HP’s Pavilion series has taken a turn for the better. Much better. In the past the Pavilion series laptops being the “affordable” line from HP meant that you would get a cheap laptop that would look and perform like one. They weren’t horrible but they weren’t that great either. Over the years the Pavilion lineup has gotten better and better and as of recently I’ve been using the new Pavilion Aero 13. I’m impressed. I believe that this is a must have pickup for back to school. Well, if students happen to go back to school. Point is, regardless whether you’re going back to school or not. I also don’t want to minimize how good this laptop is by making it appear that it’s just a back to school thing but the Pavilion Aero 13 is one of the best ultraportables available right now and it just so happens to be perfect for the BTS season.

OVERALL DESIGN

The HP Pavilion Aero is very compact as you would expect with an ultraportable but what will surprise is just how incredibly light this laptop is. It weighs just 2.18 pounds and it’s feels no different than holding a textbook. In fact, the textbook may weigh more. That’s how light this laptop is. No BS. I’ve never used an ultraportable this light. Do NOT be confused into thinking that with a lack of weight comes a lack of quality materials. This ultraportable is quite sturdy and durable.

The Pavilion Aero 13 is also very premium looking. There are 4 color variations for this laptop (pale rose gold, warm gold, ceramic white, and natural silver). The one I used for this review is the natural silver and it’s a very clean look with the shiny HP logo on the back cover.

Once you open it you’ll see how neatly the keys on the keyboard sit and just how compact everything is. Hp maximized the small form factor to give you the most use. They didn’t skimp on the trackpad either. While it’s not large it’s big enough to be able to move your cursor around without having to pick up your finger and re-position it on the trackpad because it would otherwise be so small.

Ports are sufficient enough for an ultraportable like this. On the left side you have your USB Type-C, HDMI and a USB 3.0 port. On the right side there’s another USB 3.0 port and a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

The screen on the Pavilion Aero is the best part of this ultraportable. It’s just so nice. My review unit is the mid-tier sub $1000 range version and the screen I had was the IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. The screen is bright, vibrant with a good color profile. The bezels are very small and discreet and everything looks seamless

SPECS

This Pavilion Aero 13 was more than sufficiently powered but not a powerhouse. This ultraportable doesn’t need to be. It’s also using an AMD chipset which allows this laptop to be remarkably efficient. Here’s what’s under the keyboard. There is another version of this laptop with an AMD Ryzen 5600U.

  • Processor / graphics: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U (up to 4.4 GHz, 16 MB L3 cache, 8 cores, 16 threads) + AMD Radeon Graphics
  • Display: 13.3″ diagonal, WUXGA (1,920-by-1,200), IPS, micro-edge, anti-glare, 400 nits, 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Memory: 16 GB DDR4-3200 MHz RAM
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD (Intel)
  • Battery: 43 Wh Li-ion polymer
  • Biometrics: fingerprint reader
  • Camera: 720p HD
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Material: aluminum/magnesium
  • WiFi / Bluetooth: WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Ports: 2 x USB-A, 1 x USB-C

EVERYDAY USE, GAMING AND BATTERY LIFE

The Pavilion Aero 13 is absolutely the perfect laptop for the everyday traveler, road warrior, public transportation user, whatever. Since I live here in NY, more often than not I’m going to have a backpack on me and even if I pack light, after hours and hours of walking and traveling by train or bus your backpack will feel like a ton of bricks on your back after a day like that. The weight and usability of the Pavilion Aero is essential to a city dweller or a student.

You can quickly open up this laptop put it on your lap (No pun intended), use it, slide it right back into your bag and all is well. Battery life isn’t something that I tend to measure with pinpoint accuracy because my uses for any laptop change daily and weekly depending on the type of laptop I’m using. With this laptop in particular, I would say I did a lot of quick surfing, quick writing and closing the lid and I was able to get through a full day without feeling the sense of urgency for a charge. I’m in no way saying that this laptop has a 24hr battery, I’m just saying that the battery life for the everyday basic tasks was solid and it lasted long enough.

CAN YOU GAME ON THE PAVILION AERO 13?

Yes and no. Gaming is not what this laptop is for at all despite the AMD Ryzen 5800U having a more than usable APU. If you’re trying to play really graphically complexed games on this laptop. Forget it. It ain’t great. I tried to play The Ascent which isn’t a graphically intense game but for this laptop it was riddled with frozen frames and a crash or two. Forza and Destiny 2 lagged. Simpler games like Streets of Rage 4, any retro 8 or 16-bit game and a few other choice games I played with ease. Good news is, you can use Xbox Game Pass or GeForce NOW and get your game on granted you have the internet speed to support it. Stream your games on this ultraportable. It’s 2021 so you can game on any machine now and with the screen that the Pavilion Aero 13 has your games will look beautiful with whatever you play.

THIS IS THE PERFECT LAPTOP FOR THE BACK TO SCHOOL SEASON

Using the Pavilion Aero 13 has been a pleasure. It’s always refreshing to see something this good and affordable without it feeling cheap. This laptop is the perfect buy for a college student or really any student going to back to school. Depending on where you live, you might be going back to class or even taking classes at home. Either way, this laptop will get the job done.

The version I used for this review was about $1000 but this isn’t the version that I imagine most people will go for although in my opinion if they can swing it, they should. There is a lesser powered version that retails for about $750 bucks that also does the job you need it to do and quite well. The AMD Ryzen 5600U and 5800U are very low power but super efficient CPU’s that greatly take advantage of the motherboard, RAM and the components of an ultraportable of this type. You’ll get the most bang for your buck.

The HP Pavilion series laptops which are HP’s most inexpensive line is finding its maturity and this series of ultraportables is a testament to that. It was really a pleasure to be able to use an ultraportable like this and enjoy it. I’m not always fond of ultraportables because they always tend to be overpriced and underpowered. HP balanced this well and I strongly recommend that anyone in the market for a Back to School laptop consider this one. It’s that good.

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