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HP Pavilion Plus 14 review: Substance over style

HP Pavilion Plus 14 review: Substance over style

HP Pavilion Plus 14

The new HP Pavilion Plus 14 is a good laptop for everyday use. An OLED screen elevates it (and increases the price) above the average mainstream notebook for multimedia entertainment. I have no complaints about its performance or battery life. I also find its mix of ports and connectors spot-on. Pricing is competitive, though you do have to pay a bit more for the OLED version. The only downsides are the lacklustre speakers, and a somewhat boring design. So kudos to HP for a job well done.

Quick specs

  • 14-inch (2,880 x 1,800 pixels) OLED screen
  • Intel Core i7-1355U with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD
  • Thunderbolt 4, USB-C (10Gbps), USB-A (10Gbps), USB-A (5Gbps), HDMI, audio jack
  • 68 watt-hour battery

HP's Pavilion laptops are intended for mainstream users, and are hence more affordable than the PC maker's Envy or Spectre models. The HP Pavilion Plus 14 starts from S$1,299 for an Intel Core i5 model, for example. The market positioning explains the somewhat bland design, without any design flourishes to help the laptop stand out. But more importantly, the notebook feels mostly solid, with only the screen displaying some flex. The hinge, though, could be stiffer. However, I can open the laptop lid with one hand, something that may not be possible if HP tightens the hinge. At around 1.44kg, it's not as light as some ultra-slim laptops, but it's fairly slim, so I think most folks will find it acceptable.

HP Pavilion Plus 14
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

My review unit has an OLED screen. It's not quite top tier, but still far better than an IPS panel. Besides a smooth 120Hz refresh rate (you can also select 48Hz and 60Hz), it's relatively sharp for a 14-inch display at 2,880 x 1,800 pixels. The peak brightness (500 nits) is suitable for HDR content, especially coupled with an OLED's true blacks. There's no Dolby Vision, but HDR10 looks good with noticeable highlights. This OLED screen, and its Core i7 processor, are the reasons why my review unit (14-ew0027TU) costs S$1,716. Meanwhile, the side bezels are slim, while the thicker top bezel houses a Windows Hello infrared camera with a privacy shutter. This webcam is decent enough, but not the sharpest. HP also has an app that adds a light source, like a pseudo ring light, to improve your appearance in video calls.

HP Pavilion Plus 14
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

I like the good mix of ports available. You get two USB-C ports (one for charging), two USB-A ports, HDMI, and an audio jack. The B&O speakers sound decent for laptop speakers, but I found them too soft. I was practically using them at almost 100% volume all the time. The keyboard has decent key travel, and doesn't feel shallow or mushy. Performance is on par with the competition. Its PCMark 10 score of 5,765 is similar to that of the Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED (5,660), which has the same Intel Core i7 processor. The HP Pavilion Plus 14 also has very good battery life. It lasted slightly over 9 hours in our usual video playback battery test with the screen brightness set to maximum.

While you can save a fair bit for the HP Pavilion Plus 14 by going for the Intel Core i5 and IPS configuration (S$1,299), I feel the OLED screen is worth the premium (S$1,716). The pricing is actually competitive for a laptop with an OLED screen. Of course, you should know that this notebook was first launched last year. Although the performance should generally hold up, the Intel Core Ultra chips that will be in laptops this year have a built-in processor that improves AI tasks. If you're planning to use AI heavily, it's probably wiser to go for a 2024 laptop instead. If not, the HP Pavilion Plus 14 is a solid pick. Buy it directly from HP, or from its official stores on Shopee, and Lazada.

See Also
MSI Radix AX6600

Note: Review unit provided by HP.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Solid features and performance

Buy it at Shopee
Buy it at Lazada

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