Laptop Mag Verdict
The HP Gaming Pavilion 15 offers stellar performance and battery life at an affordable price.
Solid gaming and overall performance
Runs cool while gaming
Great battery life
Dim, somewhat dull display
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The $909 HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr is an entry-level gaming laptop with a powerful Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GPU, with an agile SSD and great battery life, all wrapped up in a striking, fairly portable design.. However, the dim, somewhat dull display does the laptop and gamers a major disservice. Still, its combination of specs, power and endurance earned the laptop a place on our top cheap gaming laptops under $1,000 page.
HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr Price and Configuration Options
The $799 base model of the HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr has an Intel Core i5-9300H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU with 3GB of VRAM. The $909 model we reviewed, the 15-dk0046nr, has an Intel Core i7-9750H processor with 12GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM.
Meanwhile, the $889 model gives you an Intel Core i7-9750H CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM.
One thing’s for sure – the Pavillion doesn’t look like the typical gaming laptop. Instead of the tired black-and-red motif, the laptop has black with emerald accents. And if you really want to step off the beaten path, you can get the system with purple flourishes. Opening the laptop reveals a green backlit keyboard with some funky polygon-shaped speakers.
Beyond pure aesthetics, the laptop’s design also has practical flaws. For instance, the power button’s tiny, slim size made it awkward to use.
The HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr weighs 5 pounds and measures 14.2 x 10.1 x 0.9 inches. It’s lighter than the Acer Nitro 5 (5.7 pounds, 15.9 x 11.1 x 1.1 inches) and the Dell G5 15 SE (5.6 pounds, 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches). However, the 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8-inch Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 is the lightest system at 4.5 pounds.
There is a decent amount of ports on the Pavilion 15.
On the right side, you’ll find an additional two USB 3.1 Type A ports and jacks for the headphones and power.
The HP Gaming Pavilion 15’s 15.6-inch, 1920 x1080 screen isn’t the brightest or the most colorful, but it managed to deliver good image quality nonetheless. To test it out, I watched the first Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker trailer. I could see the individual parts of Rey’s lightsaber clearly, the desert environments of the trailer looked crisp, and the smallest details during action scenes (such as the intense bright green of blaster fire) really popped.
I also played Shadow of the Tomb Raider and came away impressed with how good the game looked. The game’s ancient Incan tombs looked positively gorgeous with standout lighting effects and glistening stonework. From the torchlit tombs to lush green jungles, the latest Tomb Raider game was a treat for the eyes when experienced through this laptop’s screen.
In terms of brightness, the Pavillion falters when compared to the competition. It averaged 241.2 nits, which pales in comparison to the Acer Nitro 5 (275 nits), the Dell G5 15 SE (270 nits) and the category average (264 nits). It only ranks slightly better than the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 (240 nits).
Additionally, its sRGB gamut percentage was 65.8%, which is lower than the Acer Nitro 5’s sRGB percentage (103%), the Asus ROG Zephyrus’ (71%) and the Dell G5 15’s (154%). Still it was only slightly below the entry-level gaming average.
Keyboard and Touchpad
The keys on the HP Gaming Pavilion’s keyboard felt snappy and responsive. Using the 10FastFingers typing test, I was able to type out 46 words per minute on the HP laptop’s keyboard, lower than my usual average.
This was somewhat slower than how fast I usually type with the keyboard on my desktop computer at home, on which I averaged 51 wpm.
The 2.4 x 4.6-inch touchpad delivered firm, springy feedback.However, I think HP should’ve employed discrete mouse buttons since I continuously hit the wrong sides of the touchpad whenever I wanted to left or right click. Still, Windows 10 gestures worked smoothly. I had no issues using it to do what I needed and I didn't experience any input delays.
At full volume, I blasted the energetic, jazzy Super Mario Odyssey song “Jump Up, Super Star” and the song came out loud and clear from the laptop’s Bang & Olufsen dual speakers. Then, I tested how well the more serious, opera-esque Skyrim’s “Dragonborn” song would sound and I wasn’t disappointed.
The song featured loud trumpets, song lyrics, and pianos which all blared out of the laptop's speakers clearly. It sounded good to me, not at all muffled.
Gaming, Graphics, and VR
The Pavilion 15 packs an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 4GB of VRAM.At the laptop’s highest graphical settings (1080p with Ultra settings), modern graphical marvels such as Far Cry New Dawn and Hitman averaged out at 54 frames-per-second and 57 fps, respectively. Notably, it ran Far Cry New Dawn considerably better than the Nitro 5 (GTX 1650, 40 FPS) at the highest settings (though Hitman only ran slightly worse on the Acer at 56 FPS).
