netbook category might be dead now, but for a few years not too long
ago, netbooks redefined budget computers, and every single PC
manufacturer jumped on board when it seemed they were sweeping the
world. Netbooks were intended as inexpensive computers for first-time
users in places where PC penetration had typically not progressed due to
While popular in India and other developing
markets, they also really took off with buyers in Asia and Europe who
just liked the idea of having a light, reasonably cheap second or third
PC that they could travel with, give their kids to use, or simply keep
around as a spare. This market preferred netbooks with slightly larger
screens, more attractive design, and full Windows licenses, which drove
prices up and alienated budget buyers.
Then, tablets became
popular, and buyers who were willing to pay for the portability and
convenience of a netbook found that tablets suited them much better. In
almost no time at all, manufacturers began announcing that they were
exiting the netbook market to focus on tablets and portable
but expensive ultrabooks instead.
Thus, there currently exists an
unserved market segment for affordable computers capable of being used
for real productive work. Is HP's new Pavilion 10 TouchSmart a fresh
take on an old product category, and can it plug that gap? Read on to
Look and feel
So, is the Pavilion 10 a netbook? It
certainly looks and feels like one. A quick glance at the list of
specifications seems to confirm that it is indeed equipped with just the
bare basic hardware to run a desktop version of Windows. But there is
one critical departure: the price. At nearly Rs. 30,000, the Pavilion 10
costs around twice as much as the last few netbooks still available
in the market.
This might be explained by HP's curious decision to
use a touchscreen on such a low-end machine, but even so, it seems a
bit excessive. The Pavilion 10's performance will need to match its
price if it wants to successfully transcend its netbook shell.
Pavilion 10 TouchSmart does look quite distinctive, with a smooth,
shiny, silver polka-dotted lid. It definitely isn't the kind of machine
you'd want to carry into a stodgy corporate boardroom, though it
might pass off in a less formal work environment. The design continues
on the inside, with a darker version of the same pattern on the front
and sides of the keyboard deck.
The keyboard is cramped and
smaller than normal, which is a total throwback to the old netbook days.
HP's trademark squashed arrow key cluster is even more annoying than
usual thanks to the space crunch. By default, hitting any key in the Fn
row will perform its secondary function, such as changing brightness and
volume, turning the trackpad and Wi-Fi on and off, and controlling
media playback. The F6 key, which doubles as a mute button, has a little
embedded status LED which is a neat touch. The keyboard is cramped and
shallow, so typing isn't exactly comfortable. At least all the important
keys are in the right place.
The trackpad is also squashed up
against the front edge of the device. It's nearly as wide as a regular
notebook trackpad, but significantly shorter. There's also no physical
button at all, though the lower edge is clickable. The trackpad is also
slightly recessed, making Windows 8's swipe gestures difficult to use.
We wound up inadvertently switching apps when we didn't mean to, since
the trackpad is small but still detects swipes near the edge as if they
originated beyond its borders.
Around the edges you'll find two
USB 2.0 ports and a very welcome USB 3.0 port in addition to an
Ethernet port, 3.5mm headset jack, HDMI video output and SD card reader.
There's a power indicator on the power button above the keyboard, and
for some reason, another one on the front left edge, next to the hard
drive activity indicator. A separate charging indicator is placed next
to the power socket towards the rear of the right edge.
Pavilion 10 is certainly not ultrabook-slim, but 225mm is still
reasonable. Its overall proportions, curves and weight make it seem
squatter than it actually is. It might fit easily in a backpack or
handbag, but at 1.45kg, it's definitely going to be noticeable.
of bags, we wish HP had thrown in a sleeve or slipcover with the
Pavilion 10. Very few bags have pouches that will fit devices this size,
and considering how glossy its lid is, there's no way you'll avoid
scratching it up if you let it rattle around with other objects.
Features and specifications
where the Pavilion 10's netbook heritage really makes itself felt. The
CPU is a terribly weak, low-power AMD A4-1200, codenamed Kabini and
based on the Jaguar core architecture. The A4-1200 itself is one of the least
powerful Kabini models, with two cores running at only 1GHz, and with
1MB of L2 cache between them.
AMD calls its products which have
CPU and GPU logic integrated on the same die APUs, or Accelerated
Processing Units. The GPU component of the A4-1200 is called the Radeon
HD 8180, and as the low numbers suggest, it cannot be compared in any
way to discrete Radeon GPUs. This one runs at a paltry 225MHz.
