The world of laptops can be a very complicated one. Especially if you are looking for a laptop with a great trade-off between performance and the size of the hole it will burn in your pocket. If you have a big pocket, you can pick whatever you want. But if your pocket is limited, like most pockets, the search for a good laptop becomes more complicated.
Well, let me tell you that I have been to the Goldilocks (not hot, not cold, just right) zone and I met your laptop. It’s the HP Pavilion 15z. I think for your sake, an HP Pavilion 15z laptop is in order.
But before we get to our HP Pavilion laptop review, let me let you in on a few secrets concerning budget laptops.
The Truth You Need to Know About Budget Laptops
So, what are the secrets surrounding budget laptops? Here are 3 that you need to know so that you can purchase your next budget laptop (an HP Pavilion 15z perhaps) with great confidence.
Just Because They Are Cheap Doesn’t Mean They Are Poorly Made
Many times, people confuse budget laptops for poorly made laptops. Even though at times there may be some concessions made in terms of the materials used, budget laptops are still strong and robust machines.
What makes them cheap, then? Great question. One of the things that contribute to the low prices of budget laptops is technology. With technological advancements moving at the speed of light, today’s best-performing laptop quickly becomes relegated to budget laptop status in a few years’ time due to new technology ruling the market.
They Get the Job Done – Quite Well
Most budget laptops come with some technology from a previous generation or two tech-wise. But just because there is new technology available doesn’t mean the technology in budget laptops is not capable of handling your tasks – it is very capable in most instances. Budget laptops get the job done and at the fraction of the cost of high-end laptops.
You Can Depend on Them
Most budget laptops are very dependable machines that you can rely on to last for some years. Remember, they are not inferior models per se, just older models. Older models, technology-wise, and you can definitely depend on them for most of your basic tasks.
Now that you know the truth about budget laptops, let’s get on with our HP Pavilion 15z laptop review.
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Few laptops can live up to the title of “budget laptop” while providing you with the performance you require, but the HP Pavilion 15z does. But before I tell you what to expect from it, let me quickly run you through the specs.
Just like the HP Pavilion 15t, the HP Pavilion 15z is a configurable laptop, but unlike the HP Pavilion 15t, it doesn’t come with Intel’s line of processors but is equipped with AMD’s A series of processors. Let’s take a peak.
1366 x 768 Pixels (HD)
1920 x 1080 Pixels (Full HD)
AMD A10-9620P “Bristol Ridge” quad-core 2.5-3.4GHz 2MB cache
AMD A12-9720P “Bristol Ridge” quad-core 2.7-3.6GHz 2MB cache
AMD A9-9420 “Stoney Ridge” dual-core 3-3.6GHz 1MB cache
AMD Radeon R5 Integrated Graphics
AMD Radeon R7 Integrated Graphics
System Memory (RAM)
Non-backlit keyboard with numeric pad
Multi-touch trackpad with physical buttons
3-Cell 31 WHr
4-cell 41 WHr
Up to 6 hours and 45 minutes of battery life with HD display; up to 5 hours and 15 minutes with full HD
Speakers and Audio
2 x USB 3.1 + 1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
Media Card Reader
Yes (SD card reader)
DVD Optical Drive
Windows 10 Home
This is a pretty neat machine for personal and office use, if I may say so. But let’s dig deeper into our HP Pavilion 15z laptop review just to make sure.
For a budget laptop, the HP Pavilion 15z is built quite solidly. True, the chassis is mainly plastic, but the build quality and design are so good it doesn’t shout, “cheap.” It actually has a nice executive look about it, especially if you go with jet black as your choice of color. It comes in 6 different colors of the lid, sides, and bottom – you can choose between black, grey, silver, gold, blue, and red. But whatever color you go for, the HP Pavilion 15z looks good.
HP adopted the usual keyboard style with this offering, as it also features a keyboard with Chiclet keys and the number pad positioned on the right. The keyboard on the HP Pavilion 15z gives a good typing experience, especially since it doesn’t suffer from shallow key travel plaguing many of its competitors in the budget laptop category. For example, the keyboards on the Asus VivoBook S500CA-Ds51t. The multi-touch trackpad also comes with mechanical “click” buttons instead of being integrated into the surface. If you want a backlit keyboard, it is available as an option.
