- The HP Gaming 15 AMD starts from as low as Rs 58,000.
- HP offers supreme design and build quality on the Gaming 15.
- You get an anti-glare display as standard on the entire series.
HP has been pushing hard in the gaming laptop industry with its Pavilion Gaming series and unlike the competition, it has tried to maintain its own identity. The Pavilion Gaming notebooks appeal to a different class of users those users who want the best performance without compromising on build quality and design at a price that does not burn the wallet. HP updated the series last year with the 9th Gen Intel processors and now, it has introduced a couple of AMD powered models as well.
The AMD Ryzen processors help deliver higher performance but at a price that's much lower than the Intel-powered counterparts. Hence, you can get the same great build quality with decent power from prices as low as Rs 58,000. Being an avid gamer in my spare time, I asked HP to send one unit for a couple of days and as always, I got my hands on the top-end model that now costs Rs 88,576. Given that the current coronavirus epidemic is forcing the world to go on a lockdown, it is a great time to focus on gaming on one of these.
Design and build: Screams premium
The last time I used the Intel powered HP Pavilion Gaming 15, I ended up falling in love with the design and build quality. Nothing changes on the AMD variant and this is an exceptionally good thing. Why? Read on.
HP has always aced the design department on all its premium laptops the Spectre x360 is the best example I have seen in a while. The Pavilion Gaming 15 isn't as sleek as those ultrabooks but it's the next best thing in laptop design. The laptop has a pentagonal shape that hints at its gaming capabilities but the lid is finished in matte plastic. The lid picks up smudges easily but when it is clean, it looks stunning on the desk. The purple accent on the HP logo looks cool but unlike other gaming laptops, it isn't loud. This is a gaming laptop you can put on the worktable without thinking about awkward stares.
Open the lid and the premium minimalist theme continues. The Pavilion Gaming 15 carries on the same matte finish with a simple keyboard design. The speakers are situated on top of the keyboard and the grille mesh carries on the stunning hexagonal patterns that we have seen on OMEN series laptops. I love how the hinge is placed forward to impart an effect of the display levitating. The trackpad is large enough.
The display has noticeable bezels around that's not in line with the 2020 gaming laptop design ethos. However, the matte anti-glare finish is a nice touch and due to the bezels, you get the webcam in the place where it is supposed to be on the top.
The sides have been chiselled nicely but it houses all the necessary ports. You get to see a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (Data Transfer Only, 5GB/s signalling rate), another USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (Data Transfer Only), a 1 USB 2.0 Type-A (HP Sleep and Charge) port, an HDMI 2.0 port and a headphone/microphone combo as well as a RJ-45 jack. There's also a multi-format SD media card reader.
Performance: Ryzen 7 brings great performance
One of the most important factors in a gaming laptop is the display you finally see everything on it. The one on the Pavilion Gaming 15 is a nice one and is substantially improved when compared to the Intel powered version. It still measures 15.6-inch and has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution but the colour production seems better than before. Images look bright and vibrant with vivid colours, and the viewing angles are quite wide too. The anti-glare coating helps to cut off the reflections which is a blessing while working outdoors. Sadly, the refresh rate is limited to 60Hz and I would have loved HP to go for a 120Hz panel given that most other laptops at this price offer higher refresh rates.
While the display is impressive on the whole, it's the performance that amazes. My unit shipped with the Octa-core AMD Ryzen 7-7350H processor clocked at maximum 2.3GHz that's paired with 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM. There's an AMD Radeon Vega 10 onboard GPU for the system but for graphically intensive applications, HP has stuffed a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 with 6GB VRAM. There's a 1TB 7200RPM HDD as well as a 256GB NVMe SSD storage to look after the storage requirements.
A PC with above-mentioned specifications can easily play all the latest games albeit with a few compromises. The Ryzen 7-3750H is a great processor and like before, it can chew through all the modern-day titles with ease. Games load fast and there's no stutter in most scenarios. Since I kept most of my games on the SSD, I had to spend lesser time on the loading screens. The Nvidia GTX 1650 is a capable midrange graphics card and it can easily support the current titles at high graphics settings but with the resolution dialled down.
I played my favourite Codemasters F1 2019 on the Pavilion Gaming 15 and it was able to run it at the highest settings at close 60 fps. However, I had to dial down the resolution in order to keep the frame rates smooth. I played the long Grand Prix races that span for close to 2 hours and it kept the movements smooth. The laptop also managed heat efficiently and even after long hours of gameplay, it did not cause any sort of performance throttling.
Same was the case with Forza Horizon 4. I left the game at the highest graphical settings but had to dial down the pixel resolution in order to keep the gameplay frame rates above 60 fps. Sadly, I could not try PUBG and Fortnite on the system due to non-availability of Wi-Fi but for the most part, I assume these games will run nicely.
The audio performance is still average at best with the small tweeters. Due to the clever placement of the speakers on the deck, the volume remains unaffected even when you keep the laptop a soft surface.
When you are not gaming, the Pavilion Gaming 15 is a breeze to carry on with your work. HP makes some of the nicest laptop keyboards and on this one, it's no exception. The keys have substantial travel and are widely spaced out. There's minimal key ghosting which makes typing long documents on it a breeze. The violet backlighting looks cool and weirdly isn't as distracting as the amber backlighting. You also get a full-size Numpad. The trackpad is precise but HP still has some ground to cover to get it just perfect.
Speaking of daily usage, the Pavilion Gaming 15 relies on a 52.5Whr Li-ion battery. You will mostly use this laptop on battery only when you are working outdoors on documents and browsing the web. On an average day that involved my office work, i.e. typing long documents and browsing the web connected to Wi-Fi, the Pavilion Gaming 15 could manage up to 4.5 hours at max before shutting down.
Most users looking for these laptops like the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 primarily want to use the systems for casual gaming or video editing. Whichever of these two is your primary purpose, the Pavilion Gaming 15 will satisfy you. The performance is great thanks to the Ryzen 7 processor, and the Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics caters to most graphical intensive requirements with ease. The battery life in on par with most gaming laptops but for the most part, you will plug in the laptop to power while gaming. The best part about it is the design and build it is one of the best in its class.
On the whole, the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 with the AMD firepower in now even better value than ever and whether you are using it for gaming or video editing, it will be able to chew through everything you throw at it.