The HP Pavilion G6-2368CA ($499.99 list CAD) is an affordably priced and relatively well-equipped laptop that gives the average user interested in exploring Windows 8 a decent option. Overall, it’s a fairly humble system that’s bolstered by some useful perks, like a spacious hard drive and large display. Still, its AMD APU and its so-so performance keep it from achieving higher marks and, ultimately, undermines its overall effectiveness in the face of similarly-priced Intel-equipped competitors.
Design and Features
The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s chassis measures 1.4 by 14.8 by 9.6 inches (HWD). Its weight of 5.08 pounds is reasonable for a 15.6-inch laptop and is slightly less bulky than the equally-sized HP Pavilion G6-2248CA (5.47 pounds) and Lenovo IdeaPad N581 (5.71 pounds). However, users on the market for a more featherweight system should at least briefly consider checking out an ultrabook along the likes of the Acer Aspire V5-571P-6627 (4.63 pounds).The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s plastic body sports a glossy black finish that’s subtly covered in glitter, in turn creating a look that can be described as “sparkly obsidian.”
One place where glossiness benefits the Pavilion G6-2368CA is its 15.6-inch display, which dishes out rich colors and sharp images in an eye-pleasing fashion. Its maximum resolution of 1,366 by 768 is capable of supporting 720p content, a useful feature since the Pavilion G6-2368CA sports an integrated DVD burner. It doesn’t support touch functionality, though that’s an understandable omission at this price point. Comparatively, the Aspire V5-571P-6627 sports a touch capacitive touch screen, and accordingly costs $200 more. Music on the Pavilion G6-2368CA’s Altec Lansing speakers often sounded muddled and there’s noticeable distortion at higher levels.
Despite some mild flexing, the Pavilion G6-2368CA’s chiclet-style keyboard nonetheless serves up a fairly comfortable typing experience. While it deserves credit for featuring a dedicated alpha numeric keypad, its lack of a backlight is an easily avoidable shortcoming that does the keyboard a disservice. The Pavilion G6-2368CA partially acquits itself with its comfortably textured touchpad, whose fluid Windows 8 gesture support helps make up for the absence of a touch screen.
The right side of the chassis features a USB 2.0 port and a DVD burner while left side houses a pair of USB 3.0 ports, the usual audio jacks, an SD/MMC card reader, and full-size VGA and HDMI outputs. While a pair of USB 3.0 ports is fairly generous, their black color makes them indistinguishable from the system’s USB 2.0 port—save for a faint “SS” (super-speed) logo that HP uses in lieu of the standard blue color—which will likely trip up less discerning users.
The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s 750GB, 5,400rpm HDD offers abundant storage for program files and media. Users that prefer working with a clean slate, however, must initially confront a sizable amount of preloaded software. The usual suspects are all present, like bloatware (Windows Live Essentials, desktop links to eBay and Netflix), trialware (Office 2010 Starter, 60-days of Norton Internet Security), and, of course, proprietary offerings from HP (HP Connected Music, Connected Remote, CoolSense, HP Games, and many, many more).
The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s 2.7GHz AMD A6-4400M Accelerated Processor Unit (APU) bakes the system’s CPU and AMD Radeon HD 7520G GPU onto the same die. Performance-wise, this duo is a mixed bag that yields competitive graphics processing and so-so performance in daily computing and media creation. The system’s PCMark 7 score of 1,319 points landed at the bottom of the pile, falling short of Intel-equipped Asus VivoBook X202E-BH91T-CB (1,589 points) as well as the AMD-equipped HP Pavilion M6-1148CA (1,654 points). Its Cinebench R11.5 score of 1.13 points fared somewhat better, surpassing those of the Pavilion G6-2248CA and VivoBook X202E-BH91T-CB (1.01 points and 0.86 point, respectively), though it still fell considerably short of the class-leading Lenovo N581 (2.49 points).
Hobbyists that occasionally dabble in light multimedia creation will be well-served by the Pavilion G6-2368CA, though anything beyond that is out of the question. It completed our Handbrake video-encoding test in 3 minutes 8 seconds, outpacing the Asus VivoBook X202E-BH91T-CB (4:54) but more than twice as long as the Ideapad N581 (1:27). Similarly, it applied the dozen or so filters in Photoshop CS6 in 7 minutes 45 seconds, which was quicker than the Pavilion G6-2248CA (8:17) but short of the Aspire V5-571P-6627 (7:36) and, to a greater extent, the Ideapad N581 (5:34).
The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s AMD Radeon HD 7520G handily outflanked the competition in 3DMark11 (1,263 points in Entry-level settings, 257 points in Extreme mode). While the Ideapad N581 managed to come within striking distance (1,234 points and 224 points, respectively), the Pavilion G6-2368CA’s prowess for rendering 3D graphics is easily apparent. Still, its GPU isn’t potent enough to distinguish itself from its peers in high-end gaming, as it also failed to crack the 30 frames per second (fps) playability barrier in both Aliens vs. Predator and Heaven.
The Pavilion G6-2368CA’s removable 4,200 mAh battery lasted 4 hours 3 minutes on our battery rundown test, which gives it an edge over the Asus X202E-BH91T-CB (3:55) It’s a fairly average time for this class, though, so users planning on working for an entire day on a single charge should be prepared to shell out the extra cash for a spare battery.
With its affordable price tag and decent feature set, the HP Pavilion G6-2368CA gives average users a decent option for jumping into Windows 8 without breaking the bank. While its AMD processor offers so-so performance, it’s partially remedied by useful perks like a spacious hard drive and large display. Casual users should give it a chance, but only after exploring other options first.
BENCHMARK TEST RESULTS:
Check out the test scores for the HP Pavilion G6-2368CA
|Processor Name||AMD A6-4400M|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 8|
|Graphics Card||AMD Radeon HD 7520G|
|Processor Speed||2.7 GHz|
|Primary Optical Drive||DVD+/-RW (Plus Minus)|
|Screen Size||15.6 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||750 GB|
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