink) – at least until the couple of years or so, when USB2 may have grabbed marketshare. I’m not sure about that though.

    So I guess DV cameras are the exception when it comes to external hardware. Besides, FW and USB2 are really quite different technologies, so I imagine there are other (more obscure) uses for it as well. DV is the selling point for me.

  4. Anders Says:

    I’ve been using firewire for my external harddrives. It’s nice to be able to put bandwidth consuming devices on another bus than the usb – and it also frees up a usb port for me, which is quite important at least on my main desktop with its 7-8-9 usb devices.. (I don’t like unplugging them unless I have to)

  5. PressPosts / User / The_Silhouette / Submitted Says:


    Submited post on PressPosts.com – “A brief review of the HP 510 laptop”

  6. Installing Ubuntu 7.04 on a HP 510 laptop computer « Are about everything Says:

    […] about « Why I am dumping Windows Vista in favour of Windows XP on my gaming PC A brief review of the HP 510 laptop […]

  7. Davies Says:

    please send me the wireless driver for HP510 Laptop.

  8. scotslawstudent Says:

    I’m a fan of the HP 510 (I have the Pentium M 770 and extra memory), my keyboard doesn’t squeak so I suspect you were just unlucky, you may have an issue with the rubber feet under the keys which pops them up, I can’t think of much else which squeaks there. I find the keyboard good to use, it’s got the feel of a very light portable keyboard which barely resists when you press but still manages to return your finger so it’s very comfortable to type on for long periods.

    It’s very nice to feel how cool it stays, there’s still a definite warmth from the computer but it’s not even enough to make you feel warm while sitting with it.

    I also found the keycaps very easy to rearrange into other layouts if you are interested in using alternative settings for this.

  9. Daiyman20 Says:

    I have an HP 510 too, tho with an Intel centrino processor. Ive been using for about a year. I also upgraded the Ram to 1GB. I do some hard core stuff with this laptop, like play Age of Empires 3 :P for a few hours straight, and it runs pretty dine if you have every detail set on low. Does get hot after 30 mins of continuous use, but I think its becuase of the dust buildup. But overall its an awesome laptop.

  10. AJ Says:

    Is this particular laptop compatable with Windows Vista? Please reply to my youtube channel (For security reasons) Songz4You

    Ty :)

  11. giddy Says:

    hello,i want to increase d diskdrive size.i have a 50gig drivenow?possible to increase to 120gig?

  12. giddy Says:

    been using ds 4 2yrs and hsving battery problems now

  13. Web Design Midlands Says:

    I have had this laptop for over a year and a half, at first I had no problems with it and it ran smoothly. My battery now needs replacing (this happens to most batteries) and since this I have noticed an annoying design feature, the adapter. The adapter socket is in a place where it makes it easy for the adapter lead to get pulled out, the connection could also do with being fixed. What keeps happening to me is that the lead gets knocked out and because battery doesn’t hold charge anymore I get reset. The laptop also get’s very hot, but I think this is also because dust has built up.

  14. gregrocker Says:

    Running Windows 7 for over a year – with just the 528 ram!

  15. dr subhani Says:

    hi i have 510 hp .pls tell me does it have wife support. but wen ever iam calling voip calls iam getting distubance. pls advice wat to do.pls send to my email pls drshaiksubhani@yahoo.com
    thanku all

  16. acrosknicht Says:

    hi to all, i want to ask something, hp 510 and hp 530 have the same covers? im asking because my 530 front cover get damaged and i just find 510 parts to use.

  17. Ghayoor Says:

    I like to know that i have hp 510 laptop Celeron 1600 MHz processorr with 2 GB ram. I want to install the windows 7 on this machine . Any one who is running windows 7 on such machine may share his or her experiance wether win 7 works good on it or not

  18. Ender Says:

    @ Ghayoor… this machine can take up to maximum 1024MB Ram.. how did you manage to put 2 Gb Ram in it??… and there is only 1400 Mhz… there is no version of it with 1600 Mhz… are you sure your machine is HP 510?…

  19. Chola Elias Chela Says:

    This is definately a good and long lasting machine… But i have a question…. Is it advisable to upgrade the operating system to windows 7? If yes! Why is it that no drivers are installed automatically and there is no aero effect?

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