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HP Pavilion 15 Review
January 14, 2020
Reading time: 10 minutes
There are so many makes and models of laptops out there that choosing the right one can be a real headache. No longer. This full HP Pavilion 15 review will fill you in on the specs for these crowd-pleasing machines along with how they fit into the full HP laptop lineup. It’ll also show you how the 15-inch models stack up against other available models in the HP Pavilion series.
In a nutshell, the perfect user for the HP Pavilion 15 is the student or young professional on a budget who doesn’t want to skimp on specs. If you’re not exactly dripping with cash, but you don’t want to get saddled with a wellspring of frustration, keep scrolling to get the skinny on this thin and light laptop that packs an Intel® Core™ processor and a Full High Definition (FHD) display.
What is the HP Pavilion 15 laptop?
The HP Pavilion 15 is HP’s flagship entry-level laptop. But does entry-level mean you’ll have to suffer with low-end specs and corner-cutting components? Not a chance.
The problem for budget laptop shoppers like students, new graduates, and others is the idea that you’re sacrificing power and performance. It can make you want to pull your hair out to struggle with a cheap device that skimps on all the features that matter most.
Battling lag-times, meager storage, and weak memory can make class note-taking, game performance, binge-watching, and work-life a teeth-grinding experience.
With the HP Pavilion 15, college students, high school students, and young professionals can breathe easy. It’s an inexpensive, power-packed, specs-wielding device for serious computer users on a budget who want a low-priced, high-performance laptop.
This is a breakthrough machine that combines the specs most users want at a cost your cash flow can support. It comes in cheaper than the average smartphone , yet delivers highly competitive processors, displays, memory, battery life, and more.
In brief, the HP Pavilion 15 gives you access to Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen processors, dedicated high-end graphics cards, up to 16GB of RAM, a max of 1TB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, full-size keyboard, fast-charging, all-day battery life, and jealousy-inducing 15.6-inch FHD displays.
It’s a candy-store of greatest hits packed into a stylish chassis crammed with ports at just over half an inch thick. Want more? Let’s dig into the full HP Pavilion 15 review to get you up to speed.
HP Pavilion 15 review
Our HP Pavilion 15 review will give you a close-up look at this notebook’s available processors, dedicated graphics cards, range of memory options, and storage choices. While we’re at it, we’ll look into the HP Pavilion’s ports and ease-of-use factors like its full-size keyboard, battery life, and Bang & Olufsen audio.
1. Extreme power and specs at a surprisingly low price
This laptop is an end-run around the competition and it comes in at a much lower price point than most notebooks with comparable specs. Sticker prices always fluctuate, but the cost of this unit is well under a week’s pay for the majority of Americans .
2. Processors - how does it handle computing?
No HP Pavilion 15 review would be complete without a look at its processors. Base models offer your pick between the super-affordable and powerful AMD Ryzen processor family (4 GHz speeds) and Intel Core i7 processors that run at up to 4.6 GHz. Both processors provide 4 cores of computing power.
What those options mean to you is, even though you’re saving money like a champion, you’ll still work, watch, and game like one too. The 4 processing cores mean you can handle even CPU-heavy data science tasks like Tony Stark.
If video editing or Photoshop are more your thing, you’ll ace those too. You’re also covered when using the best mainstream office applications. It may not be as fast as desktop processors, but it’s close.
3. Graphics - game performance to the max
If you’re looking into HP Pavilion gaming laptops or you’re a photo editor, you probably already know that a dedicated graphics card is worth the extra money. The shocker here is, for a surprisingly small price bump, you can add a dedicated NVIDIA® GeForce® MX250 graphics card to the HP Pavilion 15t touch variant.
The MX250 is the gold standard among graphics cards, delivering 3.5 times faster performance than most standard integrated graphics options. If you’re a video or photo editor, that means much faster or even real-time rendering.
The MX250 is also optimized to provide the maximum battery life for its level of performance. Plus, if you’re a data scientist, you’ll rock 384 CUDA cores to crunch even massive data sets.
4. Memory - high-level data analytics and video editing
Most average computer users won’t run out of memory when using apps like MS Word or Excel, or when emailing or surfing the web. Even binge-watching Netflix shows won’t tax most machines. But what about video editing, graphic design, or data analytics? There’s no doubt those applications need more RAM to hold more data in memory while you work your magic.
But here’s the kicker - the entry-level base model HP Pavilion 15z touch version comes standard with 16GB of included memory. That’s twice as much as the average laptop and 8 times more than most machines in this price range. And yet, you won’t shell out even a cent more to stack gorgeous tracks or crank out heavy predictive modeling. That’s a whole lot of extra punch for zero extra money.
5. Storage - never run out of space
With today’s blisteringly-fast USB 3.1 ports, internal storage is less of a bugaboo than it used to be. But it’s still nice to have room under the hood, and the HP Pavilion 15 gives you plenty of options here. Base models provide a 256GB PCIe® NVMe™ SSD that clocks in at up to 100 times faster than your standard HDD.
You can also tack on a 1TB 5400 rpm SATA drive, or pump it up to a 512GB SSD. That’s enough to pack in all 48 hours of every Marvel movie ever made in FHD, plus another 24 hours of HD flicks. You’ll have trouble running out of breathing space with this HP laptop. Plus you’ll have to keep pinching yourself when you remember how little you paid.
