Hardware Laptops Reviews

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: the best budget convertible?

HP Pavilion x360 14 review

For far too long, HP’s laptops were dull. Conservative, boxy designs that were to innovation what Trump is to women’s rights. As you’ll see in this HP Pavilion x360 14 review, though, that’s no longer the case. You can now buy a stylish, slim HP laptop for a damn fine price.

If you know you want a convertible laptop on a modest budget, and have just five seconds to decide, then let me save you time: buy this machine. If not, let’s fly through the questions that matter.

BTQ: Brief Tech Questions

How much? £699 from hp.com/uk
How fast?Medium fast – faster than most people need, in fact
Is it heavy?It’s okay for a laptop, but weighty if you hold it as a tablet (1.59kg to be precise)
What does convertible even mean here? Simply that the lid flips 360 degrees, so you can use it as a tablet if you wish
Who’s it for?Families, students, but not “power users”
How long does the battery last?HP claims over 10 hours, but our looping video test suggests 6 hours is more realistic

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: what makes it great?

What makes the new HP Pavilion truly great is its value for money. For £699, you’re buying a fine-looking laptop that flips into tablet mode whenever you desire.

And while I do have issues with this laptop, as detailed below, none of them are killer problems. Overall, this is a high-quality – and perfectly speedy – machine that will keep a family happy for three or four years.

A fingerprint reader on the right edge makes it easy to sign into Windows without faffing around with a password, a conveniently placed volume switch means you don’t need to hunt through the function buttons to quickly mute it, and the speakers themselves are surprisingly decent.

And while I don’t love the keyboard and screen, they’re decent offerings for a budget machine. 

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: the gotchas

HP has cut corners to hit the budget. All of them are forgivable for the price, but be aware before you press Buy.

The screen – while so much better than most budget laptop displays – isn’t gobsmacking. My main beef is the brightness: just like the HP Envy 13, I kept wanting to press the Up button. It’s fine for indoors, but I left it at 100% the whole time (see our benchmark results below for more detail on its performance results).

But if you look at it rather than measure it, this is a nice panel. With a 14in diagonal and 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, everything looks sharp and there’s a punch to colours (in part due to the gloss finish).

HP Pavilion x360 14 review

Here’s another point that I’m not a fan of. While there is a USB-C port, it’s restricted to data transfers only. The full-size HDMI port does compensate for this, but it’s still disappointing.

It also means you’ll have to carry the proprietary power supply round with you – the new Dell XPS 15, for example, is more flexible because you can charge directly through the USB-C port. While HP’s power supply itself is quite dinky, once you factor in the plug and cable it weighs 292g and adds bulk.

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: minor issues

One more minor thing is that HP opts for a budget 1×1 wireless chipset, where the 1×1 means it only has one transmit-and-receive radio. You want 2×2 for faster download speeds. I didn’t have any issues with the Pavilion in practice, but if your Wi-Fi signal is flaky then don’t expect a brilliant range or speeds.

I also feel guilty for criticising the keyboard here, because it’s okay. The keys are big and well laid out, for instance, and while it doesn’t have a Precision touchpad below (so doesn’t support all of Windows 10’s gestures) it is responsive.

The reason I’m not a fan of the keyboard is the feel of the keys. They don’t have the cushioned finesse of the best laptops, and each press is met with a clack that neighbours – whether on the train or sofa – will find irritating after a while.

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: a word on speed and battery life

As I said in the Brief Tech Questions table at the top, this laptop is perfectly quick. HP equips it with a shiny new Core i5-8250U processor and 8GB of RAM, which are capable of slicing through Windows 10 Home without an issue.

If you’re a sucker for benchmark scores, then you may not be wowed by its Geekbench 4 results: 3,527 and 8,678 in the single-core and multicore tests respectively are best described as mid-table.

However, I never felt this machine was slow, and that’s in part because HP hasn’t skimped on the SSD. It’s a 256GB unit, which is a good amount of space for this price, and it’s fast.

The laptop definitely isn’t a good choice if you’re into gaming, though, as it relies on Intel’s integrated graphics chip. Rise of the Tomb Raider groaned under the load, only managing 17.7fps at 1,024 x 768. And that was at the very lowest settings.

Then we come to battery life. The best bit is that it recharges quickly: from zero to 100% in about an hour-and-a-half, even with the laptop on. Sadly, the battery discharges quickly too: it only lasted for 5hrs 27mins when I looped video with the screen at a decent brightness.

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: who should buy it?

HP Pavilion x360 14 review

If I was looking for a convertible family laptop, and had a strict budget, the x360 would be right at the top of my list. For £699, you’re buying a lot of machine, and while I do have many niggles I haven’t seen a better convertible laptop for this money.

The question is whether or not you need that convertible design. The Asus ZenBook UX410 offers a superior screen and you can buy a similar spec for £750 from Scan.co.uk. Yes, it’s another £51, but it’s worth it.

That’s why the HP Pavilion doesn’t win an award, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. If you can live with its compromises, and you’re sold on the idea of a convertible, then you’ll be happy.

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: benchmark results

  • Maximum screen brightness (measured): 198 lumens
  • sRGB gamut coverage (measured): 61.8%
  • Average Delta E (measured): 4.69
  • Geekbench 4 single core: 3,527
  • Geekbench 4 multicore: 8,678
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider @ 720p, Low settings: 10.5 frames per second
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider @ 1,024 x 768, Lowest settings: 17.7fps
  • GFXBench Car Chase on-screen: 23.5fps
  • GFXBench 1440p Manhattan 3.1.1 off-screen: 19.6fps
  • AS SSD benchmark: 711MB/sec write, sequential
  • AS SSD benchmark: 1,240MB/sec read, sequential

HP Pavilion x360 14 review: specifications

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8250U
  • Memory: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Screen: 14in 1,920 x 1,080 touchscreen
  • Camera: HP Wide Vision HD camera
  • Ports: USB-C 3.1 (data transfer only), 2 x USB-A 3.1, HDMI 1.4, SD card slot, 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack
  • Wireless: 802.11ac (1×1), Bluetooth 4.2
  • Dimensions: 324 x 224 x 19.7mm (WDH)
  • Weight: 1.59kg

Read this next: HP Envy 13 review, the best-looking budget ultraportable?

HP Pavilion x360 14 review £699
  • Design and build quality
  • Portability and battery life
  • Speed
  • Value for money
4

Summary

If you can live with the not-so-bright screen, this is a fine convertible laptop for the money

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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