HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 review

26 Sep 2013

A keenly priced touchscreen laptop, but middling performance puts it behind the best of the budget crop

Price when reviewed: 
449(£449 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
3

HP’s been growing its range of AMD-powered Sleekbooks for some time, and it’s now the turn of its Pavilion TouchSmart 15 to take the spotlight. It's a laptop, you won't be surprised to discover, that boasts a 15in touchscreen as its main selling point.

What's most impressive about the TouchSmart 15, though, is how much HP has managed to cram in for the money. There’s a generously proportioned 1TB hard disk, 8GB of RAM, and even a pair of USB 3 ports – something cheaper laptops often fail to include.

At 2.51kg, this is no Ultrabook, but there’s a healthy splash of style. The rounded edges and smooth curves are pleasingly understated, and the decision to do away with the optical drive helps keep the chassis slim. Look closer still and you’ll see the gloss black plastics are impregnated with sparkly silver flecks, sealed just beneath the surface.

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15

Underneath the HP’s glittery exterior lies AMD’s 1.9GHz A4-4355M APU. In terms of application performance, it’s markedly slower than Intel-powered rivals - a result of 0.38 in our benchmarks puts it some way behind budget laptops equipped with low-voltage Core i3 processors, such as theSony VAIO Fit 15E or the Dell Inspiron 15R.

Graphics performance is a little more heartening. The Radeon HD 7400G graphics core delivered a playable 37fps in our Low quality Crysis test – enough to put the HP just ahead of its Intel-powered competitors.

The HP’s uneven performance continues in other areas. It lasted a mere 4hrs 7mins in our light-use battery test, and we don’t particularly like the keyboard. A bouncy base and short-travel keys means it isn’t the most pleasant to type on, and the touchpad beneath is nothing special, either.

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15

Crucially, though, it's the HP's 15.6in touchscreen that's most disappointing. Brightness topped out at a dim 175cd/m[sup]2[/sup], and images appeared dull and under-saturated even by budget laptop standards. Colour accuracy is woeful, too, and left our test photographs looking tinted and unnatural.

At only £449, the HP's 1TB hard disk and 8GB of memory make it look like a great deal, but we're not convinced. While touch-enabled rivals such as the Sony VAIO Fit 15E cost more, we'd advise it's a price worth paying for a more balanced package.

Details

Price ex VAT £374
Price inc VAT £449
Overall rating 3
Features & Design 4
Value for Money 3
Performance 3

Warranty

Warranty 1yr collect and return

Physical specifications

Dimensions 386 x 259 x 24mm (WDH)
Weight 2.510kg
Travelling weight 2.9kg

Processor and memory

Processor AMD A4-4355M
RAM capacity 8.00GB
Memory type DDR3

Screen and video

Screen size 15.6in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
HDMI outputs 1

Drives

Capacity 1.00TB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Optical drive None
Battery capacity 3,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 100Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

USB ports (downstream) 1
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader no
MMC (multimedia card) reader yes
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.9mp

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 4hr 7min
3D performance (crysis) low settings 37fps
3D performance setting Low
Overall Real World Benchmark score 0.38
Responsiveness score 0.62
Media score 0.33
Multitasking score 0.18

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 8 64-bit
OS family Windows 8

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