HP Envy 13 (2019) Overview: HP’s Greatest Clamshell Laptop computer Isn’t a Spectre

The HP Spectre x360 is certainly one of our favourite laptops previously couple of years, however it’s undoubtedly not a finances gadget. That’s why HP has the Envy 13. Should you’re keen to surrender a few the non-essential options, it simply could be the most suitable choice for you.

We evaluated a high-end configuration of the Envy 13, with an Eighth-gen Whiskey Lake Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), and a 4K (Three,840 x 2,160) show. This configuration prices $1,200 at, which is marked down from an inventory worth of $1,430. It’s also possible to spend as little as $1,000 ($799 on sale) for a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, a Full HD show, and built-in graphics.

At $1,200 for the decked-out configuration, the Envy 13 gives a pleasant set of specs for a worth that hardly breaks into premium territory. Does it supply sufficient to make it a greater worth than barely dearer laptops?

An aesthetic that’s all its personal

Primarily, the Envy 13 is HP’s entry-level premium laptop computer. It’s a step down from the Spectre line, however it’s not meant to be merely a finances machine. Accordingly, it’s premium aesthetic doesn’t try and mimic its dearer siblings. At the very least, not the newest variations — the Envy 13’s Pure Silver chassis (Rose Gold is an possibility) has a mixture of sharp angles and slight curves that higher resembles the earlier Spectre technology than the most recent gem-cut fashions. Variations with gorgeous wooden trim beneath the keyboard are coming within the fall, and so stayed tuned.

General, we just like the look, contemplating it extra understated than at present’s Spectre however fashionable sufficient – although largely unchanged from its predecessor – to warrant its worth. Typically, it rivals the Dell XPS 13 and Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 in its general aesthetic. It’s once we contemplate the Envy 13’s construct high quality that we begin to choose some nits – the lid and keyboard deck are only a bit too versatile, though the underside of the chassis is lots inflexible. The Spectre x360 13, XPS 13, and ZenBook 13 are all extra strong machines.

One other level of rivalry for some individuals would be the Envy 13’s measurement. HP hasn’t embraced the tiny bezel motion as have another distributors, significantly Dell, Asus, and Lenovo (with its IdeaPad S940 particularly). The Envy 13’s aspect bezels are fairly skinny, however the high and backside bezels are bigger than many latest rivals – creating an 80.92 % screen-to-body ratio in comparison with effectively over 90 % within the Asus ZenBook S13 and the IdeaPad S940.

As we famous with the Lenovo ThinkPad x390, the Envy 13’s bezels – and general measurement – don’t make it harder to make use of in any specific circumstances. It’s not an extremely small laptop computer, however it’s sufficiently small. Even so, it’s not going to please anybody who prefers their laptops – and their bezels – as small as potential, and HP ought to critically contemplate becoming a member of the tiny-bezel membership or threat falling behind.

The Envy 13’s premium aesthetic makes no try and mimic its dearer siblings.

So, how do these bezels have an effect on the Envy 13’s measurement? Merely put, its chassis is noticeably bigger than its competitors when it comes to its depth, the place the XPS 13 is half an inch smaller and the ZenBook 13 is nearly a full inch extra svelte. Because of its smaller aspect bezels, the Envy 13 is far nearer in width, and it’s barely lighter than each of its rivals. By way of thickness, it is available in at zero.57 inches, so it’s proper in between the XPS 13’s zero.46 inches and the ZenBook 13’s zero.67 inches.

The Envy 13 has restricted connectivity, with one USB-C Three.1 Gen1 port, two USB-A Three.1 Gen1 ports (with a flip-down design necessitated by the angled chassis backside), and a microSD card reader. That’s one essential space of distinction from the Spectre x360 13 – there’s no Thunderbolt Three assist, and so exterior shows will likely be extra restricted and exterior GPU’s aren’t an possibility. Wi-fi connectivity is robust with gigabit 2X2 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth due to the newest Intel combo chip. You’ll be able to cost through both the 65-watt proprietary charger or USB-C.

Lastly, a touchpad that doesn’t disgrace a greater keyboard

The Envy 13’s keyboard appears to be like loads just like the Spectre x360 13’s. It’s an island keyboard with silver keys and black lettering, and its backlight is practical with two helpful brightness ranges. Nevertheless, we discovered the Envy 13’s model to have a unique really feel from the Spectre’s – it’s not fairly as deep, and it’s a bit stiffer. That makes it an excellent keyboard for lengthy typing periods, however it’s only a tiny bit behind the Spectre and XPS 13 keyboards in general consolation. We’ll additionally be aware that the house bar is quieter on the Envy 13 than the Spectres.

hp envy 13 review 10Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

The touchpad is a revelation, although, relative to the Spectre x360 13. Lastly, HP has switched from Synaptics to Microsoft Precision touchpad drivers, and it’s a game-changing enchancment. The Envy 13’s touchpad is identical measurement and large format because the Spectre’s, however its Home windows 10 multitouch gesture assist is far smoother and extra exact. HP lastly has a touchpad that’s the equal of different fashionable Home windows 10 laptops.

