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HP Pavilion 13 review: A suitable work laptop

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HP Pavilion 13 review: A suitable work laptop

HP Pavilion 13 laptop is part of the company’s latest range that was announced last month for the Indian market. The new laptop has been targeted at consumers looking for a good mix of productivity and entertainment. But most importantly, the new HP Pavilion 13 has been built of post-consumer recycled and ocean-bound plastic, which means it doesn’t sport aluminium or metal chassis. However, the built doesn’t feel a compromise by any standards.

In fact, the pandemic has been somewhat a boon for the laptop and personal PC segment. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the year 2020 was the best for notebooks, with almost 8 million units shipped during the year. With global lockdown, many people across the world were forced to follow the work from home routine, and that’s what brought the boom in laptop sales.

The market research firm reported HP was one of the PC market leaders, including desktops, notebooks, and workstations. In India, HP secured the second position with a market share of close to 27 per cent in Q4, 2020. The company has kicked off the year with the launch of its new Pavilion laptop range in India and will soon follow up with its affordable Chromebook range.

I have been using the HP Pavilion 13 laptop for about two weeks now as my work machine, and it hasn’t let me down. So, let’s straight jump to whether the HP Pavilion 13 is an excellent choice for those looking at laptops with reasonable screen size without wasting more time.

HP Pavilion 13 review: Functional looks

The HP Pavilion 13 comes with a traditional design, and what that means is there’s isn’t any element that appeals to us to pick it up right away when it’s lying on a table with few other laptops. Yes, it’s functional for everyday use. The dimensions are ideal, lightweight and portable enough.

It has been launched in Silver and Ceramic White colours. We got the Silver unit for our review, and it looks decent. The bezels around the display could have been slightly sleeker to give it a more trendy look. However, that doesn’t mean the bezels are thick. It’s just that in the time where screen-to-body ratio on phones, TVs, and even a few laptops are increasing, the HP Pavilion 13 feels slightly dated on that front. The new Pavilion 13 borrows some design elements from the premium HP Envy series. However, the bezels are plastic built and thus feel cheaper than the rest of the laptops in this price range.

HP Pavilion 13 laptop weighs 1.24 kilograms

One big issue I faced during the review was with the lid opening. Now, HP Pavilion 13 comes with a slightly stiff hinge setup which means it isn’t easy to open with just one hand as you would find the MacBook Air or Microsoft Surface Go. While opening the laptop, I had to hold the bottom chassis with one hand while open the top screen part with another, which isn’t a great experience. Unlike some other laptops, we didn’t see any change in the hinge’s stiffness, which hints that it has been designed to remain this way. We wish that the design team at HP could have considered the effort every time a user will have to put just to open the laptop lid.

The full-size keyboard is a welcome addition, and it is backlit. However, we wish that there was an option to change the colour of the backlit keyboard as the White light is very bright for the silver colour option, and we kept it turned off for most of the time during the review. However, saving the day was the option to dim the lights, which is by pressing the F11 key. We liked the implementation of the adjustment keys – on the first press, it is bright white light, the second press it’s dim, and the third press turns off the backlit keyboard. The touchpad has a decent size, though the precision isn’t the best we have seen on the laptops reviewed lately. In fact, we had a great time using the touchpad on HP’s Envy laptop range.

The laptop features a 13.3-inch IPS display with Full-HD (1920×1080 pixels) screen. It can offer a peak brightness of 250 nits and comes with 166 PPI pixel density. During everyday use, the display feels bright and offers enough punchy colours. We had no real complaints with the screen during day-to-day usage. However, we wish that it offered a slightly better panel at this price.

HP Pavilion 13 laptop runs Windows 10 Home

HP Pavilion 13 review: Everyday work companion

The HP Pavilion 13 laptop packs most of the features you would want in a simple machine. It is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor coupled with 16GB of DDR4 RAM and an incredible 512GB SSD storage space. The laptop packs Intel Iris Xe graphics GPU and runs on Windows 10 Home. There’s a 720p webcam with a dual array digital microphone. HP also offers McAfee LiveSafe anti-virus with 30 days free trial as default and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2019. The laptop comes with dual speakers, and the audio is tuned by B&O. I found the speakers on the laptop quote loud and were enough for single person use.

