Home » HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Review
Laptop

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Review

When we reviewed the HP Pavilion Gaming 15 in December 2019, we famous that it was on the improper aspect of the $1,000 line for price range gaming laptops at $1,249.99. Its successor in the identical chassis, the HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200, is on the proper aspect at $789.99, even with a quicker AMD Ryzen 5 CPU and display with 144Hz refresh charge for esports players (a 60Hz mannequin is even cheaper at $699.99). Unfortunately, it has a barely slower GPU and its storage is skimpy, so whereas the 15z-ec200 earns a glance from players with skinny wallets it does not surpass the marginally inexpensive Acer Nitro 5 or barely dearer (and Editors’ Choice award-winning) MSI Bravo 15.


Unchanged Styling, Rearranged Ports 

Both the 60Hz and 144Hz shows are 15.6-inch, non-touch panels with full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) decision backed by an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. The Pavilion contains a six-core, 3.3GHz (4.2GHz turbo) Ryzen 5 5600H processor and 8GB of reminiscence; upgrades to 12GB or 16GB are $40 or $80 respectively, whereas an eight-core Ryzen 7 5800H provides $120. The laptop computer’s 256GB NVMe solid-state drive is simply too small to carry a lot of right this moment’s video games. You can bolster it with a 1TB laborious drive for $90 or exchange it with a 512GB or 1TB SSD for $70 or $140 respectively.

Our Experts Have Tested 131 Products within the Laptops Category within the Past Year

Since 1982, PCMag has examined and rated 1000’s of merchandise that can assist you make higher shopping for selections. (See how we take a look at.)

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 left angle


(Photo: Molly Flores)

Diagonal cutouts beneath the show add a little bit of visible aptitude when the laptop computer’s open; the bezels on both aspect of the display are slim although the highest and backside borders are bigger. As a Pavilion, the 15z-ec200 wears HP’s round shopper emblem fairly than the stylized 4 slashes of upscale enterprise and Spectre fashions. The keyboard is backlit, however all in inexperienced fairly than the a number of zones or million RGB colours of fancier gaming rigs; would-be Windows Hello customers will likely be disillusioned to seek out neither a fingerprint reader nor face recognition webcam.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 rear view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

The black plastic Pavilion measures 0.93 by 14.2 by 10.1 inches, roughly matching the Bravo 15 (0.85 by 14.1 by 10 inches) and Dell G3 15 (0.85 by 14.4 by 10 inches). It weighs 4.4 kilos, just a few grams greater than the MSI (4.1 kilos) however lower than the Dell (5.2 kilos). There’s fairly a variety of flex if you happen to grasp the display corners or press the keyboard deck. 

As an AMD machine, the HP has no Thunderbolt port, however in any other case presents respectable connectivity. The solely ports on the left edge are a retro USB 2.0 port and the ability connector. On the proper are USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports, an HDMI video output, an Ethernet port, an audio jack, and an SD card slot. A Realtek card supplies Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth wi-fi.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 left ports


(Photo: Molly Flores)

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 right ports


(Photo: Molly Flores)


A Less Than Dynamic Display

It might supply a 144Hz as a substitute of the standard 60Hz refresh charge, however the Pavilion’s display nonetheless comes throughout as an economic system panel—it is not very vibrant and colours are bland, trying muted or washed-out as a substitute of vivid or popping. White backgrounds are a bit dingy and distinction is mediocre, although nice particulars and the sides of letters are fairly sharp as a substitute of pixelated and viewing angles are broad.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 front view


(Photo: Molly Flores)

The keyboard is comfy and quiet fairly than snappy; it presents a numeric keypad with small Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys above it although the cursor arrows are organized in HP’s eternally awkward row, with hard-to-hit, half-height up and down arrows stacked between full-sized left and proper, as a substitute of the correct inverted T. The buttonless touchpad glides and faucets easily however clicks stiffly. 

The speaker grille above the keyboard produces clear however not very loud sound; bass is minimal and you’ll solely faintly make out overlapping tracks. B&O Audio Control software program presents music, film, and voice presets and an equalizer with pop, rock, classical, dance, and different modes, most of which sound such as you’ve thrown a blanket over the audio system. The 720p webcam captures soft-focus photographs with a lot of noise or static.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 keyboard


(Photo: Molly Flores)

HP backs the Pavilion Gaming Laptop with a one-year guarantee and preloads the Windows 10 Home system with Dropbox, LastPass, and McAfee trials and a number of other utilities together with HP QuickDrop to switch information out of your smartphone and HP CoolSense to regulate efficiency and fan settings to maintain the system from toasting your lap. Omen Gaming Hub permits you to monitor system stats and optimize community site visitors.


Performance Testing: A Budget Gaming Throwdown 

For our benchmark charts I in contrast the Pavilion 15z-ec200 to 4 different under-$1,000 gaming laptops—the abovementioned Dell G3 15, MSI Bravo 15, and Acer Nitro 5 (our 2020 take a look at unit; we have not seen the brand new 2021 Nitro 5 fashions but) plus the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i. You can see their fundamental specs within the desk beneath. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 comparison chart

Productivity and Media Tests 

PCMark 10 and eight are holistic efficiency suites developed by the PC benchmark specialists at UL (previously Futuremark). The PCMark 10 take a look at we run simulates totally different real-world productiveness and content-creation workflows. We use it to evaluate total system efficiency for office-centric duties comparable to phrase processing, spreadsheeting, Web searching, and videoconferencing. PCMark 8, in the meantime, has a storage subtest that we use to evaluate the pace of the system’s boot drive. Both yield a proprietary numeric rating; increased numbers are higher. (See extra about how we take a look at laptops.) 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 PCMark

All 5 notebooks hurdled the 4,000-point line that signifies glorious productiveness in PCMark 10, with the HP and MSI main the way in which; they could not set body charge information when gaming however they’re aces at Microsoft Office and Google Docs. PCMark 8’s storage train is cake for right this moment’s speedy SSDs. 

