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April 13, 2017

HP introduces new Pavilion laptops at… Coachella

by John_A

HP has picked an unlikely event for the launch of its new Pavilion laptops: Coachella. As wacky as it sounds, the company actually has a somewhat logical reason for the choice. It’s showing off the laptops’ new stylus input support, and is betting that this feature will appeal to the (presumably) expressive, artsy folks at the music festival. And it’s luring them in by setting up DIY bandana-designing stations at its air-conditioned spot in the festival’s Colorado Desert venue.

The Pavilion laptops come in convertible (x360) and non-convertible (Notebook) options. I tried designing my own bandana on one of the new HP Pavilion x360s last month, and found the stylus comfortable, responsive and capable of drawing smooth lines of varying thickness. The new pen supports Windows Ink, and will be included with the new convertible Pavilions. In the well-lit demo room, the Pavilion’s screen was colorful and easy to read, and I had no trouble seeing the intricate pattern I was sketching.

The Pavilion Notebooks have also been updated with stylus input support, as well as new Intel and AMD processors going up to Core i7 or A10 for high-end performance. You’ll also have the option of adding an infrared camera for Windows Hello facial-recognition logins. If not, the standard webcam should suffice for your Skype calls, and it offers an 88-degree field of view compared to the typical 77-degree angle on other systems.

HP paid particular attention to the design of the new Pavilions, which now come in several eye-catching colors. The clamshells are available in blue, red, pink, gold and silver, while the notebooks have gold and silver options. The company also slimmed down the bezel around the display, and you can pick a screen resolution of HD (720p) or full HD (1080p). The lack of a higher-res (2K or 4K) option is disappointing, though. Also, the metal keyboard deck features color-matched speaker grilles, giving the system a pleasing accent. I liked the sleek design and the attractive hues, although the preview units I checked out felt somewhat hefty.

Since they’re meant to be multi-purpose rigs, the Pavilions sport the standard ports you’d expect, including a media card reader and jacks for USB-C, USB-A and HDMI.

The Pavilion series is the most affordable of HP’s personal laptop brands, which include the Envy line and the high-end Spectres. The new Pavilion Notebooks are available in 14-, 15.6- and 17.3-inch versions, while the x360s come in 11.6-, 13- and 14-inch models.

They’re all highly configurable, and their prices differ depending on what you pick. A 15-inch Pavilion Notebook with an AMD chip, 8GB of RAM and an HD touch screen costs $600, while a 14-inch convertible with Intel’s Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a full HD IPS touch screen comes up to $720. You can also opt for more capacious HDDs (up to 1TB), speedier SSDs (up to 512GB) or dual-storage (both HDD and SSD). For the truly hardcore, there’s also the possibility of adding NVIDIA discrete graphics chips for smoother gaming. Of course, all the bonuses come at a price, although HP didn’t provide specifics on those.

If you happen to be at Coachella this year, you can stop by the HP tent to check out the new laptops or, let’s be real, design and print your own free bandanas in cool, air-conditioned comfort.

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