HP Pavilion Plus Review: 90Hz OLED in a sub-$1,000 laptop
When it comes to laptops that cost under a thousand dollars, it really feels like you can’t beat the HP Pavilion Plus. This thing comes with a Core i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and a 2.8K 90Hz OLED display. That’s not all either, because it also comes with HP’s 5MP webcam, meaning that camera quality is better than a lot of competitors’ flagship laptops.
There are two key flaws. One is that it doesn’t have Thunderbolt, which isn’t the worst thing in the world. The other is that thanks to the 45W CPU that’s inside, battery life is pretty bad. The good news is that HP actually offers this laptop with all three of Intel’s main tiers of mobile processors. You can also get it with a 15W or a 28W processor, which should get you better battery life.
Navigate this review:
- HP Pavilion Plus pricing and availability
- HP Pavilion Plus specs
- Design: It weighs just over three pounds
- Display: The OLED display is beautiful
- Keyboard: No compromises this time
- Performance: The H-series processor isn’t really practical
- Should you buy the HP Pavilion Plus?
HP Pavilion Plus pricing and availability
- The HP Pavilion Plus is available from HP.com, Walmart, Staples, and more, starting at around $700
Announced earlier this year, the HP Pavilion Plus is available from major retailers like Walmart and Staples, and of course, HP.com. With the prices provided by HP, the lower end models are frequently marked down to around $700 at Staples and Walmart. Those include a 2.2K display, a P-series Core i5, 8GB RAM, and either 256GB or 512GB of storage.
Over on HP.com, you’ll find the model that the firm sent to me, which is normally $999 but marked down to $849. It includes a Core i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 2.8K 90Hz OLED display. There’s also a U-series model with the OLED display and RTX 2050 graphics for $1,229.99.
The HP Pavilion Plus comes in Natural Silver, Warm Gold, Mineral Silver, Space Blue, and Tranquil Pink. While all are available at HP.com, others will vary by retailer.
HP Pavilion Plus specs
|Processor||Intel Core i7-12700H (up to 4.7 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 24 MB L3 cache, 14 cores, 20 threads)|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe|
|Display||14″ diagonal, 2.8K (2880 x 1800), OLED, 90 Hz, UWVA, micro-edge, BrightView, Low Blue Light, SDR 400 nits, HDR 500 nits, 100% DCI-P3|
|Memory||16 GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM (onboard)|
|Storage||256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD|
|Connectivity||Realtek Wi-Fi 6 (2×2) and Bluetooth 5.2 combo (Supporting Gigabit data rate)|
|Battery||3-cell, 51 Wh Li-ion polymer
90 W USB Type-C power adapter, Supports battery fast charge: approximately 50% in 30 minutes
|Ports||2 SuperSpeed USB Type-C 10Gbps signaling rate (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4, HP Sleep and Charge)
2 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate
1 HDMI 2.1
1 headphone/microphone combo
1 microSD media card reader
|Webcam||HP True Vision 5MP camera with temporal noise reduction and integrated dual array digital microphones|
|Audio||Audio by B&O; Dual speakers; HP Audio Boost|
|Input||Full-size, backlit, natural silver keyboard
HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support
|OS||Windows 11 Pro|
Design: It weighs just over three pounds
- The HP Pavilion Plus is made out of aluminum, comes in pretty colors, and it’s pretty light
- It has two USB Type-A ports and two USB Type-C ports
Most laptop manufacturers tend to stick to their flagship products when they send out review units, and then we occasionally get to see products that are mainstream. I feel like about once a year, HP sends me something from the Pavilion lineup. For example, almost a year ago, I reviewed the Pavilion Aero, a sub-2.2-pound laptop with a Ryzen 7 5800U, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 16:10 display all for under a thousand dollars.
While, like any reviewer, I have a ton of fun in the premium segment, it’s really enjoyable to witness this more mainstream segment evolve. The Pavilion Plus isn’t as light as the Aero (the Aero still exists, if that’s more up your alley), but it has other perks, such as more powerful hardware and an OLED display. And also, the chassis is made out of aluminum instead of a magnesium alloy.
