HP’s Pavilion Plus 14 is an interesting animal. The Pavilion line traditionally included the company’s budget PCs, which were a solid step up from its high-end Envy and Spectre models. Lately, however, HP has released pavilions here and there that sit solidly in the mid-range area, their main attraction being light weight rather than competitive pricing.
The new Pavillon Plus is in this camp. It’s both the thinnest pavilion ever released and the first to include an OLED display. The $999.99 (currently $819.99) model I have, with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 2.8K 90Hz OLED display, is a step up from the $600 lodges I’m used to. see on the shelves. It’s definitely not a budget laptop anymore.
While the Pavilion Plus 14 isn’t the best laptop money can buy for $999 (a price the M1 MacBook Air also lags at), and it still has some weird flaws from its budget roots, it does offer a combination of portability, power, and conferencing features that are hard to find under $1,000.
Here are my four favorite things about the Pavilion Plus 14, along with my two main concerns.
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It’s oh, so light
My favorite thing about the Pavilion Plus 14 is carrying it around. It weighs only 3.09 pounds, which makes it very easy to carry with just one arm. I put it in my backpack and felt like I was wearing nothing. Sometimes, I was even afraid of having forgotten it. It weighs over a pound less than the top-end Envy x360 15. Carrying it with two other laptops (which I often have to do for my work) is no problem. I haven’t had to say that about too many laptops with Intel H-series chips this year.
I put it in my backpack and felt like I was wearing nothing
The only caveat to this is that the 90W USB-C adapter is oddly large for an ultraportable. I recently reviewed an HP Victus gaming laptop, and the Plus’s charger is close to the same size.
Display is a luxury
This is the second area where the Pavilion Plus really stands out. The 14-inch OLED screen is excellent. It’s 4:10 p.m., with a crisp 2880 x 1800 resolution (a higher resolution than the MacBook Air), and the 90Hz refresh rate offers noticeably smoother scrolling than you’ll find on many laptops at this price. . The deep blacks and bright whites provide great contrast which I noticed even when doing boring work in Google Docs and such. It was also pretty bright (not always a given with OLEDs), hitting 420 nits in my testing. That beats the 400 nits of rated brightness of the M1 MacBook Air and is plenty for most laptop use cases.
The webcam is unique
This Pavilion Plus has one of the best cameras I’ve used on a laptop this year. Details provided were accurate, lighting was well-adjusted (especially in my bright office space, where I often look washed out), and noise was minimal.
Plus, the camera supports a bunch of fancy features that you can toggle in the myHP app. There’s auto-framing, which keeps you centered as you move around your camera. (It wasn’t as smooth as Apple’s Center Stage, but it worked.) There are backlight and low-light settings you can turn on and off. My favorite feature, however, is “BRB mode”. This literally freezes your video feed and places a banner that says “BRB” at the bottom to let people you call know you’ll be back. I don’t know how many times people will use it, but it’s great fun.
Two things to note are that the camera doesn’t support Windows Hello facial logins and there’s no physical privacy shutter (although there is a kill switch on the keyboard).
He’s a strong performer
When it comes to raw CPU performance, this is probably one of the most powerful thin-and-light laptops you can buy, especially among devices with OLED displays. The 12th Gen Core i7-12700H handled my heavy Chrome workload with very little chassis heat and no fan noise. Video calls went smoothly, and even basic photo work in Lightroom was no problem – I didn’t get impatient waiting for the effects to work, as I sometimes do on budget competitors like the ‘Acer Swift 3. Performance was certainly on par with that of other best thin-and-lights, such as HP’s own Envy x360 15 (my benchmark recommendation in the Envy tier).
The camera does not support Windows Hello facial logins
Admittedly, an H-series processor is probably overkill for this device. It’s not marketed as a workstation or content creation machine (and the lack of discrete graphics in this model wouldn’t make it a good fit for those use cases anyway). I’d probably rather HP opted for a more efficient chip that might extend battery life.
Battery life isn’t great
The Pavilion Plus’ battery life isn’t quite the disaster that some Intel H-series laptops have presented this year, which is a win in itself. But the battery life I got isn’t good enough for a laptop that touts portability as one of its main selling points. During my test period, after three and a half hours of use, I already had only 20% left. I averaged about four hours and 38 minutes of total continuous use. I suspect that many buyers, if they don’t mind being limited by battery life to that degree, may prefer to opt for a GPU-powered workstation with better graphics chops.
Chassis is mixed bag
Make no mistake, the Pavilion Plus 14 is built quite well like the Pavilion models. It is all metal, with a recycled aluminum lid. There is a bit of flex in various parts of the chassis, but it’s far from what I would call flimsy. The keyboard is quite comfortable, with a nice texture, and my keystrokes don’t dig into it. The vibe, in all areas, is professional and upscale, with the exception of the eyewear.
The glasses stick out like a sore thumb for me. It’s not necessarily because of their size (although they’re more noticeable than on many modern laptops). They just look and feel quite plasticky and don’t quite match the quality of the rest of the chassis.
Various parts also include recycled materials, as does the packaging. That’s all well and good, but – as I constantly remind people – e-waste and energy consumption also have a huge environmental impact. In this regard, the recycled aluminum does not, for me, compensate for the thirst for power of this device.
Accept to continue: HP Pavilion Plus 14
To start using the HP Pavilion Plus 14, you must agree to the following:
- Microsoft Software License Terms and HP End User License Agreement
You can also say yes or no to the following:
- Privacy Settings (Location, Find My Device, Diagnostic Data Sharing, Inking & Typing, Personalized Experience, Advertising ID)
- OneDrive Backup
- Microsoft 365 free trial
- Join PC Game Pass
- Register with HP with your name, email address, and country or region. Allow HP to use information about your system to provide customer support and display messages (including contact options, warranty information, and support messages) from HP, to improve HP products and services, and to send personalized offers and news.
That’s two mandatory agreements and 13 optional agreements to use the HP Pavilion Plus 14.
Despite its flaws, I see the Pavilion Plus 14 as a good mid-range choice. The chassis is strong and light, the camera is neat, and the screen is hard to beat at this price. Even the MacBook Air lacks the 90Hz smoothness and OLED contrast that the Pavilion can deliver.
That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. The inefficiency of the processor really makes it ideal for a small group of buyers looking for robust processor power and a big screen in a really light device. If you’re not one of those people and just want a capable ultraportable, there are better choices for you.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge