Not even Coachella is safe from tech announcements. HP helped kick off this year’s weekend-long music festival in southern California, announcing updates to the laptops and 2-in-1s in their budget Pavilion line. And, while they don’t have all the bells and whistles that the HP Spectre and Envy lines feature, this year’s Pavilion machines are certainly looking a little more upscale. Hey, fashion’s what Coachella is all about, right? Oh, I guess the music too.
The Pavilion Notebook is getting the expected annual bump in tech specs, so the real change here is in the look and feel. The new laptops have a unibody metal case around the keyboard, with classy details like diamond-cut edges around the touchpad. The laptops, which will be available in 14″, 15″, and 17″ models, will all come in some beautiful metallic colors — blue, gold, pink, dark silver, and red, all with color-matched speaker grills.
Some of the design tweaks are more practical. HP is using a lift hinge display — when you open the laptop, the bottom part of the display protrudes past the bottom of the keyboard. That props the keyboard up at a slight angle, making it a little more comfortable to type.
As usual, HP will have a wide variety of configurations, with the low-end ones being very cheap. The Pavilion notebooks can be configured with Intel Celeron or 7th generation Core i processors, along with AMD E2 and A10 options. They’ll also come with up to 16 GB of RAM and either an HDD (up to 2 TB), an SSD (up to 512 GB), or a combination of the two (256 SSD and 1 TB HDD). While nothing here will move the needle much for current games, the Pavilion notebooks can be made a little more gamer-friendly with an optional Nvidia GeForce 940MX discrete GPU (a comparable AMD GPU will be an option, too). The display can be 720p, 1080p, or 1080p IPS.
The webcam will be surprisingly good for a budget notebook. A WideVision 720p webcam comes standard, but it can be upgraded to a 1080p webcam with an IR scanner, which makes the notebook compatible with the facial recognition login feature of Windows Hello. Wi-Fi is another thing to consider — it can be left basic or upgraded to dual-band Wi-Fi, making use of the shorter-range, much faster 5.0 GHz band. Like most HP devices now, the Pavilion notebook will also get speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen, And, it’s worth noting that starting this year, the 15″ Pavilion notebook will no longer have an optical drive (which does make it quite a bit thinner).
HP is putting the 14″ base model at 10 hours of battery life. Battery life will go down as specs are increased and as the size of the notebook increases — the 17″ model is only expected to get 6.5 hours per full charge. Fortunately, they all work with HP Fast Charge, which can bring the notebooks back up to 90 percent charged in an hour and a half.
The Pavilion Notebooks are joined by refreshed Pavilion x360 2-in-1s. These notebooks have 360-degree hinges, which this year are now chrome-plated. The new Pavilion x360 comes in 11.6″, 14″, and 15.6″ models, but won’t quite get the same star treatment as the notebooks. Metal on the keyboard is optional, and they’ll only be available in silver or gold. But, unique to the Pavilion x360 is a special strata pattern, which gives the device a wood-like look to it.
The spec options are mostly the same, except the low-end processor option here is Intel Pentium instead of Intel Celeron. The main difference is that the Pavilion x360 will ship with an Active Pen stylus — after all, art is at the heart of the recent Windows 10 Creators Update, which these new devices will be ready for.
HP says to expect the refreshed Pavilion Notebooks and 2-in-1s in May or June. The Pavilion Notebook will start at $700, while the Pavilion x360 will start at $400.