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You likely already know HP. The brand is ubiquitous with computing tech, and many of us have used, if not owned an HP device at some point in our lives. And, in the laptop space, HP continues to be an industry heavyweight.
However, if you’re looking for an HP laptop, which one do you go for? The top-end Spectre? The cheap, entry-level Stream? Or do you opt for the business-focused EliteBook?
In this guide, we unpick HP’s most popular series, and talk you through what to look out for when choosing your next HP laptop.
In this guide:
- Which is the Best HP Laptop?
- Are HP Laptops Good?
- Spectre Series – Best for those looking for both design and performance
- Envy Series – Best for anyone who wants a premium feel on a budget
- Pavilion Series – Best for the casual, everyday users
- EliteBook Series – Best for business users who don't want to compromise
- ProBook Series – Best for business users working to a budget
- Omen Series – Best for gamers, thanks to high end specs and dedicated graphics cards
- Chromebook series – Best for those who are looking to ditch Windows 10 for good
- Stream series – Best for those who want a Chromebook, but can't leave Windows
- Should you buy an HP Laptop?
Which is the Best HP Laptop?
Picking the best HP laptop is a tall order, if only because there are so many of the damn things. With hundreds of different models on the market at any one time, pinpointing the very pinnacle of the company’s offerings is a big ask. However, we’re here to make things easier for you. Let’s start with breaking down the ranges:
HP Spectre – Premium laptops that are designed to showcase HP’s latest design and tech
HP Envy – High-end laptops that offer impressive specs and pleasing designs
HP Pavilion – The everyman HP laptop. No thrills, but solid and reliable service
HP EliteBook – HP’s premium business offering, with sleek designs and extra security features
HP ProBook – HP’s everyday business laptop, aimed at the budget-conscious
HP Omen – Imposing looking chunky laptops for gaming
HP Chromebook – HP’s range of Chrome OS based models
HP Stream – Cheap, entry-level Windows laptops with a focus on the cloud
We’ve selected a standout model for each range below. For full details on the entire line-up, read on:
Mobile users, scroll right to see full table
Are HP Laptops Good?
HP – or Hewlett Packard, to give the company its full title – has much more pedigree than its contemporaries. Indeed, its origins can be traced back to the 1930s.
HP is a computer manufacturer that almost everyone has heard of or come into contact with at some point, especially thanks to the company’s prominence as a hardware provider for both business and consumers.
So, they’ve got staying power – but are they any good? Well, yes. HP has built a reputation on offering a wide range of products at a good range of prices, making them affordable for many. Yes, it has premium line-ups like any other manufacturer, but for entry-level Windows laptops, many turn to HP.
While it may not be as innovative as some rivals, and its laptops tend to play it safe, you can’t really go far wrong.
HP Spectre Series
HP’s Spectre laptops are the company’s main attraction. If HP were a movie, it would be the Spectre name up there in lights to entice people in.
The standout of the past few years has been the Spectre x360, which – as the name suggests – has the ability to rotate its screen around until it’s flush with the back of the laptop. These 2-in-1 devices are fairly common these days, and you don’t need to pay top dollar to get one, but the Spectre x360 range definitely goes the extra mile.
The Ultrabook landscape is fierce with competition, but the Spectre x360 certainly stands out from the crowd, with a pleasingly slim frame, and superb battery life. You can expect it to last around ten hours, which is about as long as your average MacBook.
Of course, it’s jam-packed with high-end specs – and if you want to get some photo or video editing done, you can get a model with a dedicated graphics card, too.. We also like the extras: for starters, the Spectre x360 comes with a stylus out of the box, meaning you can scribble and scribe on that screen from day one, without having to fork out more cash for the accessory.
It would be remiss of us not to mention the Spectre Folio, too. A super-slim, leatherbound (no, really) laptop, the Spectre Folio has more in common with the Microsoft Surface and iPad Pro range of tablet hybrids, rather than a traditional laptop. It’s a highly portable, 13-inch laptop with powerful specs and stunning design – and if you think the x360 has impressive battery life, HP reckon that the Folio can do 18 hours on one charge. Wow.
- Large hard drive plus fast SSD
- Generous number of ports
- Stylus included
- High resolution screen (top-end model)
- Not as slim as rivals
- Large screen makes it less portable
Buy on Amazon
HP Envy Series
Sitting just below the Spectre series is the Envy range. As the name suggests, these are designed to be head-turners, although they don’t have quite the same cache as the Spectre line-up.
The Envy range are impeccably designed, and have a rather pleasing angular slant to their spine, making them easy to identify. You can expect aluminum and magnesium chassises in this range – the Envy laptops just feel premium.
So we know that they are lookers, but what about the specs inside? Well, you’ll get either an Intel Core i5 or an i7 (8th gen, natch), and while some models rely on integrated Intel UHD Graphics, others do come with dedicated chips. We’re not talking high-end here, but the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 can do some heavy lifting, and take the pressure off the Envy’s processor.
The displays are primarily 1080p, although HP does also offer optional 4K screens in this range. Some are also touch-enabled, for those who would rather prod at the screen than at the keyboard.
The range starts at around $750, and goes to $1,600; while the high end is pricey, there’s room at the lower end for a decently cheap cost of entry.
- Premium, on a budget
- Touch-screen models available
- Light and portable
- Might be too much compromise for Spectre fans
Buy on Amazon
HP Pavilion Series
If you’re not bothered about cutting edge design or impressive extras, and just want an honest-to-goodness laptop, then the Pavillion series could be right for you. A collection of no-nonsense consumer laptops, these are designed for everyday use first and foremost.
