HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z review: An entry-level laptop that doesn't feel cheap

Sarah Tew/CNET

The base $400 version of the Pavilion 11z is identical to our review unit, except that we have a $30 hard-drive upgrade, from 320GB to 500GB. For an extra $15 you can add Bluetooth (I would), and $50 will get you a faster AMD A6 processor. I'd also consider that, given the occasional sluggishness we ran into.

In our benchmark tests, the Pavilion 11z performed reasonably well in single-app tests compared with the Intel Atom, and was about evenly matched in multitasking. But while we're tempted to restrict our comparisons to Atom and AMD systems, in the $400-$500 range you can currently get an 11-inch Core i3 system such as the Asus VivoBook X202E or a 15-inch Acer E1 (review coming soon) with a new fourth-generation Core i5 CPU.

On a positive note, the Pavilion 11z might have been sluggish with some tasks, but it played HD video just fine, and was even able to handle casual games such as Plants vs. Zombies or Jetpack Joyride.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Battery life was better than expected, at 5 hours and 17 minutes in our video playback battery drain test. That beats other budget laptops with more powerful Intel Core processors, but falls behind laptops using the extremely efficient Atom.

Conclusion
The new HP Pavilion 11z doesn't impress in the way that the old Pavilion dm1z did a few years ago, not because this laptop is less capable, but because excellent low-cost tablets, laptops, and hybrids have raised expectations in the meantime.

It doesn't help that a practically identical Asus 11-inch laptop is available with a third-generation Intel Core i3 CPU (and it's currently $404 at the online Microsoft Store), nor that other sub-$500 deals abound.

That said, a few reasonably priced upgrades should greatly improve performance, while still keeping the cost under $500, and the sharp design, excellent construction, and metal accents go a long way in terms of usability.

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z
1,135 

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z
517 

Multimedia multitasking (iTunes and QuickTime, in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z
2,032 

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z
317 

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System configurations

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1Ghz AMD A4 APU; 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 512MB (dedicated) AMD Radeon HD 8210; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

Asus VivoTab Smart
Windows 8 Pro (32-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Atom Z2760; 2GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM; 725MB Intel GMA Graphics; 64GB solid-state drive (SSD)

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.5GHz Intel Core i5-3339Y; 8GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4000; 256GB SSD

Acer Aspire E1-572-6870
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-2400U; 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD Graphics 4400; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

Asus VivoBook X202E
Windows 8 (64-bit); 1.8GHz Intel Core i3-3427U; 4GB 1,600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; 32MB Intel HD 4000 Graphics; 500GB 5,400rpm hard drive

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z

Part Number: E2S18UA#ABA

MSRP: $567.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Color anodized silver
  • Weight 3.08 lbs
  • Graphics Processor AMD Radeon HD 8210
  • CPU AMD A series A4-1250 / 1 GHz
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