The HP Pavilion 15.4" gaming laptop is quite nice, for the price point. It has a list of specifications which are not always available in all laptops at this price, and it comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 64. Below are the specs, for the tech savvy, and the review follows the list for the less tech curious:
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-9300H (2.4 GHz base frequency, up to 4.1 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 8 MB L3 cache, 4 cores)
- Chipset: Intel HM370
- Memory: 8 GB DDR4-2666 SDRAM (1 x 8 GB) memory
- Video card: Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Hard drive: 256 GB PCIe NVMe™ M.2 SSD, of which only 197GB is available after removing bloatware
- Display: 15.6" diagonal FHD IPS anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit, 250 nits, 45% NTSC (1920 x 1080), 60Hz refresh rate
- Wireless connectivity: Realtek 802.11b/g/n/a/ac (2x2)
- Bluetooth: 4.2 combo
- Network: Integrated 10/100/1000 GbE LAN
- Expansion slots: 1 multi-format SD media card reader
- External ports: 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (10 Gb/s signaling rate, Power Delivery 3.0, DisplayPort 1.4, HP Sleep and Charge); 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (HP Sleep and Charge); 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Data Transfer Only); 1 HDMI; 1 AC smart pin; 1 RJ-45
- Headphone slot: 1 headphone/microphone combo
- Dimensions (W x D x H): 36 x 25.6 x 2.34 cm
- Weight: 2.25 kg/ 5 lbs
Power supply: 50 W Smart AC power adapter
Battery type: 3-cell, 52.5 Wh Li-ion
Webcam: HP Wide Vision 720p HD camera with integrated dual array digital microphone
Audio features: Audio by Band & Olufsen; Dual speakers; HP Audio Boost
The device is slightly heavy at nearly 5 lbs, compared to other 15.6" laptops, but it IS a gaming laptop, so don't expect light and airy. It's not that bad, but it definitely has a noticeable weight to it. The screen is nice and wide, with minimum bezel (frame around the screen) and since it's all in black, it fades into the background.
It comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 Home 64 and is very easy to set up, with step-by-step instructions provided in text (on screen) and audio (Cortana, the voice-activated helper, similar to Siri on Apple products); all one has to do is pick the options, hit next, and the laptop nearly sets itself up.
Being someone who spends a lot of times on computers, I first went ahead and checked out the pre-loaded items on the laptop: software, including games, home office, virus protection, Netflix, and some HP extras. The Office 365 (Word, Excel, etc.) is only a 30-day free trial requiring credit card sign up - which can be canceled at any time - and since I own a licensed copy of the software, I uninstalled it. The same applied to trial-subscription of the virus protection software, McAfee, which I also own, but don't particularly like to install on my devices, as it slows the device down; it's NOT recommended to go without an antivirus, due to the high risk of malware and viruses that abound on the internet and sneak onto one's devices, so I don't recommend going without it. But it doesn't come free with the device anyway, just a trial run, and it's up to the owner to keep it or use a different kind, or none at all.
The keyboard is big, back-lit in a standout green, which is surprising, but expected on a gaming device (see photos). The highest setting back-lit has the keyboard at a very bright green (see photos), or it can be dimmed via keyboard settings (on the Functions keeps, I think F4?). Back-lit keys are very important to me, as I prefer to work in the dark and prefer to see the keys without needing additional lighting. Nice touch here, HP.
The keyboard is easy to type on, has a numeric pad as well, and the track pad is fairly wide and easy to navigate - though I prefer an external mouse - and all the functions on the laptop are accessible via a single touch on the keyboard: sound, screen brightness, back-lit lighting, and so forth.
Windows 10 can be a bit clunky, compared to previous versions (I prefer Windows 8.1, which is no longer available on newer laptops), but once you get the hang of it, it's easy to navigate. Whatever issues with Windows 10 is no fault of HP, but a Microsoft issue, so one learns to live with it or make modifications, as necessary, if one knows their way around computers.
The sound is decent, headphone port works well (earphones *not* included), battery lasts a good while but, like any other device, less so if the screen is at full brightness and streaming videos/games, which drains the battery faster.
The one thing I'm not a fan of with this laptop - and it's a big deal to me - is the screen resolution (with a refresh rate of only 60Hz) and the screen tint (color) - less 1-1.5 stars - which is ironic, given it is a gaming laptop.
The screen has a yellowish tint that may not be visible to others, but it is to me, and is sadly seen in numerous devices of the day. This affects skin tone on screen and tinges the whiteness of the screen with a drab-white look, which I dislike. I've attached a comparison photo of Netflix between this HP gaming laptop compared to my 14" Toshiba laptop, which has a cooler/bluish screen, giving skin tones a more natural tint (to my eyes).
Another screen drawback is the screen resolution: when playing videos on HD, the screen doesn't look very high definition, but sonewhat grainy on video playback (not so bad on photos). For instance, playing a film on Netflix Super HD plan looks more like SD on this laptop, when compared to my Toshiba laptop, which is about 5 years old and at a similar price point, but with a much better screen than this HP laptop. Screen clarity, resolution, and true color tone is one of the key aspects of a device purchased specifically for viewing purposes, such a streaming or gaming. If anything, that's where this gaming HP laptop falls short.
Overall, I'd recommend this device for most users. It has enough built-in bells and whistles, plus a back-lit keyboard, decent sound, and up-to-standard wireless and network/Bluetooth capability to meet many needs. Where it lacks, in my opinion, is the less-than-HD screen resolution, yellowish screen tint, and the lack of useful installed software. However, for the price point, it isn't bad. Perhaps, I'd recommend it more highly if it had a lesser price point, but that doesn't solve the screen issue, which might not matter to the average user, but is a point of contention to me when making electronics purchases.
The laptop comes boxed with the ac power adapter and a foldout "start up" guide. No other accessories are included.