HP Pavilion 14 (2021) full review
HP's Pavilion range has long been a popular option for consumers, offering a combination of performance and style at affordable prices, but how does the latest 14in HP Pavilion fare amidst a sea of competition? We find out in our full review.
Design & Build
The HP Pavilion 14 is a good-looking laptop. The aluminium chassis in frosted silver gives it elegance, despite the mid-range price. It's polished for office use, without the awful chunkiness you get on some business laptops, such as the (otherwise excellent) Acer Aspire 3.
If you're interested in a machine that will double up for personal and professional use, the Pavilion 14 definitely looks the part.
But more crucially: it's portable. While there are lighter laptops out there, the Pavilion 14 isvery light at 1.46kg. Plus, it's wonderfully compact. You can carry it with one hand if you need to rush off to the kitchen or a conference room for a call. Equally, it will comfortably balance on your lap if you're commuting on a train.
A space-efficient keyboard does away with the numeric pad – which you'll find on the larger Pavilion 15 laptops – reducing the overall footprint on your desk (or lap), while a slim profile keeps the laptop at less than an inch when closed.
Slipping it into a bag should pose no issues. See some of the best laptop bags and rucksacks here.
While the Pavilion 14 doesn’t include a Kensington lock port for those looking specifically for an office laptop, a nifty fingerprint reader all the more cements the device as a solid option for work-from-home or hybrid home and office routines.
As for the fingerprint reader itself, I found it was reliable most of the time. I occasionally had to shift my finger for a more accurate reading but never was I locked out for multiple failed attempts.
Ports & Connectivity
You get a variety of ports on the Pavilion 14, including two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port that supports power delivery,10GBps transfer rates, and DisplayPort 1.4 connections. This allows you the flexibility to daisy-chain multiple monitors if needed. You also get an HDMI 2.0 connection for a standard display connection.
The Pavilion 14 is undoubtedly versatile, whatever your work display set-up demands. Also included are a micro SD card reader, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo, and Bluetooth 5 support.
The power supply is a separate barrel style connector but you can charge over USB-C, too.
Screen & Speakers
The Pavilion 14 offers a 14in IPS anti-glare Full-HD (1920 x 1080) touchscreen display. It looks unashamedly plastic, especially with the dull black bezels. Thankfully, these aren’t too chunky. You'll also find a 720p webcam at the top, with integrated dual array mics.
The image quality isn't stunning, but it's sufficient for day-to-day video calls. You wouldn't want to use this camera if you were starting a YouTube or Twitch streaming channel – you'd be better off with an external camera instead. See our round-up of the best webcams.
The display also reaches a maximum brightness of 238nits (though HP promises 250nits on the box). This isn't bad, per se. Some cheap laptops only go up to 200nits as it's a common area to implement cost-cutting, which is when things really get hairy.
The Pavilion 14 isn't dull, but you'll need more if you want to work outside. Inside or working in the evening and you won't have any issues.
The Pavilion 14 packs B&O speakers on either side of the laptop. I've got to say the sound is refreshingly clear and crisp, even if you turn it up all the way – which you won't ever need to.
As for the display picture quality? It's passable. While the contrast is strong and colours can be vivid (depending on what you're watching), there isn't much definition. Films appear dull, which makes this laptop less ideal for entertainment streaming.
It's also a touch-screen. Why? I’m not entirely sure. While the hinge lets you push the display back to a comfortable degree, it doesn’t fold backwards like other 2-in-1s on the market – including HP's own x360 options – so you can't actually use it as a tablet. There's also the inconvenience of accidentally clicking on something while attempting to wipe dust off the screen.
Despite the non-convertible design, the benefit to a touchscreen is that if you suffer from repetitive strain you're no longer restricted to a trackpad or external mouse. It's also not very common to find a touch-screen at this price.
In a nutshell: if you're on a budget and want a laptop for web or social media browsing that doubles as a work machine, then Pavilion 14 leaves little to complain about, especially if you keep your streaming to the TV. Alternatively, if you don't mind spending £200+ more on a laptop that does it all, you're better off with one of these leading options.
Keyboard & Trackpad
I mentioned that there’s no numeric pad, which shouldn’t be a problem for the most part. I prefer a num-pad but didn’t miss it tremendously on the Pavilion 14. Then again, I am a writer, so my reliance on a numeric pad isn’t as essential as some other professions. Accountants may want to look elsewhere.
