HP Pavilion G4 review: HP Pavilion G4

This particular A4 is on the lower end of AMD's new midrange Fusion line of processors, but here's the funny thing: on single-task tests, it's not much different from the quad-core A6 and A8 processors we've seen in the Toshiba Satellite P745D-S4240 and Gateway NV55S05u, both of which cost significantly more money. Multitasking takes a bit more of a hit on this HP Pavilion g4, but it's a performance reduction most people could live with for these savings. Honestly, this is the price where AMD's Fusion A-series processors should be thriving: as significantly lower-priced (and lower-performing) alternatives to Intel's second-gen Core i-series processors.

Part of the advertised appeal of AMD's Fusion APUs is the onboard graphics on a chip, purported to be as good as low-end discrete graphics. The AMD Radeon HD 6480G graphics included on the AMD A4 processor are as good as entry-level discrete graphics, but not much more so. Street Fighter IV ran at 20.1 frames per second in our tests, supporting that claim--the average Core i5 laptop with integrated graphics tends to run the same test at somewhere around 10 to 15 fps. It's good enough for basic gaming, and the graphics acceleration in certain Web browsers like Internet Explorer 9 could be a boost for browser-based games, but it's hardly what we'd call "impact" graphics.

Juice box
HP Pavilion g4-1215dx Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.73
Sleep (10 percent) 0.78
Idle (25 percent) 7.58
Load (5 percent) 33.37
Raw kWh 35.74
Annual energy cost $4.06

Annual power consumption cost

The HP Pavilion g4-1215dx has a six-cell battery that ran for 3 hours and 31 minutes in our video playback battery-drain test. That's mediocre for a laptop, but fair for a budget machine, provided you're ready to recharge throughout the day when necessary. A more power-efficient system, such as HP's 11-inch Pavilion dm1z, lasts for about 5 hours and 19 minutes in the same test.

HP includes a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor with the HP Pavilion g4-1215dx. HP's Web site is reasonably well-organized and it's easy to locate documentation on particular laptop models, and the 24-7 support phone number as well.

Sure, you could find a $499 laptop with better performance out there, but it'll be nearly impossible to beat the $379 HP Pavilion g4-1215dx for sheer value this holiday season. Its AMD processor is a step below what you'd find in the average Intel Core i3 laptop, but this is a computer that can handle basic needs and then some, in a solid, neat package, all for less than an entry-level iPad and about $80 more than the average Netbook.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations
HP Pavilion g4-1215dx
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.9GHz AMD Dual-Core A4-3300M APU; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6480G; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite P745D-S4240
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.4GHz AMD Quad-Core A6-3400M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6520G; 640GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Gateway NV55S05u
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.5GHz AMD Quad-Core A8-3500M APU; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6620G; 640GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Samsung Series 3 NP300U1A
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 1.3GHz Intel Core i3-2357M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 64MB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 320GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Asus U31SD-A1
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.1GHz Intel Core i3-2310M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce 520M / 64MB(Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 640GB Western Digital 5,400rpm

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 4.7 lbs
  • Installed Size 4 GB
About The Author

Scott Stein is a senior editor covering iOS and laptop reviews, mobile computing, video games, and tech culture. He has previously written for both mainstream and technology enthusiast publications including Wired, Esquire.com, Men's Journal, and Maxim, and regularly appears on TV and radio talking tech trends.