HP: 2017 Brand Report Card
HP is well-known for its expansive catalog of laptops, covering just about every possible use at fairly affordable prices. This year, the company has landed in fourth place, thanks to thin, sexy designs and solid tech support. However, ho-hum mainstream consumer products, modest gaming entires and boring business laptops kept the brand from rising higher in the ranks.
HP's Key Strengths
- Wide selection: From business laptops such as the EliteBook Folio G1 to the consumer-friendly Chromebook 14, HP has something for everyone.
- Solid tech support: Whether via phone, web or social media, HP offers solid tech support from its polite and knowledgeable representatives.
- Sexy designs: Head turners include the Spectre 13, the ZBook Studio G3 and the Spectre x360 13-inch.
HP's Main Weaknesses
- No high-end gaming:The best Omen laptop sports only an Nvidia GTX 1070 GPU
- Poor battery life: Several laptops disappointed us with poor endurance, including the Chromebook 14 and HP Spectre.
- Bland Business Laptops:With a couple of noteworthy exceptions like the EliteBook Folio G1, the company's commercial offerings pair boring designs with mediocre endurance.
Top-Rated HP Laptops
- Spectre x360 13-inch: Gorgeous screen, long battery life
- EliteBook Folio G1: Great keyboard, super-slim system
- Spectre x360 15-inch: Sharp 4K screen
MORE: The Best HP Laptops
We reviewed 23 laptops from HP last year and recommended almost all of them, but relatively few earned top scores. The company's laptops received five Editors’ Choice awards, with one 4.5-star review and six 4-star reviews. The rest of its products earned 3.5 stars or less.
We love HP’s designs on its high-end products, like the 15-inch HP Spectre x360 and the HP Omen 17 gaming laptop, which both offered great 4K displays and solid battery life. But such HP mainstream consumer models as the Pavilion x360 and the HP Envy 17 failed to impress. And business offerings in the HP ProBook and zBook lines tended to suffer from dim displays and sticky keyboards.
HP turns heads with a healthy variety of premium designs, color and durability. The HP Spectre and Spectre x360 15 inch show that a few well-placed rose-gold accents against a charcoal-black frame can mean the difference between being an also-ran and a showstopper.
The cheaper Pavilion line continues to play with all the colors in the crayon box, with bright reds (Pavilion x360 15 inch), golds (Pavilion x360) and blues (Stream 13). You can even get some models in purple!
The company has some of the best-looking business laptops on the market in the svelte EliteBook Folio and ZBook Studio G3. However, we were disappointed to see that recently, HP stripped the gamer-centric Omen line's stunning good looks in favor of black-and-red plastic mediocrity (Omen 17), while the Envy 17 went full-on 2-in-1 MacBook clone.
In our tests, HP provided solid tech support no matter how we reached out for it. The company's phone agents were knowledgeable and chipper, even using music to celebrate a solved problem. However, the Twitter account initially sent us a link to outdated instructions, from 2011, and one phone agent tried to sell us antivirus software after solving our problem.
HP deserves kudos for delivering one of the thinnest notebooks ever, the HP Spectre, without sacrificing performance or comfort. Meanwhile, the HP EliteBook Folio G1’s keyboard outshined the MacBook’s, with more than twice the travel despite its slimmer design. Last but not least is the HP Spectre x360, which refined one of the best 2-in-1s to near perfection with better battery life and superthin side bezels.
Value and Selection (14/15)
With dozens of laptops ranging from as little as $180 to well over $2,500, HP's portfolio is pretty well-rounded. The company has an extremely wide variety of Chromebooks, mainstream consumer systems and premium Ultrabooks, such as the HP Spectre and Spectre x360. It also has two strong business lines with its EliteBooks and ProBooks.
HP also plays in the gaming space with its Omen laptops, but none of them have the specs, features or high-end design you'll find from Dell, Asus, Razer and MSI.
HP laptops come standard with one-year limited warranties. If you want more protection, consider paying extra for HP Care Pack, the company's helpful line of extended warranties. HP deserves credit for offering two- or three-year extended warranties, some of which include accidental-damage protection and on-site service.
Upgrading the RAM or storage doesn't void your warranty. If you have a business laptop or one of from the company's mainstream consumer lines (Pavilion, Envy, Spectre or Omen), HP will pay for shipping when you need service. However, if you have a low-cost laptop like an HP Notebook 15/17, a Stream or a Chromebook, you have to either get Care Pack (which pays for shipping) or pay your own freight.