The HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop is a great choice for gamers who want a powerful machine that is still portable. It has a large 15. 6-inch display and a fast Intel Core i7 processor, making it a great option for gaming and other demanding tasks. Ti graphics card provides good performance for games, and the laptop also includes a backlit keyboard and a USB Type-C port.
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop Review
- Low price
- Strong six-core Ryzen processor
- Battery life is excellent
- Gaming performance is fair at 1080p, but the 144Hz display is a waste.
- Storage capacity is insufficient at 256GB
- Sound and screen are unmistakable
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5, 5600H (11th-gen Intel Core i5 also on sale)
- Memory: 16GB RAM (8GB and 12GB available).
- Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD M.2 SSD (512GB, and 1TB PCIe SSD M.2 SSD also available).
- Display: IPS 15.6-inch, 1080p resolution, max 144Hz
- Ports: 1x Ethernet. 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1. 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 1x USB 2.0. 1x HDMI 2.0. 1x USB 2.0. 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 1x USB 2.0. 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 1x USB 2.0. 1x HDMI 2.0. 1x USB 2.0. 1x HDMI 2.0. 1x SD Card Reader.
- Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5. (WiFi 6AX200, Bluetooth 5.0 combination also available)
- Battery: 52.5 Whr
- Weight: 4.37 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.17×10.12x 0.93 inches
- Warranty: Limited one-year warranty on hardware
HP used green in this Pavilion is enough to draw your attention. Since its Pavilion Gaming line, HP has been using emerald. It’s the only company that operates this shade besides Razer. However, Razer uses a matte version of emerald while HP has chosen a reflective one. Even though the rest is black, the reflective logo in the absinth is sure to draw attention.
The laptop’s lid is black and angular, with the HP logo at the center. It is located at the hinge and says “Pavilion” between the vents. The plastic covering feels a little fragile.
The lid lifts along a hinge under the monitor’s center, revealing the 15.6-inch FHD display with a thick bottom bezel. The optical illusion created by the speaker grilles beneath the display is that of a series of 3D boxes. However, they are indented into the chassis. The keyboards are black with a green backlight, and the deck is also black like the lid.
This Pavilion measures 14.2×10.1×0.8 inches (3560.7×256.5×20.3 mm) and weighs 5.3 pounds (2.42 kg). It is a good budget gaming notebook. The MSI Alpha 15 weighs in at 5 pounds and measures 14.1×9.8×1 inches. The Asus ROG Zephyrus weighs 4.6 pounds and is 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8inches. The Dell G3 weighs 5.4 pounds and is 14.4 x 10 x 0.9inches.
There are many ports on the sides of HP. The left side has an HDMI output, USB Type A, Ethernet, USB Type C, and a full-sized SD card reader. Two more Type-A ports are located on the right and a headphone socket.
2. Gaming, Graphics, and VR
The Pavilion that we reviewed had an Nvidia GeForce GTX1660 Ti Max-Q. Although it won’t be able to play all games on the highest settings, it should run most games at solid settings of 1080p. Borderlands 3 ran between 60-72 fps when I used the 1080p high preset.
The Pavilion ran the Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark at 43 frames per second (1080p, very high). This is lower than the mainstream average of 48 fps but better than the Dell G3 (1660, 30 FPS), ROG Zephyrus (1660 Ti, 43 FPS) and Alpha 15 (15AMD Radeon RX5500M, 28 FPS).
The Pavilion reached 56 frames per second on Grand Theft Auto V benchmark (at 1080p). This is one frame slower than the average (57fps) or the ROG Zephyrus, but it’s still better than the Alpha or the G3.
The Pavilion played hitman 2’s Miami benchmark at 63 FPS. This is slightly lower than the average but better than the Alpha or the Dell G3.
The Pavilion was stress tested with Metro Exodus running on high preset for 15 runs. The average frame rate for the game was 43.9 frames per second. After the first two runs, it was closer to 44 frames per second. Then it slowed down after run 3. The average CPU speed was 3.4 GHz, and the CPU temperature was 81.3 Celsius (178.3 Fahrenheit). The GPU ran at an average clock speed of 1294 MHz and a temperature of 69° Celsius (156.2 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. Productivity Performance
Our labs found the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 with an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and 16GB RAM. It also had a 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD boot drive and a 1TB HDD at 7,200 rpm.
Geekbench 4.3 gave the Pavilion a score of 20,539, which is just ahead of the mainstream gaming average (20.194) and well beyond the Alpha (AMD Ryzen7 3750H), Dell G3(Intel Core i5-9300H), and ROG Zerus (AMD Ryzen7 3750H).
The laptop took 9 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files. This is a speed of 565.5 MBps. It’s faster than the average (4550.9 MBps) and faster than the Alpha (450.9 MBps) and the Dell G3. At 727 MBps, the ROG Zephyrus was quicker.
The Handbrake test involved transcoding a 4K video into 1080p. It took the Pavilion 11:30 seconds. This is slower than the 10:48 average, but it was faster than the rest in the comparison field.
The Pavilion Gaming’s 15.6-inch, 1920×1080 display is dull, boring, and dim. This is a dangerous combination for a multimedia laptop. It was used to view the trailer for Wonder Woman 1984. I was disappointed that the desert Wonder Woman fights in was dull and uncolorful. I tried to turn the brightness up to make it better.