During video calls, we also tested the quality of the HD webcam, and it was decent. There are no complaints with the webcam at this price point, as almost all laptops in this price segment pack similar webcam setups that offer pictures with noise on the screen.

During the review, the HP Pavilion 13 punched above its weight, and at no point, we felt that this is an under-powered everyday machine. We used the Pavilion 13 as our daily work machine, and it has a good keyboard. However, the tactile feel isn’t that great. The plastic body on the laptop has its own set of issues, like I can’t press the keys harder on this one since it has a possible gap in the middle of the keyboard. While typing anything on the keyboard, I could feel the gap while pressing the middle keys. HP has done well with the laptop’s heat management, which meant we didn’t feel much heat while long work sessions or even while streaming movies on the laptop.

The laptop comes with a 13.3-inch Full-HD IPS display

HP says that its new line-up is targeted at professionals and students looking for work and play, which holds true for the Pavilion 13. It’s worth noting that the HP Pavilion 13 isn’t a gaming machine which doesn’t mean it can’t handle games at all but just that it is not meant keeping in mind gamers needs. I had a few sessions of GTA V, and it did well. Though, I have to admit that it’s a better work machine than a machine that can handle games.

Overall, the HP Pavilion 13 feels apt for everyday work purposes as it could handle multiple apps open simultaneously, including Chrome browser tabs, Outlook, and more. Even apps that demand some prowess like Adobe Photoshop ran smoothly.

If there’s one department that’s the strength of HP Pavilion 13, it has to be connectivity ports. The laptop offers plenty of options, including one UB Type-C port, two USB Type-A port, one headphone port, and one HDMI 2.0. There’s also one microSD media card reader that supports SD, SDHC, and SDxC cards. We, however, were annoyed slightly with the flap covering used on both USB-A ports. We can safely say that the HP Pavilion 13 is among a handful of laptops in its price segment that offers so many connectivity ports.

The HP Pavilion 13 comes with a fingerprint scanner placed towards the right of the touchpad and is at a dedicated corner on the palm rest space. It is quick, and we had no issues unlocking the laptop with fingerprint scanner use.

The laptop offers a host of connectivity options

At 1.24 kilograms, the HP Pavilion 13 isn’t very light or very heavyweight. It supports Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5 and is Mircast compatible. As an addition, HP has also integrated the Alexa app on the Pavilion 13, which was a good move. However, we couldn’t find much of a use of a digital voice assistant on the laptop.

The HP Pavilion 13 laptop could have been an even better package if the keyboard was a little better for typing experience and if the sub-par touchpad could have offered a better precision.

HP Pavilion 13 review: Battery disappoints

The HP Pavilion 13 comes with a 43Wh Li-ion battery with a 3-cell setup. HP claims that the laptop supports fast charging, though it doesn’t give any figures. We didn’t notice any noticeable fast charging either during our review.

We noticed that the battery took around 2.5 hours to charge from 20 to 100 per cent. While the company claims an incredible over 8 hours of battery life on the HP Pavilion 13 laptop, we barely got four hours on battery before getting a system notification to plug the charger. The battery drains faster depending on the system settings like brightness, speaker use, and other factors, which remains consistent across laptops. When playing games on the laptop, we noticed that the battery drained faster while working on Outlook, Gmail, and other productivity apps, it was slightly slower. We also did a battery test to see how long can the Pavilion 13 last with brightness set at 50 per cent and earphones plugged, and the results weren’t great. The laptop died completely at around four hours mark.

HP Pavilion 13 comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD storage space

HP Pavilion 13 review: Verdict

At Rs 71,999, the 13-inch HP Pavilion 13 laptop is a good buy if you’re going to stick to work and streaming shows or movies. If you expect more from your laptop, then you should look somewhere else as the HP laptop has been designed keeping in mind work professionals and students. The screen isn’t that bright, the keyboard is not the best in the segment, and the touchpad experience is average – if you are okay with these factors, you should definitely buy the HP Pavilion 13 laptop.

If you’re looking for alternatives, you can buy the MacBook Air with an Intel chip that is still available in the market at around Rs 70,000-80,000 mark. There are a few Asus, Dell, and Acer laptops at this price point that you can consider buying.

HP Pavilion 13 review 7.5/10

Pros

  • Good pricing
  • plenty of ports

Cons

  • Keyboard could have been better
  • battery disappoints
  • touchpad
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