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Laptops

New HP Pavilion Gaming is the highlight of the spring line

HP follows in Dell and Acer's bootprints, creating a new line of cheap-but-appealing gaming gear for nongamers under its Pavilion brand.

The war for your $1,000-or-less game-friendly computer budget is heating up. Dell recently expanded and rebranded its Inspiron gaming systems with the Dell G series, Acer launched its Aspire Nitro line several years ago and now HP's joining the fray, reworking and rebranding its former Pavilion Power systems as Pavilion Gaming. All have well-respected gaming arms -- Alienware (Dell), Predator (Acer) and HP (Omen) -- which seem to be more of a liability than a benefit when it comes to attracting budget or low-key shoppers.

Like its competitors, HP's prices start at well under $1,000 (converted to about £705 and AU$1,290) and the hardware has only small gamey touches -- in this case, green or purple (online only) single-zone keyboard backlights (as well as standard illumination, dubbed "ghost white," which will be available in the most price-sensitive markets), slightly more angular case/chassis designs and discrete graphics options.

But they're all intended to appeal to the buyer who seeks comfort in a familiar brand and pricing, or who don't identify as gamers and use the extra power for entertainment and content creation. They differ from the cheapest of the gaming-specific lines with consumer keyboards, little customization, lesser components and an emphasis on more mainstream design priorities, like thin bezels and premium appearance (rather than premium build quality).

HP's Pavilion Gaming launch includes one 15-inch laptop, two desktops (one compact, one full tower) and a flat 32-inch monitor; all are expected to ship by early June 2018.

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The new Pavilion Gaming Display 32 HDR looks pretty standard, but has some nice specs.

HP

The monitor, with the catchy name HP Pavilion Gaming 32 HDR Display, actually has some pretty nice specs for the money -- though at $450 (directly converted, about £320 and AU$580) it's a little more than many folks want to pay.

HP Pavilion Gaming monitor:

  • DisplayHDR 600 (not "HDR") -- that targets at least 600 nits peak brightness, greater than 90 percent DCI-P3 gamut (HP claims this hits 95 percent) and 6000:1 contrast (that's dynamic contrast, with local dimming
  • QHD (2,560x1,440 aka 1440p) resolution, for a not overly impressive 92ppi pixel density (pixel pitch of 0.28)
  • 75Hz refresh with AMD Freesync support
  • 2xHDMI in, 1xDisplayPort, 2xUSB Type-A, audio out

HP Pavilion Gaming laptop:

  • Core i5-8300H or i7-8750H with or without Optane support for accelerating slow storage; i5-8250U in select markets
  • Up to Radeon RX 560X or GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q
  • 8GB DDR4
  • 15.6-inch 144Hz or 60Hz 1080p display
  • A variety of SSD and hard drive combinations up to 2.1TB
  • Prices for the H-series models start at $800 (directly converted, about £565 and AU$1,030)
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The Pavilion Gaming Desktop 790 looks sleeker than its Pavilion Power predecessor

HP

HP Pavilion Gaming 690 desktop:

  • Up to AMD Ryzen3 2200G or Intel Core i7-8700
  • Up to Radeon RX 580 or GeForce GTX 1060 
  • Up to 12GB DDR4 memory
  • A variety of SSD, Optane and hard drive configurations up to 3GB; SD card slot, optical drive
  • 1xUSB-C, 6xUSB 3.1 Type-A, 2xUSB 2.0 Type-A, headphone/mic jack
  • 15-liter case
  • Prices start at $550 (directly converted, about £390 and AU$705)

HP Pavilion Gaming 790 desktop:

  • Core i5-8400 or Core i7-8700
  • Up to Radeon RX 580 or GeForce GTX 1080
  • Up to 32GB DDR4 memory
  • A variety of SSD, Optane and hard drive configurations up to 3.5GB; SD card slot, optical drive
  • 1xUSB-C/Thunderbolt, 8xUSB 3.1 Type-A, 2xUSB 2.0 Type-A, headphone/mic jack
  • 20-liter case
  • Prices start at $750 (directly converted, about £530 and AU$970)