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

HP Pavilion x360 13t Design and Build Quality

Even our Pavilion x360 13t’s coloring is an upgrade. If you want to bump up from the default Natural Silver theme to the Modern Gold look, you’ll pay an extra $10. And although this sort of coloring isn’t usually our jam, we have to admit that we’d drop the extra $10 in a heartbeat for this setup. HP hit a homerun with the Pavilion x360’s appearance in our opinion. From its eye-catching lid to the pattern on its palm rest, the Pavilion x360 13t look the part.

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The 13.3-inch UWVA WLED-backlit display uses IPS technology, which makes for wide viewing angles and accurate colors. That’s an important feature for any laptop, but especially for one that converts to a tablet, which won’t always be held directly in front of you, the way a laptop generally is. The display fared reasonably well in broad daylight; we were able to see spreadsheets and other work-related documents just fine, but videos looked a bit washed out in the sunlight due to glare. Glare was also a minor issue when we streamed video, especially when we sat near windows. The HD display is fine, but, as we mentioned earlier, we think bumping up to the 1080 resolution would be worth the extra money.

Inside, the display handled documents and video well. The display is reasonably bright, but didn’t appear as bright as some higher-end laptops we’ve tested recently. When we streamed The Last Kingdom on Netflix, the action looked crisp, and only the darkest scenes looked a little murky. That’s about what we’d be expect from a laptop in this range, and so long as we kept the brightness level cranked up, we were very happy with the display. Will it also provide decent video at somewhat lower brightness levels when you’re traveling? Absolutely.

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While we’re discussing video streaming, we should point out that the Pavilion x360 13t provided rich audio as well. Its speakers and B&O Play tech make for room-filling sound. That’s a critical win in an mainstream laptop geared for entertainment and content consumption.

The display’s touchscreen sensitivity is excellent. We had no trouble opening applications, typing with the on-screen keyboard, or swiping to scroll through webpages.

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The x360 13t converts to several different modes, thanks to its specialized hinges. If you fold the display back, you can stand the laptop in Tent mode, which is handy when watching video in certain settings. You can also flip the system so that the keyboard is face-down, while the display is angled slightly upwards. This is known as Stand mode, and it’s useful for cramped spaces, like an airplane seat tray.

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And, of course, you can put the Pavilion x360 13t in Tablet mode. Here, the laptop is slightly clunky (as most laptop convertibles are) when compared to an ordinary tablet, or a convertible with a detachable display. But the system is light (3.66 pounds) and less than an inch thick so it works fine as a tablet in most environments.

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The keyboard features island-style keys that provide just enough drop for a comfortable typing experience. Keystrokes struck us as being a little louder than on other laptop keyboards we’ve recently reviewed, but not annoyingly so. The keys are large enough to accommodate large fingers too.

We don’t have any complaints about the touchpad, which gets the job done, but doesn’t have any noteworthy new features. We used the touchpad to select and open cells in Excel (both by double-tapping the touchpad and pressing the touchpad corners) without any trouble. 

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HP put all of the Pavilion x360 13t’s ports on its left and right sides, keeping the back of the laptop clear to accommodate its multi-mode capabilities. The left side of the laptop features the power button, a lock slot, a USB 2.0 port, a headphone jack, and volume controls.

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The right side houses the port for the laptop’s power connector as well as a full-size HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an SD card reader. The Pavilion x360 13t lacks an Ethernet port, which is common for thin laptops. Still, the missing Ethernet port makes the system’s Wi-Fi tech all the more important; you may want to upgrade to the 802.11ac module since you’ll be relying on Wi-Fi exclusively.

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As for software, HP keeps installed programs to a tolerable level. A McAfee trial is on-board, but the most notable software is the HP Support Assistant, which manages tasks like downloading and installing drivers and other updates. Tech-savvy users may find the Support Assistant to be a bit heavy-handed (it has an oversize icon in the Taskbar, for starters), but for typical users, the software should keep the laptop updated and in decent shape without needing much attention.

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