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Best laptop brands

HP laptops: Which should I buy?

By Adam Marshall

Article 5 of 6

Cheap laptops for everyday use, super fast ultrabooks and everything in between - HP sells the lot. Read on to find out which are the best HP laptops to buy.

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You may have seen cheap laptops from HP, as well as HP ultrabooks that cost a fortune. So what's the difference? We tell you what to expect from HP's various series, and round up our favourite Windows models.

HP is one of the biggest laptops around, and our tests have found there's a huge variety in quality. We wouldn't advise picking an HP laptop until you've checked our reviews and verdicts.

Just want to see our in-depth reviews of HP PCs? Then find comparisons of every model on test in our HP laptop reviews.

Best HP laptops

HP Spectre x360 (13-inch)
Typical price £899.00
Which? score 85%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Best Buy
Ease of use:
5 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Battery:
4 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive

We were absolutely delighted when we tested this in the lab. It's brilliant to use, has a superb screen and is no slouch in the processor department.

HP Pavilion x360 13
Typical price £499.00
Which? score 69%
Reviewed Feb 2017
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Performance:
4 out of 5
Battery:
3 out of 5
Screen quality:
4 out of 5
Portability:
4 out of 5
Screen size (inches):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg):
Member exclusive
Processor:
Member exclusive
Claimed storage capacity (GB):
Member exclusive

Not a bad PC for the price. We liked its speed and ability to switch into tablet mode. But the average battery life means it can't join the ranks of our Best Buys.

HP Spectre range

The HP Spectre laptops are the crème de la crème of HP's laptop range. They're sleek, stylish, speedy - and expensive.

As HP's premium range of laptops, they tend to be extremely slim, light and ultra portable. They have backlit keyboards, high resolution screens and powerful processors.

If you see the '360' suffix on a Spectre model, this means that you can rotate the touchscreen 360 degrees around the hinge and convert the whole thing into an oversized tablet.

The Spectre laptops are the crème de la crème of HP's range

HP Envy range

One notch under the Spectre series comes the Envy. You won't find these in any bargain bins, but they're largely available for less than £1,000 and still have decent specs.

They tend to be larger screen laptops, but there is a 13-inch version, too. And, as with the Spectre, a 360 name means that it's a convertible hybrid model.

HP Pavilion range

The HP Pavilion series are affordable laptops that try to combine performance, screen quality and battery life. From our tests, the results can be mixed, but some score pretty well and they're rarely terrible.

Again, 360 in the model name means it has a tent hinge that rotates back on itself. And x2 means that the screen detaches from the keyboard entirely, giving a purer tablet experience.

HP has recalled batteries from certain laptops sold between March 2013 and October 2016 due to an overheating and fire risk. This includes Pavilion laptops sold by HP's approved retailers before November 2014 and it is still theoretically possible to buy an affected laptop if, for example, you go to a reseller that isn’t doing its duty of recalling the models or from a second-hand seller.

No HP Pavilion laptops are Best Buys

HP Notebook range

This is HP's range of budget laptops. You won't have to pay much more than £500 for one of these - an attractive prospect, despite their lowly specifications.

They don't always feature the word 'Notebook' when being sold in the shops. If you see an HP model name that starts HP, then just a number and a bunch of random letters, then that's a Notebook.

HP Stream range and Chromebooks

HP doesn't make a lot of Chromebooks, but you may come across them if you're looking at laptops in the sub-£300 bracket.

If you're not yet familiar with what these laptops are, take a read of our guide to what a Chromebook is. This also includes some top Chromebook models picked out from our testing.

In addition, laptops in the HP Stream range are effectively a Windows-style Chromebooks. They hold minimal onboard storage, so you won't be able to save many files, photos or films down to them. But for checking emails, surfing the web and streaming the odd song and film, they could be the cheap laptop you're looking for.

HP laptops: How much do I need to spend?

£550 Average cost of the HP laptops and Chromebooks we've tested
  • Up to £200 - Smaller HP Stream and Chromebook models will give you change from £200. You'll get basic computing, but not high speeds or lavish onboard storage.
  • £200 to £500 - The Notebook range dominates this category for HPs. But look hard enough, and you might be able to find a better Pavilion model instead.
  • £500 to £1,000 - Smaller Envy and Spectre models can be found in this bracket. Including the highly promoted Spectre x360.
  • £1,000+ - With their rapid processor and skinny dimensions, the top of HP's Spectre range won't come cheap. You may also find the brand's EliteBook laptops for this kind of price, but these are mainly aimed at business users.

Now compare HP laptops to the best that other manufacturers can offer - head to our laptop reviews.

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