HP Envy 13 (2019) assessment
The HP Envy 13 has been probably the greatest lower-cost options to a MacBook for a number of years. You get a full aluminium shell, MacBook Professional model energy and even some low-level gaming expertise.
This 2019 model tweaks a couple of elements with out altering the unique attraction, that of a lower-cost laptop computer with the identical visible impression as a way more costly one. So it rivals the likes of Dell’s XPS 13, Asus ZenBook S13 and the Huawei MateBook 13.
What’s new? HP has switched to the brand new Nvidia MX250 GPU. The unhealthy information: it makes nearly no distinction. The trackpad expertise is massively improved in some methods, however its floor is now plastic quite than glass. Show high quality has been bumped-up, with a lot better color replica, brightness and distinction.
We hoped for a bit of extra dynamism, and the trackpad downgrade stings. However you continue to get a laptop computer with energy to match a £1750 MacBook Professional, for lower than the price of the traditional £949 MacBook Air from 2017 – now discontinued however nonetheless accessible from John Lewis.
As ever, the HP Envy 13 is a good deal.
Identical to the final HP Envy 13, the 2019 model begins at £899. That will get you 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD and an Intel Core i5 Eighth-gen CPU (aq0000na).
That is all most individuals want, and it’s the spec we’d advocate to virtually each potential HP Envy 13 purchaser. You get an inexpensive quantity of storage, nice efficiency for the worth, and a bit of further on high because of the Nvidia MX250 GPU.
The following fashions jumps to a Core i7 with a 512GB SSD at £1,099 (aq0002na), however you possibly can go even increased with 16GB of RAM at £1,249 (aq0003na) and that is the mannequin we have examined right here.
As is stands we are able to solely see these fashions accessible direct from HP however retailers resembling Amazon and Currys ought to inventory them quickly. Within the US, the top-spec mannequin is accessible on Amazon for $1,399 or barely much less on Newegg.
The Envy 13 comes with a 1-year elements and labour guarantee, which features a “pickup and return” service.
Take a look at our chart of one of the best laptops.
Design & Construct
HP has not redesigned the Envy 13 considerably this yr. It’s an aluminium laptop computer with a really angular look. Its keyboard keys are sharp-looking squares and even the warmth vent above the keyboard has a extreme geometric sample.
The pragmatism of this lack of change is all a part of the Envy 13’s broader attraction. It is a steel laptop computer made for these after a pc that appears and feels “good”, however doesn’t ask you to pay over the percentages for novelty.
It’s also very transportable, even when there are not any specific ultra-slim or mild stats value shouting about. The HP Envy 13 weighs 1.3kg (1.27kg in line with our scales) and is 14.9mm thick. Nonetheless, it is usually pretty slender because the horizontal display borders are slim.
Simply look round the keyboard. Except for an additional column of keys, there’s no house to spare.
Examine the HP Envy to an HP Spectre or MacBook Professional and you’ll discover a couple of apparent construct cuts. Its anodised aluminium seems to be fairly shiny, as the feel is rougher than that of the handled steel utilized in £1300-plus laptops. You’ll be able to’t open the lid with out the bottom making an attempt to go along with it.
There are some good touches, although. If you fold out the Envy 13 display, the hinge flippantly lifts the display up, including a slight angle to the keyboard – that is just like the Asus ZenBook S13. The contours of the edges additionally make the laptop computer appear slimmer than it’s.
We’ve quite a lot of affection for the Envy 13. And whereas it hasn’t actually modified a lot in two years, it doesn’t look dated but.
Keyboard & Trackpad
Typing is one other spotlight, and a cause to be glad HP hasn’t messed with the fundamental HP Envy 13 design a lot.
Keys have a chunky motion, every depresses with a satisfying clonk quite than a weedy click on. You could possibly name this an quaint method, however we a lot want it to the ultra-shallow model for long-form typing.
The format stays largely unchanged since final yr. You get very square-looking keys, and a handful of operate keys are shifted to an additional column to the fitting with the intention to accommodate the warmth grille above the keyboard.
