Gaming laptops have a special place in my heart, but at the same time, I’m always keeping an eye out for the newest thin-and-light productivity laptop on the market. This time, I’ve had the pleasure of testing the HP Envy x360 15.6-inch laptop. At first glance, you might mistake it for just another everyday laptop, but it has an IMAX Enhanced certified OLED display that sets it apart. In this review, I’ll delve into whether this laptop is worth your money.
- Vibrant OLED display
- Good performance for everyday tasks
- Premium design and build quality
- Versatile 2-in-1 form factor
- Good battery life
- Slightly lower screen resolution for its size
- Limited IMAX content availability
- Collects fingerprints easily
- No 16:10 aspect ratio
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home
- Processor: Intel Core i5-1335U (up to 4.6 GHz, 10 cores)
- Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Memory: 16 GB LPDDR5-5200 MHz RAM (onboard)
- Internal Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- Display: 15.6″ FHD OLED, 400 nits peak brightness
- Screen-To-Body Ratio: 88.34%
- Webcam: 5MP IR camera
- Audio: Dual speakers, DTS:X Ultra
- Input/Connectivity: 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C), 1 USB Type-A (10Gbps), 1 HDMI 2.1, 1 USB Type-A (10Gbps), 1 Headphone/microphone combo
- Stylus: HP USB-C Rechargeable MPP2.0 Tilt Pen
- Battery: 4-cell, 55Wh Li-ion polymer
- Weight and Dimensions: 1.77 kg, 14.07″ (W) x 8.99″ (D) x 0.72″ (H)
- Colors: Natural Silver, Nightfall Black
- Security and Protection: IR camera for Windows Hello log-in, Camera privacy shutter, Mic mute key
Variants & Pricing
The HP Envy x360 is available in both Intel and AMD versions. The model I reviewed features a 13th-generation Intel Core i5-1335U processor and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The starting price for the HP Envy x360 is Rs 78,999, and our configuration was priced at Rs. 99,999.
Design & Build Quality
The HP Envy x360 impresses right from the start with its professional and sleek design. The Nightfall Black color option, complemented by a thin and portable build, gives the Envy a premium look. It’s crafted from aluminum, featuring soft rounded corners on the front and more squared-off edges on the back, creating a subtle wedge shape.
However, it’s worth noting that the Nightfall Black finish tends to attract fingerprints easily, so be prepared to wipe it down regularly.
As a convertible laptop, the Envy x360 offers multiple usage modes: tablet, laptop, tent, and stand. The lid is easy to open with one hand thanks to a notch, and the hinge is sturdy.
The keyboard deck does exhibit some flex when pressed firmly, but it’s not a significant concern. One notable aspect is the keyboard’s layout; instead of the two fake speaker grilles flanking the keyboard, having a numpad would have been a valuable addition. Given the 15.6-inch size, there’s ample space for it.
In terms of ports, the Envy x360 doesn’t disappoint. On the left side, you’ll find a USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a full-size SD card reader-a rarity in laptops these days. The USB-C port on this side supports speeds of 10GBps and offers USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4, and HP Sleep and Charge functionality. The USB-A port also supports HP Sleep and Charge. On the right side, you’ll find a standard USB-A 10Gbps port and an HDMI 2.1 port.
The HP Envy x360’s display is the star of the show. I had the pleasure of reviewing the OLED version. While a lower-tier LCD variant is available, I highly recommend opting for the OLED display as these displays excel in delivering vibrant colors, exceptional contrast, and a peak brightness of 400 nits, complemented by 100 percent sRGB coverage. This makes the Envy x360 an ideal choice for media consumption.
However, I have a couple of gripes with the display. First, it sports a 1080p resolution, which isn’t terribly sharp on a 15.6-inch screen, especially for someone like me who’s used to pixel-packed QHD displays.
Secondly, the 16:9 aspect ratio, combined with the slightly thicker top and bottom bezels, makes the display appear dated and restrictive, as many 2-in-1s have now adopted the 16:10 aspect ratio, which provides more vertical screen real estate.
Now, let’s delve into the topic of IMAX Enhanced certification. To put it simply, IMAX Enhanced is a certification program aimed at ensuring top-notch playback quality, covering aspects such as resolution, color, brightness, contrast, and sound.
IMAX is commonly associated with those enormous cinema screens that dwarf regular ones. Watching a film on an IMAX screen provides a more immersive experience, making you feel like you’re truly a part of the movie.
However, the HP Envy doesn’t feature a screen as large as a cinema screen, so it’s challenging to replicate that cinematic immersion on a 15.6-inch display. In this context, the concept of IMAX seems redundant here.
If we shift our focus away from the tech and examine the IMAX content itself, it’s currently quite limited. The OLED display’s IMAX Certification does enhance colors and sound quality, but the content selection is relatively small, mainly consisting of some Disney+ offerings.
Therefore, purchasing this laptop solely for the IMAX experience might not be a wise choice. Nevertheless, the display excels media consumption, though I couldn’t help but wish for a higher resolution and a different aspect ratio.
The HP Envy x360, with our review unit packing a 13th Gen Intel i5 1335U, kept up with my daily workflow. I extensively use Docs and Sheets and have many, many Chrome tabs open, and I am happy to report that the Envy delivered solid performance.
It’s when I had kept around 20 opened Chrome tabs with Slack opened in the background the laptop stuttered a bit. Apart from that scenario, from editing photos to playing casual games and having dozens of Google Chrome tabs open, multitasking was a breeze. Furthermore, the touch screen was very responsive, and switching between windows was a seamless experience.
