In our review of the DELL XPS 13, we mentioned that you can either get a low end or high-end laptop. There is no middle ground if you’re looking for a laptop that is excellent in every way, as corners will have to be cut to keep the price low. However, sometimes a mid-range laptop could be what some people are looking for. Something that’s just between $500 and $1,000, that doesn’t necessarily excel at everything but does excellent in certain areas for its price point, providing great value.
The HP Pavilion x360 14 is right in that middle-ground. It features a Core i5 8th gen CPU, 8GB RAM, a Full HD display, and it’s a convertible with pen support. At $699, sacrifices have to be made, such as that it doesn’t ship with the pen and that there’s only 256GB SSD of onboard storage. But does that still make it a mid-range laptop to get?
The HP Pavilion x360 is a sleek laptop. The 360-degree geared hinges allow it to be propped up to view in tablet mode, laptop mode and play in tent mode.
The HP Pavilion x360 chassis and palm rest are made entirely out of aluminum. It has what HP calls an hourglass design, with angular inward edges on all sides. This is supposed to make the lid easy to open with one hand from all three sides. For me, it doesn’t do much. I still have to get my left hand to hold it down for it to open and I feel like it’s missing a grip around the edges, rather than the smooth aluminum which your fingers tend to slip off of when opening it up.
Dual silver hinges with a shiny finish allow the lid to rotate around for tent, stand, and tablet modes, and they’re smooth and sturdy. A Pavilion logo on the back edge adds a bit of flair when in tablet or tent mode. The HP Pavilion x360 isn’t as thin or light as the DELL XPS 13 or more premium convertible options, but at about 3.5 pounds (1.58kg), its on the heavy side. Using it as a tablet at that weight makes it a bit awkward and heavy to hold, so its best rested in your lap as a tablet.
What’s it like to Work With?
The sole purpose of a laptop is to get work done. It’s the touchpad, display, and keyboard that we care about when working; they are essential to the work experience we get from using a laptop. But before we get to that, let’s talk ports.
There are a decent number of ports on the HP Pavilion x360 which I love. This Includes one USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack, the power button, and a security lock slot, all on the left side. Meanwhile, the right side features the power jack, an HDMI port, one USB 3.0 port, one USB Type-C port an SD card slot, and a fingerprint scanner. There is no Thunderbolt 3 port, which isn’t a surprise at its price point. There is a volume rocker for use in tent or tablet mode but no place to stash a pen or a stylus for the touch screen—just as well, since there’s no pen included.
The HP Pavilion x360’s 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 touch screen display is a little on the dull side. It’s not the brightest screen and certainly not bright enough to be usable in direct sunlight. It’s pretty glossy too, so reflections and glare make the issue even worse. Fine details are sharp, colors don’t pop, and backgrounds have this yellow tint that’s just a touch off-white. The touchscreen is responsive but can sometimes glitch and be unresponsive when converting to tablet mode.
It’s not the worst screen I’ve seen, but it’s very average.
Keyboard and TouchPad
Typing on the HP Pavilion x360’s keyboard is quite comfortable to type on. The keys are firm and not too clicky; they are spaced out nicely, feeling smooth and require a decent amount of force and travel before they hit the bottom. Although it’s not the quietest keyboard, I’ve ever used. The model we have isn’t backlit, which is unfortunate.
The touchpad isn’t that comfortable to use; it has a semi-matte texture which I find to have a sticky feel to it when navigating with it. It is isn’t as large as it could be and is considerably wide, which can make your fingers feel cramped when scrolling. It’s not the best touchpad, but it’s responsive to gestures and gets the job done.
The HP Pavilion x360 14 ships with an Intel Core i5-8265U, a quad-core CPU. It also comes with 8GB RAM, which is the minimum that I recommend in a new PC. 8GB gets the job done, but what doesn’t get the job done is the 256GB SSD. Unless you’re a college student or using the laptop for light browsing and media, you’re going to need more storage space if you want to have this laptop future-proofed. You’ll want to make use of cloud storage and OneDrive with this model, syncing files only when necessary.
For productivity tasks and streaming, the performance is excellent. Whether you’re opening ten chrome tabs or, making Skype calls, watching movies on the Netflix app, or anything lightweight, along those lines, you’re good to go. The things I wouldn’t recommend you do are Graphic-intensive things like high-end gaming and video editing.
Depending on what you do, battery life is average. I get about six hours working through chrome, playing Spotify in the background, or watching an entire movie on Netflix. I’ve noticed the laptop tends to heat up from the side with warm air spoofing out after a while of working on it. If you have a lot of tabs opened this a laptop that can get pretty warm. One thing to note is that you have to use a barrel charger to charge it up, so if you’re out and about, and your friend has a USB Type-C charger to offer, you’re out of luck.
How Does It Sound?
There’s a textured grate along the top of the keyboard which covers the dual Bang & Olufsen speakers. The audio is impressive, especially for a budget laptop, it’s loud and punchy. I had no issues with watching videos, movies and listening to music with this laptop. The sound is direct due to where it is on the laptop; it gets loud without distorting. Unfortunately, there are no speakers underneath the device. This is a problem because when using a convertible in tent mode or tablet mode, the speakers above the keyboard face away from you.
There’s no IR camera included for facial recognition, but a front-facing 720p camera sits above the display. It offers a better picture than many other laptops we’ve tested that cost more money.
Is the HP Pavilion x360 Worth It?
As we’ve pointed out in the beginning, the key to PCs at this price point is value, and the Pavilion x360 14 provides a ton of it. Another critical factor is what you want from a PC because devices at this price point tend to focus on being good at certain things. For example, if your primary focus is thin and light, this is not it. If you want an awesome convertible that won’t break the bank, this could be what you’re looking for. The most significant drawbacks are that the display is very dull, it only has 256GB of storage, you can’t charge via USB Type-C, and the touchpad isn’t that great, as well as this model not having a backlit keyboard. And again, it’s heavy at nearly 2kgs.
But there’s a lot of good here. It has a sleek aluminum design and a convertible form factor. That means you can use it as a laptop, a tablet, and anything in-between. And it has pen support, meaning that you can take advantage of all of the frankly excellent Windows Ink features that are built into Windows 10. Most importantly, though, it nails down the essentials for a great PC. It comes with outstanding performance and a decent keyboard. If you’re a college student or someone who is looking for a device that does more than a standard laptop the Pavilion x360 14 is a great choice.
Where to buy: Amazon
The HP Pavilion x360 14"
The HP Pavilion x360 14 is a good mid-range laptop. It offers excellent performance, a satisfying keyboard, and awesome speakers. It’s tough to get over its touchpad, dull display, weight, and storage space especially when you’re paying close to a premium price. But if all those aren’t something that matter much to you and you want a good performing convertible laptop at a decent price, then this may be what you’re looking for.