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[Review] HP Pavilion 15-g317cl Stuck between two worlds

Touchscreen laptops are quickly leaving the "niche segment" and landing in mainstream territory with all kinds of laptops embracing this new technology as an added bonus to their set of features. Such is the case of the laptop we're going to talk about today; the HP Pavilion 15-g317cl.

This new laptop arrives on the scene with a budget friendly price, 8GB of RAM, an AMD CPU as well as the aforementioned touchscreen. But enough with the spoilers, if you wanna know more then go ahead and read our in depth review of the HP Pavilion 15-g317cl where we'll be looking at the good, the bad and everything in between.

This is what we'd call a "high end entry level laptop" which means it's not in the mid range but it's also not at the entry level point...

HP Pavilion 15-g317cl Review of an intriguing laptop

Touchscreen and design

While we like the design on the HP Pavilion 15-g317cl we can't exactly say we're surprised. It follows the same pattern as most mid range HP laptops and therefore really fails to impress upon first sight. The build quality is good and the ergonomics are ok but it's not like HP will be collecting any awards with this design.

The screen, one of this notebooks most compelling features, is a 15.6 inch WLED-Backlit display with a standard 1366 by 768 resolution and touchscreen capabilities. We're gonna level with you; we don't see much of a point to touchscreen laptops at this point. That said, we do see it as something useful on specific niches like education and design and we recommend it especially for children.

As expected, the keyboard is not backlit but your standard island style keyboard with a numeric pad on the side and an ample trackpad on the centre-left side. All in all, the standard keyboard for its price range.

Power and multitasking

In terms of performance its midway between a third generation Core i3 and a 4th generation Core i5.
As you might have guessed by now, this is what we'd call a "high end entry level laptop" which means it's not in the mid range but it's also not at the entry level point where all we can find is 4GB of RAM and Celeron processors.

We've come to this conclusion after exploring its internals. On the processing side we've got an AMD quad core A6-5200 CPU working at 2.0GHz with four threads and 2MB of L2 type cache.

If you come from Intel based laptops you might be a bit confused as to what this actually means in terms of performance so we're gonna tell you that in terms of performance its midway between a third generation Core i3 and a 4th generation Core i5.

This means that the HP Pavilion 15-g317cl will deliver a solid performance on your day to day operations but it's not ideal for processor intensive tasks such as 3D rendering, compiling programs or editing high definition video. Other stuff like surfing the web, video chatting with friends, watching movies on netflix and so forth are all ok.

Multitasking won't be an issue with this laptop thanks to its 8GB of DDR3L SDRAM clocking in at 1600 MHz. That's why we've said that this laptop isn't an entry level model because if that were the case then we'd be talking about a 4GB module.

Now if you're an intensive multi tasker you'll be glad to know that you're covered. On the flip side if you're not really an intensive user it's always better to have more RAM since software tends to get more RAM-hungry over time and this way you'll be covered both now and in a few years time.

What games can I play?

In a nutshell this laptop is not suited for gaming. With an AMD Radeon 8400 graphics chip you'll be ok when streaming Full HD video but in terms of gaming you shouldn't really expect it to run anything more graphically demanding than Sims or Minecraft at low settings. There's really no way of sugarcoating it...

Battery Life

Battery life is becoming increasingly important as of late with many users looking for battery life when determining their next purchase. It's with that in mind that we're actually quite pleased to find that this notebook houses a 3 cell lithium-ion battery that delivers up to 7 hours of unplugged power according to the company.

That said, with real world usage we'd be wiser to expect around 6 hours of battery life if we don't want to be disappointed.

Storage and Connectivity

In regards to storage there's not much to say. The HP Pavilion 15-g317cl features a 1TB hard drive with a running speed of 5400 rpm. Honestly we're more keen to SSD storage but if you really wanna have major storage capacity (at a reasonable price) you're better off with an HDD.

Finally, when it comes to connectivity we've got a WiFi b/g/n antena, a few USB ports (one USB 3.0), HDMI, ethernet port, SD card reader and a DVD tray to read/write DVD's and CD's.

"Sadly" there doesn't seem to be a VGA port and I say "sadly" because I personally can't remember the last time I personally used that interface, then again I could say the same about the DVD reader so there's that.

What's the verdict?

HP has taken a bold move when the company opted to introduce this model. A hybrid between the mid range and the entry level laptop, a Full HD display with an ok CPU, a strange mix that works well when you attach an entry level price to it. 

All in all, after crafting our review of the HP Pavilion 15-g317cl we can't say we're head over heals in love with the model. It's got a good balance between price and specs and if you're looking for a touchscreen with decent specs that doesn't go into the mid range territory (and pricing) this is a good choice.