The HP Pavilion Aero 13 weighs just under a kilogram, which is remarkable for an entry-level notebook that starts from S$1,199. In fact, HP says the Aero is its lightest consumer laptop yet. My S$1,699 review set is the highest-end configuration available. It comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB solid-state drive and a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel display. But the cheaper, lower-end models should offer a similar user experience — easy to carry, with a battery good enough to last a typical day at work.
- 13.3-inch (2,560 x 1,600 pixels) IPS screen
- AMD Ryzen 7 5800U processor with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
- Under 1kg
- 43 watt-hour battery
To achieve the Aero's desired weight, HP uses magnesium-aluminium alloy. As a result, the chassis, especially the lid, is not quite as rigid as higher-end models that use only aluminium. But neither did the notebook creak under pressure. The Aero has slim bezels on all four sides of its 13.3-inch IPS display, which comes in a 16:10 aspect ratio that offers slightly more vertical screen space than 16:9 models. The screen has a matte finish — no touchscreen here — and is relatively bright at 400 nits. While my review set has a crisp 2,560 x 1,600 pixel resolution, the cheaper versions come with a standard 1,920 x 1,200-pixel display.
I can't think of any key feature that's missing in the Aero because HP had to cut some corners. But the Aero does lack that extra polish that makes a premium notebook. The design, for one, is more functional than stylish. There's a fingerprint sensor, but no infrared camera for facial recognition. And the Aero's touchpad does not feel as smooth as the ones in more expensive laptops. In terms of connectivity, the Aero has two USB Type-A ports, HDMI and a USB Type-C connector. There's no memory card slot. Neither does it have a Thunderbolt 4 port as it's not native to AMD, and would only add to the cost. I'm not a fan of the laptop's pull-down USB Type-A ports. This design makes it slightly more tricky to plug in a USB device when the laptop is on a desk.
The AMD-based Aero impressed in PCMark 10. Its overall score of 5,689 was comfortably ahead of HP's Intel-powered Spectre x360 14 (4,720). Equally important is the relatively quiet operation of the Aero's fans. The base of the laptop was also fairly cool while I surfed the internet and streamed videos. Battery life was good, too. With its screen set to maximum brightness, the Aero lasted 7 hours in our usual video-loop battery test.
With its top marks for portability, performance and battery life, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 will give Intel Evo notebooks a run for their money. Sure, it may not have the frills or polish of HP's higher-end Spectre or Envy series, but it gets the job done for an affordable price. Prices start at S$1,199 for the base model with an AMD Ryzen 5, 1,920 x 1,200-pixel display, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD. My review unit seems to be out of stock, but you can pick up a lower-end model from HP directly, or HP's official stores on Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by HP.
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