There’s one apparent change to the keyboard. Final yr we famous the Envy 13’s backlight was a bit weak, and supplied no degree management. This time there are two depth ranges and the laptop computer cycles via them if you press the backlight button.
The tracked beneath is the supply for each a few of the finest Envy 13 modifications, and one of many greatest disappointments. HP has switched the trackpad driver, and in doing so has eradicated all of the false clicks and unhealthy scroll behaviour we just-about tolerated within the older fashions. The floaty motion has virtually solely gone too. That is the place you possibly can depress the pad a bit earlier than it reaches the clicker mechanism.
A a lot better-behaved trackpad is way simpler to stay with. Nonetheless, HP has switched the textured glass floor of the Envy 13 2018 for textured plastic. It performs a reasonably good impersonation of glass, however you possibly can’t miss the juddery swipes and tackier floor after some time.
Given the show upgrades HP has added, possibly we shouldn’t grumble. However we miss the glass.
On paper, the HP Envy 13’s display sounds similar to that of the final mannequin. It measures 13.three inches throughout and has an IPS LCD Full HD panel.
Proper from first boot-up we might inform it is a increased grade of display than we noticed within the 2018 model, although. The display seems to be daring and wealthy, the place earlier variations had the attribute “simply OK” color of a mid-range laptop computer.
Our colorimeter thought the identical. It could let you know the actual color and distinction efficiency of a show and the HP Envy 13 covers 97.9% of sRGB, up from simply 78.7% final yr. 68.2% protection of Adobe RGB and 70.three% of DCI P3 are sturdy for a laptop computer on the value too. You’ll discover many fashions nicely over £1200 that carry out no higher.
This color means is evident more-or-less from the second you convey up the Home windows 10 Begin menu. The purple of the Microsoft Information icon seems to be extraordinarily vivid and punchy, to an extent which will even appear oversaturated when you’re used to a much less colour-rich display.
Distinction has improved massively too. We recorded 1700:1 ANSI distinction, one other wonderful end result at any value, not to mention £899. Final yr’s model solely managed 867:1.
Brightness is probably crucial enchancment when you plan to make use of the Envy 13 whereas out of the home. Its most brightness is 377cd/m. But once more, you wouldn’t grumble at this at twice the worth. The 2018 Envy 13 managed 281cd/m. A 35% enhance in brightness makes the laptop computer a lot simpler to make use of on vibrant days.
The 2019 Envy 13 is best all-round for films, YouTube streaming and gaming in consequence too. This is without doubt one of the best-performing Home windows laptop computer screens we’ve ever seen at sub-£900. It’s a touchscreen too, though the restricted sub-135-degree rotation of the hinge means that is something however a hybrid.
Specs & Efficiency
The 2019 Envy 13 makes use of Intel’s newest CPUs, ones a “half technology” on from these used earlier than. HP despatched us the high-end Core i7 model. It has a Core i7-8565U, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. We might not advocate this model to all that many individuals because the entry-level mannequin is prone to be enough.
This is a abstract of the fashions on provide:
- Core i5-8265U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, MX250
- Core i7-8565U, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, MX250
- Core i7-8565U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, MX250
Each Core i5 and Core i7 fashions have 4 cores, and are able to nearly any productiveness job you push their manner. We’d be blissful to edit video on the Envy 13, and have edited images with this laptop computer.
Need to hear one thing amusing? To spec up the MacBook Professional 13 to roughly the identical degree as this higher-end Envy 13, it’s a must to pay over £2000.
It scores 3838 in PC Mark 10. That is solely barely higher than the 3759 of the Core i5 model we reviewed final yr. PC Mark is designed to be a reasonably contextualised take a look at, emulating apps you may use day-to-day.
That efficiency similarity demonstrates why we advocate the cheaper Core i5 model to most. The distinction is just not large in most situations, though a bump as much as 16GB RAM is helpful for all types of extra demanding apps, in addition to basic multi-tasking.
