HP Envy 13 mini-review: Spectre fans, meet your budget option
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HP Envy 13 mini-review: Spectre fans, meet your budget option

Valentina Palladino

We give numerous consideration to flagship PC households—and for good purpose. Gadgets just like the Dell XPS 13 and HP’s Spectre 13 typically get new applied sciences and design perks earlier than different lineups within the OEM’s portfolio. That continues to be true, however Dell, Lenovo, HP, and others are displaying their different PC traces some love, too. Now, it isn’t so unusual to contemplate an Inspiron or an Envy laptop computer even when you often sought out the most recent and best machines for his or her cutting-edge tech and processing energy.

HP’s latest Envy 13 laptop computer might trigger Spectre diehards to take one other look. With up to date processors, non-obligatory Nvidia graphics, and a sleeker design, the Envy 13 appears like it may possibly maintain its personal towards units like Dell’s Inspiron 13 7000 Black Version, and even its cousins the Spectre 13 and the Spectre x360 13. As with every extra inexpensive laptop computer (this one begins at $799), it makes some sacrifices to maintain prices down, however these could show inconsequential even for probably the most staunch Spectre lovers.

Feel and appear

Specs at a look: HP Envy 13 (as reviewed)
Display screen 13.3-inch 4K (3840×2160) IPS touchscreen
OS Home windows 10
CPU Intel Core i7-8565U
RAM 16GB LPDDR3
Storage 512GB PCIe SSD + 32GB Optane Reminiscence
GPU Nvidia GeForce MX250
Networking 802.11ac 2×2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Ports 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (information switch solely), 2 x USB-A (1 x information switch solely, 1 x HP Sleep and Cost), 1 x microSD card, 1 x headphone/mic jack, 1 x energy port
Dimension 12.08×8.32×0.57 inches
Weight 2.59 kilos
Battery 65Whr 4C
Beginning worth $799.99
Worth as reviewed $1,159.99

The Spectre 13 and all of its variants aren’t for everybody, notably those that don’t love making an announcement with their laptops. Its metallic edges and accents make it flashy, and its angled corners are a nod to jewellery design. The Envy 13 forgoes all of that and as a substitute appears like knowledgeable, but modern, work machine. I examined a silver mannequin, nevertheless it’s additionally out there in a gold end, which can attraction to those that need their laptop computer to have only a tad extra character than the remainder.

Whereas the Spectre 13 and x360 13 pleasure themselves on being skinny and lightweight, the Envy 13 is not as involved with that—though you do get a surprisingly compact laptop computer. I am unsure why I anticipated it to really feel bigger in my palms and in my backpack—possibly its blocky again edge deceived me—however the 12.08×8.32×0.57-inch, 2.59-pound laptop computer was a conveniently moveable machine.

The Envy 13 has a premium design in its personal proper, it simply wears that premium nature in a different way than the Spectre 13 does. Its premium really feel largely lies in its all-metal chassis, slim bezels, angled edges, and intelligent hinge that lifts the laptop computer barely once you open it. HP took the same method that Dell used when making the Inspiron 13 7000 Black Version, which focuses on upgrading the laptop computer’s supplies and trickling down some, however not all, high-end design parts.

Just like the Inspiron, the Envy 13 has a fingerprint reader, nevertheless it lies on the palm-rest space as a substitute of being built-in into the sliver of an influence button that sits on the top-right nook of the keyboard space. Some machines assist you to energy on and log in on the similar time once they have built-in fingerprint readers on their energy buttons, however Dell’s machine would not have that characteristic, and HP’s machine can’t, because the two items of {hardware} are separate. Nonetheless, the fingerprint reader works as promised and is the one type of Home windows Whats up authentication on the Envy 13.

Added practicality is available in with the Envy 13’s ports: one USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 port (for information switch solely), two USB-A ports with drop-jaw designs, a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and a barrel charging port. I admire the drop-jaw design on the USB-A cables as a result of they allowed HP to maintain the machine decently skinny whereas additionally not compromising on connectivity choices. HP additionally introduced over the webcam kill-switch from the Spectre sequence to the Envy 13, permitting customers to electronically disable the webcam every time they please.

Display screen and keyboard

The 13.3-inch show may be custom-made just a few methods: you will get an FHD panel, an FHD contact panel, or a 4K contact panel. Our mannequin had the 4K touchscreen, and it was as pretty as you’d anticipate. Because the Envy 13 is a daily laptop computer, most customers can be served effectively by the bottom FHD panel. Touchscreens add restricted usefulness to straightforward laptops, however undoubtably there are customers who’ve grown accustomed to touchscreens on all of their units and can need one on this machine, too.