Our review unit packs Intel Iris Xe graphics, so naturally, this isn’t the laptop for video editing and/or gaming. If you want to play games, you have to get the configuration that packs the Nvidia RTX 3050 GPU.
In terms of casual games, I played Valorant on low settings and the laptop provided around 100-120 fps. The gameplay experience was decent, but I wouldn’t suggest to crank up the graphics. Of course, you wouldn’t want to play AAA titles on this machine unless you splurge for the RTX 3050 configuration.
Take a look at these benchmarks below and although numbers don’t tell the whole thing, the Envy aced the CrystalDiskMark, Cinebench, and Geekbench with good scores.
HP includes its MPP2.0 Tilt Pen, a stylus that improves the laptop experience. The stylus worked perfectly during my testing, and it was especially useful when using the laptop in tablet mode.
Whether you’re signing documents, taking quick notes, or unleashing your creative side by drawing, this rechargeable pen with a USB-C port is a valuable accessory that perfectly complements the laptop’s portability.
Keyboard & Trackpad
The HP Envy x360 (2023) boasts a spacious and user-friendly keyboard that provides a satisfying tactile experience. The keycaps exude a solid quality, offering excellent key travel without any hint of cheapness. However, it’s worth noting that the layout of the navigation keys deviates slightly from the norm, with full-sized left and right arrow keys alongside half-height up and down arrow keys.
The keyboard is backlit with two adjustable levels of lighting, which makes it even more appealing. The dark keyboard deck enhances the brightness of the backlighting.
HP has replaced the fingerprint scanner with Windows Hello facial recognition for secure laptop access. This facial recognition is usually quick and reliable.
The keyboard does come with a couple of unique features, although their practicality may vary. The F1 key hosts an emoji button for those who enjoy using emojis, and the F9 key features an HP Jumpstart button, which can swiftly launch the HP Command Center, the Omen Gaming Hub, or My HP.
The trackpad is also a standout in terms of performance. Its large size and smooth surface make tasks like scrolling and dragging easy. It does make a noticeable clicking sound, especially in the corners, which is common among many 2-in-1 laptops. However, the clicks and presses require minimal force, unlike the recently reviewed Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1.
The 5MP Windows Hello IR webcam at the top of the display ensures that your video calls are crisp and vibrant, with no graininess or washout. It also has a convenient privacy shutter that you can use to cover the lens when you need it.
The webcam goes above and beyond basic functionality with HP Presence 2.0. This technology gives the webcam a variety of impressive features, including automatic framing, background adjustment, low-light optimization, and skin tone correction. It even supports a multi-camera view, so you can add a second webcam and create versatile layouts for sharing content.
The webcam also takes extra security precautions with features like a walk-away lock and wake-on approach, adding an extra layer of protection. It’s worth noting that this robust set of webcam capabilities puts it on par with the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360, which is also known for its extensive webcam feature set.
The audio output from the pair of downward-firing speakers, tuned by Bang & Olufsen, delivers a satisfactory listening experience. They produce ample volume without succumbing to distortion, making them well-suited for filling a home office with sound.
The audio excels in the mid and high-frequency ranges, although it tends to lack in the bass department, which is fairly typical for this category. While it may not outshine the audio quality of devices like Macbooks, it surprises with a commendable soundstage.
However, for a truly immersive audio experience, it’s advisable to have a pair of headphones on hand.
In a head-to-head comparison with the Inspiron, it’s worth noting that the latter’s front-firing speakers do make it sound louder with a more pronounced bass. Nevertheless, the Envy holds its ground admirably with its speaker setup, proving that it is by no means lacking in the audio department.
The laptop’s battery life is quite impressive. Even with the brightness set to maximum, it managed to provide a solid 7 hours and 45 minutes of runtime. By reducing the brightness to around 60%, you can stretch the laptop’s usage throughout an entire day, which is a notable feat.
Furthermore, when the battery eventually does run out, the 55Wh battery recharges swiftly in under 2 hours thanks to the included 65W charger. Notably, HP has gone the extra mile by supplying a high-quality braided USB-Type C cable with the charger. I love it when companies give special attention to their bundled accessories.
The Envy x360 comes equipped with Windows 11 Home, featuring the standard suite of Microsoft applications. In addition to these, HP has included its OMEN Gaming Hub application, designed to enhance gaming performance. It offers game-specific settings, system optimization, file cleanup, and system monitoring tools to improve the overall gaming experience.
While the OMEN Gaming Hub may not be particularly useful for everyone, there’s another noteworthy app in the lineup – the Duet Display app. This application allows users to extend or mirror their laptop screen onto compatible devices, effectively expanding screen real estate and enhancing multitasking capabilities.
I tested this feature on my Android tablet, and while it did improve productivity, I encountered some limitations. The experience was marred by noticeable latency, and certain features like wireless connectivity were restricted behind a paywall, necessitating a wired connection to the laptop.
Lastly, there is the McAfee antivirus software, and yes, you can remove it.
Should You Get the HP Envy x360?
The HP Envy x360 15.6 (2023) stands as a dependable convertible laptop. It proves itself an ideal choice for tasks like web browsing, content consumption, and meeting the demands of students in need of a reliable device for their school or college. Additionally, it caters to those seeking a laptop with an OLED display, delivering on that front.
However, it’s essential to note that unless you opt for the model equipped with RTX graphics, this laptop isn’t tailored for gaming. Furthermore, if you’re in search of a higher-resolution display, you might want to explore HP’s Spectre series, which offers that option.
If none of these specific considerations apply to your needs, the HP Envy x360 becomes an excellent choice, offering versatility and performance for various computing tasks.
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published: Tuesday, September 12, 2023, 13:18 [IST]
Original news source Credit: www.gizbot.com