Good performance for price; Multiple color options; Comfortable keyboard; Quality speakers; Optical drive included
Below-average battery life; Lackluster graphics performance
The HP Pavilion g6z provides a solid Windows 8 computing experience, good sound and fun color options for a budget-friendly price.
HP has impressed in the past when it comes to budget notebooks, and now the company has refreshed its Pavilion line with a Windows 8 software upgrade and a 2.7-GHz AMD dual-core A6 processor. Like the Intel-powered Pavilion g6t-2000, the HP Pavilion g6z-2200 comes equipped with Dolby audio and a roomy keyboard with a full numeric keypad. Sporting an aggressive price tag of $454, is the g6z the budget notebook to get?
Dolby's integrated Advanced Audio speakers sit just above the keyboard, and the elongated silver power button is situated in the upper left corner. We love the Pavilion g6z's smooth exterior, but the shiny plastic does little to hide fingerprint smudges.
Measuring 14.8 x 9.6 x 1.2-inches and weighing 5.2 pounds, the g6z fit comfortably on our lap and is lighter than Acer's Aspire V3-551-8458 (5.4 pounds). HP's 4.6-pound Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 weighs less but lacks an optical drive.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Display and Audio
Just like the Pavilion g6t-2000, the Pavilion g6z-2200 features a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 BrightView LED-backlit screen. Images and videos looked crisp, even when viewing clips from wide angles. When watching the trailer for "Man of Steel," details were sharp but the brightness was sub-par. The colorful explosions and airy flight sequences didn't pop as much as we would have liked, but close-up scenes were rich and defined.
Powered by Dolby's Advanced Audio technology, the g6z-2200's Altec Lansing speakers offer impressive sound quality for a sub-$500 notebook. Since the speakers are located between the display and keyboard, sound quality didn't degrade when the notebook was in our lap. When listening to Arcade Fire's "No Cars Go," the vocals and melody sounded full and boisterous. We could fill our testing room at half volume.
Dolby's Advanced Audio v2 control panel let us customize audio settings, and use presets for Movie, Music and Voice. It also has a setting to eliminate background noise, such as fans, when recording audio.
The Pavilion g6z managed to stay cool during our heat test, which involves streaming Hulu at full screen for 15 minutes. The touchpad registered 77 degrees Fahrenheit, while the area between the G and H keys reached 80 degrees. The underside measured 78 degrees, and we found that the Pavilion g6 didn't feel hot to the touch after it had been running for an hour. Generally, we consider anything above 95 degrees uncomfortable, and the Pavilion g6z barely came close to that threshold.
Ports and Webcam
The Pavilion g6z-2200 sports a webcam that can take photos and videos up to 1280 x 720 pixels. The webcam captured adequate photos with a fair amount of detail in well-lit environments, but you'll find some noise when looking at images closely.
The notebook comes with CyberLink's YouCam software, which allows you to add visual effects, which range from mounting silly hats on your head to inserting animations.
The AMD-powered HP took only 21 seconds to load the 64-bit Windows 8. That puts this notebook right between the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 (0:18) and the Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (0:24).
During PCMark 7, the g6z-2200 scored 1,731, which is comparable to other budget notebooks we've tested recently. The Acer Aspire V3-551-8458, which has a 1.9-GHz AMD quad-core A8-4500M APU, scored a similar 1,788, while the HP Pavilion Sleekbook 14z-b000 (1.7-GHz AMD quad-core A8-4555M) notched a lower score of 1,469. The HP Pavilion g6t-2000, which had a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i3-2370M GPU, scored 1,992.
On Geekbench the Pavilion g6z-220 scored 3,332. While that showing is half that of the 6,608 mainstream notebook category average, it's slightly better than the Pavilion Sleekbook (3,150). The Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (3,713) scored higher.
It took the g6z-2200's hard drive 2 minutes and 30 seconds to duplicate 4.97 GB of mixed media files, equaling a rate of 33.9 MBps. That rate is much faster than the Pavilion Sleekbook-15Z-b000 (22.9 MBps) and the Acer Aspire V3-551-8458 (25.8 MBps).
The g6z-2200 performed moderately well during our Open Office Spreadsheet test, taking 7 minutes and 35 seconds to match 20,000 names to their corresponding addresses. While the category average is 5:50, the g6z-2200 is still faster than the Pavilion Sleekbook (10:12) and the Aspire V3 (10:09). The Intel-powered g6t-2000 finished the test in 6 minutes and 43 seconds.
During our 3DMark11 test, which measures a PC's overall graphics performance, the g6z-2200's AMD Radeon HD 7000 graphics card scored 642. This is far below the 1,117 average, but is still higher than the Pavilion Sleekbook 15z-b000 (468). Acer's Aspire V3-551-8458, which boasts an AMD Radeon HD 7640G graphics chip, outshined both machines with a score of 982.
The g6z-2200 ran "World of Warcraft" at an unplayable 21.6 frames per second using autodetect settings, which doesn't come close to the 67 fps category average. The Acer Aspire V3 averaged a much higher 46 fps on the Good setting.
While the g6z doesn't come with any pre-installed security software or a backup manager, you'll find all the standard apps that come with Windows 8. Netflix, eBay, Kindle, iHeartRadio and Skype are also included. The g6z-2200 is preloaded with reduced-functionality versions of Microsoft Word and Excel with advertising, but no other Office apps.
The Pavilion g6z-2200 starts at $429, which gets you the same hard drive and RAM as our $454 review unit, but a less powerful 2.5GHz AMD Dual-Core A4-4300M APU.
Upgrading to a 1.9-GHz AMD Quad Core A6-4500M is $50 above our $459 configuration, and you can opt for a 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7670M graphics card for $50. Consumers can also increase the RAM to 8GB ($100), and opt for a 750GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive for $70.
|CPU||2.7GHz AMD Dual-Core A6-4400M|
|Operating System||Windows 8|
|RAM Upgradable to|
|Hard Drive Size||500GB|
|Hard Drive Speed||7,200rpm|
|Hard Drive Type|
|Optical Drive||DVD /-R /-RW|
|Optical Drive Speed||8X|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series|
|Touchpad Size||3.75 x 2.8 inches|
|Ports (excluding USB)||VGA|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Headphone/Mic|
|Ports (excluding USB)||HDMI|
|Ports (excluding USB)||Ethernet|
|Card Slots||Multi-Format Digital Memory Card Reader|
|Size||14.8 x 9.6 x 1.2 inches|