The HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 is a convertible-hybrid laptop with nice features and construction, but it adds up to the niceties with powerful 6th Gen. Intel Core i5 processor (Skylake), 8 GB memory, 128 SSD storage, and a Full HD screen as well as decent battery life and performance to match.
THE GOOD: Attractive design with convertible multimode functions. Powerful 6th Gen. Intel Core i5 processor (Skylake). Almost full-day battery life.
THE BAD: Design doesn't lend itself to tablet use.
As the 2-in-1 space heats up, HP is dropping its own convertible-hybrid into the market. The HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 Convertible weds a decent 13.3-inch Full HD IPS Screen with a functional yet familiar multimode hinge. As far as it goes, we can say the Pavilion x360 is HP’s answer to Lenovo’s Yoga line, but with the latest energy-efficient Skylake (6th Generation) Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB memory and a 128 Solid State Drive that promises faster boot speeds and a few design tweaks. It feels like a premium product that will make convertible enthusiasts happy, with enough processing power, a sleek design and a touchscreen experience for Windows 10 (Home) which is preinstalled in the system. If you’re looking for a 13-inch alternative to our Editors’ Choice Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5224 or even the HP – Spectre x360, it is not a bad system, but it doesn’t lead the pack, either.
The system measures 0.89 by 12.89 by 8.8 inches (HWD), and weighs 3.77 pounds. While that’s not terribly heavy for a 13-inch laptop, it is a bit weighty for a tablet, especially when compared with the similarly sized HP – Spectre x360, another convertible design that weighs just 3.3 pounds. That’s not a huge difference, but you will notice it when holding the system in your hands as a tablet. The Pavilion x360 has a slim, tapered design that looks very similar to other HP laptops, including the HP Spectre 13T. But while the tapered edges helps the laptop look and feel thinner when closed, that also means that the two halves of the laptop don’t close flush when folded back into Tablet mode, leaving a gap between the two parts that is uncomfortable to hold. A 13-inch tablet is unwieldy as it is, but with the addition of the gap around the edge and the overhang of the two parts, it’s really not great as a handheld device.
The Pavilion x360 combines the premium construction and features of the Pavilion line with a convertible-hybrid design that blends laptop and tablet functionality. It does this by cribbing from the best, emulating the multimode hinge from the Lenovo Yoga line, which uses a dual-axle design to open up and fold around into a tablet. Like other convertible laptops with this sort of dual-hinge flip mechanism—similar designs include the Lenovo Yoga 3 and the Dell XPS 11—the Pavilion 13-s128nr can be used in several different modes: Notebook, Stand, Tent Display, and Tablet.
The HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 is outfitted with a 6th Generation (Skylake released August 2015) Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3 GHz Processor (Turbo to 2.8 GHz), the same CPU seen in the Lenovo Flex 3 15 with Windows 10. The laptop also has an 8GB memory, which is a plus to the fast and energy efficient processor, which adds up to fairly good performance on most applications. The combination of the latest processors and memory puts the Pavilion x360 at par with some newer systems such as the Dell Inspiron i7559-763BLK, which is specifically designed for gamers and comes with superior qualities such as a larger 256GB SSD, an FHD IPS screen and more importantly a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M gaming card with 4GB GDDR5 memory. For storage, there’s a 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD) for faster boot times and performance.
Like most of the convertible-hybrid laptops we’ve seen, the Pavilion 13-s128nr relies on integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 with up to 4052MB total graphics memory, which is more than enough for browsing the Web and streaming media, but struggles when dealing with 3D gaming. If you need a gaming rig, a 2-in-1 may not be a perfect fit, perhaps you can check out the conventional gaming rigs such as the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro with its 16GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M gaming card combined with 1TB (5400 rpm) hard drive for storage and a further 256 GB Solid-State Drive. Predictably, the Pavilion x360 falls short of its premium competitor the Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5224, but also other convertible hybrids, like the Dell XPS 12, which boasts an Intel Core i7 instead of a Core i5 processor.
The 13.3-inch laptop comes with a FHD IPS WLED-backlit touch screen and has a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution and offers 10-finger-touch tracking. The colors are a quite crisp, and there’s a faintly visible grid of lines on the screen from the touch sensor. The display quality is easily outdone by the sound from B&O Play audio speakers, which offers enough volume to fill a room, and more bass that you’ll usually feel from a laptop. On previous models in the Pavilion Series, we’ve seen HP’s extra-wide Control Zone touchpad, which extends the size of the touchpad horizontally to provide broad stripes of area dedicated to gesture controls. These extended portions of the touch surface are distinguished by a matte finish and texture that makes it easy to feel when you reach the edge of the touchpad.
The laptop is equipped with three USB ports (one USB 2.0, two USB 3.0), an HDMI-out port, an SD card reader, and a headset jack combo. For networking, the laptop has both Gigabit Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 for pairing with wireless headsets and peripherals. On an earlier model the HP ENVY 15t, we saw one additional feature-Miracast, a wireless media streaming protocol similar to Wi-Di that lets you beam HD content to a Miracast-enabled HDTV without needing an HDMI cable, although it is not clear if we’ll see the same on the Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 model. HP claims that the system can offer up to 11 hours and 45 minutes (perhaps due to the energy-efficient Skylake processor), we just hope that it adds up as it will be a big plus to such a decent system since most competitors offer a maximum of 6-8 hours of battery life.
All in all, the HP Pavilion 13-s128nr x360 Convertible is a solid 2-in-1 hybrid laptop with good, but not stellar performance, and it doesn’t quite live up to the build quality of past and current competing models. From a distance, it winds up as a pretty good laptop, but a mediocre tablet. It feels like HP is still figuring out the tablet half of the hybrid equation, as evidenced by improvements from previous models that had shorter battery life, lackluster display, and odd asymmetrical designs into a premium-looking convertible laptop with forward-looking capabilities. Lenovo’s multiple Yoga laptops offer a far more polished version of the laptop, but the best midrange convertible-hybrid laptop remains our Editors’ Choice Toshiba Satellite Radius P55W-B5224 or even the HP – Spectre x360. Both offer better overall performance and battery life, can as well be upgraded to Windows 10 (for free), and a better tablet experience.
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