It’s one of the most popular mid-range laptops available today, and it reached # 1 in our pick of the best student laptops. But is it a good choice for the average consumer? Our HP Pavilion 14 review answers that question.
There are a number of configurations available, but the model we were asked to review is the HP Pavilion 14-dv0511sa. Retailing at around half a size, this laptop runs Windows 10 and has a Full HD touchscreen. In other words, it promises a premium computing experience at an affordable price.
But is it really effective? We spend time putting the HP Pavilion 14-dv0511sa to the test to find out. Here’s what we found.
Test du HP Pavilion 14: Design
There’s no doubt about it: it’s a pretty laptop. Sporting the sleek, clean look for which HP has become known, its silvery-white aluminum casing offers a premium feel thin (17mm), but with a generous 325 x 215mm area.
While the Pavilion 14 has a generous 14-inch touchscreen, the bezels surrounding it are sleek (just 6mm thick at the sides), so everything looks compact. And at just 1.41kg, this laptop is relatively light and portable, making it a good option for travel and commuting.
(Image credit: Future)
Its chiclet keyboard is a bit of a curiosity. At 290 x 102mm, it takes up a lot of floor space, but there’s no numeric keypad, which means the keys are just a bit bigger than we’re used to. This effect is magnified by the way the characters are printed, which makes them look huge (even if they aren’t).
While it does make typing a bit odd at first, we quickly got used to it, and over time it meant we were less likely to hit the wrong keys. With one exception: Placing the delete key next to the power button is an accident waiting to happen.
The touchpad, meanwhile, is generously proportioned at 73 x 115mm and worked well in practice. Be aware, however, that unlike most Windows computers, what is called a “right click” is actually a two-finger click, like on a Chromebook. To the right of the touchpad is a fingerprint scanner, which works with Windows Hello.
HP Pavilion 14 review: screen and speakers
The Pavilion 14 has a 14-inch LED display offering Full HD 1080p resolution. We found it quite pleasant in practice. It’s a good size for opening multiple windows and placing them side by side, so you can get more done, faster. It is responsive and precise like a touch screen. And for TV and movies, it delivers a crisp, clear picture, with deep blacks and precise color reproduction.
The brightness level and the anti-reflective coating allowed us to watch movies even in daylight, and the use of an IPS panel allows you to comfortably watch at just about any viewing angle. Yes, there are better displays if you want to spend more, especially if you like 4K content. But personally, we found the Pavilion 14 image to be more than rich and detailed enough for this screen size.
(Image credit: Future)
And here’s the real kicker: the sound is fantastic. Normally, for a laptop at this price point, you’ll get tiny sound that will require you to order external speakers. But the Pavilion 14 has a dual speaker system provided by Bang & Olufsen which is really great. (So much so that, exceptionally, they stamped a B&O logo on the laptop itself).
Not only does the sound of the Pavilion 14 have a clarity that its competition lacks, with deep tones and crystal-clear highs, but it also lets you seriously crank up the volume. To properly enjoy a movie on many mid-range laptops, you either need to turn the volume up to maximum or use headphones. But with the Pavilion 14, we found that around 50% was more than enough, while the higher booster for Spotify allowed us to fill several rooms in the house with our tracks.
HP Pavilion 14 review: price and performance
The HP Pavilion 14 review unit given to us, the 14-dv0511sa, features an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. While these aren’t the most impressive specs you can find in a laptop, they represent pretty good value for the money. And we found that in practice, the laptop could easily handle everyday tasks like browsing the web, editing documents in Microsoft Office, and streaming video and audio.
(Image credit: HP)
If you want to do more resource-intensive tasks like using Photoshop or editing videos, we recommend upgrading to the version with the more powerful Core i5 processor, which obviously sells for a bit more. That said, at the time of writing this article, several retailers have cut back on this variant, making it a slam dunk.
It just goes to show that it’s worth looking for the latest bargains, which you’ll find on the auto-update pricing widget on this page, as well as our regularly updated post on Laptop Deals.
HP Pavilion 14 review: battery life and connectivity
The battery life of the Pavilion 14 is very good, if not spectacular. Manufacturers claim more than eight hours of normal use, which seems about fine given our experience with the device. This should get you through a normal working day checking emails, using social media, web research, and editing documents, if you ever miss a feeder.
We also streamed a downloaded Netflix movie, at normal brightness levels, and the HP Pavilion 14’s battery ran for a pretty impressive eight hours and 43 minutes before giving up the ghost. Not bad at all.
(Image credit: Future)
In terms of connectivity, the Pavilion 14 also puts on a decent show. On the left, there is a 3.5mm audio jack and a USB-A port. On the right, you’ll find a MicroSD slot, another USB-A port, a USB-C port, and slots for a power cable and an HDMI cable.
The latter might seem like a bit of a throwback these days, but you never know when it might come in handy. We have found it invaluable, for example, as the only way to transfer Sky Go content to our smart TV (unfortunately the Sky Go app is not Chromecast compatible).
Test your HP Pavilion 14: Verdict
If you’re looking for a mid-range Windows laptop, should you go for the HP Pavilion 14? In truth, there is no single reason to choose this laptop. But there are a lot of little reasons that contribute to a very compelling proposition.
The most obvious reason is the sleek and ultralight design. It might sound superficial, but if you want something that will look impressive in a meeting, for example, then it will. Another is the stunning HD display which, together with the superior Bang & Olufsen audio, makes it a great choice as an entertainment center.
(Image credit: HP)
Connectivity is wide, which means you can pair it with a wide variety of monitors, TVs, headphones, universal chargers and more. The battery life is decent. And overall, the Pavilion 14 does a good job of letting you run Windows 10, without messing things up with bloatware or annoying quirks.
In short, this is an attractive and efficient laptop that stands out and lets you do whatever you want. And for the price, you can’t say fairer than that.
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