HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 review
A keenly priced touchscreen laptop, but middling performance puts it behind the best of the budget crop
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.
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.
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.
|Price ex VAT||£374|
|Price inc VAT||£449|
|Features & Design||4|
|Value for Money||3|
|Warranty||1yr collect and return|
|Dimensions||386 x 259 x 24mm (WDH)|
Processor and memory
Screen and video
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,366|
|Resolution screen vertical||768|
|Resolution||1366 x 768|
|Replacement battery price inc VAT||£0|
|Wired adapter speed||100Mbits/sec|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Integrated 3G adapter||no|
|USB ports (downstream)||1|
|3.5mm audio jacks||1|
|SD card reader||yes|
|Memory Stick reader||no|
|MMC (multimedia card) reader||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|
Operating system and software
|Operating system||Windows 8 64-bit|
|OS family||Windows 8|