The HP Pavilion Aero 13 is a featherweight ultrabook weighing 950 g and powered by an AMD Ryzen 5000 processor. Equipped with a 13.3" screen with a definition of 2560 x 1600, the Aero 13 combines many assets for an attractive price.
The Pavilion Aero 13 was released by HP without any fanfare. However, it is interesting for several reasons, including its balanced configuration with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U processor accompanied by 16 GB of RAM, a screen with a definition of 2560 x 1600 px and, above all, a weight of less than one kilogram. We will see in this test if its attractive price (less than 1000 €) does not force it to make too many concessions...
The chassis of the Aero 13 is made entirely of gray plastic. The chrome HP logo adorns the back of the screen in the center of the cover. Despite a contained weight of 951g, the Aero 13 is not particularly thin. The use of plastic keeps the weight down, but at the cost of a less qualitative rendering than aluminum or a magnesium alloy. The Aero 13 sounds a bit hollow, but the chassis doesn't bend excessively under stress.
Opening the cover reveals a matte screen with relatively thin borders, even on the bottom. The keyboard has keys of the same color as the rest of the chassis. The disadvantage of the gray keys is that when the backlight is activated, the keys become illegible, and the light intensity is not very high.
The typing sounds a bit hollow and the big keys (space, shift, return) suffer from a slight play. HP made a strange choice regarding the positioning of the "down" symbol key: it is located instead of the "right Ctrl" key, just to the left of the "left arrow" key, leading to many typing errors. Under the arrow keys, a Windows Hello compatible fingerprint reader is integrated in the palm rest. We would have preferred its integration directly into the start button to the left of the "Delete" key.
The touchpad offers a pleasant glide, the Windows gestures are perfectly taken into account, on the other hand the drag and drop with one finger is particularly difficult to perform. The connectivity of the Pavilion Aero 13 consists of an HDMI 2.0 port, two USB ports (5 Gb/s) and a USB-C port (10 Gb/s) supporting charging and DisplayPort.
Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 are also included to ensure wireless connectivity. A 720p webcam completes the equipment of this Pavilion Aero 13. With good lighting, the quality is correct even if the image lacks detail. In the dark, it's a bit more complicated, the image is very noisy and suffers from chromatic aberrations.
To cool its processor, the Pavilion Aero 13 uses a single fan that is very discreet, even during heavy use of the Ryzen 5. 35.1 dB is recorded during video encoding. As for the heat release, the Aero 13 is also very contained (37.6°C at the hinge).
To access the components, it is necessary to remove the two anti-slip strips to unscrew the 5 Phillips screws which maintain the shell. It is then necessary to unclip the shell delicately all around the chassis, but also in the center of the shell.
Inside, the wifi card, the SSD and the battery are accessible and replaceable. On the other hand, the memory is soldered. The Aero 13 is available with 8GB or 16GB of RAM, so we recommend the 16GB version for durability.
The HP Pavilion Aero 13 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 5600U processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. The Ryzen 5 5600 has 6 hyperthreaded cores clocked at 2.3 GHz and can occasionally reach 4.2 GHz. In practice, during an encoding, its average frequency is 2.72 GHz, with a maximum frequency reached of 4.24 GHz.
This is the first time the Ryzen 5 5600U has passed through our hands and it does very well. With a performance index of 95, it outperforms the entire low-power range of Intel and comes up against the Core i7-11390H which has a thermal envelope almost 2 times higher than the Ryzen 5 5600U.
A word about the onboard SSD: it reaches 1.8 GB/s in reading and 1.6 GB/s. We did not notice any noticeable slowdowns during the transfer of our video rushes for our tests.
The Pavilion Aero 13 is available with two different screens: a 2560 x 1600 px panel or a 1920 x 1200 px panel. Our version is equipped with the IPS panel of 2560 x 1600 px in 16:10 format. Its integration is neat with an occupancy ratio calculated at 82.7% and a matte finish.
Under the probe, the panel is very well made. The colors displayed are faithful, without drift visible to the naked eye (delta E of 2.2). The measured contrast ratio is very good for an IPS panel (1607:1). The color temperature (6649 K) is also close to the ideal value of 6500 K.
The brightness is a little higher than the value announced by HP (400 cd/m²) with exactly 412 cd/m². Note that the matte finish of the slab is particularly effective since only 22.5% of light is reflected by it; enough to work comfortably, even near a window.
Two speakers are present under the chassis. The main drawback of this placement is that the sound rendering will depend on the surface on which the Aero 13 is placed. For example, the sound will be muffled if it is installed on a surface like a mouse pad. The sound rendering is not particularly brilliant. The volume is sufficient, but the dynamic compression is quickly felt. For the setting, we advise you to activate the B&O processing on the "Voice" setting with all the components at minimum.
The headphone output does not suffer from any reproach. The distortion is low, the dynamic is important and the crosstalk is limited. The output power would have deserved a little more punch, but nothing prohibitive.
The Pavilion Aero 13 is not distinguished by its dimensions, which are in the average of a 13.3-inch chassis: 29.7 x 20.9 cm, the size of an A4 sheet. We can't even talk about thinness since its thickness is 1.69 cm. The Pavilion Aero stands out for its weight, with exactly 952 g on our scale. However, its 65W proprietary charger weighs nearly 300g with its "mickey" cable. HP could have offered a USB-C charger, it would have provided an additional USB-C port and saved weight.
The lightness of the chassis is mainly due to the tiny 43.3 Wh battery that HP used in its Aero 13. So there is no surprise to get a battery life of only 5 h 50 min in video playback (Netflix under Chrome at 200 cd/m²). The only way to increase this autonomy is to lower the brightness. As a troubleshooter, the USB-C port supports charging, so it is possible to plug in an external battery.
With its Pavilion Aero 13, HP offers an ultrabook that is both powerful, light and equipped with a quality panel. However, its autonomy is a little short since it does not exceed 6 hours; a pity for a laptop with an ultra mobile vocation.