HP Pavilion Plus 14
We liked last year’s HP Pavilion Plus 14 for delivering an OLED display and an all-metal chassis at a mainstream price. Poor battery life, however, somewhat soured the deal. The same display and chassis return for this year’s update, but inside is a bigger, longer-lasting battery along with the requisite move to 13th-gen Intel Core and AMD Ryzen 7000 processors. With better battery life, this latest Pavilion Plus 14 is more well-rounded, making it one of our favorite laptops for 2023, even if its price has crept upward from last year’s model.
Our $1,220 HP Pavilion Plus 14 test model features a 14-inch, 2.8K OLED display powered by an AMD Ryzen 7 7840U CPU and a 4-cell, 68-watt-hour battery. The larger battery combined with an efficient Ryzen 7 U-series chip results in greatly improved battery life over last year’s model which featured a higher-powered Intel CPU and smaller battery. Despite the bigger battery, this year’s version is just as thin and light as last year’s, while also receiving smaller improvements to the webcam and keyboard. The Pavilion Plus 14 is an easy laptop to recommend for home, work or school.
Configuration as tested
|Price as reviewed||$1,220|
|Display size/resolution||14-inch 2,880×1,800 120Hz OLED display|
|CPU||3.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7840U|
|Memory||16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM|
|Graphics||512MB AMD Radeon 780M graphics|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3|
|Operating system||Windows Home 11 22H2|
The HP Pavilion Plus 14 starts at $850 for a model with an AMD Ryzen 5 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB solid-state drive and a full-HD IPS LCD display. Our test model features upgrades to the CPU (the aforementioned Ryzen 7), display (2.8K, 120Hz OLED) and storage (1TB SSD) that add $370 to the price and bring the total to $1,220. HP regularly discounts its laptops, too, so today’s $1,200 laptop might be down to $1,000 tomorrow. However, regardless of the configuration you go with, all of them have integrated AMD Radeon graphics, and there is no option to add a dedicated GPU.
There are no AMD-based Pavilion Plus 14 models available in the UK but a 13th-gen Intel model with an OLED display costs £1,099. The same AMD-based model we tested is available for AU$2,199 in Australia.
In testing, our Pavilion Plus 14 test system proved to be an able performer. As you can see in the benchmark charts at the end of this review, the slim, compact laptop excelled on our application tests, besting an Intel Core U-series laptop and holding its own against, and in some instances besting, laptops with higher-powered Intel Core P- and H-series processors. Its stellar results on 3DMark show AMD’s integrated Radeon 780M graphics are superior to Intel’s Iris Xe graphics. The Pavilion Plus 14 shouldn’t be confused with a gaming laptop, but its Radeon graphics should let you perform media creation and editing tasks a bit more quickly than competing Intel-based models.
This year’s Pavilion Plus 14 features better battery life than last year’s model, but the OLED display still exacts a toll on the laptop’s runtime. It lasted nearly 8 hours on our streaming video battery drain test. You can expect slightly longer battery life when you aren’t constantly streaming a video, so the Pavilion Plus 14 should be able to get you through a workday on a single charge with some power management. Last year’s model with a more demanding 45-watt Core i7 H-series chip and undersized 3-cell, 51-watt-hour battery failed to last even 5 hours on our battery test.
The bigger battery is a plus
The big additions to this latest Pavilion Plus 14 are AMD processors being offered alongside Intel chips and the move to a larger, stronger battery. What’s great, though, is the Pavilion Plus 14 remains a svelte 3.1 pounds — the same as last year’s model. It’s lighter than other 14-inch laptops we’ve reviewed recently, including the 3.4-pound Acer Swift X 14, 3.4-pound HP Dragonfly Pro, 3.5-pound MacBook Pro 14 and 3.6-pound Lenovo Slim Pro 7.
The all-metal chassis feels solid and is available in three colors. We reviewed it in silver, but you can also choose blue or pink for an added $19. In silver, the Pavilion Plus 14 offers a standard look that’s no different from the host of other brushed aluminum silver laptops.
