August 26, 2013
- Affordable price
- Lots of connectivity
- Responsive touch screen
- Above average battery life
- Heavier than other ultraportables
- Narrow viewing angles and dim brightness
- Some performance slow downs
For only around $400, the HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11z has a responsive 11.6-inch touch screen display. It also has good battery life and plenty of ports, but it is a little heavy for an ultraportable.
Most people these days are looking for a laptop that doesn't break the bank, especially for those looking for a reliable, back to school laptop or one to buy for the upcoming holiday shopping season. The HP TouchSmart 11z gives you quite a bit in a small package for only $400, but are there any issues that hold it back?
The design of the TouchSmart 11z is quite attractive for a budget machine. It has a silver plastic lid with a chrome HP logo in the middle. The keyboard deck has a brushed metal black finish. The laptop measures 11.4 x 8.5 x 0.9-inches (wdh) and weighs 3.4-pounds, which is thinner than most other 11.6-inch laptops but about a pound heavier.
The keyboard area on the 11z is small in size, but HP did a good job of designing the keyboard to fit this small area. The keys were comfortable to use and had minimal flex. We also liked that the Function keys were inverted, so there was no need to hold down the Fn key to access things like brightness and volume. The touch pad is centered on the body, instead of under the Space bar, so there is equal room on either side for comfortability. It is a little on the small side for our liking, but the available area is also small.
The LED display measures 11.6-inches and has a 1366 x 768-pixel resolution. The panel has an anti-glare coating, which makes it easier to see in outdoor settings. The brightness could be better because we thought it was quite significantly dimmer than other similar laptops. Viewing angles were a little limited and required the display to be pushed back a little further than usual to see it clearly.
The touch screen aspect of the TouchSmart 11z's display was very good in our opinion. It was both responsive and accurate. We were able to perform Windows 8's touch gestures without any issues.
For ports, you get two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, VGA-out, Ethernet, an audio/microphone combo port and an SD card reader. For such a small laptop, we were impressed at the wide array of ports available.
Our review 11z included a configuration that has a dual-core AMD A4-1250 (1-GHz) CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB 5400RPM hard drive. On a PCMark 7 benchmark, it earned a score of 1,076, which is no where near the category average. Because of the AMD APU, which is a low-voltage CPU, performance isn't going to be the best. However, for the cost, you get what you pay for. For most users, this laptop will work just fine for them, but if you do too much multitasking, you will quickly notice slowdowns.
We were able to get 6.25-hours of battery life out of the TouchSmart 11z, which is a little more than the category average of 6-hours.