The HP Pavilion 15-B168CA ($699.99 (CA) list), available in Canada, is a mainstream touch-screen laptop with a large 15.6-inch screen. It comes with a relatively thin chassis, thanks to the omission of an optical drive like a DVD burner. With an AMD A8 processor, 8GB of memory, 1TB hard drive, and integrated AMD Radeon graphics, the 15-B168CA is a middle-of-the-road mainstream laptop that has all it needs to help you learn how to use Windows 8.
Design and Features
The 15-B168CA is a thinner laptop than rivals, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t have an optical drive. It comes in at 2.5 by 38.6 by 25.9 cm (HWD), and weighs in at just over five pounds (5.07 pounds) or 2.3 kg. It’s still a full sized laptop overall, thanks to its 15.6-inch screen, which has a 1,366 by 768 resolution, good for 720p HD videos. The 15-B168CA has a flush pane of glass over its LCD screen, both to protect the LCD panel and give users a seamless surface to utilize the 10-point capacitive touch sensor. This makes the 15-B168CA’s display ideal for Windows 8, which has a touch-optimized Start screen. The touch screen is responsive to taps and swipes, as is the embedded multi-touch trackpad. Like other HP Pavilion laptops, the 15-B168CA has molded a bumpy texture onto the trackpad. The system chassis is all glossy black polycarbonate, giving the system a utilitarian design ID. It looks like a thinner version of the same chassis as the less expensive HP Pavilion G6-2248CA. The chiclet-style keyboard isn’t backlit, but it comes with a full numeric keypad, a luxury afforded by the laptop’s full-size chassis.
Unfortunately, the system doesn’t have an optical drive and since HP went for simplicity, the system has one less USB port than other systems like the HP Pavilion M6-1188CA or the Lenovo IdeaPad N581. Two of the three USB ports are USB 3.0, but the third is USB 2.0. This wouldn’t be a problem except that the USB 3.0 ports are black instead of the usual blue. This means that novice users may connect a USB 3.0 hard drive to the USB 2.0 port by mistake. Thankfully, the USB ports are on different spots on the chassis: the USB 3.0 ports are on the right, while the USB 2.0 port is on the left. The 15-B168CA also has a HDMI port, SD card reader, and an Ethernet port. The system lacks a VGA port, which can be inconvenient if you’re planning on using the system with an older VGA monitor you have in your home.
The 15-B168CA comes with 8GB of system memory and a 1TB hard drive, both of which are convenient for the multitasking home user. 8GB will let you keep dozens of browser tabs open simultaneously, and 1TB is more than enough for most family snapshots and music files. 1TB may eventually get a little cramped if you like to download multiple full seasons of TV shows in HD.
The system comes with a selection of pre-loaded software, ranging from simple games (Solitaire, Mahjong) to online media stores (Kindle, HP Connected Music). Tiles like Amazon and eBay are tantamount to ads for these services, but the preloaded software will save you the effort of downloading them from the Windows Store if you’re already a user of either service. The 15-B168CA comes with a copy of Fresh Paint and Tap Tiles, two leisure programs that take advantage of the system’s touch screen. The 15-B168CA comes with a one-year warranty.
The 15-B168CA comes with an AMD A8-4555M processor, 8GB of memory, and integrated AMD Radeon HD 7600G graphics. The combo is somewhat sloe on our day to day (PCMark7) and multimedia benchmark tests (Handbrake and Photoshop), especially when compared to midrange Intel systems like the Samsung Series 3 NP300E5E-A05CA and the Lenovo IdeaPad N581. The 15-B168CA does a little better on the 3D benchmarks, including the games Aliens vs. Predator and Heaven, thanks to its Radeon HD 7600G graphics. The 15-B168CA still doesn’t have the power to play games smoothly at native resolution, for that you’ll need a more performance oriented system like the HP Pavilion M6-1188CA. The 15-168CA’s battery performance was kind of short, at 3 hours 19 minutes. Contrast this with the HP Pavilion M6-1188CA with almost six hours or the Samsung Series 3 with over five hours.
The HP Pavilion 15-B168 is a solid 15.6-inch mainstream laptop, with a large touch screen that works fine with the new Windows 8 interface. That said, the system’s components leave it wanting on the performance charts, meaning that the system will start to feel slow sooner than other systems in its category.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS
Check out the test scores for the HP Pavilion 15-B168CA
Compare the HP Pavilion 15-B168CA with several other laptops side by side.
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon HD 7600G|
|Type||General Purpose, Ultraportable|
|Processor Speed||1.6 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1000 GB|
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