Ever since Intel refreshed their 8th generation chips line-up for mobile devices, we have been seeing some amazing laptops coming with Intel processors and great NVIDIA cards. The HP Gaming Pavilion (15-cx0144tx) is a great 15.6-inch gaming laptop which is powered by an Intel 8th generation i7 6-core chip and on the GPU side, it has an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti to help you pull the graphical weight.
This gaming laptop from HP does a lot of things right but that doesn’t mean that the laptop has no quirks. Let us know all about it in this review.
Build & Design
The laptop has a very unique design and as soon as you open it up, you will notice that the laptop has a thickness to it. It has a thickness of 2.5cm at its thickest point and the unit weighs 2.17KG which is a bit on the heavier side but still not very heavy as compared to some other gaming laptops available in the market.
Opening up the lid reveals the 15.6-inch IPS display and the bezels are definitely visible but as you use the laptop, you get used to it. It’s good that HP went ahead and kept the bezels black. The display lid has some flex to it but it is still solid and doesn’t feel flimsy. The webcam is located in its usual spot above the display.
The keyboard itself is laid out pretty well and it comes with a number pad on the right side. You will also find the speaker grill with a mesh diamond design and the laptop comes with two upward firing speakers with B&O Play and HD Audio Boost. The trackpad is placed a bit towards the left side to accommodate the trackpad’s location aligned with the keyboard.
The bottom of the laptop has a grilled inlet for the fan and that’s about it.
The unit that we received came with a 15.6-inch IPS display with a refresh rate of 60Hz. You can buy the same laptop with a 144Hz display but that configuration costs more. But since this display comes with an NVIDIA GTX1050Ti, the 60Hz display performs well. There is no backlight bleeding on the display and it seems HP has chosen a good set of IPS panel for the laptop.
The display covers 66% of the sRGB color gamut and 50% of the Adobe Color Gamut so if you want to use this laptop for content creation, it is suggested that you get a color accurate monitor with it. But for purposes like gaming and other productivity and entertainment related usage, the display works great. The maximum brightness that the display can go up to is 265nits which is good enough.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The keyboard that HP has provided with the laptop is quite good for typing and has a travel distance of 1.15mm. The keys have a nice feedback to them and they have a bit of the force which makes up for a good typing experience. For gaming, the keyboard might take some getting used to. Especially when you’re used to a mechanical keyboard with keys like Cherry MX Blues or Romer-G. The keyboard does have an LED backlight in the white LED color which is great if you plan to use the laptop in dark environments.
Coming to the trackpad, the trackpad on this laptop is not using the Windows Precision Drivers and instead of that, you have the ELAN drivers. But you won’t face any issues with the touchpad/trackpad as it works perfectly fine and tracks well. It has a matte surface on it with two clickable buttons on the lower side for left click and right click.
As per HP, the webcam on this laptop supports 1080p video calling and it does. It has an HP True Vision Full HD but the video shot from this camera has a lot of noise and grains which might not be best if you are looking forward to using the webcam while streaming. For video calls and Windows Hello, the webcam works fine.
Windows Hello has been a thing ever since Microsoft launched Windows 10 and with the use of IR blasters and dot projector, the laptop allows you to setup Windows Hello which will lock and encrypt your laptop using your Facial Recognition data. The Windows Hello works flawlessly on this laptop and thanks to the IR blasters and dot projectors, the Face Recognition with Windows Hello works even in the dark.
HP has provided dual speakers that fire upwards through the speaker grill above the keyboard. The equalizer is optimized by B&O Play and HP has added their Audio Boost to make the speakers even better. The sound is very clean but do not expect too much bass from the laptop. Even though the speakers aren’t very loud, but they’re passable since, in a quiet environment, these speakers can perform very well with clean audio.
Ports & Connectivity
HP hasn’t skimped on the ports in any way. You get the following ports on the laptop.
- 1x 3.5mm combo audio jack
- 1x Ethernet port
- 1x full-sized HDMI 2.0 port
- 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
- 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
- 1x full-sized SD card reader
Sadly, the USB Type-C port doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3 which means you cannot connect external GPU to the laptop. Buy the Omen 15 if you’re looking for that specific feature.
Battery life & Charging
Coming to the battery life, the laptop comes with a 3-cell, 52.5 Wh Li-ion polymer battery which can keep the laptop powered for around 3.5-4 hours under general productivity related use. HP is including a 150W AC power adapter with the laptop and this will help HP Fast Charge to quickly charge up your laptop. As per HP, 0-90% of the battery can be charged under 90 minutes which makes it one of the fastest charging laptops out there (comparing the battery size).
While gaming, the laptop uses up the battery a lot quicker and playing games on the laptop’s battery will give you a battery life of around 50 minutes to 1 hour and once the battery percentage goes under a certain level, the dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU will kick back and your gaming performance will drop. Keep the laptop connected to power while gaming.
Hardware & Performance
Under the hood, the laptop comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 8750H which is a 6-core CPU with a base clock of 2.2GHz and it can Turbo Boost up to 4.1 GHz. Our unit has 8GB RAM pre-installed on the board with one more slot for another DDR4 stick empty so you can easily upgrade the RAM if you want.
Other than that, the Windows 10 Home that comes with the laptop is installed on the 128GB m.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. It has a read speed of 1800MB/s and a write speed of 564MB/s. Expect apps and games installed on the SSD to load as soon as you click their shortcut. Windows 10 boots up in just a few seconds as well. The 2.5-inch 1TB mechanical hard drive is present as a storage drive and it can work at its rated speed of 7200rpm easily. This gives a read speed of 146MB/s and a write speed of 133MB/s.
The CPU and the GPU are cooled by a dual cooling fan setup with a 3-phase motor fan which will result in a stable torque for the fins which ends up reducing the fan noise. The laptop does get a little bit hot with its temperature rising up to around 53-degrees Celcius under gaming load.
The CPU hits 90-degrees easily but then the thermal throttling kicks in and HP has made sure to optimize the fan curve in such a way that the laptop performs well throughout.
Coming to the GPU, the laptop comes with an NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti which is one of the most used NVIDIA GPUs on laptops. The GPU can easily play Fortnite of High settings with frame rate swinging around 80fps. Overwatch, on the other hand, gave a frame rate of over 60fps and the laptop was able to provide more than 60fps at all times on Battlefield 1 as well. The GPU will run most games at more than 60fps with graphics setting set to either Medium or High.
The laptop comes with amazing upgrade options that you can make in the future to keep the laptop going. You can swap out the installed RAM and install up to 32GB RAM on this laptop in 16GB x 2 configurations. Apart from that, you have a 2.5-inch mechanical hard drive that can be swapped out for a 2.5-inch SSD. Talking about SSD, the laptop comes with 128GB m.2 PCI-e SSD which can be swapped out for an SSD of higher storage quantity.
You can basically upgrade all the major upgrade points of the laptop which includes RAM and storage making this one of the many rare few laptops out there that provide this type of upgrade options.
Wrapping it up
The HP Gaming Pavilion (15-cx0144tx) is a great gaming laptop and it feels a lot like using the HP Omen gaming laptops without the bells and whistles. For the price that the laptop is sold at, it does provide a solid set of specifications and with a 6-core Intel Core i7 8750H and a GTX 1050Ti, this does provide a lot of value as a budget gaming and productivity machine.