I can’t fault the HP Pavilion 15t when it comes to the build quality. After all, it is a budget laptop. And for its category, it is quite well built, to say the least. That’s why I rate it at 5/5 for design and build quality.
When it comes to buying a budget laptop, it’s all about making concessions. And when it comes to the screen, this is one area you need to be willing to make a compromise on. Sure, the screen is not terrible, but it’s not brilliant either, and that in both configurations.
The HP Pavilion comes with a 15.6-inch screen that comes in two main configurations - a 1366×768 pixels HD display which can be configured to be touch-capable, and a 1920 × 1080 pixels full HD screen. Neither have IPS capabilities.
The display on the HP Pavilion is bright enough for most daily tasks and watching your regular movies or streaming even though it is not one of HP’s best displays. The display gets a 4/5 from me. It’s an average screen that does what it is meant to do, but it’s nothing to write home about.
When it comes to connecting you to the net and your accessories, the HP Pavilion is well-equipped to handle all your connectivity needs. It comes with 2 USB 3.1 ports, and HDMI video port, an Ethernet port, as well as an SD card reader on the right side while the left side has a USB 2.0 port, and a headphone jack on the left side.
As for wireless internet activity, it comes with 802.11n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless connectivity which is fast enough to get you browsing your favorite sites and streaming your favorite movies. When you decide to go with the HP Pavilion 15z, you need to take note of the fact that Bluetooth is optional. Make sure to tick that box as Bluetooth has become an invaluable part of the digital experience.
When it comes to connectivity, I’m giving the Pavilion 15z a 5/5 as it manages to seamlessly connect you to the internet and all your other accessories in a more than satisfactory way.
As mentioned earlier, the Pavilion 15z comes with A8-4555M, A10-9620P, and A12-9720P quad-core AMD APUs (Accelerated Processor Unit). Unlike their Intel counterparts, they may be a bit sluggish when being used for heavier tasks like video editing and playing modern games. But apart from that, they are quite efficient processors for everyday tasks and handle them very well. Be sure to go for at least 12GB RAM for you to have better performance from your HP Pavilion 15z.
The Radeon HD 7600G GPU, on the other hand, is a different story altogether as it comes out top of the class when it comes to rendering 3D graphics, leaving its Acer and Asus counterparts struggling to catch up.
Performance-wise, the HP Pavilion doesn’t really sparkle but it definitely gets the job done. If you are looking for a daily workhorse, this is one machine that you should strongly consider as it will take care of all your word processing needs, photo editing, a bit of gaming, and video streaming without breaking much of a sweat.
For being a solid workhorse, the HP Pavilion gets a hard-earned and well-deserved 5/5.
One area in which you will find that the HP Pavilion 15z shines is in the storage department - both RAM and ROM. For RAM, you have the option to choose between 8GB, 12GB, and 16GB of DDR4 SDRAM, which are all more than adequate for most processor functions.
Storage space also comes in abundance with the Pavilion 15z as you will have a choice between 1 TB SATA, 2 TB SATA, 256 GB SSD, and 512 GB SSD. Of course, for faster performance, best you opt for a solid state hard drive.
It’s a 5/5 for the HP Pavilion in this department.
Most budget laptops come with less-than-acceptable battery life, but the Pavilion 15z is not most. The 15z has a battery life of up to 6 hours and 45 minutes on configurations with the HD display, while full HD models can go up to 5 hours and 15 minutes on a charge. That is pretty impressive for any laptop, and that earns the HP Pavilion 15z an impressive 5/5.
The HP Pavilion 15z Laptop Review - More than You Bargained For
With many budget laptops, you’re never really sure of what you are getting until it starts showing its true colors – usually its weaknesses. With the HP Pavilion 15z, you get more than you bargained for. It’s a durable machine that gets the job done without causing you much of a headache. If you are on the hunt for a budget laptop, this is one that should be on top of your list.