Want to use the HP Pavilion Aero for gaming? Here’s what you need
The HP Pavilion Aero is one of the company’s best laptops, and it packs some great specs for its price and weight. Being the lightest consumer laptop in HP’s lineup might tell you that you can’t use it for gaming, but that’s not true. Nowadays, not only are thin-and-light laptops fairly powerful, we also have cloud gaming, so you can definitely get some games going without heavy and bulky hardware. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the things you might need if you want to use the HP Pavilion Aero for gaming.
Of course, when it comes to using a laptop for gaming, the first thing you might think of is an external GPU. However, this is an AMD-powered laptop, so Thunderbolt support isn’t included. That does limit what kind of gaming you can do on the HP Pavilion Aero. Regardless, you can still get a good gaming experience through other methods, and some games can still work great on this hardware. Here’s what you’ll need to use your laptop for gaming.
As we mentioned, the HP Pavilion Aero doesn’t have super powerful hardware to turn demanding games locally. Thankfully, we live in the era of cloud gaming, and there are multiple ways you can play without having a gaming PC. Cloud gaming means the actual games are being rendered and played on servers, not your computer. Instead, those servers render the game and stream the video of those games to your device, which can be a computer or a phone. At the same time of course, they register your input and send it back to the server.
Of course, that does mean you need a stable internet connection, but you might be surprised with how well cloud gaming works. Most of these services adapt the quality of the video stream depending on your internet speed, so you can still get a solid experience.
So, what cloud gaming services can you use on the HP Pavilion Aero? Arguably one of the best ones is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. It costs $15 per month, but you get access to lots of games at no additional cost, including the latest releases from Microsoft’s own game studios. Microsoft is always adding new games to Game Pass, too. You can play these games on the web or by using the Xbox app (though this feature is only available for Xbox Insiders right now).
But there are other options. If you’d rather buy games individually, Google Stadia is available for free, and you can just buy games as you go. You can opt for Stadia Pro, too, which has a $10/month monthly fee but includes some games at no additional cost and gets you some discounts. If you already have a library of PC games you’ve bought over the years, NVIDIA’s GeForce Now might be the best option for you. Rather than being its own marketplace, GeForce Now lets you play games from your Steam, Epic Games Store, and other libraries through the cloud. GeForce Now is also free, but you can only play for one hour at a time and you’re forced to wait for servers to become available. You can pay $10/month for a priority membership, so you don’t have to wait to get into a server and you can play for as long as you want.
Since some of these platforms have free tiers, you can use them to test whether your internet connection is good enough to handle cloud gaming. It might be a smart idea to do that if you’re worried about not being able to use these services.
Xbox Wireless Controller
Of course, even with cloud gaming, your experience can be enhanced with some peripherals. What you’ll need is largely dependent on your preferences and the games you play. If you choose to go the Xbox Game Pass route, the one you’re probably going to need the most is a controller. The games available to stream on Xbox Game Pass are based on the console versions of each game, so they’re usually designed for controller inputs. Plus, controllers are just easier to use for some people.
The Xbox Wireless Controller is the de facto controller for most games. It’s comfortable and ergonomic, and it’s the perfect match for Xbox Game Pass games. But even if you play PC games more often, most titles are programmed to work with the Xbox Wireless Controller, so this is easily the best choice for gaming. Plus, this controller works with Bluetooth, so you can even use it with your phone.
If controllers aren’t your style, then you’ll absolutely want a mouse to help with your gaming experience. Any game that requires moving your mouse, especially if you have to use the keyboard at the same time, is borderline unplayable with a touchpad. Mice are especially useful in first- or third-person shooter games, or any game that involves camera controls and moving at the same time.
There are plenty of gaming mice out there, but seeing as you’re mostly going to be using cloud gaming on the HP Pavilion Aero, you don’t need to go too crazy with high DPIs and polling rates. The Razer DeathAdder v2 is a solid mouse with a DPI of 20,000, optical switches, and Razer Chroma RGB support with 16.8 million colors to choose from. You can also upgrade to the Pro model if you prefer a wireless mouse.
You may also want a mousepad to go along with your mouse, like the Razer Sphex V3.
This is likely the most optional of the bunch, as it’s usually a matter of comfort more than necessity. Still, gaming keyboards can be much more comfortable or more responsive than a slim laptop keyboard can offer. If you’re looking for a good gaming keyboard, mechanical keyboards are usually the way to go, and one of the best you can get right now is the Logitech G915 TKL.
This is a keyboard with a tenkeyless design, meaning it doesn’t have a number pad. While that can be a bummer for some users, it helps make this keyboard a bit more compact and easier to carry around. It’s a wireless keyboard using Logitech’s Lightspeed wireless connection or Bluetooth, though you can also use a USB cable to connect. It has a rechargeable battery that provides up to 40 hours of use on a charge, and it supports Logitech’s Lightsync RGB lighting. If that’s a little too pricey, you can using the wired Logitech G Pro keyboard, which still has RGB and mechanical switches.
Admittedly, a gaming monitor is something you probably don’t really have a lot of use for if you’re gaming on the HP Pavilion Aero. The hardware in this laptop won’t be able to run many games above 60 frames per second, and cloud streaming too doesn’t support such high frame rates. However, if you want a larger canvas for your games, or if you want to be prepared in case cloud gaming services do eventually add support for higher refresh rates, you can find some good affordable gaming monitors right now.
One example is the Gigabyte G27FC, which gives you a much bigger 27-inch display to play your games on. It’s a curved display to help with comfort and viewing angles, plus it supports up to a 165Hz refresh rate. You won’t be making the most of it right now, but at least you won’t have to spend extra on a high refresh rate monitor if that becomes a possibility in the future.
With that, you’re ready to get some gaming on using your HP Pavilion Aero. Of course, it’s also worth pointing out the HP Pavilion Aero can run some lighter titles just fine. As mobile processors have become much more powerful, some older titles can still run well on them. Lighter games like Fortnite or Rocket League may run well on this laptop with some graphical tweaks. But cloud gaming is the way to go if you want high-end gaming experiences with AAA titles.
When it comes to the peripherals naturally, you won’t need every single thing on this list, but it will depend on your tastes and preferences. Personally, I find the option to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and an Xbox Wireless Controller the most appealing here, but if you want to play PC games with GeForce Now, a mouse and keyboard might be much more suited for that.
Now that you know you can use the HP Pavilion Aero for gaming, you can buy it using the link below. Aside from gaming, this is an incredibly competent laptop with AMD Ryzen 5000 series processors, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 16:10 Full HD+ display, all of which make it a fantastic laptop for productivity. And if you want cheaper options, you may also be able to turn some of HP’s budget laptops into gaming machines the same way.