The Best HP Pavilion g4 Review

Posted by The Best Review Monday, October 17, 2011 2 komentar

The HP Pavilion g4's $379 price will make your eyes pop. Available exclusively through Best Buy, the AMD A4-3300M-powered laptop doesn't have the specs of a high performer, but at this price point, shoppers are looking for a competent system for web surfing, light media consumption, and e-mail. Fortunately, with strong audio, wide viewing angles, and a comfy keyboard, the Pavilion g4 is a lot more than just competent.


The Pavilion g4 has a simple, understated design--it doesn't have any interesting embellishments aside from a slightly raised HP logo on the bottom corner of the lid. Our unit was a nondescript charcoal gray, although HP does offer the laptop in other shades (Pearl Pink, Pewter, and Sonoma Red) for $25 more. Despite being made from plastic, the g4's glossy lid feels sturdy, but it's a fingerprint magnet.
HP Pavilion g4
Open up the notebook, and you'll find the same glossy gray finish on the lid. Both the screen and the deck are framed in black, though the screen is bordered with a black matte plastic.
Weighing in at 4.6 pounds and measuring 13.4 x 9.1 x 1.2-1.4 inches, the Pavilion g4 has just about the right heft for a machine of this size. (For comparison's sake, the 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad V470--measuring 13.4 x 9.2 x 1.2 inches--has exactly the same weight.) This laptop is definitely convenient for travel; we slipped the Pavilion g4 in our bag, took it out on a subway commute, and weren't bothered in the least by its weight.


The Pavilion g4 is one cool laptop, and it remained so throughout our testing. After we ran our heat test (which involves streaming a full-screen Hulu video for 15 minutes), the touchpad measured only 78 degrees Fahrenheit, the keyboard 84 degrees, and the middle bottom only 90 degrees. We generally consider temperatures less than 95 degrees to be comfortable, so we were pleased to discover that the Pavilion g4 stayed well within this range. However, when did a lot of work on it--specifically, browsing the web, running a full antivirus scan and streaming a video on Netflix at the same time--the laptop's fan began to whir audibly.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Pavilion g4's keyboard isn't quite island-style, but each of the flat, black keys has a raised squarish top, and the layout is evenly spaced. The keyboard sits in a recessed well on the deck of the laptop, and typing on it was a largely pleasant experience. There was plenty of satisfying tactile feedback and very little flex, and all the keys were within easy reach of our fingers. HP reversed the primary functions of the function row so that one key press gives you quick access to the laptop's volume, brightness, and multimedia controls (rewind, play/pause, forward). It's a welcome change.
HP Pavilion g4 Keyboard
The textured surface of the Pavilion g4's 3.3 x 1.7-inch touchpad provided us with enough satisfying friction to move the cursor accurately. Better still, the pad handles a variety of multitouch gestures with great aplomb, as everything from pinch-to-zoom to three-finger swipe worked smoothly, though more advanced gestures had to be enabled in the touchpad software. We were even able to configure three-finger tap to launch the browser.
HP also added in a nice touch: A dimple on the upper-left corner of the pad toggles gestures on and off with a double tap. However, since the touchpad isn't centered below the G and H keys like it is on most laptops, switching between touch typing and navigating with the cursor was a hassle. Also, while the large buttons right below the trackpad had good tactile feedback, they felt a little stiff.

Display and Audio

The Pavilion G4 features a 14-inch LED-backlit display with a standard resolution of 1366 x 768. It displayed pictures and video brightly, but in terms of contrast, the quality left much to be desired. When we streamed a 1080p trailer for Footloose, the drama of the underground dance event was lost because the display's brightness turned the black of the night into a muddy gray, as though the teenagers were living it up at six in the afternoon. Additionally, when we popped in a DVD of She's the Man, we noted that the bright reds of the players' uniforms appeared washed out when they should have popped against the green grass on that clear, sunny day.
HP Pavilion g4
Though its colors were dull, the display's viewing angles were extremely wide. At even 90 degrees to the left or right, colors did not wash out. However, because the panel is glossy and not particularly bright, we saw a lot of reflections when the g4 was in areas with overhead light.
Beats Audio technology hasn't trickled down to HP's bargain line yet, but the g4's Altec Lansing stereo speakers (located on the front lip of the notebook) and premium audio by SRS Labs provide loud, accurate audio that's outstanding for a system this price. The Premium Sound utility also allows you to adjust the treble and bass to get the best possible experience.
Listening to "Double Bass" by Gorillaz, we could hear a clear separation between instruments and both bass and trouble were clear. On the R&B classic "Forget Me Nots," the bass twang, vocals, and keyboards provided a rich bright side. At max volume, the audio level was loud enough to fill a large room.

Ports and Webcam

Most of the g4's ports reside on the left. These include a VGA connector, Ethernet, an HDMI port, SD card reader, two USB ports, and headphone and mic jacks. The right side houses an additional USB port, a Kensington security slot, and a SuperMulti Drive for burning and playing DVDs and CDs.
HP Pavilion g4 Ports 1
HP Pavilion g4 Ports 1
The Pavilion g4 is outfitted with a rather ordinary 0.3-megapixel webcam, which has the ability to capture both stills and video. When we tested the camera--using both natural sunlight by the window and the fluorescent lights of our office--pictures came out grainy and lacked detail. When we hopped on a Skype call, our friend reported receiving an undistorted picture (without any motion blur) and good sound, though commented that neither had outstanding quality.


With a 1.9-GHz AMD Dual-Core A4-3300M APU and 4GB of RAM, the HP Pavilion g4 won't blow anyone away with its performance, though it has enough power to handle quotidian computing tasks as long as you don't perform too many of them at once. When we opened 10 tabs on Internet Explorer, ran a full system scan on the Norton Internet Security software, and streamed video on Netflix, we observed a noticeable lag, particularly with the Netflix video, whose frames stuttered under the weight of numerous other tasks. However, Netflix played just fine by itself.
1.9GHz AMD Dual-Core A4-3300M
Operating SystemMS Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
RAM Upgradable to 
Hard Drive Size 
Hard Drive Speed 
Hard Drive Type 
SATA Hard Drive
Display Size 
Native Resolution 
Optical Drive 
Optical Drive Speed 
Graphics Card 
AMD Radeon HD 6480G
Video Memory 
Wi-Fi Model
Mobile Broadband 
Touchpad Size3.25 x 1.7 inches
Ports (excluding USB) 
Ethernet; HDMI; Headphone/Mic; Kensington Lock; VGA
USB Ports 
Card Slots 
2-1 card reader
Warranty/Support1-year/24/7 toll-free
Size13.4 x 9.1 x 1.2 - 1.4 inches
Weight4.6 pounds