HP Pavilion 15 Horizon Blue Laptop – should I buy one?

HP Pavilion 15 Horizon Blue Laptop
(Image credit: HP / Walmart)

HP is the second biggest PC manufacturer in the world, and sells almost as many machines globally as the Chinese giant Lenovo. Whatever laptop you might be after, HP has a model to cater for you, and the Pavilion range are budget-friendly products designed to maximize value for money.

While the HP Pavilion 15 Horizon Blue Laptop (labeled by HP as the Pavilion 15-cw1063wm) isn’t an out-and-out budget laptop, but rather more of a lower mid-range effort, it still offers an impressive selection of hardware components for the affordable asking price.

This notebook is built around a Ryzen 5 3500U processor, one of AMD’s newest 3rd-gen CPUs, and this is a nifty mobile chip with integrated graphics that can cope with a spot of light gaming (more on that later).

The HP Pavilion 15 is in fact a good all-rounder in many respects, and while we haven’t reviewed this laptop, what we’re doing here is applying our expert notebook knowledge to dig into exactly what’s good – and potentially bad – about this machine.

And furthermore, we’ll also consider how it stacks up against the affordable laptop competition. In that regard, it’s worth bearing in mind that at the time of writing, this particular Pavilion 15 model has yet to get a Black Friday price-cut, and we’ve seen some Ryzen 5-powered notebooks get some seriously big discounts already (even if they aren’t quite as well-specced as HP’s machine). Still, that could all change, and don’t forget we’ll be keeping a close watch on all the best offers – which may eventually include this HP laptop – in our article which is constantly updated with the best Black Friday laptop deals.

The bottom line: This is a sterling all-rounder of a 15-inch portable which has a good screen. It also benefits from an SSD plus HDD combo which makes for plentiful storage, yet keeps things speedy – and is impressive at this price level.

Pros: Commendable IPS screen with slim bezels. Decently well-built. Speedy SSD plus 1TB hard disk.

Cons: Laptop is a little heavy. Touchpad isn’t so great. Question marks over battery longevity.

Key specs

  • CPU: Ryzen 5 3500U
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 15.6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 micro-edge IPS BrightView
  • Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • OS: Windows 10

HP Pavilion 15 Horizon Blue Laptop: everything you need to know

As we’ve already touched upon, this laptop is a good all-rounder capable of comfortably dealing with pretty much anything you throw at it in terms of everyday computing.

It’s even capable of some light gaming, at least with less demanding titles, where it is possible to achieve a palatable frame rate (although you’ll likely have to notch the details down a lot, and probably play in 720p resolution). This notebook is nicely built, as well, and offers a good selection of ports.

HP has certainly packed a lot into this Pavilion 15 model for the money, and that includes some impressive moves on the display and storage fronts.

Screen machine: You get a Full HD IPS screen which is decently bright – albeit a glossy panel, so subject to some irritations from reflections, depending on the lighting of course. The display has very slim bezels, which gives this HP laptop a bit more of a premium appearance, and that never hurts. The screen is paired with Bang & Olufsen speakers which deliver decent audio for a notebook.

Plenty of storage: The Pavilion 15 is nippy thanks to the inclusion of an SSD, but also has capacity, because that solid-state drive is backed up by a 1TB hard disk. In this price bracket, that storage combo is good to see.

Touching base: There’s a decent full-size keyboard here, and also a large touchpad. That’s all good news, although going by some anecdotal reports, the trackpad is a bit iffy. There are certainly some customer complaints when it comes to clicking on things (or attempting to) with the touchpad.

Portability: While this is a reasonably portable and compact laptop (the thin screen bezels, of course, help in facilitating a smaller chassis), be aware that it is a little on the heavy side (although not in any major way).

Battery life: Claimed battery life is just over eight hours with ‘mixed usage’, whatever that might mean, according to HP. However, this is another area where some anecdotal reports indicate that longevity isn’t all that great, so that’s something to be aware of. You do get fast charge technology here, however.

Conclusion: Overall, this is a very competent all-rounder of a laptop with a good screen and storage combination at this price level. It’s further worth noting that the RAM is actually user upgradable, so you could pep up this machine further by doubling up to 16GB of system memory. As it stands, though, there’s a lot to like about the HP Pavilion 15 Horizon Blue Laptop, and while you may be able to get slightly cheaper portables running the Ryzen 5 3500U, they will likely make compromises in terms of dropping either the SSD or hard drive, or maybe having a lower-resolution screen.

TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).