Most laptops can’t handle gaming requirements. The HP Pavilion gaming laptop is one machine that can. If you want to move your gaming from a desktop to a laptop, you’re going to need a purpose-built gaming machine. While every major manufacturer has a gaming laptop, finding one with the right specs takes a bit of work.
This is because the problem with laptops is that they’re not customizable. Unlike a desktop, which you can break down to upgrade graphics cards, Random Access Memory (RAM) and processors, laptops get stuck in a unibody shell. This means that you need to carefully select the machine with the right combination of specs to handle your gaming needs. Also, it should be able to continue gaming for years into the future.
So we checked out the HP Pavilion gaming laptop to see if it meets these requirements.
All About the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
The HP Pavilion gaming laptop debuted in April 2019. It launched Hewlett-Packard into an already crowded gaming laptop market. The gaming pie is big, however, and HP is already taking a large slice from it.
The first thing to know about the HP Pavilion gaming laptop is that this has entry-level pricing. Whereas you can spend for a decent gaming laptop from other manufacturers, the HP Pavilion gaming laptop is much more affordable. However, it doesn’t sacrifice performance. The fact is that the price of high-end components keeps coming down. Tech research and manufacturing are no longer niche markets, and the laws of supply and demand have been driving computer prices down for years. Except for Apple products, but that’s a different story.
So, if you’re seriously considering gaming on a laptop, then the HP Pavilion gaming laptop is worth a second look.
How We Created Our Review
We here at Smart Gamer Tech want to help you game smarter. This means helping you make informed buying decisions when you’re shopping for new gear. To fairly review the HP Pavilion gaming laptop, we went to several sources. First, we researched the specs and background of this machine. Then we went to several professional reviewers to see what they had to say. Next, we checked out some Amazon customer reviews. This told us how the laptop holds up in the real world.
Finally, we compared the HP Pavilion gaming laptop to three competing gaming laptops. We wanted to see how it stacks up to the others. The results were surprising!
Specifications and Features
When the HP Pavilion gaming laptop was released, people raved about it. The HP Pavilion line of laptops is known to be rugged, powerful computers. You find these with professionals who spend as much time working outside the office as in it. HP packed that same power and durability into their new gaming laptops.
First off, you won’t find anything dazzling about the HP Pavilion gaming laptop when you look at it. It’s a standard laptop configuration. But when you hold it, it feels solid. It has an excellent strong build quality to it. You can forget about the plasticky Dells because this HP Pavilion is sturdy and heavy. The keyboard has green backlighting, and for a bit of extra cash, you can upgrade the keys to aluminum.
This is the first of what HP says will be a strong line of gaming laptops. It currently comes with a 15.6-inch anti-glare backlit screen. HP narrowed the bezels to fit more screen real estate, and the effects are stunning. This is a beautiful 1920 by 1080 pixels display.
The entire unit is nearly 15-inches wide, yet it’s only one inch thick with the lid closed. HP has worked wonders with this beautiful screen. Also, it weighs over five pounds, so it has a bit of heft to it.
Powering the machine is an eighth-generation Intel i5 processor which puts out a maximum of four gigahertz during “Turbo Boost” operations. Otherwise, it sits at a respectable 2.3 gigahertz. This i5 processor has four cores and an eight-megabyte cache. It can power through some intense gaming without lag.
What good is a gaming machine without a powerful graphics card? The HP Pavilion gaming laptop packs an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics card. This has four gigs of dedicated GDDR5 to allocate, so it can handle most high-intensity gaming sessions just fine.
With eight gigabytes of DDR4 RAM available, your machine can handle your gaming sessions. However, this may not be enough to have multiple high-intensity programs open at once. That’s where HP’s patented “Optane” memory kicks in. This is an extra 16-gigabyte memory drive which acts as a boost to RAM and makes this machine boot up really, really fast. Think of it like handling overflow when the DDR4 RAM is maxed out.
Also, there’s a one terabyte SATA hard drive to store your games and files on.
Pricing and warranty
Like we mentioned earlier, the HP Pavilion gaming laptop packs good specs at an entry-level price. Upgrades are available, such as going from an i5 to an i7 processor. You can also upgrade the screen to 4K, but your battery will suffer as a result.
HP provides a standard one-year warranty on laptops, including this gaming laptop. However, you can always upgrade by purchasing an additional three or five years of warranty.
What Other Reviewers Say
We went and checked out what the professionals over at Laptop Mag and Tech Radar had to say about the HP Pavilion gaming laptop. These guys and gals put everything they review through rigorous tests. Then they tell us their impressions. We love how objective they are, but when they get excited about something, they get REALLY excited.
So how excited were they about the HP Pavilion gaming laptop?
Over at Laptop Mag, the reviewers were not that impressed. While they said the processor handles gaming decently, the screen was a real drawback. They mentioned that the screen is just too dim. The backlit panel makes colors look faded, and anything with green fades into the background. They did enjoy the powerful front-firing speakers. On the other hand, they found transfer rates were too slow, which interfered with gaming performance enough to notice.
Next, we went to the good people at Tech Radar to gather their impressions. Overall, their reviewers were impressed with the HP Pavilion gaming laptop. They loved how much power comes wrapped up in a low price tag. We saw no mention of the screen issues the folks over at Laptop Mag had. Instead, Tech Radar’s only complaints were that this machine doesn’t match up to an Alienware machine in speed.
Amazon customer reviews
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Finally, we read through a bunch of customer reviews on Amazon. Almost everyone said the machine handles intense gaming very well, and the Optane memory drive provides fantastic RAM support. A few complaints people had included the inability to multitask on this computer due to a measly eight gigs of RAM. Also, HP has loaded a bit of bloatware that is unremovable. This annoyed a lot of people.
How It Stacks up to the Others
If the reviews were mixed, then there’s one area where we can get a consensus on the quality of the HP Pavilion gaming laptop. That’s by comparing it to other gaming laptops. We wanted to see how well it stacks up to the competition. To do this, we compared it to the Acer Predator, the ASUS FX504, and the Alienware 15 R4 gaming laptops.
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First up in our comparison is the Acer Predator, a 2017 gaming laptop from Acer. The Predator comes with an Intel i7 six-core processor and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 overclocked graphics card. Unlike the HP Pavilion gaming laptop, the Acer Predator has a respectable 16 gigabytes of RAM. Also, on the Predator you can control the unit temperature and fan speed, so you can better manage power resources.
Most people said the machine was blazing fast. It handles games and graphics without issue. Some people found the computer became too hot, which slowed the entire system down. Also, the drivers need updating out of the box, which is annoying.
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Next is the FX504 from ASUS. The company introduced their newest line of gaming laptops in 2019, to mixed reviews. This machine comes with an eighth-gen Intel i7 processor and the same graphics card as the HP Pavilion gaming laptop. Also, it has the same measly eight-gigabytes of RAM, but it doesn’t have the RAM boost as the HP has.
They loved how the laptop looks and feels. It is lightweight and smooth. Like with the HP Pavilion gaming laptop, the processor does a fun job of handling most games, and the graphics card keeps up. One problem people had was that the eight gigabytes of RAM were inadequate for most complex tasks. It couldn’t handle intense multiplayer gaming sessions and forget about multitasking.
Alienware 15 R4
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Lastly, we compared the HP Pavilion gaming laptop to the most famous gaming computer company, Alienware. The 15 R4 is a direct competitor to the HP machine. It’s a follow-up to the company’s popular 15 R3. Like most Alienware computers, this is a gaming beast. It boasts an eighth generation Intel i7 six-core processor with a nine-megabyte cache. It has 16 megabytes of DDR4 RAM. Also, there’s a one-terabyte HDD backed up with an eight-gigabyte SSD.
People loved gaming on this laptop. They praised the build quality, the bright screen that displays crisp images, and the fact that it never overheats. The graphics power is fine and handles almost anything thrown at it. What people didn’t like was the keyboard. It’s flimsy, and the keys pop off from time to time.
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop Pros and Cons
After looking at the HP Pavilion gaming laptop’s specs in-depth, reading through reviews, and comparing it to other machines, we got a good idea of its pros and cons.
Should You Buy?
The decision to purchase a gaming laptop comes down to whether or not you require that level of portability. Generally speaking, we here at Smart Gamer Tech don’t recommend gaming laptops. They are ridiculously expensive for what you get, and you’re stuck with that configuration. You can’t upgrade parts, and for the same money, you can get a great gaming desktop which you can upgrade as needed.
That being said, if you’re interested in gaming on a laptop, then you can do better than the HP Pavilion gaming laptop. Everything about this machine seems good. It has the right processor, and the graphics card is top-line. We love the build quality. However, the eight gigs of RAM is what holds this machine back. By 2019 standards, eight gigs of RAM is too small. Even smartphones are surpassing eight gigs of RAM. The Optane memory tries to compensate but it’s never enough, and as games mature you’ll be stuck with an outdated machine that can’t handle much more than the original Company of Heroes.
For this reason, we say we skip the HP Pavilion gaming laptop and spend the extra money on an Alienware. The true kings of gaming computers managed to pack everything you need into this rugged laptop.