Borderlands 3 caused some screen tearing when I was playing it. It was less cartoony than some other laptops, but it still looked great. Amara’s purple sash was beautiful, but FL4k’s jacket green and Zane’s yellow outfit were dull. It’s not easy to make sandy dunes look good. However, it looked more lifeless in this opening.
The screen of HP covers only 65 percent of the sRGB gamut. This is far lower than the mainstream gaming average (109%). It is also lower than the Zephyrus 15 and Alpha 15 but slightly higher than the Dell G3.
It has 253 average brightness nits, lower than the average (281). While the Zephyrus is brighter, it was still less than the Dell.
5. Keyboard and touchpad
The keyboard of HP is too small for a gaming laptop. However, it is comfortable enough. Although the keycaps feel cheap, there is some keyboard flexing. However, when I took the typing test at 10fastfingers.com, I typed 107 words per minute. This is at the lower end of my normal range with the 2 percent error rates that I have grown to expect.
The touchpad measures 2.3×4.5inches. It could be taller, but it was not too heavy. I didn’t feel like I was bumping into any edges as I scrolled. This is HP’s use of Windows precision drivers. I found it easy to navigate the OS and programs. The gestures in Windows 10 worked perfectly, and the touchpad is very comfortable.
The Pavilion’s speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen and are one of HP’s greatest strengths, especially in the mainstream and budget price ranges. Although the laptop’s sound quality is excellent, I heard Hozier’s “Work Song” through the headphones. The keys, choral humming, and clapping were as clear as the vocals. However, the speakers weren’t as loud as those of more expensive models.
It made Borderlands 3 sound amazing. Claptrap was clear from the start of the game. The bullets that shot through the air had a good punch and landed in Psycho’s body with an unpleasant squish.
HP also comes with the B& O Audio Control App, which offers a variety of music presets. Although the audio is quite good, I recommend that users not use it.
You will need to remove seven Phillips head screws to take off the Pavilion’s lower cover. Unlike its ultraportables, there are no screws underneath the rubber strips on this ultraportable. Although it took us a while to locate a seam that would allow our spudger to reach the edges, once we did, it was easy.
Upgradeable RAM, SSD, and hard drives are all possible. The battery and M.2 Wi-Fi card can also be upgraded.
We opened the laptop to find that one of its DIMM slots was empty. It was also using a single 16GB stick. Two 8GB RAM sticks would be better, but there’s still room to upgrade.
You can access the SSD by removing the heat shield held in place by the same screws as the drive.
The system contained a little bit too much thermal paste, but it was not enough to prevent an upgrade.
8. Battery Life
The Pavilion was able to surf the internet, stream video, and run OpenGL tests while connected to Wi-Fi at 250 nits brightness. This is higher than the average mainstream gains of 3:56.
The Dell G3 was better (6:42), but the Alpha and Zephyrus did not last as long.
During our Metro Exodus stress testing, we measured the surface temperatures. The laptop’s bottom was at 53.5 degrees Celsius (128.3 Fahrenheit). It reached 41.1 degrees Celsius (106 Fahrenheit) between the G and H keys. The touchpad was more excellent at 28.7 degrees Celsius (83.7 Fahrenheit).
The Pavilion’s webcam is terrible. Its 720p resolution is not ideal. A picture I took at work was blurry and grainy. It looked almost like I had undergone plastic surgery. Get an external webcam.
11. Software and warranty
The Pavilion comes with more than one pre-installed HP app. HP Support Assistant shows you your warranty status and assists with your notebook. HP JumpStarts offers quick tips and tricks, and HP Coolsense automatically adjusts cooling settings for stationary computers.
HP has also added McAfee LiveSafe and McAfee Personal Security to Netflix, McAfee Personal Security to Booking.com, Simple Solitaire, and WildTangent Games.
This adds a lot of unnecessary bloat to Windows 10 beyond the already available features like Polarr Photo Editor and Sketchable, Phototastic Collage, WhatsApp Desktop, Hotspot Shield Free VPN, and Phototastic Collage.
HP offers a 1-year warranty on the Pavilion Gaming 15 Laptop.
Do you need to buy it?
Yes, but only if it is urgently needed
The HP Pavilion 15 Gaming delivers solid 1080p performance across various games. It is possible to adjust the graphics settings to medium or low. You will also need to be close to an outlet. However, overall, it performs exceptionally well for its price. You’ll forget that this budget gaming laptop is even a gaming laptop with its AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor and 144Hz refresh rate.
The Acer Nitro 5 is an alternative if you aren’t sold. The Acer Nitro 5 has a longer battery time than the Pavilion 15, and it has faster graphics options. It’s also more affordable than the Asus TUF Gaming A15.
If you’re willing to wait, several laptop manufacturers recently released new models with Nvidia RTX3050 or RTX3050 Ti graphics cards that retail for $799. Nvidia claims that the GTX 1650’s performance boost is more significant than the GTX 3050’s. It might be worth waiting and investing $100 more in a budget gaming laptop. This will allow you to get higher frame rates and have ray-traced graphics and DLSS (Nvidia’s fancy tech for sharpening resolution with AI).
The short battery life of the HP Pavilion 15 Gaming is not a problem if you don’t care much about raytracing or need a laptop right away. Although it’s not the best gaming laptop, it does the job well and isn’t the most beautiful.
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