Launched in September, the HP G42-356TU is a 14-inch laptop sitting between the entry level Compaq Presario CQ42 and premium HP Pavilion laptops, aiming to strike a balance between price and performance for a budget conscious buyer. The laptop packs in 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive and at 2.2-kg is pretty light to carry around. Let’s see what more the HP G42 has in store for prospective laptop buyers.

The HP G42 laptop is built much like the Compaq Presario CQ42. The HP G42 has a matte black finish on its screen lid, which has a similar pattern of triangles seen on the Compaq Presario CQ62 and CQ42 laptops. In all honesty, the HP G42’s screen lid pattern is a pleasant relief from the overdose of glossy screen lids seen on most recent laptops: Lenovo IdeaPad Z460, Dell Inspiron 15R, Dell Inspiron M501R, Acer Aspire 5740, which are fingerprint magnets. The screen pattern on the HP G42 laptop is also present around the keyboard deck, including the palmrest and touchpad.

The HP G42-356TU laptop is well built for a 14-inch laptop, the screen is well secured to the rest of the chassis with strong hinges. It weighs 2.2-kg with a six-cell battery which is pretty good.

The HP G42 laptop comes with a 14-inch glossy screen, having a 1366x768 pixel resolution. The screen has decent horizontal viewing angles and average vertical viewing angles. The screen’s brightness and contrast levels are good enough for indoor use. We had no complaints while reading text or watching movies on the HP G42’s screen.

HP G42-356TU keyboard

The keyboard is the same as we saw on the Compaq Presario CQ42 and CQ62 laptops, tightly knit keys that are different from what Lenovo IdeaPad Z460 or Dell Inspiron M501R’s keyboard offers. However, typing on the HP G42’s keyboard isn’t a problem at all. The HP G42 has a dedicated right click button next to the right Alt button, which really comes in handy, something I haven’t seen on many laptops, good thinking by HP.

The only thing you’ll have to be on guard against the touchpad is it has no perceptible vertical border (left or right) separating it from the palmrest. Otherwise the overall response and feel of the touchpad is very good on the HP G42-356TU laptop. It's single-strip mouse button works well when you get used to it.