One of the first laptops to sport AMD’s latest fourth-generation Ryzen U-series processors, the HP Envy x360 13 (starts at $679.99) combines above-average computing performance with a thin, light, and stylish chassis. It also includes a convenient automatic webcam privacy filter, a high-quality screen, and a comfortable keyboard. Ringing up at $889.99 in our Ryzen 5-based test model with all of these features, the Envy x360 13 is also a good value, clinching our Editors’ Choice award for best midrange 2-in-1 convertible laptop.
HP’s Envy line is a longtime favorite of ours. It’s the company’s midrange brand, positioned below the flagship Spectre lineup and above the entry-level Pavilion models. The 13-inch Envy laptop is available in either a conventional clamshell chassis or the x360 model (13z-ay000) reviewed here. The latter has a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it as a conventional laptop, prop it up as a tent or easel, or fold the keyboard flush with the display for use as a tablet.
Envy 13 clamshell that we reviewed earlier this year measures 0.57 by 12.1 by 8.3 inches and weighs 2.82 pounds.
The light and compact chassis is also quite pleasing to behold. I’m a fan of the Nightfall Black color scheme, which lends the laptop a sophisticated look. It’s not as whimsical or unusual as the walnut paneling that is an option on the non-convertible version of the Envy, but it’s a refreshing break from the sea of silver and gray machines that make up most of the premium ultraportable laptop market.
The Full HD Display
The Envy x360 13’s touch-screen display measures 13.3 inches diagonally, a common screen size for ultraportables. It’s available only in full HD (1,920-by-1,080-pixel) resolution, which I find perfectly adequate for most tasks, though you may occasionally see slightly fuzzy text. The laptop doesn’t have the option of a 4K resolution or OLED display, both of which are available on the more expensive Spectre x360 13.
Envy 17, and it’s the best solution I’ve seen yet to addressing the problem of accidentally leaving your camera on. When you’re not using the webcam, simply press the key to the right of the power button. You’ll hear a faint click and see the white cover snap shut almost instantaneously.
This is far better than placing a piece of tape over the webcam, and it’s more elegant than a physical slider that requires you to close it manually. The only minor downside is that the mechanism takes up enough space that there’s no room for IR sensors to let you log in to Windows 10 via face recognition. You can use the fingerprint reader mounted on the keyboard for password-less logins instead.
The Envy x360 13 offers a comfortable typing experience, with well-spaced keys that feel sturdy and make a satisfying thud when you press them. I especially appreciate the modern-looking, oversize font used for the key labels. The keyboard is backlit, and it features dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys along the right edge.
Apple MacBook Air, have significantly larger chassis and more room to work with.
Although HP, Dell, Asus, Acer, and Lenovo all compete in the crowded 2-in-1 convertible market, most of the newest models in the Envy x360 13’s price range that we’ve tested have come from Lenovo. They include the Yoga C640, the Yoga C740, and the IdeaPad Flex 5 14; the last is the only other 4th-generation Ryzen U-series laptop we’ve tested to date. The Yoga C740 and the IdeaPad Flex 5 both have 14-inch screens, while the Yoga C640’s screen size matches that of the Envy x360 13.
For the purposes of comparing computing performance, the Dell Inspiron 14 7000 is also worth mentioning. It’s a conventional clamshell laptop in the configuration we reviewed, but the Inspiron 7000 series is also available in 2-in-1 configurations with a 13-inch screen size.
See how we test laptops.)
Our gaming simulation benchmarks tell a similar story. Thanks to the superior Radeon Graphics that come with the Ryzen processors, the IdeaPad Flex 5 and the Envy x360 13 both command a sizable lead over the two Yoga laptops in our 3DMark and Superposition tests. Both of these benchmarks render and pan through detailed 3D scenes of gaming-style 3D graphics and measure how the system copes. The Yoga laptops are equipped with humble Intel UHD integrated graphics and trail the field.
Potential for All-Day Battery Life
To measure laptop battery life, we loop a locally stored 720p video with screen brightness set at 50 percent and volume at 100 percent until the system quits. The Envy x360 13’s three-cell, 51-watt-hour battery managed to last for 13 hours in this test. That’s on the low side for an ultraportable, as you can see from the 20-plus hours that the Inspiron and Yoga C640 endured in our rundown test.
Need 2-in-1 Flexibility? It’s an Enviable Choice
The Envy x360 13 offers everything we expect from HP’s Envy brand, including a solid blend of standard features, above-average computing performance, and a palatable price. This 2-in-1 convertible is among the vanguard of models equipped with AMD’s latest 4th-generation Ryzen U-series processors, which promise better computing muscle for CPU-intensive tasks than their Intel counterparts, without requiring significant negative changes to a laptop’s physical design, or too much impact on battery life.
HP Envy x360 13 (2020) Specs
|Laptop Class||Convertible 2-in-1|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 5 4500U|
|Processor Speed||2.3 GHz|
|RAM (as Tested)||8 GB|
|Boot Drive Type||SSD|
|Boot Drive Capacity (as Tested)||256 GB|
|Screen Size||13.3 inches|
|Variable Refresh Support||None|
|Screen Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Graphics Processor||AMD Radeon Graphics|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ax, Bluetooth|
|Dimensions (HWD)||0.65 by 12.07 by 7.66 inches|
|Operating System||Windows 10|
|Tested Battery Life (Hours:Minutes)||12:58|