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HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop (2018) review: Plays harder than its price

If you're planning to keep this on a desk most of the time, the Pavilion has a satisfactory port selection for your peripherals. On the right is power, USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1 and USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 -- both for data only -- HDMI 1.4 out, Ethernet and a combo headphone/mic jack. Two more USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1 ports are on the left with an SD card slot. Those are all just a notch below what you'd find on something like the Dell G5, which has a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port, HDMI 2.0 out and Gigabit Ethernet. 

Lastly, while HP talks up the B&O-tuned speakers on this system, they're nothing to get too excited about. You'll want external speakers or a good headset for movies, music and gaming. 

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Gaming high and low

The Pavilion was able to hold its own against similarly priced and configured gaming laptops. Older games such as Deus Ex: Mankind Divided were playable on high settings with the 1050 Ti, but needed a drop to medium to make them enjoyable. For the newer Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5 I set them to medium/normal to keep gameplay smooth throughout. Sessions of Fortnite were definitely playable, though, as was Overwatch, all at its native 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution with high detail settings. 

The dual fans try their best to keep the Pavilion cool. You can definitely hear them working, that's for sure. Just keep it off your lap and on a hard surface when you're stressing the system. 

Battery life is also on par with the competition, coming in at just over 5 hours. And that's on our streaming video test, so don't expect that for gaming. Basically, if you're going out for the day, you'll probably want to bring the power supply and you'll certainly want it if you're gaming.   

Well-rounded at a reasonable price

As its name somewhat implies, the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop is a straightforward, no-nonsense laptop for PC gaming and whatever else you need to get done. Other gaming laptops in this range can feel cheap and plasticky, but that's not the case here and its subtle gamer design is more appealing for everyday use. Gaming performance is strong, too, for what you're paying. 

Geekbench 4 (multicore)

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
20941
Dell G5 15 (5587)
17246
Razer Blade 15
17175
Acer Nitro 5
14220
Lenovo Legion Y530
14171
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD
11548

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R15 CPU (multicore)

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
1077
Dell G5 15 (5587)
1043
Razer Blade 15
865
Acer Nitro 5
851
Lenovo Legion Y530
815
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD
599

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Video playback battery drain test (streaming)

Lenovo Legion Y530
437
Dell G5 15 (5587)
359
Razer Blade 15
345
Acer Nitro 5
333
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
308
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD
300

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

Razer Blade 15
3362
Acer Nitro 5
1873
Dell G5 15 (5587)
1851
Lenovo Legion Y530
1825
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
1710
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD
758

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gaming test

Razer Blade 15
74.7
Acer Nitro 5
37.7
Dell G5 15 (5587)
37.5
HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop
31.9
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD
31.2
Lenovo Legion Y530
28.4

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance (frames per second)

System configurations

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
Dell G5 15 (5587) Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
Lenovo Legion Y530 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti; 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD
Acer Nitro 5 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,660MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti Graphics; 256GB SSD
Asus TUF Gaming FX504GD Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H; 8GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,660MHz; 4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Graphics; 1TB HDD
Razer Blade 15 Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.2HGz Intel Core i7-8750H; 16GB DDR4 SDRAM 2,666MHz; 6GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 2060 with Max-Q Design; 512GB SSD

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