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HP Pavilion 15 Review: The Ultrabook that Fails to Pack a Punch

hp pavilion 15 review

Ultrabooks are getting common these days. They consist of great specifications all while being portable and powerful. The Pavilion-series from HP is among the popular laptops and the company has launched the 2018 edition of the Pavilion 15 with an updated 8th gen processor and a dedicated GPU. The specifications of this laptop look good on paper, but is it worth the 1 lakh price tag? Let’s find out.

HP Pavilion 15-CC187 Specifications:

  • Display: 15.6-inch full HD WLED-backlit, Touchscreen-enabled
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U 8th Gen processor
  • RAM: 16 GB DDR4-2400MHz
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 4GB Graphics
  • Storage: 1 TB HDD
  • Operating System: Windows 10
  • Weight: 4.2 pounds
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac, Bluetooth® 4.0 combo
  • Battery: 38 Wh Li-Ion
  • Price: Rs. 100,000 (~ $1000)
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Design and Build

hp pavilion 15 review design

The HP Pavilion 15 comes with a plastic body that flexes, and that too, a lot. The whole device is made of plastic but the top panel and the keyboard area has a brushed aluminum design which looks aesthetic. However, the build material feels cheap and even the slightest touch makes the top panel wobble. Now, I really like how the top panel can be opened with just one finger, but as a Dell XPS 13 user, I would really opt for sturdiness before anything else.

The bottom panel is also made of plastic and it has a certain degree of flex as well, but you might not notice it that much as this panel is made of good quality plastic. The “palm rest” and typing experience it provides is actually enjoyable.

With 18mm of thickness and nearly 2kgs of weight, you could say the Pavilion is fairly portable. Even though the device comes in a huge form factor, the inclusion of plastic body has made it lighter. Now the lightness is a positive aspect of the laptop but I wouldn’t mind an increase in the weight if it means getting a metallic body.

Keyboard and Trackpad

hp pavilion 15 review keyboard

This is partly due to the keypads on the HP Pavilion 15. The ample key travel and the tactile keys make the typing a lot easier and fun. As a person who types in a lot of documents on their laptop, the keypads on the device has become one of my favorites. These keys are also backlit and have helped me quite a lot while using it in a darker area.

However, your laptop happens to house a glass trackpad, you will notice the difference in quality right away when you use the one on this device. The HP Pavilion 15 has a plastic trackpad that is made of a low-quality material. This trackpad isn’t that tactile and to sum up, using it is not that comfortable.

Ports

hp pavilion 15 review ports

There are ample ports in the relatively thin body of the HP Pavilion 15. The bottom portion of the laptop is thick enough to house an ethernet port which I think is still necessary for a country like Nepal. There are few other ports as well such as the USB C port, two USB A port on either side of the device, an HDMI port, a full-size SD card slot and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. Now, one thing I don’t understand is HP’s decision to include a DVD drive on their laptop. I mean who uses DVDs in 2018? I also think this decision has left the users with a smaller sized battery and a feature that will not be utilized at all.

Battery

hp pavilion 15 review battery

This variant of the HP Pavilion 15 houses a 38 Wh battery. Yes, the battery is that small and you will be rushing to your charger every now and then. This laptop with its battery lasts for 2 and a half hours to 3 hours in total if you use it just to type in a few documents, watch a couple of videos and browse through the internet. Laptop companies are including a bigger battery in a smaller footprint these days, and I had expected this laptop to last for at least a few hours. The same goes for gaming, the laptop will only run for somewhere around an hour or even less if you are continuously gaming on it. This is partly due to the inclusion of a touch-sensitive display as well.

Display

hp pavilion 15 review display

The HP Pavilion sports a 15.6-inch full HD display with a WLED panel on top. This display is touch-enabled and it is responsive to every single touch, but I do always wish brands include a 360-degree hinge if they opt for a touchscreen on their laptop. The hinge that holds the display on this laptop is quite smooth and everything but I think it will wear off somewhere in the near future. Now, talking about the quality of the display, it can sometimes lack sharpness but it’s of a good quality with ample brightness and good color reproduction.

Performance

hp pavilion 15 review performance

Under the hood, this laptop has the latest 8th gen 8550U intel core i7 processor with Nvidia 940MX DDR3 GPU. Although the 8th gen processor has significant improvements over its predecessor, the inclusion of 940MX is the area where I think HP has made a big mistake. For its price tag, HP should have gone with the MX150 or even gone higher with the 1050 GPU.

The review unit I received came with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM at 2400 MHz and I’ll start by talking about how this laptop performs the rather simpler tasks. My day to day usage constituted mostly of using MS Office, opening a few tabs on Chrome and listening to music. It does handle everything quite well, but it’s not a quiet device as the fan starts making noise even when I was not using any application sometimes. Yes, laptops do make noise but it is rather disappointing that it has to sweat a little bit to complete a few basic tasks.

I wrote this video script on the Pavilion itself, and the device started heating up a little bit after a while. The exhaust on the back gets warm to the touch and it heats up to more than 40-degree Celsius after a session of gaming.

Graphics

On to gaming, well I played a lot of FIFA 18 on the device and it was smooth on medium settings but if you ever happen you max out the settings, you will experience lag after several minutes. The frame rates drop, and the sound becomes way too muffled and distorted. Keep in mind I am talking about FIFA here and there are a lot of other games that require quite a bit of graphics to run without stutters.

Hardware

hp pavilion 15 review hardware storage speaker

HP has included the famous Bang & Olufsen dual speakers on the HP Pavilion 15. The device is certainly among the more pleasing sounding speakers but I would have liked it if they were a bit louder.

One the storage side of things, there is no SSD included on the device, so you will have to work with the 1 TB Hard Drive on board. Although there is ample storage, with the Hard drive you will experience the slight lag while loading up applications and while transferring files. There’s, however, an option to add SSD with the M.2 Slot inside this laptop.

Conclusion

As a Dell XPS 13 user, I have to say I missed my laptop at the time of this review.  So for $1000 or 1lakh rupees that you’re paying for the Hp Pavilion 15, you are getting a good display, a tactile keyboard, and a portable form factor. But you’re compromising a lot with the older GPU, low build quality and a below-par battery life which has made this device neither a gaming laptop nor a reliable ultrabook. So, if you are in search of a laptop maybe you should just skip this one and get a better value for money device by adding a couple of bucks.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Display
Performance
Gaming Performance
Storage
Keyboard and Trackpad
Connectivity and Ports
Battery
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Anuj Bhandari is currently working as a tech reviewer and content writer for gadgetbytenepal.com. He is an ardent follower of developments in the smartphone world and a devoted fan of Arsenal FC.