HP Pavilion Touchsmart 11-e030sa review
This touchscreen laptop is beautifully designed, but its slow processor and temperamental touchpad hold it back
Review Date: 3 Jan 2014
Price when reviewed: £329
Reviewed By: Katharine Byrne
Ultra-cheap laptops are nothing new, but few are as beautifully designed as the HP Pavilion Touchsmart 11-e030sa and have ten point touchscreens for just over £300. Its brushed metallic finish and smart looks are immediately appealing and make it look a lot more expensive than it is. To top it all it weighs just 1.4kg, so you can easily carry it everywhere.
Its well-made, too, as we saw hardly any flex in the screen or keyboard tray, and its wide range of ports give it plenty of versatility. We were particularly pleased to see two USB3 ports alongside its single USB2 port, and you’ll also find HDMI and VGA video outputs for connecting the laptop to an external display, an SD card reader, a Fast Ethernet port, and a combined headphone and microphone jack.
The touchscreen was wonderfully responsive and we were able to perform Windows 8 gestures without any trouble at all. Multi-touch gestures such as two-finger scrolling and pinch-zooming were smooth, too, and its 1,366x768 resolution looked sharp on its 11.6in display. Its viewing angles were good
The screen’s image quality was more mediocre, as our colour calibrator showed it was displaying just 53.2 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut. This is to be expected on a budget laptop, though, and colours still looked acceptable in our subjective solid colour image tests. Reds, greens and blues all retained a surprising amount of depth thanks to the screen’s glossy finish and none of them looked particularly drained or washed out.
Blacks were less impressive, though, as the screen’s high black level reading of 0.52cd/m2 meant they could appear quite grey depending on how we angled the screen. This also revealed the screen’s rather narrow viewing angles, which made it difficult to see our high contrast test photos clearly unless the screen was at just the right angle.
This isn’t helped by the display’s low contrast ratio, which we measured at just 298:1. This is one of the lowest contrast ratios we’ve seen so far, but we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of detail we were able to see when the screen was positioned correctly. Shadows were particularly well illuminated, but we tilted the screen out of its small sweet spot, it wasn’t long before everything was obscured.
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