HP lastly has a touchpad that’s the equal of different fashionable Home windows 10 laptops.

Home windows 10 Hiya password-less login assist is offered by a fingerprint reader that, like the newest Spectre laptops, is on the right-hand aspect of the keyboard deck. It’s simply accessible, out of the best way, and it really works completely. The Envy 13 doesn’t assist facial recognition for Home windows 10 Hiya, nevertheless, one other level of departure from the Spectre line.

HP did, although, carry over one engaging function from the Envy 13’s dearer siblings: The identical toggle that switches off the webcam for enhanced safety. It really works precisely the identical means as on the Spectres – flip the change off and the webcam disappears from the system utterly. It’s a pleasant resolution that utterly removes one vector of assault on person privateness.

A 4K show that’s nice for productiveness and media binging

The Envy 13 has three show choices, together with each contact and non-touch Full HD (1,920 x 1,zero80) and a 4K UHD panel. Our evaluation unit was geared up with the latter, making it extremely sharp and (extra on this later) power-hungry.

Our colorimeter rated the show as brighter than common at 369 nits (300 nits is our most well-liked minimal) and with a mean distinction ratio of 820:1 (the very best shows are at 1000:1 or higher). That’s similar to most different premium shows, with the 4K panel on Dell’s XPS 13 higher at 980:1 and the ZenBook 13 a lot better at 1360:1.

Colours had been additionally common, at 72 % protection of the AdobeRGB coloration house and 94 % of sRGB. Accuracy was excellent at 1.48 (lower than is taken into account glorious), and gamma was excellent at 2.2, which means images and video received’t be too mild or too darkish. Most premium 13.Three-inch laptops have comparable efficiency.

hp envy 13 review 3Mark Coppock/Digital Traits

Subjectively, this can be a nice show for productiveness work, significantly in the event you don’t prefer to see pixels and all of your purposes work effectively at such a excessive decision. It’s additionally an ideal show for Netflix video, with the flexibility to stream HDR content material to good impact. HP’s AMOLED panel on the Spectre x360 15 is in one other ballpark completely, and the IdeaPad S940 additionally does HDR higher, however you’ll get pleasure from binging Netflix on the Envy 13, nonetheless.

Audio is offered by the standard Bang & Olufsen-tuned system, with quad audio system and a wise amplifier. Quantity was lots loud with solely minimal distortion at full energy, and good mids and highs. Bass was missing, and so that you’ll wish to watch your motion motion pictures and hearken to your tunes with a pleasant set of headphones.

Strong productiveness efficiency — as soon as it’s up to date

Our evaluation Envy 13 was constructed across the Eighth-gen quad-core Core i7-8565U. That’s a quick CPU that’s additionally environment friendly, and it’s carried out effectively on most techniques we’ve examined.

Once we first ran our benchmarks, the Envy 13 fell considerably behind the pack. We checked with HP, nevertheless, they usually despatched us new firmware that made a major distinction within the laptop computer’s efficiency.

First, the Envy 13 scored effectively within the Geekbench four artificial benchmark, attaining 5,252 within the single-core take a look at and 15,965 within the multi-core take a look at. That’s second-fastest amongst our comparability group, with solely the Lenovo ThinkPad X390 being quicker.

In our real-world Handbrake take a look at, which encodes a 420MB video as H.265, the Envy 13 accomplished the method in 288 minutes. That’s not significantly quick in comparison with comparable laptops, however it’s not egregiously gradual, both. For instance, the ZenBook 13 with its slower Core i5-8265U is 28 seconds quicker whereas the Huawei MateBook X Professional is 13 seconds slower with its Core i7-8565U.

Nevertheless, issues look loads higher in the event you open HP’s Command Heart software program and toggle from “HP Really useful” to “Efficiency” mode. We did simply that, and the Envy 13 accomplished the take a look at in a really quick 226 seconds – one of many quickest scores we’ve seen for a 15-watt Core i7. Our suspicion is that HP does its greatest to maintain the laptop computer cool and quiet in “HP Really useful,” whereas giving the choice for an additional enhance of efficiency – and it really works.

The Envy 13 is a fast laptop computer that can sustain with all of your productiveness duties and supply a good enhance of energy on demand.

In fact, in the event you use a a artistic utility that helps the MX250 then you definately’ll get better-than-integrated graphics efficiency for these sorts of duties. That provides the Envy 13 a leg up on most of its 13-inch competitors.

By way of storage, the SK Hynix 512GB PCIe SSD was slightly slower than common for a solid-state drive. Trying on the CrystalDiskMark 6 benchmark, the Envy 13 managed 534 megabytes per second (MB/s) within the 4KiB Q8T8 learn take a look at and 263 MB/s within the write take a look at. Solely the Acer Swift Three 14 with its Kingston 256GB SSD was slower.

