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HP Pavilion x360-14 review: This convertible needs more juice

The Pavilion x360-14 from HP has a sophisticated design and powerful specifications, but its battery life is a disappointment

The 14-inch display (1,920x1,080 resolution) of HP Pavilion x360-14 is genuinely good, with accurate, vibrant colours.
The 14-inch display (1,920x1,080 resolution) of HP Pavilion x360-14 is genuinely good, with accurate, vibrant colours.

Convertible computing devices, which are in vogue, can be used in office as a replacement for your workstation, as a lightweight device for work travel, and at home for work and entertainment apps. The biggest advantage these devices offer is that you can fold the keyboard all the way back, and replicate a “tablet mode" as well. But the experience is yet to be perfected.

HP is now making another attempt at achieving just the right balance between laptops and tablets with the Pavilion x360 14-ba073tx.

At first glance, you may not even realize that the HP Pavilion x360 is a hybrid computing device—it looks like a conventional laptop. It has a generally subdued colour theme, a mix of grey and silver colours. The hinge design allows the display to fold all the way back, converting the laptop into something you could hold up like a tablet.

For all the sophistication and classy design, however, the drawback is that the Pavilion x360-14 weighs 1.72kg, which isn’t entirely comfortable to hold up as a tablet.

The 14-inch display (1,920x1,080 resolution) is genuinely good, with accurate, vibrant colours. Brightness and contrast levels are good too, even in brightly lit rooms. There is a glass layer above the display which makes it slightly reflective. But this can be resolved by increasing the brightness a bit. The touch response is consistent too, something that will come in handy when you use the Pavilion x360 in tablet mode.

In terms of power and performance, the Pavilion x360 runs the Intel Core i5-7200U processor, with 8 GB RAM. On paper, then, the performance should be fast from the outset, but it isn’t when you log in to Windows 10 for the first time—a bunch of HP’s own pre-loaded apps and services all seem to start up, so performance feels rather sluggish. We would recommend uninstalling what you don’t need; the performance will then be significantly faster. After this spring-cleaning, the multitasking performance was quite smooth, with app-loading and switching times minimal.

Battery life is quite disappointing though, and in our tests, the battery lasted between 1 hour, 53 minutes and 3 hours, depending on the display brightness and how much we were stressing it with apps and multitasking. Even if you are very careful running the screen at low brightness and keeping only the very essential software and web browser tabs open, you will at best be able to eke out 3 hours on a single battery charge. For a premium convertible computing device, this is a disappointment, at a time when the Apple MacBook (Rs1,04,800; holds fort for almost 12 hours of battery backup time and the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 convertibles (Rs60,490 onwards; offer upwards of 6 hours on a single charge, depending on app load and screen brightness.

We have often praised HP’s island-style keyboard layouts in laptops over the years, but in the Pavilion x360, the layout has changed a bit in terms of key spacing. It takes a bit of getting used to initially. What helps is that the keys still offer consistent response to every press, which helps with quick typing. However, the magic of the older keyboard layout is definitely missing, and so is the sharp response that brought its predecessors very close to the almost perfect keyboards in Apple’s MacBook Pro range.

The HP Pavilion x360 starts off on a bright note, with a sophisticated design and powerful specifications. However, this convertible computing device is expensive, and that magnifies its shortcomings. The poor battery life could well be a deal breaker for many users.

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