Overall, the keyboard is comfortable, and despite a compact layout, there is sufficient breathing room between the keys. Like the display, the keys are quite obviously plastic, a notable contrast against the aluminium chassis, and the typing is quite audible.
While the keys are low profile without much travel, they are springy to the touch so you'll need to apply a bit more effort when typing. It doesn't take too long to get used to and can be satisfying for some to get the mechanical feedback.
As for the trackpad, it's generously sized and comfortable to use with good palm rejection. It accepts both physical clicks, as well as gestures such as two-finger scrolling and right-clicking. No complaints here.
Specs & Performance
You can expect smooth day-to-day performance on the HP Pavilion 14 making it, once again, a solid option for professionals working from home or in need of an affordable laptop for hotdesking.
The model I reviewed offers 8GB RAM and 256GB storage with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor (the latest 11th-gen). Although this is the lowest rung of Intel processors, the laptop was quick to start up and wasn’t overwhelmed at any point over weeks of use.
It’s a silent workhorse that didn’t overheat, no matter what I threw at it.
I used the laptop for work, which consists primarily of word processing, email and web browsing while listening to Spotify in the background – and the HP Pavilion had no qualms. I was also impressed with how it handled photo-editing on GIMP, which I used for basic modifications like layering images, cropping and filling backgrounds.
Our benchmark scores demonstrate the Pavilion 14's power. Its Geekbench 5 score outpaced both the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (£529) and Avita Liber V (£459.99), two of the best budget laptops around. The Pavilion’s PCMark 10 score also beat the mid-rage Microsoft Surface Go 2 that we reviewed (£529) and the €1,599 Huawei MateBook X (not available in the UK) – both of which feature more powerful Core i5 processors.
You'll get ok battery life out of the Pavilion 14. Our video loop battery test squeezed 7 hours and 21 minutes out of the device. While that's not the worst we've seen on a budget laptop, plenty of laptops can go a lot longer if this is an important area.
For example, you can get roughly double that amount on the Surface Go 2 and the Magic Book 14.
In our tests, the Pavilion 14 gained 37% battery life back within 30 minutes, which will get you a couple of hours of use - and longer if you set it in a battery optimisation mode. You can get 87% battery life back in an hour and nearly a full recharge in an hour and a half.
Price & Availability
This model with the Core i3 processor is the 'dv0014na' but you can opt for the 'dv0007na' which comes with a Core i5-1135G7 instead for an RRP of £649.99. It's available from HP while Currys PC World has the 'dv0521sa' with a 512GB SSD at £699.99.
You'll find options with a Ryzen processor too, but the model we tested offers an Intel Core i3 processor, so the performance is likely to vary.
While there are cheaper budget laptops available, the Pavilion 14 offers a compelling balance between performance and price. It's only really outdone by the Honor MagicBook 14 which offers better performance and longer battery life at the same price. It is difficult to get hold of the MagicBook 14 from UK retailers, however.
The HP Pavilion 14 is a solid, affordable laptop for home or office use that can handle most things you throw at it – whether that's video calls, web browsing and social media, music streaming, or light photo editing. Its only drawback is the display may be a bit too dim for some, and the touch-screen isn’t wholly necessary.
Yet, the device is portable and compact, making it ideal for those hotdesking or partially working from home. HDMI and DisplayPort 1.4 support mean you can quickly connect the laptop up to one or more monitors, and a fingerprint reader offers added security.
The Pavilion 14 is on the pricier side of budget laptops, but this all-rounded will be money well spent. And there are more powerful models if you need a Core i5 or a larger SSD.
HP Pavilion 14 (2021): Specs
- 14in touchscreen IPS LCD
- Core i3-1115G4 Processor
- RAM 8 GB DDR4 (3200 MHz)
- Storage 256GB SSD
- Full HD 1920 x 1080p
- 250 nits
- WiFi Dual-band AC WiFi 5
- Ethernet: No
- Bluetooth 5.0
- USB Type-C x 1
- USB 3.1 x 2
- HDMI x 1
- 3.5mm jack x 1
- microSD card reader x 1
- B&O dual speakers
- Wide-angle HD webcam
- Multi-touch trackpad
- Membrane keyboard
- Fingerprint reader
- Dual microphone
- Battery type: 3-cell Lithium-ion
- Battery life: Up to 8 hours and 15 minutes
- Dimensions: 17mm x 325mm x 216.6 mm
- Weight: 1.41 kg
- Manufacturer’s guarantee: 1 year
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