Gaming is not as cheap a hobby as say, the Japanese art of paper folding, commonly known as Origami. Keeping up with the latest technological upgrades is going to hurt your wallet substantially more than buying a pad of paper. But that's not to say that gaming isn't within the reach of the more thrifty amongst us – step up the HP Pavilion Gaming Notebook.
The configuration sent to us weighs in with an £800 price tag (around $1,140, AU$1,660) and is a far cry from last year's Origin EON15-X, a beast of a machine but double the price. HP's offering sports the newest Nvidia GTX 950M, which also features in the following machines:
- Asus N551JX-DM193H
- Asus GL552JX-CN182H
- MSI Prestige PX60 2QD-049UK
- MSI Prestige PX60 2QD-048UK Laptop
- MSI Gaming GP72 2QE(Leopard Pro)-061UK
- PC Specialist Cosmos II
- PC Specialist Cosmos ST17-950
- Gigabyte P15F v3
- PC Specialist Cosmos ST15-950
The HP Pavilion Gaming also features the new Skylake i7-6700HQ processor, the same as the fantastic Acer Predator 15 we reviewed not long ago, but it undercuts this Acer offering by £550 (around US$778). Admittedly the Pavilion sports only 8GB of RAM compared to the Acer's 32GB, which has quite a knock-on effect in terms of performance, but for a gamer on a budget a £550 saving is quite something.
Another contender is the Gigabyte P55K V4 which features the older Broadwell i7-5700HQ and is also more expensive at £1,049 (around $1,500, AU$2,180).
Like all good gaming laptops, the Pavilion is black. The keyboard glows Alien green with a font that echoes a classic 1980s sci-fi. Its keys are sturdy and responsive, and although the touchpad leaves a little to be desired, I'm assuming that most owners will plug in an external mouse for gaming purposes. There are a few design details I appreciate, such as the gradient of green honeycomb rising up from the base and the green feet on the bottom. The Pavilion Gaming's matte black lid looks very neat when folded up.
Weight-wise, the Pavilion loads in at around a kilo lighter than the Predator. Size-wise the HP is nearly 4cm shorter in depth and 1cm thinner. It's also nearly 200g lighter than the Gigabyte machine we mentioned and it's pretty much the same size as it too. Overall, it's lighter and in some cases smaller than its rivals.
The hinge is a little ugly owed to the fact that the screen is held on by two arms near the edge of the display. It's very durable but not aesthetically pleasing. On each side there's a USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 on the left side. Also on this side is a DVD writer, although these are becoming less and less useful over time. This will only really be of any use to gamers who buy their wares from gaming shops.