HP Pavilion Laptop 13 (BB0075TU) review: Classy looks, reliable performance at an affordable price

Priced at Rs 73,999, the HP Pavilion Laptop 13 offers terrific value and very few compromises making it an instant recommendation.

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The Pavilion Laptop 13 is priced at Rs 73,999. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

It is always nice to see premium features trickle down to more affordable price points. More often than not, it makes for a more exciting, more value proposition for buyers. Take the Pavilion Laptop 13 for instance. Coming from HP’s tried and tested Pavilion series, we already know who this laptop is for. It’s for anybody who is looking for a reliable entry-level laptop that is a jack of all trades to get them through their typical work-day. Now what’s new, is the look and feel.

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It is not a convertible laptop, but you’ll be hard pressed to tell it apart. It is only when you open the lid and start to experience the product is when you realise, it is a conventional laptop. The same is true about the build materials. Looking at it from a distance, you can’t really tell that it’s made of anything but metal. It is only when you hold it at length and give it a nudge is when you realise, it is made entirely out of plastic. There is some flex when you’re consciously making an effort to find one.

It looks and feels more expensive than it actually is. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The entry-level laptop options can get very boring very quickly because there’s only so much that you can do with this form factor. Not to mention, to make a laptop like this look and feel good and different would involve additional cost. But despite those limitations, HP has somehow managed to build a laptop that not only looks and feels more expensive than it actually is, it is also unlike anything else we’ve seen in the market so far at its price point.

If I were to give you the crudest analogy to describe this laptop, I’d say that it reminds me of the XPS. It is very, very sleek. Very angular. Very premium. At the same time, subtle elements like the two-stage USB ports and the way that the screen lifts up at an angle to make way for cooling are both very unique to this laptop and, a technical showcase of thoughtful engineering no less.

It is made entirely out of plastic. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

The keyboard deck likewise has been given due diligence, something that is left as an afterthought in many budget laptops. There is a full-size keyboard with…get this…a dedicated fingerprint reader. The keys have backlighting. You can adjust their brightness.

When it comes to spacing and feedback though, there’s always a 50-50 chance it could swing either way when you’re dealing with a compact laptop like this. What I can tell you is that typing on the Pavilion Laptop 13 is mostly a pleasurable experience. But I have seen better. I just wish that there was a little more travel. This is not a deal-breaker. The trackpad is a little too cramped for my liking as well. This could be a deal-breaker for some. For what it’s worth, there is support for Windows Precision drivers and by extension gestures which work flawlessly on this laptop.

The keys have backlighting. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

HP is going old-school with hardware in this laptop which is to say, it has given it a lot of thought beforehand. Rather than going all in on power only to eventually fall back in thermals, it is using a processor that’s made specifically for thin and light laptops. The Pavilion Laptop 13 BB0075TU model I have for review has an 11th Generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 (Tiger Lake-UP3) processor with integrated Intel Xe graphics. This is paired with 16GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.

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The i5-1135G7 is a 4 core, 8 thread processor built on a 10nm process node with a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and boost speeds of up to 4.2GHz though only one of the cores can achieve this golden figure (all-core boost frequency is lower at 3.8GHz). The chip consumes up to 28W of TDP.

It has a dedicated fingerprint reader. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

To put things into perspective, the hardware inside the Pavilion Laptop 13 is designed from ground-up for efficiency. It isn’t cut out for ground-breaking performance but that’s where this laptop’s entry-level positioning kicks in and helps keep your expectations in check. With that out of the way, let’s talk about all the things that this laptop can do for you and all the things that it can’t.

Single-core performance is where this laptop really shines. Basic day-to-day tasks are handled well by the Pavilion Laptop 13 which means it’s a capable machine for basic work from home scenarios including web browsing, spreadsheet editing, mails, video calls (there is a decent 720p webcam in this laptop), and running a bunch of entertainment apps from Netflix to Spotify. It can muster some light photo and video editing here and there but multithreaded performance is expectedly on the mediocre side here so you’d want to stay clear of hardcore content creation on this one. The same is true about gaming. For context, the Iris Xe Graphics G7 iGPU inside this laptop is comparable to something like say, the Nvidia GeForce MX250. Some light gaming is definitely not off the charts, but don’t think of this as a gaming laptop because it is not intended to be one.

It has 16GB DDR4-3200 SDRAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Stick to the script and this is a very nice laptop. Very reliable. It stays cool mostly. Or, to use the more colloquial term, it does not throttle. Not unless you’re consciously making an effort to stress it.

The great thing about a budget laptop is, you expect it to have a bevy of ports. Though, there are always exceptions and remember, it’s also got to do with the kind of space that is available. You got to have enough room to be able to put those ports in after all. HP has put every inch of this laptop to good use. The result is, you get 1 USB Type-C (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4), 2 USB Type-A, 1 HDMI 2.0, micro-SD card reader, 1 AC smart pin and, a headphone/microphone combo.

The laptop has a decent 720p webcam. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Now that we’ve established that design and all-round performance are the Pavilion Laptop 13’s biggest selling points, let’s talk about its weaknesses. It has two.

One is the display. This is 13.3-inch with a 1080p resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio. The panel is IPS. And glossy. It goes without saying that HP is marketing it as an entertainment on the go kind of device. It is to an extent until you’re actually out and about and you realise, it doesn’t get very bright. A silver lining is the dual bottom-firing speaker setup. It is pretty impressive for a package as compact as this.

Moving on, colours are also not the most accurate straight out of the box. Manual tinkering does not make a whole lot of difference either. Just another reason why, you can’t use this laptop for any pro-grade photo editing.

Design and all-round performance are the Pavilion Laptop 13’s biggest selling points. (Photo credit: Saurabh Singh/Financial Express)

Another area where the Pavilion Laptop 13 leaves a lot to be desired is the battery life. The size itself – 43Wh – does not inspire a lot of confidence but I was expecting a little more because of the laptop’s energy efficient processor. I have been averaging between 4-5 hours on casual usage which is way off, even disappointing. The laptop supports fast charging but only via the accompanying barrel charger.

HP Pavilion Laptop 13 final thoughts

There’s a lot to like about the Pavilion Laptop 13. Simply basis of performance alone, this laptop can punch way above its weight class which is the first thing you’d want from a laptop like this. So, no issues there. That it can look as good, and yet somehow, also manage to include almost everything you’d want from a laptop like this is the icing on the cake. It is also future-ready for Windows 11.

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There are areas where it could have been better, but come to think of it, the Pavilion Laptop 13 gets so many things right, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be on top of your radar. Priced at Rs 73,999, it offers terrific value and very few compromises making it an instant recommendation for anybody looking for such a package.

Pros: Well designed, Slim and light form factor, Plenty of ports, Good performance

Cons: Display doesn’t get very bright, Cramped touchpad, Battery life could be better

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First published on: 03-08-2021 at 10:18 IST
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