The keyboard on the Envy 13 is sort of good—it extends virtually to the aspect edges of the chassis because of the speaker grille placement above it, nearer to the hinge. The keys have respectable journey, however they’re additionally quiet—it is like typing on delicate pillows. Some customers just like the clicky nature of most keyboards, however others will admire this type as a result of it won’t audibly encroach on the workspaces of these round you. The up- and down-arrow keys are a bit of small, however HP managed to incorporate a column of web page navigation keys on the precise aspect of the keyboard.

The one draw back to the stellar keyboard is that the Precision trackpad suffers a bit from the keyboard’s measurement. It is narrower than most trackpads, measuring about 2.25 inches in width, and that will get in the best way of snug cursor motion, swiping, and gestures.

Efficiency

Given its comparable specs, the HP Envy 13’s efficiency was much like that of the Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Black Version. HP’s machine stood out in its graphics scores, although, because of the non-obligatory MX250 GPU in our assessment unit. We additionally ran a Grand Theft Auto V benchmark on this machine to see the way it may deal with gameplay, and we shortly came upon that the Envy 13 could not run our check as we often run it, with most graphics choices maxed out. So, we maxed out as many attributes as we might earlier than the video reminiscence was exceeded after which ran the benchmark check. The machine performed GTAV at a median of 62.5fps.

When you do not spring for the Nvidia graphics card, you may get the identical built-in Intel GPU because the Black Version has, so you’ll be able to anticipate the Envy’s graphics efficiency to be comparable. Whereas operating our gaming check and a few of our extra intense benchmark assessments, the Envy 13’s followers spun sufficient for me to listen to them whirl. The underside-center portion of the chassis heated up a bit, however not sufficient to make it uncomfortable to make use of on a lap.

You should use HP’s Command Middle to decide on the thermal profile that is finest in your utilization, too. By default, HP optimizes the system to stability efficiency and temperature, however you should utilize Efficiency mode to kick up the fan pace to chill the CPU extra effectively whereas it gives as a lot energy as potential or Consolation mode to chill the machine down if it begins to get too heat.

Battery life

The Envy 13’s battery life relies upon closely on the display screen configuration you select. HP estimates as much as 18 hours of battery life with an FHD panel and as much as 10 hours with a 4K panel. Our assessments confirmed that to be true, not less than for a 4K show: the Envy 13 lasted a median of 11 hours on our Wi-Fi check and simply over 6.5 hours on our webGL check. These are stable numbers which are much like these of the Inspiron 13 7000 Black Version, however they’re nowhere close to the distinctive battery lifetime of the most recent Spectre x360 13. The Spectre x360 13 has many issues the Envy 13 would not, however probably the most helpful perk is its extremely lengthy battery life that helps it final not less than a full 24 hours on a single cost.

Simply sufficient luxurious to face out

Whereas I like the thought of a convertible, I am extra of a typical laptop computer lady. My work would not require numerous sketching or something that might be made simpler if I used a stylus or a tool that twists right into a pill. Convertibles are fairly helpful as multipurpose units, however not everybody wants or needs that versatility. The HP Envy 13 is a stable laptop computer various for these customers, in addition to those that do not need to drop $1,000 on a brand new PC.

We could have reviewed the top-tier mannequin, however the base $799 mannequin has the identical Core i7 CPU in addition to 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage. To place issues into perspective, these are the identical specs discovered within the HP Spectre x360 13 that is at present our favourite Home windows ultrabook convertible, however the Spectre prices $1,349. Naturally, that worth consists of many issues that the Envy 13 lacks—a convertible design, an IR digicam, an included stylus, two Thunderbolt Three ports, and the machine’s crazy-long battery life.

If any of these options are vital to you, it is most likely value it to contemplate the Spectre x360 13 or one other flagship ultrabook prefer it. Nevertheless, when you can sacrifice these premium options, the Envy 13 is a stable laptop computer that you can get for a worth that will not damage your price range and likewise gives sufficient choices so that you can spec it out as you please.

The Good

  • Skilled, light-weight design.
  • Two USB-A ports with drop-jaw design.
  • Webcam kill-switch.
  • Elective Nvidia graphics card and Optane Reminiscence.
  • Good battery life.

The Dangerous

  • Fingerprint reader not built-in into energy button.
  • No IR digicam.
  • No Thunderbolt Three ports.

The Ugly

  • Expenses through barrel charging port.

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