It comes in colors like Natural Silver, Warm Gold, Tranquil Pink, Space Blue, and Mineral Silver. There’s something for everyone there. If you want basic, you can get a regular silver laptop. That’s fine; it’s the most popular color. If you want something a little more personal, there are pink and blue options.
One benefit the Pavilion Plus has over some other consumer laptops is that it has more ports. On the right side, there’s one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port (5Gbps), two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports (10Gbps), and an HDMI 2.1 port. It’s nice to see an HDMI port with the latest technologies, but sadly, the USB Type-C ports are not Thunderbolt. That means that they support 10Gbps speeds instead of 40Gbps.
On the left side, there’s another USB Type-A port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. Every time I see a microSD card slot, I wish that the company used a full-size one, but it’s better than nothing. After all, you can use a microSD card and an adapter in your camera, and then you’re good to go. Also, take note of the second USB Type-A port. More premium consumer laptops from HP (and Lenovo too) only have one.
The design of the HP Pavilion Plus is really nice, feeling premium and sturdy. The only way you’d know it’s a Pavilion – as opposed to an Envy or a Spectre – is that it has the mainstream HP logo stamped into the lid. Yes, HP has two logos, one of which is reserved for premium products.
Display: The OLED display is beautiful
- The 14-inch 2.8K OLED screen is excellent, and you can’t beat it for this price
- It has a 5MP webcam
Laptops with OLED displays aren’t new, but they’re better than they’ve ever been. In the old days, OLED screens were reserved for very expensive SKUs of already-premium laptops. Now, we’re seeing them show up in laptops like this one, that cost under a thousand dollars.
They’ve gotten better too. For one thing, panels are being made at different aspect ratios like 16:10 and 3:2, and they’re also available at higher refresh rates. This one is 2.8K and 16:10, and you can turn the refresh rate up to 90Hz.
With an OLED display, the bottom line is that you’re going to get true blacks and more vibrant colors. The display isn’t entirely backlit like a regular LCD, so pixels are turned properly off. On devices where the screen is flush with the bezel, you actually might not be able to see where the screen ends and the bezel begins. I’ll put it this way. If your TV is showing something all black, you can still tell that it’s on. That’s because it’s backlit. If it was OLED, it would be truly black.
Now that that explanation is out of the way, I can say that my test showed support for 100% sRGB, 94% NTSC, 96% Adobe RGB, and 100% P3. That’s really good. On any OLED display, you’ll likely see 100% sRGB and 100% P3, and you’ll see scores in the 90s for NTSC and Adobe RGB, but this is still pretty good, even for an OLED screen.
As you can see, the black rate doesn’t change with the brightness. Max brightness was 403.4 nits, and the contrast ratio was 27,440:1, which is excellent. Indeed, this is an excellent display.
And again, you can turn it up to 90Hz for smooth animations. It’s a truly pleasant experience, but do be aware that it will burn through battery life. This is something that I’ve experienced a lot with Intel-powered laptops with 90Hz or 120Hz displays.
The webcam is 5MP, which is just wild. Over the last two and a half years, we’ve seen a boom in working from home, and suddenly webcam quality began to matter. It still took a good 18 months for decent webcams to start showing up in laptops. Some companies, like Dell, still aren’t using even FHD webcams in their premium laptops. But now, an FHD webcam is recommended in the latest Intel Evo spec.
But also, most companies have included these better webcams in their high-end to flagship products. With a Pavilion, I’m always looking for the compromise that HP used to hit the price point it wanted. I once reviewed a $699 Pavilion laptop with 4G LTE, one of the least inexpensive cellular laptops at the time, but it didn’t have a backlit keyboard. For most companies, the webcam would be that place to compromise and still include that old 720p sensor.
HP didn’t compromise here, and I comment it for that. I feel comfortable saying that the Pavilion Plus has the best webcam on a $999 laptop, because HP is just using the best webcams right now.
