The cheap HP Pavilion isn't that bad of a deal anymore
HP has three major tiers of consumer laptop families: the low-end Pavilion series, mid-range Envy series, and high-end Spectre series. In general, we usually recommend the mid-range models or higher because most users keep their laptops for several years before deciding to replace them. Being stuck with a cheap laptop for that long can get aggravating especially since they are also more likely to run into issues down the line.
If you have to go cheap, however, then the latest HP Pavilion models are some of the better options available. While older models were thick, round, and overly plastic to reflect their inexpensive price points, the new 2020 Pavilion 13 incorporates a handful of features from the pricier Envy and Spectre series like narrow bezels, a backlit keyboard, and a USB-C port capable of both DisplayPort and charging. More importantly, the chassis has been redesigned to be slimmer and more modern with a faux uni-body look similar to an Envy 13 to avoid that "budget" appearance.
Inevitably, certain high-end features are still not present like an aluminum body, Thunderbolt support, or easy serviceability. More information can be found on our full review on the 2020 Pavilion 13 here.