The Envy 13 is, general, a really fast laptop computer that can sustain with all of your productiveness duties and supply a good enhance of energy on demand. And whereas its followers had been by no means unreasonably loud beneath load – except HP Command Heart is in Efficiency mode – and shut off when they need to, the chassis did get a bit heat. It hit a toasty 112 levels F on the chassis backside throughout a strenuous exercise and 107 deg F on the high of the keyboard – we’d prefer to see these numbers at 100 levels F or much less. One profit: The angled keyboard deck retains the underside of the chassis away from direct contact with the pores and skin.

Entry-level gaming is feasible, however nonetheless a bit underwhelming

HP geared up the Envy 13 with the entry-level Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. That is an replace to the favored MX150 GPU, however in our testing gives comparatively modest efficiency enhancements.

Our benchmarks confirmed the Envy 13 to be a strong performer given the GPU. Within the 3DMark Fireplace Strike take a look at, the Envy 13 managed a rating of two,714, which is larger than the Asus ZenBook S13 with its MX150 at 2,650. In Fortnite, the Envy 13 was once more aggressive, at 34 frames per second (FPS) in 1080p and excessive graphics and 31 FPS with graphics set to Epic. The ZenBook S13 managed 32 FPS and 29 FPS, respectively, making it barely slower.

You are able to do some mild gaming on the Envy 13 for positive. Follow older titles, esports, and hold the decision and graphical element turned down on extra fashionable video games, and also you’ll benefit from the expertise.

As anticipated, 4K takes a toll on battery life

The Envy 13 has 52 watt-hours of battery inside, which doesn’t lead the category. The Spectre x360 13, for instance, has 61 watt-hours whereas the XPS 13 has an equivalent 52 watt-hours. Given the CPU and the 4K show, we weren’t anticipating unbelievable longevity.

In our most demanding Basemark net benchmark, the Envy 13 lasted for roughly three and a half hours. That’s about 40 minutes higher than the Acer Swift Three and 80 minutes lower than the Asus ZenBook 13. The Dell XPS 13 4K was a lot stronger at over 5 hours.

Subsequent, we ran via a collection of common websites till the battery ran out, and the Envy 13 managed just below six and a half hours. That’s about half an hour lower than the XPS 13 4K and far lower than the over eight hours managed by the ZenBook S13. When looping our native Avengers 1080p take a look at video, the Envy 13 shut down simply previous 9 hours, beating out the XPS 13 4K’s seven hours and falling effectively wanting each the Acer Swift Three and the ZenBook S13 – which is smart given their extra environment friendly Full HD shows.

If you need all-day battery life, then the 4K model of the Envy 13 isn’t the only option. These aren’t dangerous outcomes for a high-resolution show by any means, however in the event you go for the last word in sharpness, you would possibly wrestle to get via a full working day on a cost. Get the Full HD model if that issues to you, as a result of the drop in decision sometimes ends in a pair hours of additional longevity and a a lot better probability you could go away your charger behind.

Our Take

The Envy 13 does effectively in bringing a number of the greatest options of the Spectre line to a lower cost level. In actual fact, the Spectre 13 clamshell hasn’t been up to date in fairly a while and isn’t even listed on HP’s web site – making the Envy 13 the very best 13.Three-inch shopper laptop computer that HP makes that isn’t a 2-in-1. It has strong efficiency, can do some mild gaming, and doesn’t compromise an excessive amount of on battery life when geared up with a really good 4K show.

Is there a greater different?

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA is a transparent different. It has a slower CPU that also gives aggressive efficiency out of the field, and its battery life advantages from a Full HD show that’s additionally higher than many premium panels. It’s economical as effectively, at $850 – however that nets you a decrease configuration with a Core i5-8265U, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. That’s cheaper than the Envy 13’s full worth, however the HP’s present $799 sale worth make it a barely higher purchase.

The Dell XPS 13 is one other challenger, with stronger efficiency, higher construct high quality, and a concomitant larger worth. You’ll spend $1,749 ($1,519 on sale) for a similar Core i7, 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and 4K contact show. That makes the XPS 13 a extra premium but dearer possibility.

Lastly, if you wish to maintain onto that discrete GPU and want to get a 13.9-inch show in a smaller chassis, then the Asus ZenBook S13 UX392FN is an effective possibility. It has a extra strong construct high quality, a really good Full HD show, and nice efficiency. You’ll pay a bit extra, although, at $1,400 for a Core i7, 8GB of RAM, and a 512GB GB SSD.

How lengthy will it final?

The HP Envy 13 doesn’t really feel fairly as strong as its costliest competitors, however it’s strong sufficient to evoke confidence that it’ll final so long as you want. The 1-year guarantee is industry-standard, and disappointing as at all times.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. The Envy 13 gives a gorgeous mixture of fine appears to be like, efficiency, and worth.

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