HP Pavilion x360 13t Review: A Quality Mainstream Convertible Laptop

Introducing The HP Pavilion x360 13t

Mainstream notebooks, laptops, and convertible devices have been significantly refined over the last few generations. The $500-$900 price range generally features laptops that are thin and light, built well, have decent battery life, and deliver solid multimedia experiences. Intel has a stranglehold on the CPUs and graphics in many of these mid-level systems, so PC makers seem to be emphasizing design differences lately. As important as performance is, you may well choose your next laptop because it converts into a mode or use case that fits your needs, rather than because of its technical specifications.

HP aims the Pavilion x360 series at buyers who are looking for a non-traditional laptop. All of the laptops in the series have hinges that let the display fold back into tablet mode, as well as some other handy modes in between. It faces competition from the likes of the Asus ZenBook Flip, certain Dell models, and, of course, the Lenovo Yoga line. 

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Before we dig into the system components, we should point out that HP’s Pavilion laptop family was among systems, including Compaq, Compaq Presario, Envy and ProBook models, that were subject to a recall this summer. The recall, which targets potentially defective batteries, appears to affect only a small number of Pavilion laptops, but checking its status is easy enough. All new machines should be fine, however.

HP Pavilion x360 13t
Specifications & Features
Processor Intel Core i5-6200U Dual-Core 2.3GHz (Max 2.8GHz)
OS Windows 10 Home 64-bit
Display 13.3-inch HD UWVA IPS WLED-backlit (1366x768) Touch
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 520
Storage 128GB M.2 SSD
Memory 8GB DDR4-2133 (1x 8GB)
Audio Bang & Olufsen PLAY, 2 Speakers
Camera HP Wide Vision HD Webcam with Dual Digital Mic
Networking 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0
Ports: L
1x USB 2.0, Headphone, Lock Slot
Ports: R
2x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, SD Card Reader
Battery 3-Cell 41WHr Li-Ion Battery
Weight 3.66 Pounds
Dimensions 12.85 x 8.74 x 0.78 Inches
Keyboard Full-Size Island-Style
Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty With Toll-Free Support
Price$759.99 MSRP As Tested, Lower At Amazon

HP starts the Pavilion x360 line at $379.99, with an 11.6-inch display and entry-level hardware on-board. The 13.3-inch Pavilion x360 13t starts at $479.99 and the 15.6-inch Pavilion x360 15t rings in at $539.99. A system with either of the two largest displays starts with an Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 520, and a traditional spinning hard drive.

We are reviewing the HP Pavilion x360 13t here. The configurator for the Pavilion x360 13t has plenty of options for most components, including four processor choices, memory ranging from 4GB to 12GB, two display resolutions (1366x768 and 1920x1080) and three storage options. You can also pick your networking hardware. And as with most HP laptops, you can browse dozens of accessories and software titles as well. We like that HP has so many options for buyers and we’re (mostly) happy with the x360’s customizability.

We tested a Pavilion x360 13t with some of the top features available for this series. The upgrades start with the processor, which is an Intel Core i5-6200U, which was paired to 8GB of DDR4-2133 RAM. The Core i5-6200U is the laptop’s best CPU option and bumps up the price by $150. Doubling the standard 4GB of memory will set you back an additional $80.

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Our test system features the default display option. The standard display is a touchscreen and has an HD resolution (1366x768), but unless your budget is really stretched, we’d pony up the extra $70 here for the 1920x1080 FHD touchscreen display. The display is a feature that has a huge impact on your experience, so we’d make some concessions on other features before we’d settle for 1366x768 on a new notebook if we had to.

Speaking of settling, HP’s storage options for the Pavilion x360 13t left us wanting more. If you’re looking for a traditional hard drive, you have two reasonable choices: a 500GB, 5400rpm SATA drive, or a 1TB SATA drive, also spinning at 5400rpm. But SSDs are preferable in terms of durability and performance, so we’re a little surprised that the only SSD option is an 128GB M.2 module. The SSD only tacks $40 onto the default system price, but 128GB is a little small in our opinion and HP doesn’t offer a secondary storage option – you can’t add that 500GB unit as your data drive if you wanted. A 256GB SSD or an SSD/HDD combo would be a real improvement for the Pavilion x360 13t’s storage options. As it stands now, you’ll need to sacrifice the performance benefits of solid state storage to get more than 128GB of space. Of course, if you’re a Dropbox guru, 128GB might suit you just fine.

HP also offers multiple networking options, but stuck with the standard 802.11n / Bluetooth 4.0 combo in our test system. You can upgrade to 802.11ac / Bluetooth 4.2 for $10 or take the high-end 802.11ac (2x2) combo (which also has Bluetooth 4.2) for a $30 upcharge. Interestingly, the keyboard lighting is optional as well. You’ll pay $30 extra if that’s a must-have feature for you.

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Our test system, running Windows 10 Home 64-bit, came to $759.99. That’s a serious bump from the base model, so let’s take a look at the laptop and see if it’s worth the price.

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