Each year around this time, laptops are high on the list of things to buy and it’s not surprising one of the biggest selling sizes sports a 13-inch screen.
I’ve been using the HP Envy 13, 2019 edition for the last few weeks, putting it through its paces to see if it’s more than just good looks.
In HPs range, the Envy lineup generally offers value for money with excellent specifications without breaking the bank.
The exact model I received for this review included 8GB of RAM, an Intel 8th-gen quad-core i5-8265U CPU running at 1.60GHz and a 256GB SSD.
The 13.3-inch screen is a full HD touchscreen and is powered by Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics.
As laptops go, the Envy 13 is a premium looking laptop with a silver aluminium body.
The corners are rounded on both the lid and body but otherwise the edges are flat and angular, a look I particularly like as it has a more contemporary look.
The touchpad is nice and wide and fully supports Windows 10 gestures but the palm rest areas on either side are not very deep.
However, this is to make the keyboard as big as possible with excellent spacing between each key.
As a result, the keyboard is a joy to use and I found it easy to type fast without making mistakes. The response is excellent with a decent amount of travel and tactile feel.
Also, the keys don’t make too much noise as I was clicking and clunking away to my heart’s content, writing this review.
The screen is impressively bright and plenty crisp and sharp for a 1920 x 1080 IPS panel.
The current trend in laptops is to minimise the bezels and although the sides are small, the top and more so the bottom have much larger bezels.
It still looks good, but there are laptops with much smaller bezels out there. The top bezel houses the 720p webcam, which is sufficient for video calling but there’s no Windows Hello support.
A nice touch for those who are suspicious of people spying on them is that you can turn it off via a dedicated slider switch on the right edge of the laptop.
There’s also a fingerprint scanner to the right of the touchpad that is reliable and consistently works well for biometric login to Windows.
The Envy 13 is not jam-packed with ports, but is sufficient for most needs, with one USB-C 3.1 port, two USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports and a microSD card reader. There’s full wifi support, but no ethernet port.
You also get Bluetooth 5.0 and I love that you can charge via either the supplied 65-watt HP charger or USB-C.
I also used the USB-C port to hook the Envy 13 up to an external monitor with an HDMI to USB-C cable which is easy to get.
I was particularly impressed with the screen quality and additional features like HDR support. This made it an excellent choice for media consumption.
I was able to watch HDR content on Netflix and it looked fantastic. Additionally, thanks to the Bang & Olufsen-tuned audio system, with quad speakers and a smart amplifier the sound was excellent too.
For such a small laptop, the sound quality is great and it supports Dolby Atmos in the native PC Netflix app, something I wasn’t expecting, but was a pleasant surprise. And, there’s even a 3.5mm jack on the left edge which is always handy to have.
In terms of performance, the Envy 13 is more than adequate for handling most tasks without issue. 8GB of RAM will be plenty for most office-type tasks, but you can get configurations with more RAM if required.
I was a little worried to see the vents for the fans on the base of the laptop, but they hardly ever come on in general use on the HP recommends power setting.
However, when they do come on and if it’s under a heavy load, it does get pretty warm.
This isn’t a gaming machine yet it can handle games like Fortnight. It’s best seen as an option for casual, light games and older titles with graphic settings turned down for best performance.
Battery life is excellent although I never managed to get the claimed 14 hours of use.
However, I can safely say that unless you’re gaming or doing heavy video editing, you’ll have no problem going to college for the day without the charger.
Overall, the HP Envy is a fantastic laptop with good performance, excellent build quality and it looks great to boot.
Available at PC World priced €980.