When up against the Zephyrus (GeForce GTX 1660 Ti), the Pavilion 15 doesn’t hold up as well. The Asus ran Hitman better (73 fps), Rise of the Tomb Raider better (43 fps vs. HP’s 29 fps), Shadow of the Tomb Raider better (36 fps vs. HP’s 31) and Grand Theft Auto V better (57 fps vs HP’s 39 fps). The HP gaming laptop also didn’t run Hitman nearly as well as the G5 15 (GTX 1650, 85 fps at 1080 with Ultra graphics).
Now, going by my personal experience, I’d still say that the HP Gaming Pavilion 15 ran Shadow of the Tomb Raider pretty well on the highest graphical settings. Naturally, in the linear, closed-off parts of the game, the fps would hover between 40 to 60 whenever I was traversing through the linear portions of the game, But in the more wide open hub areas such as Paititi, the fps would dip to the 30s to 40s range.
On the virtual reality front, this HP gaming laptop averaged 5.9 fps on the SteamVR Performance test.. It’s enough to top the 5.3 average, the G5 15 and Nitro 5, which both average 5.6 fps. The Asus continued to dominate, with a score of 9.2.
I decided to put the Pavillion 15’s Intel Core i7-9750H processor to the test by playing 22 Google Chrome tabs, each playing a YouTube video running at 1080p. Several videos froze or struggled to play. But, despite all this activity, I still played Shadow of the Tomb Raider with frame rate drops only during the initial game load.
During the Geekbench 4.3 overall performance test, the Pavilion 15 surpassed the G5 15 (16,722, i5-9300H CPU), the Zephyrus (14,106, AMD Ryzen 7 3750H) and the Nitro 5 Core (11,603, i5-8300H CPU) with a score of 21,326. The HP also easily surpassed the 15,566 entry-level gaming laptop average.
The Pavillion 15 took 10 minutes and 42 seconds to transcode a 4K video to 1080p. That’s faster than the competition, as well as the 14:28 category average.
When it comes to file transfer speed, the HP Gaming Pavilion’s 256GB SSD copied 4.97GB in 14.5 seconds, which is a transfer rate of 351 megabytes per second. That’s better than the 307.2 MBps average and the G5 15’s (256 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) 130.1 MBps. However, both theZephyrus (512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD) and Nitro 5’s (512GB SSD) laptops were both faster, with scores of 424 and 535.7MBps, respectively.
For a gaming laptop, even an entry-level system, the HP Gaming Pavilion 15 has a pretty long battery life. The system lasted 5 hours and 26 minutes on our battery test,which consists of continuous web surfing at 150 nits of brightness. That's just a second behind the 5:27 entry-level gaming average but enough to surpass the Zephyrus' of 4:48 and the Nitro 5’s 4:22. However, the G5 15 lasted a jaw-dropping 6:53.
After snapping four pictures of myself with the HP Gaming Pavilion 15’s webcam, I think I can say with confidence that the webcam is terrible.
The colors weren't inaccurate but the light in the photos was pretty blown out. The turned on light bulb looked like a white orb. Each picture had this blurry, muddy quality to them.
I played 15 minutes of "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" on the Pavillion 15 and when I was done, it was pretty cool compared to other notebooks. Our heat gun detected that the touchpad was 96 degrees Fahrenheit, the middle of the keyboard was 94 degrees, and the laptop’s underside was 95 degrees. Not the hottest that I’ve ever felt on a gaming machine while playing, but still significant. Outside of the touchpad, the notebook toes the line of our 95-degree comfort level.
It should be noted that the laptop’s fans can also get noticeably loud when playing a graphically-taxing game like "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" for an extended period.
After cooling down, we remeasured the previous spots on the laptop after running a 15-minute YouTube video. The touchpad, center and bottom of the notebook recorded 78, 83 and 86 degrees, respectively.
Software & Warranty
HP loaded the Pavillion 15 with a few manufacturer-branded software, including the introductory program HP JumpStart.
Third-party programs includes McAfee LiveSafe, Simple Solitaire, Mahjongg Candy, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2019, Paint 3D, Groove Music, Skype, Spotify, the WildTangent Games launcher and the laptop
The HP Pavilion 15-dk0046nr comes with a 1-year standard warranty. See how HP fared on our annual special reports including Tech Support Showdown, Best and Worst Brands and Best and Worst Gaming Brands.
Overall, the HP Gaming Pavilion 15-dk0046nr is not to be slept upon simply because it’s a budget system. At $909, the laptop packs some powerful specs including an Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia GTX 1660 GPU which means the notebook can play games at good frame rates. And at nearly 6 hours of battery life, it’s got endurance to spare. However, if you’re looking for a bit more graphical oomph, the $1,099 Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 which offers more power and a better display. Still, if you’re looking for a surprisingly powerful entry-level system at a great price, the HP Pavilion 15 should be at the top of your list.