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Lifewire / Jonno Hill
Plain and simple, the HP Envy 17t Touch is a well-built laptop that makes few compromises on its specs. Its slim footprint makes it a real alternative to Apple’s MacBook Pro, although this machine comes in almost $1,000 cheaper. It packs an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor plus 16GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive.
Design-wise, it is a bit heavier than a MacBook at 6.73 pounds. It is housed in a sleek aluminum and magnesium chassis and has a beautifully backlit keyboard and large touchpad. Perhaps most gush-worthy is its 17.3-inch, multi-touch 1920 x 1080-pixel display, which looks spectacular under edge-to-edge glass. HP has also partnered with Bang & Olufsen for impressive built-in speakers.
Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Budget laptops don’t have to mean poor performance. Packing plenty of punch for the price, the HP Pavilion 14" HD Notebook offers an Intel Core i5 processor with up to 3.1GHz of speed, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. All that performance power is packaged in a silhouette just 4.85 pounds and 0.78 inches at its thinnest point. Typing on the laptop is a real joy with the island-style backlit keyboard providing great feedback for every keystroke. With a backlight option, working in fairly dark rooms is no issue.
A 14-inch HD display is the highlight of the Pavilion with 1366 x 768 resolution. That’s not quite full HD (1920 x 1080), but it provides ample space for multitasking and watching videos. Audio playback is handled by built-in Bang and Olufsen dual speakers which perform well for the machine's price point. Battery life is set at just under 8 hours for straight video viewing and up to 9 hours of mixed usage.
HP’s ProBook series has gotten yet another upgrade and proves to be the best improvement yet thanks to the inclusion of an 8th generation Core i5-8250U processor with integrated UHD Graphics 620. This makes it a great choice for the businessperson who values power.
Design-wise, it’s not as big of a change, but that’s not a bad thing. It still looks great and thanks to a new metallic finish, it’s no longer prone to smudges and fingerprints, but maintains the sleek clamshell aesthetic. It's loaded with 8GB of DDR4 RAM and a speedy 256GB NVMe SSD, which means load and boot times will be dramatically reduced. The G5 also upgrades the screen, now featuring a 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 display with anti-glare tech.
While it doesn’t look like your typical gaming computer with flashy streaks and stripes, the HP Pavilion Power stands shoulder to shoulder with the other gaming laptops out there. Featuring an Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor and AMD Radeon RX 550 chip with 12GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive, hard-core gamers can enjoy playing demanding games with blazing speed on Windows 10.
Its 15-inch display is attached by a hook of sorts that lifts the base at a slight angle when opened. This design is a slight departure from others that we’ve seen, but looks good nonetheless. On the base, the chiclet keyboard has fairly soft feedback and keeps clatter to a minimum for a quieter gaming experience. And while it doesn’t have advanced backlight settings prominent on other gaming machines, you can toggle on a white backlighting for a more subtle effect. So for serious gamers who want to be able to use their laptops outside the confines of their playroom, the HP Pavilion Power is a sure bet.
Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
If you’re still skeptical of the 2-in-1 form factor, the good-looking Spectre x360 will convince you once and for all. With a 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U mobile processor, 16GB of DDR4-2133 SDRAM and a 512GB solid state drive, it has the processing power of a traditional laptop to make multitasking a breeze. But with its 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD touchscreen that flips back 360 degrees, it also has the flexibility of a tablet. Its color range is impressive, covering 101.7 percent of the sRGB spectrum, and has a Delta-E of 0.74, which equals fantastic color accuracy. This version also comes included with HP’s new Active Pen, which delivers a full Windows Ink experience a la a Microsoft Surface. It’s hands-down one of the best 2-in-1s on the market, and dare we say a top contender for HP laptops overall.
For some people, portability is their priority, but that doesn’t mean they have to sacrifice power. Weighing about 2.5 pounds, this compact machine is certainly one you can tote around in your bag all day. But it’s also one that can keep you connected all day: it’s equipped with an Intel DualCore Celeron N3060, 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD. It also has a two-cell li-ion polymer battery that’ll score you around 10 hours of battery life, depending on your use.
This machine’s 11.6-inch display might seem small to some, but it’s sharp nonetheless, with a 1366 x 768 resolution, and an anti-glare feature that helps your work in all different brightness settings. And while the design is what you’d expect of a notebook, it still feels sturdy enough that you won’t have to think twice as you toss it into your bag before dashing off to your next meeting.
Windows Vs. Chrome OS - Most HP laptops come equipped with Windows, but the brand also makes some great Chromebook options. If you need to run any Windows apps for work or if you want to game on your laptop, stick with Windows. If you plan to use your laptop primarily for email, surfing the Web, and basic word processing, consider a Chromebook.
Thunderbolt 3 - Some HP models come equipped with Thunderbolt 3 ports, which are completely compatible with USB-C cables and devices but offer much faster transfer speeds.
Gaming performance - If you want an all-purpose laptop that can handle some gaming, look for a Pavilion with a decent graphics card. If you’re serious about gaming, check out the HP Omen line.