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HP ENVY 13-inch Laptop: A Complete Review
March 10, 2019
These days, laptops are increasingly used in ways that make them a substitute for more traditional desktop setups. The effort to miniaturize critical components centers on finding the right balance of portability and performance to give consumers a product that’s versatile and easy to move around with them.
The HP ENVY 13-inch laptop series doubles down on these features, packing as much functionality as possible into a surprisingly compact frame.
These devices offer a careful balance between mobility and hardware while standing toe-to-toe with many of their larger-sized brethren.
If your routine keeps you on-the-go or demands more flexibility than a desktop or oversized notebook, this line of laptops is tuned for you.
Two models to save space and offer consistent performance
The line starts with the HP ENVY 13t that combines the features of a performance laptop with the extra advantages of a touch screen display.
Durable and easy-to-use touch functions are the foundation of the line’s commitment to adding value without increasing cost.
On the other side of the aisle you’ll find the versatile HP ENVY x360. This device blends a convertible laptop experience with the power of a PC and the mobility and comfort of a tablet. If you know you want a touch screen, you’ll love how it’s incorporated into both HP ENVY models.
Flexibility across a range of lifestyles and work routines
While touch functionality is a standout advantage that comes with all HP ENVY 13 laptops, you’ll find even more flexibility from the adaptable HP ENVY x360 13z touch screen laptop.
Designed as a new 2-in-1 entry for this series, HP ENVY x360 models are built with a robust hinge to support conversion from a traditional laptop layout to a tablet mode for easy mobility.
Just fold it over and go. And use the included HP Pen stylus for more precise interaction. To support a full spectrum of multimedia applications, the HP ENVY family also features quad speaker banks with HP Audio Boost and tuning by Bang & Olufsen.
Highly responsive solid-state drive (SSD) storage
For those who aren’t familiar with SSD storage, it’s a more efficient form of PC memory that works by removing all the moving parts associated with traditional HDD storage. This impacts your computing in a number of ways by cutting out the annoying whirring noise of disk access, simplifying temperature control, and even lowering power consumption.
Every model in the HP ENVY 13 series is equipped with an SSD, making it a particularly affordable way to gain access to technology that is typically only available at higher price points.
Hardened security with a built-in fingerprint reader
If you’re concerned about protecting your most important files, you’ll definitely enjoy the extra boost of confidence and security afforded by the integrated fingerprint reader.
This feature is included in both HP ENVY 13 models and provides increased security protection regardless of how you configure your purchase. Both also include an integrated HP Sure View privacy screen, allowing you to darken your screen’s peripheral appearance at the touch of a button.
Extra touch screen protection with optional Corning Gorilla Glass
In the same vein as adding extra protection, the entire series comes with the option to upgrade your display to a Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ touch screen. Corning Gorilla Glass is designed to offer comprehensive protection for laptop displays and their NBT variant is tailored specifically to touch-enabled devices.
It’s an optional addition, but a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT touch screen will ultimately wear less from scratches and regular use. It will also show scratches less prominently if and when they occur. From a structural standpoint, it’s less susceptible to weakness when scratches or minor breaks occur.
Guaranteed low environmental impact
Depending on your own laptop routine, the question of power consumption and impact from use may not be a big concern.
For some, though, it can mean increased utility bills and an unnecessary environmental impact. You won’t have to worry about that with an HP ENVY 13. All models feature the reassurance of rigorous ENERGY STAR® certification and a Silver rating from EPEAT®.
What we’ll cover in this review
Choosing a new laptop can be daunting. From sifting through specs to dealing with your budget, it can be difficult to make a choice. For the most part, you should focus on your needs and figure out the biggest priority you have for your device, whether it’s portability, performance, or a combination of the two.
In our HP ENVY 13 review, we’ll take an exhaustive look at the two primary configurations, starting with the standard HP ENVY 13t laptop and then its 2-in-1 convertible cousin, the HP ENVY x360.
Performance computing from the affordable HP ENVY 13t laptop
While the HP ENVY 13t laptop’s appearance is relatively understated, it actually has a more deliberately designed feel than many small laptop models. It starts with a premium, meticulously crafted display and backlit keyboard for comfort.
The hinge has an elevated design providing more ergonomic keyboard interactions and improved ventilation.
Powerful starting specs and options to expand
The HP ENVY 13t is powered by an 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 processor, with 8GB of onboard memory and integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620.
If you want some extra memory and graphics performance, you can upgrade to 16GB of RAM and the more powerful NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 graphics card. For storage, you’ll find a 256GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD, with the option to upgrade capacity up to 1TB.