Interestingly, AMD has claimed superiority on the integrated graphics
front for a long while, but this particular model is a low-power unit
that poses hardly any threat to Intel's offerings. Forget about
high-quality gaming; there's barely enough meat on these bones for basic
2D and 3D graphics.
The most attractive specification of this APU
is its extremely low power consumption. At just 3.9W, the Pavilion 10
should stay cool and quiet even when stressed.
The rest of the
specifications are par for the course: there's 2GB of DDR3 RAM, a
500GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE. HP describes the
webcam as "TrueVision HD", but even though the 1280x720 image and video
resolution just about barely qualifies as HD, the quality is severely
The Pavilion 10's screen measures 10.1 inches and
runs at 1366x768, which has been the lowest common denominator for years
now. At this small size it isn't a problem, and text is
actually quite sharp. The screen itself is dull, and we found ourselves
running it at or very close to its maximum brightness setting throughout
our time with the Pavilion 10. Viewing angles aren't that impressive
The only feature that really stands out is the
touchscreen. Considering how weak the Pavilion 10 actually is and how
little you're likely to use it for, we were initially of the opinion
that the touchscreen was unnecessary, and probably drove up the cost too
much. However in day-to-day use, we found ourselves reaching out to jab
the screen quite often. We played a few Windows 8 games and enjoyed
them, but this is when we really missed being able to detach the screen
or fold it down flat like a tablet. The Pavilion's hinge is also not
that firm, so the screen does wobble just a tiny little bit when tapped.
Pavilion 10's performance was completely disappointing, and that's
putting it mildly. We noticed stutters in ordinary usage, long app
loading times, and occasional lags when going about the most mundane
tasks. We'd be okay with using this device for basic Web surfing, email, social networking, streaming the occasional YouTube video and throwing together a Word or Excel document in a pinch. For any task beyond that, we would get frustrated pretty quickly.
Our 720p test videos seemed to play well, but even our most
lightly encoded 1080p sample was completely unwatchable, thanks to lags,
dropped frames, and audio sync issues. Sound was okay for a notebook,
but nothing spectacular.
By the time we got around to running our
benchmark suite, we had no illusions left about the kind of results to
expect. The SunSpider test took an astounding 850.5ms to run, and
BrowserMark gave us a score of only 1593. POVRay took an excruciating 50
minutes to render its built-in benchmark, which is nearly four times as
long as a machine in this price range should take.
Scores in our
other test runs were equally dismal. The mechanical hard drive caused
SiSoft Sandra's Physical Disk module to compute a Drive Index of only
54.4 MB/s, whereas an SSD would have scored at least ten times that.
3DMark simply refused to run, and CineBench returned a CPU score of only
35, as opposed to the low hundreds that we're used to seeing on
Battery life was a reasonable 3 hours, 44 minutes in our standard Battery Eater Pro rundown test, and 6 hours 52 minutes in the far less intense reader test, which basically just keeps the screen on with almost zero CPU or GPU activity.
Simply put, performance is nowhere near the level
we'd expect from a machine in this price class. We're now completely
sure that this device deserves to be classified as a netbook, despite
its touchscreen and price tag.
The Pavilion 10
TouchSmart is grossly overpriced. It could have been a great budget
option, filling the void left by the netbook category's demise. At this
price you can easily buy a much better laptop from pretty much every
manufacturer out there, including HP itself! You should look for at
least a 14- or 15-inch screen and an Intel Core i3 processor, though the
RAM, hard drive and screen resolution would likely be the same.
If you're really interested in having a touchscreen device, this might be the cheapest one you can find. Still, due to its non-hybrid design and weak performance, you won't really enjoy the features that a Windows 8 tablet or hybrid can offer. A touchscreen is nice to have, but we don't think this is the kind of device that benefits from having one.
Unfortunately, we're left with the conclusion that a netbook by any other name is still a netbook. Given
a choice between this machine for Rs. 30,000 or an exact copy minus the
touchscreen for half or even two-thirds the price, there's no doubt we'd choose the
Price: Rs. 29,990
- Good looks
- USB 3.0 and decent connectivity
- Uncomfortable keyboard and trackpad
- Generally poor performance
- Highly overpriced
Ratings (out of 5):
- Design: 3
- Display: 3
- Performance: 2
- Software: 2.5
- Battery Life: 3
- Value for Money: 2
- Overall: 2.5
HP Pavililon 10 TouchSmart in pictures