Keyboard: No compromises this time
- The full-size keyboard is backlit
- It has a big touchpad and a fingerprint sensor
I did mention earlier that I’ve reviewed Pavilion laptops without backlit keyboards, so I should point out that this one is backlit. I can safely take it a step further than that though. This is one of the best keyboards you can get on a mainstream notebook. HP makes really great keyboards, and that’s something that’s we’re starting to see show up in its more mainstream devices.
The touchpad is pretty big for the size of the device, which is always nice. I do enjoy seeing touchpads getting bigger on Windows laptops, as it just makes for a better experience.
As you can see, there’s also a fingerprint sensor to the bottom-right of the keyboard. There’s no IR camera for facial recognition, so this is your only shot at biometric authentication. It’s a pretty good fingerprint sensor too.
Performance: The H-series processor isn’t really practical
- HP offers the Pavilion Plus with 15W, 28W, and 45W processors
- Battery life with a 45W processor is not good
This is a really weird year for laptops. Intel has four different tiers for what can go inside of an ultrabook, and the HP Pavilion Plus comes with three of those. You can get it with a 15W U-series processor, a 28W P-series processor, or a 45W H-series processor. Interestingly, the U-series option can also come with a RTX 2050 graphics.
In any other year, this would probably just come with a 15W processor, but like I said, this is a weird year for laptops. Never in my career have I seen so many laptops with 45W CPUs and no dedicated graphics. The problem is that, while the unit that HP sent me comes with an H-series processor, it seems to be designed for a U-series processor. It’s the same problem I’m having with other laptops that have P-series or H-series processors. Performance actually ends up being better on the U-series chip because it can actually sustain its load, and then battery life ends up being better as well.
As for what performance is actually like with this Core i7-12700H, it’s fine. It’s everything you’d expect from a productivity laptop. It’s just not going to provide any real-world benefit that you’d get over a P-series or U-series chip, and you’re going to suffer a battery life hit.
|HP Pavilion Plus
|Dell XPS 15
Core i7-12700H, RTX 3050 Ti
|Acer Swift 3
|3DMark: Time Spy||1,676||4,535||2,021|
|Geekbench 5 (single / multi)||1,747 / 8,658||1,774 / 11,580||1,755 / 10,554|
|Cinebench R23 (single / multi)||1,660 / 9,725||1,797 / 11,695||1,739 / 10,276|
|CrossMark (overall / productivity / creativity / response time)||1,695 / 1,664 / 1,793 / 1,512||1,855 / 1,735 / 2,053 / 1,671||1,684 / 1,584 / 1,911 / 1,386|
As you can see, H-series processors look a lot better when they’re paired with dedicated graphics. And when you look at the scores next to that of a 28W P-series processor, there isn’t much of a difference.
Like I’ve been alluding to, battery life isn’t very good. The best I got was three hours and 20 minutes, which isn’t good for this form factor at all. On average, it was more like two hours and 40 minutes. I normally say that HP laptops are the best on battery life, and I’m sure I’d still be saying that if this had the U-series processor, but this unit is right in line with other laptops I’ve used with H-series processors.
Ultimately, I really think that if you go for the HP Pavilion Plus, you should go for the U-series processor, or maybe P-series if you know you need more performance cores.
Should you buy the HP Pavilion Plus?
At this point, you might be wondering if you’re the right person to buy the HP Pavilion Plus.
You should buy the HP Pavilion Plus if:
- You’ve been waiting for a laptop with a 90Hz OLED display to come in at an affordable price point
- You want a great productivity laptop with a lot of value
- You’re looking for a mainstream laptop that has the best webcam
You should NOT buy the HP Pavilion Plus if:
- You would benefit from Thunderbolt
- You need a lot of power
- You’re on the road a lot and you need great battery life
Ultimately, you might actually get better battery life from the model with the U-series processor. In fact, I’d expect that you would, but I don’t have experience with that. As for Thunderbolt, most people actually don’t benefit from that. The Intel technology is somewhat ubiquitous, but at the same time, most people aren’t connecting an external GPU, dual 4K monitors, or anything else that you can’t do with just a standard USB Type-C port.