A beautiful design
Sturdy 2-in-1 hinges
So-so battery life
Seriously—we’re talking a laptop that can do everything up to and including light gaming, with very good battery life, a slick design, a wonderful keyboard, and a respectable 15-inch display. Though customizing it with more storage or memory will bump the cost up, our review unit cost less than $800 and easily kept up with laptops that cost twice as much.
About the HP Envy 15 x360
As the name suggests, the HP Envy x360 15 is a 15-inch 2-in-1 laptop, meaning the hinge allows it to be rotated all the way around to function like a tablet. Here’s how the specs shake out as provided by HP:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U (2GHz, 4.2GHz boost)
- Memory: 8GB DDR4-3200 (2x4GB, 16GB available)
- Storage: 256GB NVMe SSD (up to 512GB available)
- Display: 15.6-inch 1080p IPS WLED
- Ports: USB-C, USB-A (x2, 1 charging), HDMI 2.0a, 3.5mm
- Graphics: AMD Radeon Integrated GPU
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 5 (2x2), Bluetooth 6 (Wi-Fi 6 available)
- Battery: 65 Wh lithium ion battery
- Charger: 65W charger, USB-C charging supported
- Weight: 4.53 lbs
- Dimensions: 14.13 x 9.68 x 0.67 in
- Warranty: 1-year limited warranty covering parts and labor
Though HP’s “Spectre” line is considered its premium top-tier laptop for consumers, the Envy line this year is nearly as good. It’s way cheaper, but it feel like a premium laptop and comes with all the same processor options as the top-of-the-line laptops.
The main thing you’re giving up here is some fit and finish, but given the savings compared to similarly-equipped laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro, Spectre, and Dell XPS, it’s worth it for anyone on a budget.
What We Like
The processor is super fast
The Apple MacBook Air has rightfully stolen the show this year with its awesome combination of efficiency and power, but AMD’s newest Ryzen 5 processors are nearly as good. Though the Envy x360’s fans spin up much more than the Apple MacBook Pro (the Air doesn’t even have a fan), it can get through most tasks at basically the same time.
The Envy also starts up quickly, able to resume from a sleep state to fully functional in just a few seconds. It occasionally ran into a few hitches, but they were pretty minor and much better than my Dell XPS 13 which is already a few year old and showing its age.
Our benchmarks bear this out, with the Ryzen 4700U in our test unit offering an excellent result of 1164 single core and 6381 multi-core. The single-core score is below what we've seen from recent laptops, but the multi-core score is ahead of every other laptop we've tested this year except a few $3,000 gaming laptops and the $1,500 MacBook Pro. Not bad for a $600 laptop!
The battery life is good, though not great
Even though most of us are stuck at home with plenty of outlets close at hand, this is shaping up to be the year laptops finally turned the corner on battery life. The HP Envy x360 is no exception, turning in a solid 6 hours and 45 minutes of battery life in our web browsing test.
This is right in line with what we’ve seen in other laptops with AMD’s new Ryzen processors, which need hardly any power to accomplish basic tasks like browsing the web. Though 13-inch laptops get a bit more, powering the larger 15-inch display is no joke and that amount of battery life is still very good. Gaming or anything more intensive will definitely also cut that down, but for the basics it’ll get you through a work day.
There are definitely some ways you can stretch that a little further as well. The most obvious one is sliding the battery settings to “battery saver” which turns the screen brightness way down (it’ll go from a max of over 200 nits to just over 100). Advanced users may also want to dig into the power settings, which leave quite a bit of battery (10% by default) in reserve, which you can manually turn to a more typical 7% or 5% if you want more life per charge.
The design is pragmatic, but handsome
HP’s Spectre laptops are the most beautiful ones you can buy, in my opinion. The HP Envy line can’t crib everything I love about those laptops, but it borrows enough, including premium materials, a slim profile, and neat little details like the slanted HP logo, Envy callout on the hinge, and cutouts in the speakers.
On a more practical note, the layout is extremely functional. The keyboard is a welcome reprieve from the “slim at all costs” designs that you tend to find in top-shelf laptops like the Dell XPS 2-in-1 and the Apple MacBooks. It has excellent travel, is paired with a massive trackpad, and even a numpad—rare even on 15-inch laptops.
It’s just a great design, and nothing about it betrays that it’s such a budget-friendly machine. You even get a fingerprint-reader built into the keyboard, something most laptops this affordable don't offer.
What We Don’t Like
The 15-inch display is great, but it adds a lot of weight
Though there are some 15-inch laptops that manage to be very lightweight, most of the time you’re choosing between the bigger screen or the lighter laptop. Though the Envy x360 isn’t heavy by any means, it’s still 4.5 lbs, while the 13-inch x360 is just a hair under 3 lbs total.
It’s right in line with other 15-inch touchscreen laptops. The Dell XPS 15, for example, is 4 lbs, but 4.5 lbs if you opt for the model with the touchscreen. The older 15-inch MacBook Pro is also right around 4 lbs, but it has just the small touchbar instead of a full touchscreen.
The touchpad is a little finicky, and not as smooth as the competition
Though the touchpad is miles better than older Windows laptops (which for years were maligned for awful, jumpy touchpads), it’s still a bit rough to the touch. The higher-end laptops out there tend to be smoother, with glass surfaces that let your finger glide a bit more.
Similarly, the click action on the touchpad feels a bit too chunky and tends to spring back in a weird way. It’s just a small thing that signals this isn’t quite a high-end laptop, though nothing you won’t get used to.
The fans tend to spin up randomly and can be a bit loud
The AMD processor in the HP Envy x360 is a workhorse, but the laptop does tend to spin the fans up early and often. It keeps the laptop relatively cool, but it is definitely noticeable in a quiet space.
This is pretty common among laptops in this class, though it’s worth noting that the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro—and presumably the next wave of laptops featuring similarly efficient processors coming down the line—will handle all the same tasks with almost no noise at all.
Should You Buy It?
Oh yes, especially if you want an affordable 15-inch laptop that can do it all
For most of the past decade, if you said you wanted a laptop that was super fast, had great battery life, an excellent design, and a low price, you were out of luck. You could get the first three, but it was going to cost you. And if you wanted an affordable machine, you were going to have to sacrifice somewhere else.
The HP Envy x360 shows that is no longer the case. You really can have it all in a laptop that doesn’t cost a lot of money. Though we said the same thing about the 13-inch model we reviewed earlier this year, it still holds true: HP made all the right moves when designing this laptop. It’s incredibly fast, it borrows all the best design notes from HP’s best laptops, it has great battery life, and it starts at under $500 on sale (roughly $600 as reviewed).
Frankly, $500 laptops are usually bad. We’ve spent years finding ones that are the least bad, but this laptop is legitimately great. Though the base-level model is a bit more sluggish than the one we reviewed, that low starting price leaves you plenty of room to add on extras like more storage, a faster processor, and more memory without shattering your budget.
Typically at this point in the review, we’d present you with alternative options to consider. Though there are other $700 laptops that I think are quite good, realistically the only things comparable to the HP Envy x360—laptops like the Dell XPS 15, HP Spectre 15t, Apple MacBook, and more—all start at $1,000 and up. It’s that good!
So yes, you should buy this. There is no better 15-inch laptop in this price range, and there’s unlikely to be one any time soon.
Meet the tester
TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.
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