It kind of depends what is most important to you, if its price,find the cheapest haswell notebook, if its speed/battery life, I'd get that HP and put an ssd in it (you might stretch that 8.5 hours to around 10). If you want an all around we with lots of space,buy it and leave the HDD. I have an HP envy that I stuck an ssd in for school and its wonderful
For a everyday back to school laptop you can get really good one's for alot less money. I got a really good friend of mine a Asus X53E last year when he went back to collage and it was only $399. It has a Intel Core i5-2410M with 8gig ram and 720gig hard drive and 15.6" screen. Overall it was a really good laptop for ever day use. I liked it so well that I got myself one.
I know that exact one is not available anymore but system close to that price/performance range are. Best bet would be to look around good laptops can be had for alot less than the one you linked to.