Wednesday 18 September 2019

Tech review: HP Envy X360

Price: €1,019 from Currys

HP Envy X360
HP Envy X360
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

HP's latest 'two-in-one' touchscreen laptop is super-slim, very pragmatic and, with its AMD Ryzen ship, shows that there is definitely life after Intel. The Envy X360 13 has a 360-hinge that lets you flip it over to stand as a screen. The metallic, slim body looks great and its backlit keyboard complements an all-round decent buy.

The test model I got was good enough to be used as a work machine by the vast majority of typical business users.

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But the internal specifications, while fine, aren't stellar. My machine had 8GB of Ram (adequate), 256GB of solid state storage (decent) and an AMD Ryzen 5 3500 processor (fine, but not especially powerful).

A note about that AMD chip: its inclusion makes the overall laptop cheaper (by around €100) than one with an Intel chip (such as a Core i5), without really affecting performance for most people.

Even still, this is more than €1,000. That money is really going into the laptop's chassis and overall design, which is metallic (brushed and matt), sleek and includes that 360-hinge.

That design is probably what might tempt you to go for this machine over similar offerings from Dell and Lenovo.

It has a very modern, executive feel for a laptop, mostly driven by the anodised aluminium casing. It also has a couple of premium features like a fingerprint reader, something I would definitely look for on a laptop at this price.

The 13-inch screen has 1080p 'full-HD' resolution which, at this size, is easily good enough. Honestly, if you're paying hundreds more for a 4K screen, you're wasting your money unless you're a serious graphics professional.

However, I'm a little surprised that the laptop markets itself as having "thin bezels". By today's standards, they are not really that thin at all, particularly the lower 'chin', which is just over an inch thick.

It is nice and light, although not featherweight, at just under 1.3kg.

There is just the right number of ports available, meaning two 'normal' USB ports and one USB-C port (although this cannot be used for charging the device, which is a shame and compares badly with some rival machines). A 3.5mm headphone port and a MicroSD card slot (I prefer the full-sized SD card slots) round out the physical connectivity.

One curiosity is the Bang & Olufsen speaker branding. I have written this about previous HP laptops, but once again, this doesn't deliver anything like a premium audio experience.

It is not terrible, but I can't imagine it's any better than a basic, unbranded speaker. It certainly doesn't match the audio you will get on the likes of an iPad Pro or a MacBook.

I found the battery life on this machine to be fine, but not outstanding. You'll reliably get seven to eight hours out of it. I've got well over 10 hours from one or two laptops recently tested (such as Dell's €1,700 Latitude 7400), but they are generally either considerably pricier, or thicker and heavier, to accommodate the extra battery life.

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