One cosmetic change HP made to the Pavilion Plus 14 is swapping out the silver keyboard for dark gray keys, a change I applaud. I have always found HP’s low-contrast silver keyboards a classic case of prioritizing form over function. The white icons against the light silver keys are just plain difficult to read in certain situations. I often found myself forced to turn on the keyboard backlighting (another draw on the battery) not just in a darkened room but also when the room was too bright and made the keys look blank. The dark gray keys are easy to make out in any lighting scenario, especially with their oversized key legends. You also get two-level keyboard backlighting for nighttime computing and red-eye flights.
The 14-inch OLED display is splendid with excellent color reproduction and contrast. It’s well worth the added $110 upcharge. In effect, it’s a $240 upgrade because if you choose the OLED option, you are also forced to upgrade from the baseline Ryzen 5 to a Ryzen 7 for another $130. (This upgrade also moves you from the baseline 3-cell, 51-watt-hour battery to a 4-cell, 68-watt-hour battery.) Using a Spyder X Elite colorimeter to test its color range, the Pavilion Plus 14’s OLED has good coverage with 100% of both sRGB and DCI-P3; AdobeRGB coverage is 92%.
With the 2.8K (2,880×1,800 pixels) resolution, text and images look sharp. The display is also faster than the standard 60Hz panel. It features a variable refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz, displaying smooth movement with videos. The OLED panel is rated for 400 nits, and my tests proved that number to be an accurate assessment; I measured a peak brightness of 400.5 nits.
The webcam hits the Triple Crown for laptop webcams. It’s a 5-megapixel camera with a 1440p video resolution, an IR sensor and a physical privacy shutter. The 1440p resolution results in an even crisper and cleaner image than that of a 1080p camera, which would already be an improvement over earlier (and grainier) 720p cams. The IR sensor lets you use facial recognition to log into the laptop easily and securely without needing to key in a password. And the Pavilion Plus 14 lacks a fingerprint reader, so the IR webcam is an important inclusion. Lastly, the privacy shutter provides certainty that no one is watching you when you aren’t using the camera. Additionally, one of the function keys on the keyboard acts as a microphone mute button, and a small LED glows orange so you can always know when you are on mute.
Aiding your appearance on video conferences beyond just the sharp, 5-megapixel cam is HP’s Enhanced Lighting app that turns part of your display into a ring light. You can adjust the positioning, shape and color of the ring to your specifications. Less useful is bloatware from Booking.com and WildTangent Games that you’ll probably want to remove.
The Pavilion Plus 14 falls shy of perfect in two areas, though. Its stereo speakers are underpowered and sound lousy, and because it’s an AMD-based laptop, it lacks Thunderbolt 4 support. Instead of getting the 40Gbps transfer speed of Thunderbolt 4, you are stuck in the mud with 10Gbps data transfers with a pair of USB-C ports and a 10Gbps USB-A port. There’s also another USB-A port with a 5Gbps speed.
HP addressed our chief concerns about last year’s model by adding a bigger battery for the OLED display and adding a privacy shutter and mic mute for the webcam. With a runtime that is at least average and can no longer be described as dreadful, the Pavilion Plus 14 is one of our favorite mainstream laptops. We love getting an all-metal body and OLED panel at its price along with excellent overall performance from the AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and integrated Radeon GPU. And at its size and weight, the Pavilion Plus 14 offers a great compromise between getting a screen large enough on which to be productive while remaining perfectly portable.
|HP Pavilion Plus 14 (2023)||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 3.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7840U; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 512MB AMD Radeon 780M graphics; 1TB SSD|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 1.7GHz Intel Core i7-1355U; 16GB DDR5 RAM; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD|
|Dell XPS 13 9320||Microsoft Windows 11; 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-1360P; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD|
|HP Pavilion Aero Laptop 13||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.9GHz AMD Ryzen 5 7535U; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 512MB AMD Radeon graphics; 256GB SSD|
|Acer Swift Go 14||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.4GHz Intel Core i7-13700H; 16GB DDR5 4,788MHz RAM; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 512GB SSD|
|HP Dragonfly Pro||Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 2.7GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7736; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon graphics; 512GB SSD|
|HP Pavilion Plus Laptop 14 (2022)||Microsoft Windows 11 Pro; 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-12700H; 16GB DDR4 3,200MHz RAM; 128MB Intel Iris Xe graphics; 1TB SSD|