HP's Omen series has some great models for serious gamers. The Pavilion Gaming 15, however, is a machine designed for work and play in unequal parts. The updated DK series is stealthily designed to incorporate features of both a heavy-duty work machine and a gaming device. It fairly succeeds at both. It's overall a good buy if you can navigate a few challenges. Here's how it looks and performs.
The machine has a 15.6-inch display with a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, which isn't spectacular but sufficient for daily entertainment and casual gaming. The starting models, priced from Rs 69,990, come with a refresh rate of 60Hz, which will prove insufficient for people looking for a gaming-first device and should instead opt for a higher model (priced around Rs 1 lakh) with a 144Hz refresh rate -- unless, of course, gaming for you means Counter Strike after work.
The laptop comes in 'shadow black' and 'ultra violet', and the back of the screen has a matte finish with an HP logo at the centre. The sheen does look good but the fingerprint smudges can get to you. Keep a lint-free cloth handy.
The rectangular screen is attached to the rest of the machine from the centre and is free along the edges for an overall sharp-looking design. The screen borders have standard thickness with no innovation applied there.
While the laptop looks like any other machine from the outside, the backlit RGB keyboard is a nice touch for the gamer usually in a suit-and-tie. Above the keyboard is a wide speaker grille and a noticeably big trackpad sits at the bottom.
I would have actually liked the design more if the laptop did not weigh 2.25 kg. That is just medium-heavy in the gaming universe but not suitable to be lugged around to office and back. But if a few extra grams don't bother you, the good stuff is coming up.
HP Pavilion Gaming 15 is among the few machines that come with high-end gaming features at this price point. Apart from a design that supports a statement, the top-end variant, which I reviewed, comes with Intel's 9th-Gen Core i7 processor, 12 GB RAM, and -- more impressive -- a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU, a step up from the previous generation GTX 1060.
The laptop performed sufficiently well throughout my two-hour session of Fortnite while I occasionally multi-tasked to answer work emails. The frame rate was consistent without stutters. The machine did, however, heat up pretty quickly and I was forced to eventually place the laptop on a table. The other issue was the battery, which drained within two hours. The battery lasted about four hours during my non-gaming productivity hours, which isn't great, either. The trackpad could have also been more responsive in the default settings.
Back to the good stuff, the Bang and Olfsen speakers are well-tuned with clear vocals for watching a movie or casual gaming. But you will need headphones for serious gaming sessions because they aren't too loud.
The HP Pavillion Gaming 15 is slightly bulky for an everyday machine that mostly stays in a bag but is good for working and gaming from home. The design, specifications and performance are good for a starting price of Rs 69,990 (with i5 processor and 60Hz refresh rate) if you can navigate the challenges of a mediocre battery life and a bit of heat.