6. Ports - connectivity on-the-go
These days it’s really important for a laptop to talk well with peripherals and other devices. The HP Pavilion 15’s included HDMI port ensures you’ll tap into a big external monitor or 4K TV without lag or latency issues.
Of course, the laptop’s standard 15.6-inch display provides a lot of screen real estate, but for movie nights, Fortnite play, or graphic design, it’s jeans-level comfortable to have that external monitor option.
The HP Pavilion 15 doesn’t stop its list of ports there. It has an RJ-45 Ethernet port, 2 USB 3.1 ports, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port for using one of today’s very low-priced external hard drives in a flash.
7. Thin and light, but how’s the keyboard?
Just how thin and light is the HP Pavilion 15? How about 0.7-inches thick and just over 4 lbs? To be clear, that’s not as skinny as HP’s premium thin and light models like the HP Spectre Folio at 0.6 inches. But the HP Pavilion 15 also packs in a lot more memory, a bigger display, and more available SSD storage space at a much lower price point.
The big question with keyboards is, “Is it easy to type on?” The good news here is that this laptop’s full-size keyboard makes typing a breeze. The keys have plenty of travel, and as an added perk, the bigger chassis leaves room for a bonus number pad. You’ll find the key action snappy and solid, with very little wobble.
8. Touch screen versions and all-day battery life
You’ve got some nice options in your future if you’re reading this HP Pavilion 15 review with an eye on making a purchase. There are touch screen versions, like the aforementioned HP Pavilion 15t, that give you smartphone-style browsing accessibility. Touch screens do shorten your battery life a bit, so keep that in mind as you shop.
Things are getting interesting as laptop battery technology progresses on an upward curve. The HP Pavilion 15 makes a strong showing with nearly 8 hours of battery life with HD or FHD display use.
Plus, on those long, extended days that mix work, school, and play, you’ll love the HP Fast Charge tech that takes you from zero to 50% charged in just 45 minutes.
9. FHD display and rich, authentic sound
Graphic artists, video editors, and photographers will appreciate the HP Pavilion’s 15.6-inch screen, available in HD or FHD at a robust 1920 x 1080 pixels. Its micro-edge technology fits more viewing area into the clamshell.
What about audio? Most casual computer users don’t expect much from laptop sound until they experience crystal-clear HP Audio by Bang & Olufsen. The dedicated sound island in this device keeps your movie or conference sound pure by isolating its processing from other computing tasks.
Plus, the dual-speaker setup creates an immersive audio experience. Finally, different automatic presets for movies, voice, or music deliver perfect clarity no matter what you choose to do.
10. Robust software and security
You may assume that a laptop in the HP Pavilion 15’s price range would short you when it comes to software, but it’ll keep surprising you. For just a little extra, you can summon the power of Microsoft Office, with all the bells and whistles involved.
Want the full workplace experience? You can choose to upgrade to MS Office 2019 Professional.
And when it comes to security, the best laptop in the world is just a dangerous brick if it doesn’t keep your data safe. Enter the HP Pavilion 15’s Absolute Home & Office theft protection that can track and recover your machine and/or files if someone steals it .
11. Ease of use
If you finish this HP Pavilion 15 review with only one takeaway, remember its awe-inspiring design. Every feature of this laptop has been reworked to take comfort and enjoyment into account. From its thin and light profile to its full keyboard, all-day battery life, and Bang & Olufsen audio, this is a laptop most students and professionals will be proud to own.
HP Pavilion gaming laptop options
Even many serious office-types use their computers almost as much for Counterstrike or Hearthstone as for drafting pivot tables in Excel. So, it makes sense that we had to talk about the HP Pavilion gaming models in this review.
This HP machine makes a great game performance laptop thanks to its options for high memory and dedicated graphics.
But here’s the thing: if you’re into gaming first and portability and office chops second, you’ll want to check out the separate line of HP Pavilion gaming laptops. Many of them have the same display as the HP Pavilion 15, but they’re a little better optimized for full-out Rainbow Six Siege or Overwatch play.
Why? Specifically, HP Pavilion gaming variants fit the same price range as their non-gaming cousins, but they pay more attention to high-end cooling and graphics options most gamers relish.
For instance, the affordable base-model HP Pavilion gaming laptop 15z dishes a blazingly-fast NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 card, fueled by NVIDIA Pascal, the most advanced gaming GPU architecture ever created.
It’s also pleasantly quiet and cool, thanks to enhanced thermal solutions and design. It’s a little thicker than other HP Pavilion 15 variants at 0.93 inches, so take that into account if you’re thinking about making the gaming laptop your main business machine.
The HP Pavilion 15 laptop creates an entirely new class of budget-friendly, high-performance laptops. Its category-bending specs come in at a price point that beats the pants off even the average smartphone. Base models cram in 8GB to 16GB of RAM, dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards, and SSD storage in a surprisingly-thin and light chassis.
As this HP Pavilion 15 review shows, the student, young pro, or workplace ace who knows a good deal when they see one will know that this is a sleek, sophisticated, performance-heavy powerhouse for the money.
Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in The Boston Globe, Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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