HP Envy x360 13 Review

HP Envy x360 13 Review

HP's premium laptops have been marketed under its Envy and Spectre series, and today, we'll be testing an AMD-based Envy x360 13, which was launched in India in late 2018.
 

HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review
 
The x360 13 in the name signifies that this is a convertible 2-in-1, which means this laptop can be used as a tablet too. The model that we have today is priced at Rs.77,990 on HP India's online store, and packs in a good set of specifications. Let's see if it makes the cut.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Envy x360 13 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5-2500 CPU
  • Performance is good but the laptop runs hot easily
  • The HP Envy x360 13 (AG0035AU) is priced at Rs. 77,990

HP Envy x360 design

HP Envy X360 13 is compact and very well-made. The metal used for the lid and chassis is strong, and when you hold it, this device gives very premium fills.

The thin beadles around the display contribute to this compact design, and the entire laptop has a smaller amount compared to the Apple MacBook Air (2017).
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
It is also very thin at 14.9 mm in thickness, and is lightly lighter on 1.3kg. The laptop is currently only available in dark ash silver trim, which looks good, but matte body attracts smile and fingerprints. The dual-hinge system also lets you position the lid on ambiguous angles.

For this slim laptop, you still get a good selection of ports, which include two full size (Type-A) USB 3.1 ports, a USB Type-C port (USB 3.1 Jen 2), the right side of HDMI and DisplayPort Supports video output adapter, a MicroSD card slot, a 3.5mm headphone and microphone combo socket, and charging port.

Power and volume buttons are also placed in the opposite direction, so they can be easily accessed when using Envy x360 13 in tablet mode.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
The 13.3-inch IPS display has great brightness and color reproduction. Images look sharp and crisp, thanks to the decently high-full HD resolution. HP has used the Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, which is a scratch-resistant glass specially designed for touchscreen laptops.

Touch response was generally good in our experience, but when our input was not registered correctly, we had some examples in tablet mode. 




It happened while trying to interact with elements along the edges of the display, but it was not consistent as we were not able to replicate it on demand.

The display is still up to the top and bottom in the bezel. At the top, we have an HD webcam with an infrared camera for Windows hello face authentication. 


It works very well in all lighting conditions. The quality of the webcam is not too bad and it has been given sufficient ambient light.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
On opening the lid, you will see a well spread chocolate keyboard with a single level of LED backlighting. Lighting is also across keys, but at night it is very bright. We want it to be a way of adjusting it.

The keys themselves are good travel and good touch feedback. They are noisy, which is a good bonus, which is a good bonus. Up and down direction keys have been squeezed together, causing them little discomfort in using them.

The palm-relaxed area is not very wide, which means we are able to type comfortably by placing our wrist on the edge of the laptop. The trackpad looks much wider than normal and has a smooth texture, but two-finger scrolling felt a bit sluggish and dull in our tests.
 


There are four speakers of Bang and Olfsen, two of which are placed below with the other two just above the keyboard. You get a companion app for tweaking bass, treble and vocal clarity in music or movies.

 In the laptop there is a strip of punched vents downward for air intake, and one is on the left side of the laptop to take out the hot air.

Envy x360 13 is to be shipped with 65W power adapter, but our review unit comes with 150W adapter. You also get HP Pen with this, which is a battery-powered stylus with a pressure-sensitive tip. Its price is approximately Rs. is. 2,700 if purchased separately.


HP Envy x360 specifications and software

In India, HP's Envy x360 13 is available only with AMD processors. Ryzen 3 option costs Rs. 63,490 and has 4GB DDR4 RAM and 128GB SSD storage, while the Ryzen 5 option, which we are reviewing, is equipped with 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256GB SSD storage.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
RAM has been soldered on the motherboard and there is no mention of having a free RAM slot for future upgrades, so it is best to get an 8GB version in our opinion.

HP has used NVMe M.2 SSD, which means that we should expect good read and write speed. Ryzen 5 is CPU 2500U, which is a quad-core model with multi-threading and has an integrated Radeon Vega 8 GPU. Other connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac with 2x2 MIMO antennas and Bluetooth 4.2.

HP Envy x360 13 runs on Windows 10 Home 64-bit You receive a 30-day trial of some third-party, such as McAfee LivesSides, along with the general selection of the pre-installed Windows Store app.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
There are also HP programs like Command Center, which allows you to switch between different battery profiles, recovery managers, audio switches and jump starters, which provides tips and shortcuts for Windows and HP software.


HP Envy x360 performance and battery life

Having an SSD as a boot drive makes a huge difference in the responsiveness of Windows 10 and apps. The Envy x360 13 is quick to boot into Windows and even resuming your work from standby or hibernation is snappy.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
The laptop can also be used in various folded positions such as ‘stand' or ‘tent' modes, besides the standard laptop and tablet modes. It works well as a tablet, provided you have something to rest it on, such as your lap. Otherwise, it's a little too big and heavy to be carried around.

