HP is no stranger to gaming laptops. Their flagship gaming laptop line. HP Omen has a tagline of “For Gamers, By Games” However Omen models are considered on the higher end as far as both features and price.
The new Pavilion Gaming Laptop is HP’s newest foray into more budget friendly gaming laptops. The base model of the Gaming Laptop starts at $640 and tops out at around $1,250 for the fully loaded version. The base Pavilion 15t model comes well equipped with an Intel Core i5-9300H and a last-gen GTX 1050. The included GTX 1050 will be the main bottleneck in your new gaming laptop. HP offers several paths to upgrade the graphics card but the pricing jump is steep when you move up from the 1050. The 15t has a matte-black finish for the shell and is a big improvement over the traditional glossy plastic that comes with most laptops. An optional $10 to add keyboard backlighting is a great upgrade for this model. Keyboard backlighting really helps when searching for keys late at night or help to put off a little more glow for your evening sessions.
One area where the 15t falls short is the display. The Pavilion Gaming Laptop comes with a 1080p IPS display with a 60Hz refresh rate. To improve the display you will need to switch to a different model to increase resolution or to find that 144Hz refresh that a lot of gamers are looking for these days. However, if you stick with the stock GTX 1050, 1080p gaming is where you will want to stay anyways. The Pavilion Gaming Laptop’s 1080p display’s brightness comes in at 250 nits plugged in and lowers to 200 nits unplugged. This 20% brightness drop could negatively affect those who game in bright rooms or areas with a lot of ambient light. Out of all the optional upgrades, the one we recommend most is the 1080p at 144hz monitor upgrade. This will increase your gaming quality as well as the added benefit of a brighter image.
If you are a casual gamer the GTX 1050 and the stock CPU in the Pavilion Gaming Laptop will perform just fine in your day to day gaming needs. If you are more of a hardcore gamer who likes to play bleeding edge games, then a jump to HP’s higher-end OMEN laptops would be a wise choice. Overall, the Pavilion Gaming Laptop is a great budget laptop that will perform well with modern day games.