Starting at around $500, the series consists of Intel Core i3 to i7 processor models, with some even offering dedicated graphics cards (although this isn’t typical).
Size wise, the range sits right in the middle, with 14-inch and 15-inch making up the bulk of the Pavilion series. If you want anything bigger or smaller, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
While the Pavilion might lack the design sensibilities and slimmer profiles of the more premium models, this is reflected in the price of these rather dull-looking, but perfectly serviceable laptops.
- Great everyday choice
- Available in 14 or 15-inch sizes
- Start at around $500
- Rather dull looking
Buy on Amazon
HP EliteBook series
Business-focussed with cash to spare? The EliteBook range is aimed squarely at you. Very much styled as the corporate Spectre range (see above), the EliteBook is where design meets power, in a slim and sleek package that will slip right into your suitcase.
The range is divided into two distinct types – traditional laptops, and 2-in-1 style devices that can convert into large tablets (dubbed Convertibles by HP).
The models have a wide range of builds available, and you can expect everything from high-end Intel Core i7 processors to Intel Core i3s. As an alternative, these models are also available with AMD Ryzen processors, too.
The range includes some neat features for business users, such as the Sure View privacy screen – this can be toggled on and off at will, and will make your screen hard to read for anyone not sat directly in front of it, eliminating those pesky side-peekers. Some models also feature fingerprint readers, making your laptop harder to get into, even if you get free and loose with your password.
- High performance business laptop
- Slim and stunning design
- Excellent battery life
- How much does your boss love you? These laptops aren't cheap
Buy on Amazon
HP ProBook Series
If you want an HP laptop for work, but your business won’t open the coffers far enough for an EliteBook, then the ProBook could be just right for you. Lacking the high level of polish of the premium business laptops, the ProBook range is still a capable and dependable line-up of laptops.
As with the EliteBook, the ProBook range is made up of traditional laptops and convertibles. Also thrown into the mix is a detachable model, the HP Pro x2, which, as the name suggests, has a removable display that apes a tablet design.
As you might expect, the ProBook series isn’t quite as impressive as the EliteBook when it comes to raw power. The models cover a wide range of builds, including cheaper processors like the Celeron and Pentium, as well as Intel Core processors too.
Much like the EliteBook series, you’ll find dedicated privacy features in this range. They’re highly practical, too, thanks to their multitude of physical ports, meaning that you should be able to plug all your peripherals in without worrying about running out of space.
- Moderately priced business laptops
- Some models have detachable screens
- Plenty of ports
- Lacks the top end design of the EliteBook
Buy on Amazon
HP Omen Series
The rather sinisterly named Omen series is HP’s gaming laptop line-up. Decked out with a suitably demonic black and red design, as you may expect, these models are souped up and incredibly powerful.
Naturally, the Omen series packs in dedicated graphics cards for the serious gamer, with NVIDIA’s GeForce chip an essential component. These range from the GTX 1050 to the GTX 1080, depending on your budget.
At one end of the range, there's the (almost) wallet friendly Omen 17T – a 17-inch model with an Intel Core i7 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, available for around $900. At the other, there's the Omen 17-AP051R –the ‘I better hope I can make some money on Twitch’ setup. This comes with 32GB RAM, a GTX 1080 graphics card, and SSD/HD storage, and will set you back $2,400.
As with most gaming laptops today, these models are angular, chunky devices that you’ll struggle to slip into a backpack, but their robust feel and mechanical keyboards will please gamers.
- Busting with powerful specs
- Strong design
- Range of dedicated graphics cards
- These models are chunky
Buy on Amazon
HP Chromebook Series
Most Chromebooks are fairly familiar, and this is certainly true when it comes to HP’s range. Anyone who has so much as glanced at a Chromebook before will know exactly what they’re going to get: low-end processors, limited storage, and a super quick start up time.
Check, check, check – the HP range hits all these points. HP Chromebooks start at around $200, although it’s interesting to note that you can also purchase pimped up models with slightly more impressive specs. Some, like the HP Chromebook 13 G1, actually break the $1,000 barrier thanks to an Intel Core m7 processor – although if you’re going big, we’d recommend Google’s own PixelBook rather than HP’s offering.
However, at the cheaper end, there are plenty of models to pick from. And if you’ve got your heart set on a Chromebook, you can certainly do a lot worse.
Interested in a Chromebook but not sure about this one? Check our our dedicated Chromebook guide
- Thin and light
- Excellent battery life
- May not be suitable if you need Windows 10 compatibility
Buy on Amazon
HP Stream Series
If the Chromebook is defined by being a cheap, low-powered laptop that relies on the cloud and runs using the Android-based Chrome operating system, then the HP Stream range is its Windows equivalent.
Competitively priced at around $200, and with entry-level processors (commonly the Intel Celeron), HP Stream models are aimed at students, or those looking for a simple device for social media, streaming and notetaking. Powerhouses, they ain’t.
HP Stream models run the pared back Windows 10S operating system, and like their Chrome-based cousins, they don’t offer up much storage. You’re looking at around 32GB here, but the idea is that all your files are kept in the cloud rather than locally – and of course, you can expand that space with an SD card.
Available in 11-inch and 14-inch sizes, the HP Stream laptops are a viable alternative to the Chromebook for those who just can’t let go of Windows.
Good entry price
Long lasting battery
Specs-wise, a compromise compared to a traditional laptop
Buy on Amazon
Should You Buy an HP Laptop?
With the wide range of models on offer, there’s plenty to choose from in the HP series, from entry-level Chromebooks to blisteringly fast gaming laptops.
While it may not be the most radical brand in the laptop space, its flourishes on models such as the Spectre range are appreciated, and its long history in the industry should give users a sense of faith in its products.
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