The HP Pen works well with Windows Ink, which offers stylus-friendly programs such as a notepad and a sketchpad. The pressure-sensitive tip of the Pen is handy when drawing.

However, Windows 10 is still long way from iOS and Android when it comes to the tablet experience, and the primary reason for this is a lack of good apps in the Windows Store.

You can use regular desktop apps in tablet mode too, but since these are designed to be used with a mouse cursor, interacting with your finger can be awkward.

You can use the Pen for more precise input but you'll need to remember to carry it with you as there's no docking mechanism for it and it doesn't stick to the laptop magnetically either.

Another reason the Envy x360 13 is not a replacement for your iPad is that it runs fairly warm pretty much all the time. From the moment you boot it up, the fan is audible and it gets louder when you really begin stressing the CPU or GPU.

The left side also gets hot quickly since that's where hot air is vented from, and this makes the device a little uncomfortable to hold when in tablet mode.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
We don't think it's entirely the fault of the CPU since the Ryzen 5 2500U CPU in the Asus VivoBook 15 (X505Z) didn't have this problem when we tested it. It's probably more to do with the slimness of the body that HP has designed, as there's only so much thermal management that can be done in the given space.

In synthetic benchmarks, we got similar scores and at times better than those of the Asus VivoBook 15 (X505Z) which also has the same CPU. In Cinebench R15, we got a multi-threaded CPU score of 613 points and an OpenGL score of 49fps for the GPU. 


PCMark 10 scores were consistently around 10-15 percent higher, at 3,260, 2,744 and 3,470 points in the Standard, Extended and Express benchmarks respectively.

In real-world tests, the Envy x360 13 took 6 minutes and 21 seconds to compress a 3.2GB folder of assorted files using 7zip, and encoding a 1.36GB AVI video file to MKV using Handbrake took 2 minutes and 36 seconds.

These times are not too bad, considering that this is a CPU optimised for slim laptops. Thanks to the PCIe SSD, we recorded good read and write bandwidth in SiSoft Sandra.

 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
We got sequential read and write scores of 2.76GB/s and 337MB/s respectively, and the random read and write speeds were of 586MB/s and 305MB/s respectively.

This laptop isn't built for gaming, and even slightly older titles such as Rise of The Tomb Raider gave us somewhat playable framerates only after dropping the resolution to HD and lowering the graphics quality and turning off most of the frills.

However, casual games from the Windows Store ran fine for us. We tried some of the free ones such as Asphalt 9: Legends, which ran smoothly even at the highest graphics preset. 


However, the heat from the exhaust vent made it impossible to comfortably hold the Envy x360 13 like a tablet to play such games on for more than a minute.

Audio is one of this device's strong suits. The four speakers can get fairly loud, and we didn't notice any distortion when playing music or watching movies, even at full volume. Bass is understandably not very prominent, but the sound isn't tinny.

Vocals are crisp and the overall sound signature is warm and pleasant. The speakers sound best when in laptop mode, but are quite capable even in other usage modes.

There's a 53WHr battery, but with actual use, we struggled to make it through a workday just on battery power alone. In Battery Eater Pro, we got a runtime of 2 hours and 7 minutes, which is good. However we just about managed to get close to 4 hours of casual use before the battery saver mode kicked in.

This isn't great considering that people need to spend their workdays multitasking like we did, such as watching a bit of YouTube, browsing the Web, and using online applications such as Google Docs all day.


Verdict

The HP Envy x360 is a slim and stylish convertible with a good display and speedy Windows performance. Gaming isn't its strong suit, but this device wasn't meant for that kind of heavy use.
 
HP Envy x360 13 Review
HP Envy x360 13 Review

 
Apart from that, the AMD CPU is a capable multitasker and the fast SSD ensures quick loading times for programs. 

This laptop can be used as a tablet, but like most Windows convertibles, the experience is far from ideal and won't replace your iPad anytime soon. 

Battery life was disappointing but our biggest issue is the fact that this device runs warm nearly all the time, and the constant drone from the fan can be distracting, if not annoying.

At around this price, there's a quite a lot to choose from. Dell has a direct competitor to the Envy x360 called the Inspiron 13 7386 2-in-1. 


This model shares pretty much the exact specifications as the Envy x360 but it's based on the Intel Core i5-8265U CPU. 

You also get Dell's Active Pen bundled, all for the price of about Rs. 76,900. If you're not into convertible laptops, Asus has the ZenBook 13 UX333 which could also be worth considering.

Price (MRP): Rs. 77,990


Pros

  • Slim and light
  • Sharp and bright display
  • Decent app performance
  • Quad speakers sound good
  • Face recognition is quick

Cons

  • Runs warm
  • Fan noise can be annoying
  • Unwieldy as a tablet
  • Battery life could be better

Ratings (out of 5)

  • Design: 4
  • Display: 4
  • Performance: 3.5
  • Software: 4
  • Battery life: 3
  • Value for money: 3.5
  • Overall: 3.5

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