HP Pavilion TouchSmart 15 review
A keenly priced touchscreen laptop, but middling performance puts it behind the best of the budget crop
Review Date: 26 Sep 2013
Reviewed By: Sasha Muller
Price when reviewed: £374 (£449 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
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/m2, 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.
Author: Sasha Muller
- Toshiba beats retreat from consumer PC market
- Google to follow Apple with device encryption
- U2 and Apple working on "new music format"
- Ellison steps down: but who's really running Oracle now?
- Audioboo to become Audioboom in app revamp
- Apple slaps down Google and police, as it takes high ground on user privacy
- Amazon releases high-end Kindle Voyage Touch
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Virgin carpeted again for broadband speed claims
- Microsoft set to make more job cuts
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- Apple Watch, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus: Tim Cook's Apple back with a bang?
- BT Home Hub 5: how to get maximum speed
- 20 years of PC Pro: one-star reviews (including "the worst tablet we've ever seen")
- 20 years of PC Pro: our best covers
- Why we've closed the PC Pro forums
- The 7 best Chromebooks of 2014
- iPhone 6 vs Galaxy S5: is the Apple or Samsung flagship smartphone right for you?
- How to install iOS 8 without deleting apps and data
- The best smartwatches of 2014: what's the best smartwatch?
- Nexus 6 (X or Shamu) release date, price and specs rumour roundup
- Best of IDF: top tech and memorable moments from Intel's tech show
- How Apple Pay works and how to use it on your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch
- Tech of the future... and the British boffins building it
- Abuse magnets: the people behind corporate Twitter accounts
- Putting people at the centre of software design
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office