The HP Pavilion 14-al104ng is a rare 14-inch notebook that is particularly striking with its new Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor.
In addition, it dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics and the 256 GB SSD to ensure a proper swing in the multimedia everyday life. And the price also plays with. Only 799 euros, Hewlett-Packard calls for the gap between cost-effective office notebooks and expensive high-end models.
HP reintroduces understatement
The design of the new HP Pavilion 14-al104ng can be described as simple. However, the US-American company was able to take away the once-feasible look of cheaper notebooks. With a lid made of aluminum and some styling elements in the hand area of the handball, the design already presented in summer 2016 still looks fresh and handsome.
At the same time, HP comparatively masks the outermost shell made of plastic. The processing leaves a good impression in the test, which is also due to the 14-inch size of the notebook. We could not see any unsightly distortions even with gross handling. We are also satisfied with the 19.5-millimeter height and the weight of 1.49 kg.
Good input devices, but single-line Enter key
Because of its size, the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng dispenses with a separate numeric block. The unit keypad is well suited for multiples.
However, it takes some time to familiarize yourself, since the enter key is untypical on one line. We also encounter a comparatively hard stop, coupled with a good feedback and a pleasant stroke. The installed touchpad encounters mixed feelings in the test.
Although the mouse replacement is large enough and the navigation under Microsoft Windows 10 goes without problems, but the different pressure stages depending on the finger position can be annoying in practice. At this point, we wanted a trackpad from the Apple portfolio, which will not be very common in this price class.
Modern connections only conditionally present
The connections and radio connections of our 14-inch multimedia notebook are manageable but sufficient. Of the three USB interfaces, two support the fast USB 3.0 standard. In addition, HDMI is used to connect external monitors, televisions or beamer as well as a Fast Ethernet LAN port for wired network connection. The latter offers only speeds of up to 100 Mbit / s.
Only conditionally more expensive Gigabit LAN port would be 10 times faster. It was also used in radio communications. Here, the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng offers only WLAN-n and Bluetooth 4.0. Finally, there is an SD card reader, a classic 3.5 mm jack connection and rather below average Bang & Olufsen Play loudspeakers at our compact companion.
Intel Core i7 with Kaby Lake creates modernity
While the connections are more reminiscent of the years 2014 and 2015, the HP Pavilion 14 is brought back into the current age by the installed Intel Core i7-7500U.
The dual core processor (Dual Core) is up to 3.5 GHz and belongs to the new 7th Intel Core Generation. Under the codename, Kaby Lake the 15nm chip with its 15 watts offers between 5-15 percent more power than its predecessor from last year. The integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics unit, which, in conjunction with the dedicated Nvidia GeForce 940MX (Nvidia Optimus) is suitable both for everyday office work and for multimedia operation, is significantly more thrust.
It is a comparatively low-ranking graphics card from Nvidia, which can be used only to a limited extent. Producing and consuming music, movies, pictures and more is much easier than using a separate GPU. This is also confirmed by our benchmarks, which are found in the lower part of this test.
In addition to the fast processor and Nvidia graphics, the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng also features an 8GB of DDR4 memory and a fast 256GB of SSD (550MB / s when reading and writing). The system speed is thus driven upwards and waiting times for program starts or calculations are minimized. Multitasking with many windows or browser tabs is also easy.
High resolution, glossy and dark
The 14-inch screen of the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng offers a high FullHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. In addition, thanks to IPS technology, it has good viewing angle stability.
However, the good news for all friends of mobility ends. Because with an average brightness of 192 cd / m² with a parallel glossy display, an external insert away from darkened or very shady places is nearly impossible. The illumination can only be a little exposed to direct sunlight, and the screen space turns too quickly to the unrecognizable. Here the solid contrast of 974: 1 does not help. Even for a well-lit interior, the screen of our test device is still too dark. Strong reflections are part of everyday life.
Good recharge time, but no service charge
When idle, with deactivated radio connections and dimmed display, we determine an accumulation time of almost 13 hours. At maximum load, the 41Wh battery is just 1.5 hours. The mean value of these two scenarios corresponds roughly to what you can expect in everyday life from the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng.
The multimedia notebook with a running time of 7 hours is well traveled if the display would not stand in his way. On top of that, there is a comparatively loud sound development. Even with simple tasks, our test device can be heard clearly. If we now want to surf more than on the Internet or watch a movie, the volume increases up to us very unpleasant 52 dB (A).
Even strong gaming notebooks create it to be quieter. After all, we cannot complain about the average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. Above all the often touched handgrip is always very cool.
A solid design meets a good workmanship and a strong system performance. Mainly the Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake processor of the HP Pavilion 14-al104ng, combined with 8GB of memory, the Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card, and a fast 256 GB SSD for good values in benchmarks and a fast office and multimedia every day.
In parallel, the size and weight of the 14-inch notebook are designed for mobility. It will also be satisfied with the in our opinion rather less contemporary connection equipment. With WLAN ac, USB 3.1 Type C and Gigabit LAN, HP would have been much better in this area.
A purchase recommendation we cannot pronounce for the 799 euro model, however. The FullHD display is much too dark and the volume too high. Above all, the screen evades the HP Pavilion 14 any potential as a mobile companion to be successful.
A good contrast value and a decent battery life cannot bring us about this significant shortcoming. Maybe one should look at the 14-inch competitors of Lenovo, which offer the same price the IdeaPad 500S or for an extra charge of 100 euros the Yoga 710 and IdeaPad 510S.