The HP Pavilion Plus 14 is an interesting beast. The Pavilion lineup traditionally includes the company’s budget computers, which represent a solid step backwards from the higher-end Envy and Specter models. Lately, however, HP has released Pavilions here and there that are solidly in the mid-range, with their main advantage being light weight rather than competitive prices.
The new Pavilion Plus is in this camp. It’s both the thinnest Pavilion ever released and the first with an OLED screen. The $999.99 (currently $819.99) model I have, with a 12th Gen Intel Core i7-12700H $600 Pavilions I’m used to seeing on shelves. This is certainly no longer a budget laptop.
While the Pavilion Plus 14 isn’t the hands-down best laptop you can buy for $999 (a price point where the M1 MacBook Air hanging around too) and there are some odd flaws left over from its budget roots, it offers a combination of portability, performance, and conferencing features that’s hard to find under $1,000.
Here are my four favorite things about the Pavilion Plus 14, as well as my two main concerns.
You can find more information about our scoring at how we rate.
It’s oh so easy
I prefer to carry the Pavilion Plus 14 around. It only weighs 3.09 pounds, making it super easy to tow with one arm. I put it in my backpack and felt like I wasn’t wearing anything. A few times I even worried that I might have forgotten it. It’s over a full pound lighter than the higher-end Envy x360 15. Carrying it around with two other laptops (which I often have to do for my job) is no problem. I haven’t been able to say that about too many Intel H-series laptops this year.
I put it in my backpack and felt like I wasn’t wearing anything
The only caveat here is that the 90W USB-C adapter is unusually large for an ultraportable device. I recently reviewed an HP Victus gaming laptop and the Plus’s charger is almost the same size.
The display is a luxury
This is the second area where the Pavilion Plus really stands out. The 14 inch OLED display is great. It’s 16:10, with a crisp 2880 x 1800 resolution (a higher resolution than the MacBook Air), and the 90Hz refresh rate delivers noticeably smoother scrolling than you’ll find on many laptops at this price point. Deep blacks and bright whites provide excellent contrast, which I noticed even when I was just doing tedious work in Google Docs and the like. It was also fairly bright (which isn’t always a given with OLEDs), peaking at 420 nits in my testing. That exceeds the M1 MacBook Air’s 400 nits nominal brightness and is sufficient for most laptop use cases.
The webcam is unique
This Pavilion Plus has one of the best cameras I’ve used on a laptop this year. The details provided were accurate, the lighting was well regulated (especially in my bright office space where I often look washed out) and noise was minimal.
In addition, the camera supports a number of fancy features that you can toggle in the myHP app. There’s auto-framing that keeps you centered as you move around your camera. (This wasn’t as smooth as Apple’s Center Stage, but it worked.) There are backlight and low light adjustments that you can toggle on and off. However, my favorite feature is the “BRB mode”. This will literally freeze your video feed and display a banner that says “BRB” at the bottom so people calling you know you’ll be right back. I don’t know how often people will actually use this, but it’s very funny.
Two things to note are that the camera doesn’t support Windows Hello facial logins and there’s no physical privacy screen (although there’s a kill switch on the keyboard).
It’s a strong performer
In terms of raw CPU performance, this is probably one of the most powerful thin and light laptops you can buy, especially among devices with OLED screens. The 12th Gen Core i7-12700H handled my Chrome-heavy workload with very low case heat and no fan noise. Video calls were fine, and even basic photo work in Lightroom wasn’t a problem – I didn’t get impatient waiting for effects to work like I sometimes do with budget-oriented competitors like the Acer Swift 3. Performance was certainly on par with other top thin-and-lights, like HP’s own Envy x360 15 (my Envy-tier recommendation).
The camera does not support Windows Hello facial logins
Admittedly, an H-series processor is probably overkill for this device. It’s not marketed as a workstation or content creation machine (and the lack of discrete graphics in this model wouldn’t make it a good choice for those use cases anyway). I probably would have preferred HP to go with a more efficient chip that could squeeze out more battery life.
Battery life isn’t great
Battery life on the Pavilion Plus isn’t quite the disaster that some Intel H-series laptops have presented this year, which is a win in itself. But the lifespan I got isn’t good enough for a laptop that touts portability as one of its main selling points. During my test phase, after three and a half hours of use, I already had only 20 percent left. I averaged about four hours and 38 minutes of continuous use. I suspect that if many buyers don’t mind being limited by battery life to this extent, they might prefer a GPU-powered workstation with better graphics performance.
The chassis is a mixed bag
Make no mistake – the Pavilion Plus 14 is pretty well built when it comes to Pavilion models. It’s all metal, with a lid made from recycled aluminum. There is some flex in various parts of the chassis, but it’s far from what I would call flimsy. The keyboard deck is quite comfortable, with a nice texture, and my keystrokes don’t depress it. The vibe is professional and premium across the board — with the exception of the bezels.
The bezels stick out to me like a sore thumb. That’s not necessarily down to their size (although they’re more noticeable than on many modern laptops). They just look and feel pretty plasticky and don’t really match the quality of the rest of the chassis.
Various parts also contain recycled materials, as does the packaging. That’s all nice, but – as I keep reminding people – e-waste and energy consumption also have a massive impact on the environment. In this respect, in my opinion, recycled aluminum does not compensate for the power consumption of this device.
Consent to continue: HP Pavilion Plus 14
In order to use the HP Pavilion Plus 14, you must agree to the following:
- Microsoft Software License Terms and HP End User License Agreement
You can also say yes or no to the following:
- Privacy Preferences (Location, Find My Device, Diagnostic Data Sharing, Inking and Typing, Tailored Experience, Advertising ID)
- OneDrive backup
- Microsoft 365 free trial
- Join PC Game Pass
- Register with HP with your name, email address, and country or region. Allow HP to use information about your system to provide customer support and display messages (including contact options, warranty information, and support messages) from HP, improve HP products and services, and send personalized offers and news.
That’s two mandatory agreements and 13 optional agreements to use the HP Pavilion Plus 14.
Despite its weaknesses, I see the Pavilion Plus 14 as a good mid-range choice. The body is solid and light, the camera is decent and the screen is hard to beat at this price point. Even the MacBook Air lacks the 90Hz smoothness and OLED contrast that the Pavilion can offer.
That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. The inefficiency of the processor really makes this ideal for a small group of buyers looking for strong CPU performance and a great screen in a really lightweight device. If you’re not one of those folks and just want a powerful ultraportable, there are better options for you.
Photography by Monica Chin / The Veranda
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