Which HP Laptop Do I Buy?

Credit: HP

HP is one of the most prolific OEMs in the desktop PC and laptop space. They’re over 80 years old and they and they make a LOT of different computers. As per IDC’s latest Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker, HP accounts for roughly 23.9% of the global PC market. That number puts them second place behind Lenovo, who sit at 24.8%. 

Of course, if you’re coming to things with no pre-existing knowledge or preferences, it can be hard to navigate and wrap your mind around HP’s enormous product portfolio. If you’re confused and unsure where to start when it comes to choosing the right HP laptop or 2-in-1 PC, fret not. We’re here to help.

How many kinds of laptops does HP currently offer?

HP’s laptop PC range can be broken out into a number of sub-brands, which are then broken out  into four broad styles of portable PC. These categories aren’t exclusive and mostly just reflect that target markets that HP are trying to sell their devices to than any sort of prescriptive qualities.

  • Personal laptops

  • Business laptops

  • Gaming laptops 

  • Premium laptops

In total, HP’s 2020 laptop range consists of nine brands: Elite, Envy, Spectre, ProBook, Pavillion, Z by HP, Omen and HP Chromebook.

HP ChromebooksCredit: HP
HP Chromebooks

Unlike the families in Dell or Lenovo’s laptop ranges, there’s a little bit of overlap here. For example, HP’s Elite laptops are classified and marketed to both premium and business laptop buyers.  

What’s the difference between each of HP’s laptop brands?

HP’s Spectre branded laptops pair up premium design with top-notch specs. They’re targeted at business professionals and the kind of laptops that are just begging to be shown off. The current Spectre lineup consists of three models:

HP’s Spectre devices are primarily distinguished by screen size but also by material design. The Spectre Folio in particular stands out due to its unique leatherbound look. You can read our full review of the Spectre Folio here

At a glance, there’s not a huge difference between the Spectre and HP’s Envy range. Both feature top-of-the-line Intel CPUs and slick, modern designs. Under the hood is where you’ll find the small but significant detail that divides the two. 

HP’s Elite range is for users who require a bit more graphical processing power in their workflow. To that end, HP’s Envy PCs tend to feature discrete AMD or Nvidia graphics. 

At present the HP Envy range consists of two models:

HP EnvyCredit: HP
HP Envy

The third of HP’s premium brands, Elite, leans in a slightly different direction. These laptops emphasize mobility and are pitched as HP’s thinnest and most secure portable PCs. 

At present, the HP Elite range consists of a number of models including:

HP Elite Dragonfly LaptopCredit: HP
HP Elite Dragonfly Laptop

The HP ProBook range is a thrill-free offering aimed at business and enterprise customers. There are a ton of form-factors and spec configurations on offer here but things are a little more generic when it comes to design. You won’t find anything as boutique as the Spectre Folio here. Still, HP’s ProBooks do come with a bit of extra rugged durability and are easy to customise to your liking.

The current HP ProBook range includes the following:

HP ProbookCredit: HP
HP Probook

Finally, there’s the venerable Pavilion brand. 

HP’s most well-known laptop series is still alive and kicking. These days, the Pavillion series is pitched as a series of products that emphasize value and affordability more than high-end specs or cutting edge design. Even if HP’s modern Pavilion lineup lacks Intel latest processors, it’s still an option for PC buyers on a budget. 

The present HP Pavilion range consists of:

Z by HP is HP’s sub-brand for creative professionals who want a HP laptop with a little more graphical grunt than the Envy series is able to offer. These laptops feature things like 100% Adobe RGB, 4K and multi-touch screens, Intel Xeon CPUs and a high-precision styli. 

At present the Z by HP range consists of three main SKUs:

HP Zbook FireflyCredit: HP
HP Zbook Firefly

OMEN is HP’s gaming brand. These laptops all subscribe to a distinct black-and-red aesthetic and come equipped with the powerful dedicated GPUs you need for consistent high-end gaming performance. 

The HP OMEN lineup currently consists of four devices. 

Omen by HPCredit: HP
Omen by HP

Most of these PCs are distinguished by screen size and spec but the Omen X 2S is unique in that it rocks a unique dual-display form-factor.

HP ChromebookCredit: HP
HP Chromebook

Last but not least, there’s the HP Chromebook lineup. This is fairly self explanatory. The brand itself is mostly just a banner that loosely ties together the various Chrome OS PCs that HP have released to the market in recent years. 

At the time of writing, the HP Chromebook range consists of 3 options:

Which HP Laptop Should I Buy?

Independent of what brand or OEM you choose to go with, you’re always going to better off opting for a laptop that’s specifically good at the things you need it to do rather than one that tries and fails to do it all. 

HP EnvyCredit: HP
HP Envy

If you’re after the lightest option on the HP-branded table, the Elite Dragonfly is the obvious way to go. If you’re looking for something with a little grunt behind it, the Z by HP range is probably the place to look. If you’re after something more middle of the road, then the Spectre or Envy ranges probably have your back.

HP makes so many different laptops that a degree of consumer confusion is basically inevitable. Fortunately, the flip-side of that drawback is that the OEM’s expansive range really really does have something for everyone. 

For more laptop buying guides, check out:

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Fergus Halliday
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