HP’s Pavilion Plus 14 is an interesting animal. The Pavilion line has traditionally included the company’s budget computers, which have been a solid step down from its higher-end Envy and Spectre models. Lately, however, HP has been releasing Pavilions here and there that are solidly in the midrange zone, with their major draw being light weight rather than competitive pricing.
The new Pavilion Plus is in that camp. It’s both the thinnest Pavilion ever released and the first one to include an OLED screen. The $999.99 (currently $819.99) model that I have, with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a 2.8K 90Hz OLED display, is a step up from the $600 Pavilions I’m used to seeing on shelves. This certainly isn’t a budget laptop anymore.
While the Pavilion Plus 14 is not the hands-down best laptop one can buy for $999 (a price point where the M1 MacBook Air also hangs out), and there are some odd flaws left over from its budget roots, it offers a combination of portability, power, and conferencing features that is hard to find below $1,000.
Here are my four favorite things about the Pavilion Plus 14, as well as my two major concerns.
For more on our scoring, see how we rate.
It’s oh, so light
My favorite thing about the Pavilion Plus 14 is carrying it around. It’s only 3.09 pounds, making it super easy to haul with one arm. I put this in my backpack and felt like I was carrying nothing. A few times, I was even worried that I might have forgotten it. It’s over a full pound lighter than the higher-end Envy x360 15. Carrying it around with two other laptops (which is a thing I often have to do for my job) is no problem. I haven’t gotten to say that about too many laptops with Intel H-series chips in them this year.
I put this in my backpack and felt like I was carrying nothing
The one caveat to this is that the 90W USB-C adapter is oddly large for an ultraportable. I recently reviewed an HP Victus gaming laptop, and the Plus’ charger is close to the same size.
The display is a luxury
This is the second area where the Pavilion Plus really stands out. The 14-inch OLED display is great. It’s 16:10, with a crisp 2880 x 1800 resolution (a higher resolution than the MacBook Air), and the 90Hz refresh rate delivers a noticeably smoother scroll than you’ll find on many laptops at this price point. Deep blacks and bright whites provide excellent contrast that I noticed even while I was just doing boring work in Google Docs and such. It was also quite bright (which is not always a given with OLEDs), reaching 420 nits in my testing. That beats the M1 MacBook Air’s 400 nits of rated brightness and is plenty for most laptop use cases.
The webcam is unique
This Pavilion Plus has one of the best cameras I’ve used on a laptop this year. The details it delivered were accurate, lighting was well-regulated (especially in my bright office space, where I often look washed out), and noise was minimal.
Moreover, the camera supports a bunch of fancy features that you can toggle in the myHP app. There’s auto-framing, which keeps you centered as you move around your camera. (This wasn’t as smooth as Apple’s Center Stage, but it did work.) There are backlight and low-light adjustments you can turn on and off. My favorite feature, though, is “BRB Mode.” This literally freezes your video feed and puts a banner that says “BRB” at the bottom to let the folks you’re calling know that you’ll be right back. I don’t know how often people will actually use this, but it’s very funny.
Two things to note are that the camera doesn’t support Windows Hello facial logins, and there’s no physical privacy shutter (though there’s a kill switch on the keyboard).
It’s a strong performer
As raw CPU performance goes, this is likely one of the most powerful thin-and-light laptops you can buy, especially among devices with OLED screens. The 12th Gen Core i7-12700H handled my Chrome-heavy workload with very little chassis heat and no fan noise. Video calls were fine, and even basic photo work in Lightroom was no problem — I didn’t get impatient while waiting for effects to work, as I sometimes do on budget-oriented competitors like the Acer Swift 3. Performance was certainly on par with that of other top thin-and-lights, such as HP’s own Envy x360 15 (my go-to recommendation in the Envy tier).
The camera doesn’t support Windows Hello facial logins
Admittedly, an H-series processor is probably overkill for this device. It’s not marketed as a workstation or content creation machine (and the lack of discrete graphics in this model wouldn’t make it a good choice for those use cases anyway). I would probably rather HP have gone for a more efficient chip that could eke out more battery life.
Speaking of which...
The battery life isn’t great
The Pavilion Plus’ battery life isn’t quite the disaster that some H-series Intel laptops have presented this year, which is a win in itself. But the lifespan I got isn’t quite good enough for a laptop that touts portability as one of its primary selling points. During my testing period, after three and a half hours of use, I was already down to just 20 percent remaining. I averaged about four hours and 38 minutes of total continuous use. I suspect that many shoppers, if they don’t mind being limited by battery life to this degree, may prefer to go for a GPU-powered workstation with better graphical chops.
The chassis is a mixed bag
Make no mistake — the Pavilion Plus 14 is quite well-built as Pavilion models go. It’s all metal, with a recycled aluminum lid. There is some flex in various parts of the chassis, but it’s far from what I would call flimsy. The keyboard deck is quite comfortable, with a nice texture, and my keystrokes don’t depress it. The vibe, across the board, is professional and premium — except for the bezels.
The bezels stick out like a sore thumb for me. It’s not necessarily because of their size (though they’re more noticeable than they are on many modern laptops). They just look and feel quite plasticky and don’t really fit in with the quality of the rest of the chassis.
Various parts also include recycled materials, as does the packaging. This is all nice, but — as I am constantly reminding people — e-waste and energy consumption also have a massive environmental impact. In that respect, recycled aluminum doesn’t, to me, make up for the power-hungriness of this device.
Agree to Continue: HP Pavilion Plus 14
To start using the HP Pavilion Plus 14, you’ll need to agree to the following:
- Microsoft software license terms and HP end-user license agreement
You can also say yes or no to the following:
- Privacy settings (location, Find My Device, sharing diagnostic data, inking and typing, tailored experience, advertising ID)
- OneDrive backup
- Microsoft 365 free trial
- Join PC Game Pass
- Register with HP with your name, email address, and country or region. Allow HP to use information about your system to provide customer support and show messages (including contact options, warranty information, and support messages) from HP, to improve HP products and services, and to send personalized offers and news.
That’s two mandatory agreements and 13 optional agreements to use the HP Pavilion Plus 14.
Despite its flaws, I see the Pavilion Plus 14 as a good midrange pick. The chassis is solid and lightweight, the camera is neat, and the screen is hard to beat at this price point. Even the MacBook Air lacks the 90Hz smoothness and OLED contrast the Pavilion can offer.
That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. The inefficiency of the processor really makes this ideal for a small group of shoppers who are looking for heavy-duty CPU power and a great screen on a really lightweight device. If you’re not among those folks and just want a well-performing ultraportable, there are better picks for you out there.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge