HP Pavilion 13-s128nr Laptop Review

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November 4, 2015
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So is it a lot of functionality you’re seeking in a laptop? Something like HP Pavilion 13-s128nr might be an interesting case then. It features the famous 360 degree screen, essentially turning the device from a laptop to tablet in a split second. Inside, there are quite powerful components for a convertible model: 6th Gen Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and a solid-state drive. Looks tempting, yes, but is it really worth the money?

Performance

Applications and programs with high system requirements are not a problem for HP Pavilion 13-s128nr. The Intel Core i5-6200U processor eats most apps for breakfast, it’s a dual-core model with 2.3GHz clock and 2.8GHz turbo speed. Also benchmarks show its true nature, CPU Mark giving this unit an appropriate ~3900 points. That’s a lot considering just some time ago laptops had i3s with 2500-3000 points, and now you’re getting a small 2-in-1 notebook with better processor performance than those standard laptops had.

This notebook has 8GB DDR3L memory, and according to product specifications it’s installed on one DIMM module. That leaves the other memory socket free (yes, there are two in total) so you can upgrade the RAM to 16GB if you feel the need.

Storage drive is a real 128GB SSD, interface is SATA 3. There seems to be no M.2 or other extra drive slots inside. That said, I imagine with tinkering you could remove the current SSD and put another, perhaps larger model, in.

How is the display?

HP Pavilion 13-s128nr sports a 13.3″ touchscreen. Its resolution is 1920×1080, and as someone commented, it’s “definitely adequate”. I’d even say it’s an overkill, text is going to look small for some people. Luckily, you can always use another resolution, like the common 1366×768. Videos, however, will look nice on Full HD here. Also keep in mind it has various modes, like laptop, tablet and tent, you have a true 2-in-1 device at your fingertips.

Does it work for gaming?

This computer is designed for many things but not for gaming. There is no dedicated graphics card in a laptop this small, it relies entirely on the processor-integrated chip called Intel HD 520. It’s slow for sure (in the same category than previous Intel HD 5500), yet not a nightmare if you will accept reduced eye candy, especially on newer games. For example, you would get around 25 frames per second on GTA 5 played on medium details and 1366×768. Continuing the thought, a list of games with better FPS would be longer: Minecraft, League of Legends and CS: Go all belong to that lot.

Connections

Despite being small, HP Pavilion 13-s128nr offers three USB ports, and two of those happen to be USB 3.0. There’s also HDMI-out which might become handy especially here; you might want to plug in a bigger HDTV if the little 13-inch screen is not enough for you. For networking you can use the internal 802.11ac WiFi + Bluetooth card, although RJ-45 connector seems to be there as well.

Optical drive isn’t included, there is simply no space for that. You can still use discs by getting an external DVD drive and connecting that to USB 3.0 port on the laptop. Also, one possible way to transfer data is the notebook’s built-in SD card reader.

There is one webcam, a front-facing unit, it seems to support 720p video resolution.

Miscellaneous things

HP Pavilion 13-s128nr is quite a traveler friendly option. It weighs a light 3.77 pounds. The 3-cell 48Whr battery however doesn’t sound too great, you’ll get 5-6 hours out of it, not the advertised 11 hours. It can’t be removed quickly, you need to take out the bottom to get battery access.

Backlit keyboard is not featured. Operating system is Windows 10 Home (64-bit).

Summing it up

In short, HP Pavilion 13-s128nr is a convertible laptop with high system performance. This is brought to you by the trio of new Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and solid-state drive, and the versatile 13.3″ display makes sure the device can be operated in various useful modes. Obviously, hardcore gaming is not a good idea, but players aren’t often interested in small 2-in-1 laptops to begin with. So, considering the performance and features this little HP offers, I think it’s certainly worth the money.


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