Ultralight with long-lasting battery life
Despite the comfortable full-size keyboard layout, this HP ENVY is extremely light and portable. It weighs just 2.71 lbs and measures only 12.09 x 8.35 x 0.59 inches, making it easy to slip it into your laptop bag, backpack, briefcase, or tote and go.
Fortunately for those who spend a lot of time away from a standard power source, the laptop battery boasts up to 14 hours of life when configured with base display options.
This laptop also includes a full suite of external ports and connections, so you’re prepared for the unexpected. Need to charge another device? Just connect it via USB and you’ll be good to go thanks to the HP Sleep and Charge feature.
Multiple display options
The HP ENVY 13t’s starting configuration comes with a 13.3-inch diagonal Full High Definition (FHD) display that provides an optimum balance between screen resolution (1920 x 1080) and power usage. But if you don’t mind sacrificing a fraction of your battery life and want additional clarity, you can upgrade to 4K (3840 x 2160) with multitouch.
This HP ENVY has thoughtfully laid out proportions, too, such as the edge-to-edge keyboard and micro-edge display. This offers greater comfort during use and cuts back on distractions that could potentially interfere with your peripheral vision.
Choose your own exterior finish
With the standard HP ENVY 13-inch laptop you’ll also have your pick of elegant finishing colors, which includes natural silver and the upgrade of pale gold.
The entire line is clad in anodized aluminum, providing a more durable and higher quality matte exterior. It also gives the laptop a more versatile look, which helps it adapt to unique environments.
Do what you want, how you want with the HP ENVY x360 touch screen laptop
Pushing the idea of flexibility to an even higher degree, the HP ENVY x360 13z laptop offers convertible laptop computing powered by a sliding scale of next-generation AMD Ryzen™ processors.
Use it as a traditional laptop, go mobile in tablet mode, or anything in between to meet your workspace’s demands.
For apps and gaming, you can fold the keyboard back to focus on your display in tent mode, or you can add stability by switching to stand mode for streaming.
This HP ENVY doesn’t disappoint when it comes to pricing, either.
The HP ENVY x360 price range is easily one of the most affordable convertible laptop lines available today, and it includes a strong hardware offering even without the extra features.
It also preserves a lot of the line’s premium specs, such as great audio, the backlit keyboard, and a super light weight below 3 lbs.
Plus, it keeps the line’s powerful battery and charging features, starting off with up to 10 hours of battery life and the benefits of HP Fast Charge.
AMD Ryzen™ with integrated Radeon™ Vega graphics
With the HP ENVY x360, you’ll have your choice of an AMD Ryzen™ 3, 5, or 7 processor paired with a corresponding range of integrated Radeon™ Vega graphics - class 3, 8, and 10, respectively - each available at its own accessible price point.
The same great display options
While the HP ENVY x360 doesn’t offer multi-touch upgrades, you’ll still have access to the same great FHD and 4K options for your display. For those particularly concerned about wear given this laptop’s unique opportunities for alternative use, the Corning Gorilla Glass upgrade is worth considering.
Dark ash silver exterior
Outside of the standard HP ENVY 13t line, 2-in-1 variants are finished with a dark ash silver exterior, although you can choose a natural silver finish on the larger 15-inch laptop models. Otherwise, the HP ENVY x360 boasts the same high-quality aluminum exterior found on the standard edition.
Choosing the best option for you and your lifestyle
Both HP ENVY 13 laptop models emphasize ease of use in different ways, so it’s up to you to decide which best suits your routine.
Students and professionals may prefer something manageable like the standard configuration, but if you need a more adaptive solution, the HP ENVY x360 can be a more impactful choice.
Other options from the full line of HP ENVY laptops
Do you like the basics of HP’s ENVY line, but are not sure about the size or details of your configuration?
If you’d prefer to pick from a larger pool of choices, you can also shop for other options and sizes from the full HP ENVY family. There’s a wide spectrum of possibilities when it comes to specs - and plenty of room to customize.
Prioritizing a balance of value, mobility, and higher performance specs, there are plenty of other options to consider. If you’re interested in a different display size, you’ll find configurations with monitor panels ranging from 12 inches to a generous 17-inch HP ENVY laptop configuration.
A comfortable balance of flexibility and performance
Ultimately, the most substantial benefits from both HP ENVY designs are the new opportunities you get to add flexibility to your routine, along with the impressive starting performance. Both offer extra comforts for users who spend a lot of time on their laptop, making the HP ENVY 13 a great candidate for everyone.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.