Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Key to a proposition like the HP Pavilion 15 is the processor at the heart of the machine. This is the second machine we've looked at recently that is built around AMD's A4-5000 APU, with the first being the Lenovo G505. This is an APU as opposed to a CPU, which is AMD's way of highlighting that it boasts a graphics core inside the chip packaging alongside the more traditional processing core.
On the processor side of things the A4-5000 boasts four logical cores and an operating frequency of 1.5GHz and 2MB of cache to help keep those cores full. These cores can't really compete with those on offer in Intel's latest Haswell processors, but the overall chip is notably cheaper than anything that Intel has on offer. At least it is right now, the next take on its Atom processor could turn out to offer serious competition to AMD's APU.
The graphics processor is officially termed a Radeon HD 8330. The specifications for this core paint a positive enough picture, as it will happily handle the latest games. In theory at least. There are a few problems here though, and they basically come down to silicon - there aren't enough transistors on the graphics side of things to run such games at the smooth framerates - although more on that shortly.
Alongside this core you'll find 4GB of DDR3 RAM, frustratingly all on one of the APU's two channels, so you're only getting half the memory bandwidth that you should be. The machine is also home a 750GB hard drive, a DVD +RW drive and plenty of USB ports.
The 15.6-inch screen is bright, although as it is a TN panel it does suffer from polarizing when not viewed at the perfect angle. The native resolution of 1366 x 768 should be seen as the bare minimum for laptops these days, and it does mean you won't be viewing True HD videos on the screen directly, although you can use the integrated HDMI connector to view them on your 1080P television or monitor.
General construction is reasonable, although tapping the chassis does produce hollow rattles especially around the optical drive. The chassis is pleasing enough though, and the metallic red finish does help set the Pavilion 15 out from the crowd. System cooling doesn't get too loud in use either.