Affordability reaches new dimensions with the HP Pavilion G4 14-inch laptop that is actually available for the price of a netbook. The AMD A4-3300M 1.9GHz processor onboard the G4 has enabled HP to price the laptop competitively, and at a weight of 4.5 pounds is easy to carry around too.
In spite of its competitive price it is attractively designed, with a Chiclet-style keyboard and well-designed keys that aren’t sculpted but still offer good grip for your hands and accurate placing thanks to ticks on the J and F keys. It’s hard to visually detect the keypad except for the textured surface. But for better operability with your hands, the keypad has been provided with a little dimple in the left upper corner.
Now let’s get to the tech specs. We saw the cost-effectiveness of the AMD A4-3300 processor, but are other aspects compromised in the quest for affordability? HP Pavilion G4 has 4GB DDR3 memory with graphics support provided by Radeon HD 6480G 512MB graphics card. It is equipped with a 320GB 5400-rpm hard drive from Hitachi and DVD burner too. Its battery provides 4 hours and 13 minutes of usability with the G4’s default settings, which is average.
The 1366x768 resolution in the 14-inch screen is really attractive thanks to the clear and bright display though the viewing angle is not wide enough but you can’t use all that for gaming. Yes, games are supported on this affordable laptop but work better at a lower resolution of say, 800x600 pixels with frame rates at the bottom 30s. Pavilion G4 is good for playing 1080p videos too. You can’t expect bass effect in an affordable laptop. Besides, you need sub woofer-integrated laptops for that. But other than that, the sound is clear and loud. The webcam has only a limited resolution though, only 640x480 pixels.
HP has not equipped the G4 with USB 3.0 ports or eSATA ports, which means you aren’t offered high speed backup. But you’ll find HDMI and VGA outputs, USB 2.0 ports and SD/MMC card reader. Wireless 802.11b/g/n and 10/100 ethernet connection are also offered.
PCWorld had subjected HP Pavilion G4 to its WorldBench 6 Suite test which returned a score of only 77, but that is expected of an affordable laptop such as this. That said, it is reasonably quick when used and should be great for your regular tasks, entertainment, some image downloading and some low resolution gaming.
With an expected price tag of around Rs. 35,000 in India, the lack of high speed data backup ports and the low PCWorld WorldBench score don’t do much damage to its reputation. It certainly seems better than settling for a notebook.