HP Star Wars Special Edition Notebook review

The Force is so-so in this one


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This laptop looks the part and just about struggles along to make it convincing - like Samuel L. Jackson playing Mace Windu.

We liked

We love the design of the machine overall. The messed-up surface is very modern, but mixes pleasantly with the older elements like the structure of Vader's helmet and the Stormtrooper armour. The Aurabesh writing is a good touch too.

In terms of the actual unit, the keyboard is pleasant both to use and look at. The laptop itself isn't too heavy or bulky either, so we'd happily carry it under our arm.

The Star Wars content bundle is a pure geekfest and a bit cheap - we'd much rather have paid extra to have the complete movie collection bundled with it rather than the trailers - but to have it all in one place is great. That's what you're paying a few pounds more for.

We disliked

The laptop doesn't operate very fast, nor does it wow us in any way. It's resolutely a reskinned Pavilion 15, and you pay for what you get. That awful battery life was the biggest surprise to us, and we're a bit stunned by it. We're going to keep rechecking it, but a laptop of this calibre should be able to manage at least 4 hours and probably 6 with ease.

Final verdict

If you're a Star Wars fan with a mid-tier budget, you could do worse than look at this. It's notable that in the US you can get a very similar HP Pavilion 15 for around $450 currently - though like the basic US model it lacks the graphics card.

In the UK, there isn't a direct analogue - the nearest model is around £500 without the graphics card, or £700 with a slightly more powerful GTX 950 4GB graphics chip. This means that the premium you're paying for the design and fan-bloatware is minimal. If you want more, there's more, with a range of accessories to tie into the laptops theme - a dark side mouse with Vader emblazed on it, and a matching laptop sleeve.

And while we're sure all this fan service stuff is available elsewhere, it's lovely to have it all in one place, served up to you. If it was served up with a better interface, we'd be happy owning a more premium, more powerful version of this laptop - as it is, it's a classic and ideal model for a low budget Star Wars fan of any age, whether taking it into the lecture hall, or sitting retired at home watching the movies on loop.