In a single different respects we’re barely disenchanted by the Envy 13. However it’s largely Nvidia’s fault.
You get Nvidia’s model new MX250 GPU. It’s a low-power graphics chipset for laptops with out cooling programs designed to eliminate the additional warmth of a real gamer’s card. Nonetheless, key rivals just like the Huawei MateBook 13 and Dell XPS 13 depend on built-in graphics, and the ZenBook S13 has the older MX150.
This is a desk of benchmarks so you possibly can see how the Envy 13 performs in opposition to its predecessor and rivals. We have included the MateBook X Professional because it additionally has the MX250 GPU.
We hoped for some important enchancment over the MX150 used final yr, however there’s barely any distinction. Identical to the final model, the Envy 13 additionally will get the lower-power model of the MX250. That is no nice shock contemplating how slim the laptop computer is.
It could nearly play Ghost Recon: Wildlands, at 1080p with the graphics set to “low”. It averages 30.2fps, so you will notice some slow-down in busy scenes. At “Medium” graphics this drops to 19.0fps, and a dismal four.2fps at Extremely. The efficiency drop is compound the common-or-garden quantity of video RAM.
You’ll be able to play tough video games with the HP Envy 13, however solely at very stripped-back settings. We additionally did some gentle stress testing and located the “Low” graphics 30fps end result drops to 28fps after a few runs, suggesting some heat-related throttling.
Warhammer II runs at 21.4fps, medium settings, dropping to 12.eight at “excessive” visuals. We discovered you will get a a lot smoother 33fps common when you change the decision all the way down to 720p. You’ll be able to play video games like The Witcher three on this laptop computer.
That is nonetheless a lot better than the outcomes you’d get with the UHD 620 built-in graphics of most different laptops on this class. The HP Envy 13 isn’t a laptop computer for players, nevertheless it’s much better at enjoying video games than quite a lot of skinny and light-weight fashions.
Connectivity & Audio
Its connections are fairly all-embracing. You get two full-size USB three.zero ports, a microSD slot (very uncommon nowadays) and a USB-C three.1 socket. The ability adapter is separate too, so the USB-C is just not taken up when charging.
HP additionally features a USB-C adapter. It’s a bit of breakout cable with an HDMI socket. There’s even a webcam “killswitch” on the facet, useful when you’re apprehensive about hackers (or the federal government) accessing the Envy 13 digital camera. It is value noting that the USB-C port does help Thunderbolt three although, which is a disgrace.
The HP Envy 13 audio system are Bang & Olufsen branded, like these of a number of different HP laptops. That is no assure of high quality, however we’re pretty pleased with the outcomes right here.
There’s a touch of bass to provide kick drums precise illustration, stable mid-range presence and completely respectable quantity on faucet. At excessive volumes there’s a bit of mid distortion with some content material, however contemplating this isn’t a “cash not object” laptop computer we’re simply blissful these audio system make film soundtracks listenable.
HP additionally appears to have improved battery life a bit of with this technology. We discovered the final Envy 13 lasted 9 hours between expenses.
This one lasted 10 hours 1 minute, enjoying the identical video on loop at 120cd/m. In response to a Home windows 10 battery report, the laptop computer has a 53.6Wh battery, solely fractionally bigger than the final mannequin.
Whether or not all the way down to luck, peculiarities of the air temperature or real effectivity financial savings, this seems to be a commendably long-lasting laptop computer contemplating it has a quad-core Intel Core CPU inside.
The HP Envy 13 is in some methods a really routine replace of a crowd-pleaser laptop computer.
HP hasn’t modified the design fundamentals. And it’s not even rather more highly effective than the final, particularly contemplating the CPU and GPU have each been upgraded. You’ll be able to blame Intel and Nvidia for that.
Nonetheless, HP has improved it in different methods. Show high quality is way improved and the trackpad has been solely tamed, with new drivers and a tweaked pad design. We lose out too, although, because the glass floor of the previous mannequin has been changed with plastic.
You win some, and lose some. However the HP Envy continues to be one of many perfect “mid-range” laptops.