Next is Maxon’s CPU-crunching Cinebench R15 take a look at, which is absolutely threaded to utilize all out there processor cores and threads. Cinebench stresses the CPU fairly than the GPU to render a posh picture. The result’s a proprietary rating indicating a PC’s suitability for processor-intensive workloads. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Cinebench

Cinebench is commonly a very good predictor of our Handbrake video modifying benchmark, during which we put a stopwatch on programs as they transcode a short film from 4K decision right down to 1080p. It, too, is a troublesome take a look at for multi-core, multi-threaded CPUs; decrease occasions are higher. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Handbrake

The Bravo completed in entrance however the Pavilion wasn’t far behind, displaying processing efficiency that a few years in the past belonged principally to cellular workstations. Outfitting it with the eight-core Ryzen 7 can be overkill. 

We additionally run a customized Adobe Photoshop image-editing benchmark. Using an early 2018 launch of the Creative Cloud model of Photoshop, we apply a sequence of 10 advanced filters and results to an ordinary JPEG take a look at picture. We time every operation and add up the entire (decrease occasions are higher). The Photoshop take a look at stresses the CPU, storage subsystem, and RAM, however it might probably additionally make the most of most GPUs to hurry up the method of making use of filters. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Photoshop

The 15z-ec200 took the gold medal, ending the job in a brisk time. Serious picture editors will in all probability need a higher-quality 4K show, however the HP is a nice selection for managing a photograph assortment. 

Graphics Tests 

3DMark measures relative graphics muscle by rendering sequences of extremely detailed, gaming-style 3D graphics that emphasize particles and lighting. We run two totally different 3DMark subtests, Sky Diver and Fire Strike. Both are DirectX 11 benchmarks, however Sky Diver is extra suited to laptops and midrange PCs, whereas Fire Strike is extra demanding and lets high-end PCs and gaming rigs strut their stuff. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 3DMark

Next up is one other artificial graphics take a look at, this time from Unigine Corp. Like 3DMark, the Superposition take a look at renders and pans via an in depth 3D scene, this one rendered within the eponymous Unigine engine for a second opinion on the machine’s graphical prowess. We current two Superposition outcomes, run on the 720p Low and 1080p High presets and reported in frames per second (fps), indicating how easy the scene appears in movement. For lower-end programs, sustaining not less than 30fps is the sensible goal, whereas extra highly effective computer systems ought to ideally attain not less than 60fps on the take a look at decision. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Superposition

The Pavilion’s GeForce GTX 1650 simply outclasses the built-in graphics of generic shopper laptops, however ranks close to the underside of right this moment’s gaming GPUs and effectively beneath the Radeon RX 5500M of the MSI Bravo 15. For most AAA video games, pairing it with a 144Hz show is an train in wishful pondering, however multiplayer esports addicts who usually dial down visible high quality settings for the sake of quicker reactions will admire the upper refresh charge.

Real-World Gaming Tests 

The artificial checks above are useful for measuring basic 3D aptitude, but it surely’s laborious to beat full retail video video games for judging gaming efficiency. Far Cry 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider are each fashionable AAA titles with built-in benchmark routines. We run these checks at 1080p decision utilizing each average and most graphics-quality presets—Normal and Ultra for Far Cry 5 underneath DirectX 11, Medium and Very High for Rise of the Tomb Raider underneath DirectX 12. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Far Cry 5

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 Rise of the Tomb Raider

Only the MSI reached the magic 60fps mark on the video games’ finest visible settings. The HP can play nearly any fashionable title at effectively above the 30fps that not way back was the perfect price range players may hope for, but it surely’s not aggressive by right this moment’s requirements. 

Battery Rundown Test 

After absolutely recharging the laptop computer, we arrange the machine in power-save mode (versus balanced or high-performance mode) the place out there and make just a few different battery-conserving tweaks in preparation for our unplugged video rundown take a look at. (We additionally flip Wi-Fi off, placing the laptop computer into airplane mode.) In this take a look at, we loop a video—a regionally saved 720p file of the Blender Foundation quick movie Tears of Steel—with display brightness set at 50 % and quantity at one hundred pc till the system quits. 

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 battery life

The Acer confirmed distinctive stamina, however the Pavilion’s nine-hour runtime was adequate for the silver medal. Of course precise gaming will drain the battery significantly faster than mere video playback, however wandering away from a wall outlet will likely be no trigger for panic.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200 right front


(Photo: Molly Flores)


In the Top 10, But Not the Top Five 

The nice GPU scarcity of 2021 is affecting laptops in addition to desktops, however there are nonetheless nifty gaming notebooks to be discovered for underneath $1,000. The Pavilion 15z-ec200 is an honorable contender, but it surely’d take a storage and graphics improve to make it a winner. If you are out there for a fairly priced gaming laptop computer that may ship a vigorous 1080p enjoying expertise, the Acer Nitro 5 and the MSI Bravo 15 are extra compelling decisions.

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15z-ec200

Cons

  • Fair 1080p gaming efficiency, however 144Hz show is wasted

  • Insufficient 256GB of storage

  • Unimpressive display and sound

The Bottom Line

The HP Pavilion 15z-ec200 hits many of the gaming-laptop marks for underneath $800, however its 144Hz display writes a verify that its GPU cannot money.

Like What You’re Reading?

Sign up for Lab Report to get the most recent evaluations and prime product recommendation delivered proper to your inbox.

This publication might include promoting, offers, or affiliate hyperlinks. Subscribing to a publication signifies your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You might unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.