HP: 2019 Brand Report Card
HP has vaulted to No. 1 in our Best and Worst Brands report, thanks to its very strong reviews scores, stellar designs, impressive innovations and top-notch value and selection.
HP’s Main Strengths
- Top reviews score: With a 36 out of 40, HP turned in the highest score in the reviews category. And it also earned a class-leading 9 Editors’ Choice Awards.
- Stellar designs: Just one look at a system like the leather HP Spectre Folio tells you that HP is leading instead of following, not to mention thoughtful touches like angled USB ports.
- Great innovations: Integrating a helpful kill switch for the webcam on multiple laptops and its improved SureView screen for business laptops are two great examples.
HP's Main Weaknesses
- Support could be better: Based on our undercover testing, HP’s reps could be a bit more transparent about why they need to take over your system and for how long during those types of sessions.
Top-Rated HP Laptops
- Best Overall: HP Spectre x360 13-inch
- Best Ultraportable: HP Envy 13t
- Best Design: HP Spectre Folio
- Best Chromebook: HP Chromebook X2
- Best Business Laptop: HP EliteBook x360 1040 G5
HP had a stellar year. Of the 16 HP laptops we reviewed in the past 12 months, nine of them received our Editor's Choice award. That outstanding ratio is even more impressive when you consider the diversity of laptops that received a four-star or higher rating, which includes Chromebooks, convertibles and workstations. The company's laptops averaged 3.9 stars out of 5, with none receiving a score lower than 3.5. HP also tied for first place ( with Dell) for the most laptops with a 4.5 rating or higher, with three.
HP knows how to make a pretty, elegant laptop. Don't believe us? Then feast your eyes on the 15-inch Spectre x360 with its Poseidon Blue aluminum chassis and golden accents, or its dark-gray ash and copper cousins that are just as sleek and flexible.
Still not convinced? Check out the Folio that deftly transmogrifies aluminum and leather into a showstopping system that looks good no matter what you're using it for. With its chamfered rear edges, the ZBook Studio x360 G5 is a stone-cold stunner. Hell, they even managed to make Chromebooks look good with the silvery dream that is the Chromebook X2.
But HP is still copying Apple with a slew of silvery clones such as the ProBook 430 G5 and the Envy 13t. The company's workstations (ZBook 17 G5, ZBook 15 G5) are on the chunky side, with one reviewer remarking that it "feels like an anvil in your hands." And while we like the idea of metal and carbon fiber on the Omen 15, we think HP can deliver it in a more refined fashion.
Support and Warranty (13/20)
HP's tech support was lopsided in our testing . Its best agents seem to be manning their social media accounts, where we got prompt, efficient — and most important, correct — answers. Their phone agents provided either incorrect or incomplete advice, and could take almost a half hour to answer a question that should have taken a few minutes.
Thankfully, HP covers all shipping costs on its tech support, which starts at a pretty standard one-year warranty with 90 days of phone support. A handful of optional add-ons, including a three-year extension with accidental-damage support, are available.
HP dared to be different during the past year, and the best example of that is the HP Spectre Folio. Instead of going with the usual flip-around or detachable 2-in-1 route, the company created something truly unique, with a leather design and one-of-a-kind hinge that makes changing from laptop to tent to tablet mode with one hand a cinch.
For power users, the ZBook Studio x360 G5 is a real standout, as it's the most powerful convertible we've tested thanks to its Xeon CPU, 32GB of RAM, Quadro P1000 graphics and 4K display. Gamers will like the upcoming Omen X 2S, which sports a secondary display right on the deck for streaming Twitch or for getting quick access to macros or maps.
For privacy, HP debuted a webcam kill switch on two Spectre x360 models, which cuts off power to the front-facing camera. And the company introduced the third generation of its SureView screen, which combines a narrow, 35-degree field of view with IPS technology.
Value and Selection (14/15)
HP offers a ton of great laptops across a wide range of categories. The company has budget and mainstream Chromebooks (the $265 Chromebook x360 11 G1 and the $599 Chromebook x2) and very affordable Windows notebooks (the $199 11-inch HP Stream, $379 14z Laptop and the $479 Pavilion x360).
If you’re looking for a more powerful machine, but don’t want to break the bank, consider the HP Pavilion 15 (starting at $429), the HP 17t (starting at $569). As HP’s everyman line of notebooks, Pavilions offer a tantalizing mix of affordability and power. HP Envys like the x360 (starting at $699) or Envy 13t ($807) are a step up from Pavillion, many times offering sleek metal chassis with more powerful spec and a slightly higher price tags. For premium consumer notebooks, you have the Spectre Folio, which is a 2-in-1 wrapped in leather and stuffed with an underpowered Y-series chip; it starts at $1,280 ($1,608 as reviewed). But if you're looking for performance, look no further than the Spectre x360, which starts at $1,209.
MORE: Best HP Laptops
HP’s gaming laptops start at a reasonable $749 for the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop, which includes a Core i5, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive plus 128GB SSD. If you need more gaming oomph, the HP Omen 15 ($1,769; starting at $749) is the way to go.
For creatives and number crunchers, HP has several workstations including the ZBook 15 G5 (starting at $1,649) and ZBook Studio x360 G5 (starting at $1,399), which we like for their durability and gorgeous displays respectively. In terms of business notebooks, you have the ProBook 455 ($556 starting) and EliteBook x360 1040 G5, which costs $1,146 and comes with a Core i5-8250U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD and a non-SureView 1080p panel.