Updated: August 9, 2020 8:13:52 am
The most frequent question I get asked these days is which laptop should one buy that works both as a gaming system and productivity machine. I had no answer until I reviewed the HP Pavilion Gaming 16. The new HP Pavilion Gaming 16 is targeted at both creative users and gamers who need more power in a laptop. The 16-inch HP Pavilion Gaming starts at Rs 70,999 and can cost as high as Rs 110,999 with the highest available specs. I have been using the top-end model for a few days, and here are some pros and cons of the laptop that’s geared towards both gaming and creative work.
You can choose the 16-inch HP Pavilion Gaming in five models; the base model has a Core i5-10300H, 8 GB DDR SDRAM, 1 TB 7200 SATA drive, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU. It costs Rs 70,999. My review unit boasts a 2.6GHz (5GHz Turbo) Core i7-10750H CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, a 1TB hard drive, and 6GB Max-Q GTX 1660 Ti GPU. It will set you back by Rs 110,999. Unfortunately, this model is limited to a 60Hz display and HP does not provide an option to upgrade the display to a 144Hz refresh rate (more on this in the review).
HP Pavilion Gaming 16: Design, port selection
The HP Pavilion Gaming laptop 16 doesn’t look different from the 15-inch model I reviewed late last year. The new model is constructed entirely out of plastic (like every other gaming laptop available in the market) with the HP logo centred in the lid cover, matching with the white backlight keyboard and extra-large touchpad. A large honeycomb-style speaker grill sits at the top of the deck, and is flanked by the power button. Turn the laptop upside-down, and you will notice the ventilation grill.
The design of the Pavilion Gaming 16 is very unusual for a gaming laptop. While the build quality is top-notch, the laptop does not look like a regular gaming laptop. I think HP wanted the Pavilion Gaming laptop to have a casual look and resisted any sci-fi-inspired design language. This will allow the company to tap in into a large pool of users who are interested in a high-performance gaming machine but don’t want their laptop to have thick chassis and aggressive angles and vents, especially if they will take it to work.
But the Pavilion Gaming 16 is not an ultrathin laptop and weighs 2.30 kg with dimensions of 6.9 x 55.2 x 34.5 cm. Nevertheless, it is still light for a 16-inch gaming laptop. I had no issues fitting the laptop into my Samsonite backpack.
The Pavilion Gaming 16 isn’t lacking in ports. On the right, you get a standard USB-C port, an SD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, an Ethernet port, and an HDMI port. One more USB 3.1 Type-A port is on the left, along with the connector for the AC adapter. It’s a good selection for a gaming laptop, though I wished HP had included a Thunderbolt 3 port. The notebook also comes with Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wireless support.
HP Pavilion Gaming 16: Display, speakers
Although the laptop’s dimensions are similar to a 15.6-inch screen, the display is larger. My review unit featured a regular 1080p IPS screen with a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s a bit weird to see that a gaming laptop that costs over a lakh being confined to a 60Hz refresh rate. Dell should have launched another model with a faster 144Hz refresh rate and a touch screen. If a choice is given, hardcore gamers would probably pick a model with a faster refresh rate. Moving on, the 1080p non-touch IPS panel offers decent contrast and sharpness. The panel is okay but not the best I have seen on a high-end laptop.
The Bang & Olufsen speakers, located on the deck of the laptop, are fine. They get really loud, and are decent enough for YouTube videos, gaming and listening to casual music. The 720p webcam is situated in the top bezel above the screen. It’s fine but I feel it’s time companies like HP should start packing a 1080p web camera in laptops.
HP Pavilion Gaming 16: Keyboard, touchpad
I really liked the keyboard which has large keycaps and a full-sized NumberPad section. The keyboard feels comfortable, and I can type on it with accuracy. The touchpad feels nice, too. It’s precise and supports multi-touch gestures.
HP Pavilion Gaming 16: Performance, battery
As I mentioned in the beginning, my review unit is the top-end model and it comes with a Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and the 6GB Max-Q GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. My test model sells for Rs 110,990.
I used the laptop for standard productivity needs like writing and editing documents, light photo and video editing, watching YouTube videos, listening to music and streaming movies. I was also able to play many popular games like Fortnite, PUBG and Destiny 2, and they ran well. All the games were played at 1080p. The performance was always top-notch, though the laptop does get warm when playing games at a strength.
The Pavilion Gaming 16 uses a 52 watt-hour battery. The laptop lasted just over 4 hours in mixed usage on a single charge. That’s not great, though, it’s manageable for a gaming laptop.
HP Pavilion Gaming 16: Should you buy one?
The HP Pavilion Gaming 16 is a decent attempt at making a gaming laptop that can be used by the non-gaming crowd for work and play. But there are few things that make the 16-inch notebook far from being a perfect machine. As I pointed before, my test unit lacked a 144Hz screen; but if you are a hardcore gamer you should settle for a laptop with a high refresh rate screen. Battery life, of course, should be improved on a gaming laptop. Otherwise, the notebook is relatively light (for a gaming laptop), performance is good, the keyboard is great to type on and there are plenty of ports. And, in case, if you are so obsessed with a 144Hz screen, HP has a Pavilion Gaming 15 with a 144Hz refresh rate screen, AMD Ryzen 5, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, and AMD Radeon graphics. That notebook costs only Rs 70,068. In the end, the choice is yours.