Where previously there was a lack of options for laptops with AMD configurations, the company’s recent rise has led to a decent variety of devices that offer it, including ones made for gaming. The HP Pavilion Aero 13 isn’t one of those made for high performance, but it is another laptop that adds to the burgeoning AMD-specced family.
The HP Pavilion Aero 13 is billed as an affordable, lightweight consumer laptop; a laptop segment that is admittedly saturated with many similar devices by other companies. On the whole though, there are some remarkable things about Pavilion Aero 13 that could make you consider adding this to your shopping list.
Build Quality and Design
As a mid-range laptop, there isn’t anything extraordinary about the design of the HP Pavilion Aero 13 — it is a very inconspicuous device.
HP has opted for a clean, minimalist look overall, but it also comes off as looking slightly outdated. It isn’t anything terrible, but the run-of-the-mill design of the laptop makes it look like a device you’d find as a display at IKEA. In addition, it still uses the original HP logo design while its other laptop lines like the ENVY have already migrated over to a nicer, sleeker version.
Considering the design, our unit comes in a ‘Warm Gold’ finish, which probably isn’t the best colour to pair. It comes across as a silver that has been discoloured slightly after years of use; not the best. Luckily, other variants are available, like the pinkish ‘Rose Gold’, which looks much more pleasant (at least in promotional pictures).
Build quality on the HP Pavilion Aero 13 seems good for the most part. There is some amount of flex for the laptop’s screen and keyboard deck, but nothing too alarming. I am pleased that the hinge system is great here. It is strong yet unobtrusive — you can easily open the laptop with one hand. The system also cleverly elevates the keyboard deck from the surface to help with ergonomics slightly.
Port selection is also decent enough. There are two USB-A ports, an HDMI and Type-C port, in addition to the standard ports for charging and headphones. Both ports for USB-A use a hinge system to fit them in, while keeping the laptop slim. I’m personally not a fan of this system because of the extra effort needed just to plug something in, but the one here isn’t as annoying as others I have experienced.
The entire device comes up to less than 1kg (officially around 0.9kg), a very light laptop. Not many can hit that weight, especially with the ports it offers. Carrying the laptop around is a breeze and very much suited for those who go out and about frequently.
While I may be critical about the HP Pavilion Aero 13’s exterior design, HP did at least update the display to modern conventions.
It is a 13.3-inch FHD display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, something that many laptops are currently implementing. This means that you get a bit of extra screen space to use for viewing, which for a small display such as this, is quite handy. It also makes the laptop look a little sleeker and modern as well.
The screen also performs quite well. Images appear sharp, and colours look appropriately vivid on-screen, aided by the brightness, which can go decently high — using it in bright conditions never brought about a negative experience with my screen viewing.
The matte finish on the screen most likely plays a role, helping to mitigate any glare that would have appeared. But the anti-glare finish also means that the display doesn’t come with any touch capabilities. I personally prefer the anti-glare finish on the screen since I don’t typically use touch controls on the display, but those who have gotten accustomed to using them will have to miss out.
HP Pavilion Aero 13’s keyboard area is on the average side.
You get decent-sized keys on the keyboard, which feature a good amount of travel, but the keys’ feedback tends to feel a tad soft when pressed, which doesn’t feel as satisfying as it could be. There wasn’t any backlight for the keyboard on our unit as well. HP does seemingly offer options for a backlit keyboard on their online store. Still, info on whether a configuration has it, is strangely hidden at the bottom, so do check properly if it is essential for you to have it.
The trackpad is also a good size, with HP increasing the width to give additional space. The surface has a smooth feel when using it, and it has a responsive click when you press it. Overall, it is a decent trackpad to use.
Our HP Pavilion Aero 13 features an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U as its processor, along with 16GB of RAM and Integrated Radeon Graphics. There’s a more powerful Ryzen 7 5800U option available as well, if you can afford to fork out a few hundred dollars extra.
In the case of our AMD Ryzen 5 5600U processor, while it is the weaker variant, it still performs competently. It handled web browsing on Chrome with a load of tabs and a couple of background programs quite well — there was no crashing or slowdown felt.
Cooling on the laptop also seems to work well. When taxed with programs such as Handbrake, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 never reached a point where the heat adversely affected my comfort levels while using it. The fan also stayed at an appropriate volume as well, the sound never becoming too distracting.
One negative thing that did occur on testing was the Wi-Fi connection getting intermittently cut off. Occasionally I would lose connection and have to take several minutes to get it to connect again before continuing what I was doing, and this occurred frequently enough to be a source of frustration. This could be an issue only with my test unit, but it is something to keep in mind.
The HP Pavilion Aero 13’s Integrated Radeon Graphics isn’t something that is suited for gaming. You can play casual games quite easily, and some competitive games also perform with a decent enough frame rate. Still, more hardcore, graphically-intensive games like Cyberpunk 2077 or DOOM Eternal won’t provide an experience as welcoming.
Despite boasting Bang & Olufsen audio technology, the speakers on the HP Pavilion Aero 13 are relatively average. It can get quite loud at higher volumes, but ultimately the sound produced is quite muffled and lacks bass.
I’m happy to say that the battery life for the HP Pavilion Aero 13 fares pretty well. The 43Whr equipped battery can offer 10 hours of use (10 hours 2 minutes to be exact). This was garnered with a mixture of web browsing and video streaming; that is substantial longevity for a laptop.
The laptop comes with a barrel plug charger, but you can also charge it via USB-C tool. The charger time is also pretty fast, filling up to full in less than two hours.
As a mid-range laptop, though the HP Pavilion Aero 13’s design isn’t as presentable to me personally, it ultimately is an aspect that is secondary to the entire package. It performs excellently for users doing casual to mid-level work as a daily routine for the price.
Some bugs stick out, like the lack of a backlit keyboard and underwhelming speakers, but if you are a first-time laptop buyer looking for a device that does the basics well, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 will make a good get for you.
Photos by Kenneth Tan of the DANAMIC Team.