“The HP Envy x360 15 with its AMD Ryzen 7 5700U is a powerful 2-in-1 device that is held back by a disappointing display.”
- Excellent productivity performance
- Solid build quality
- Conservatively good looks
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad
- Poor performance in Adobe applications
- Battery life affected by low battery capacity
- The display does not offer sufficiently wide colors
Fast content creation performance can be very expensive. This is especially true for laptops.
The HP Envy x360 15, powered by AMD Ryzen, is an antidote to this problem. The overall design has been tweaked, and HP is now positioning the 15-inch 2-in-1 – like other Envy devices, including the Envy 14 and Envy 15 – as a specially designed device for developers.
I tested a $ 1,000 configuration that included the AMD Ryzen 7 5700U CPU, 16 GB of RAM, a 512 GB PCIe solid state drive (SSD), and a 15.6-inch Full HD -Display (1920 x 1080) is equipped in the increasingly outdated 16: 9 aspect ratio. That’s an affordable price for a powerful laptop – on paper. Does the Envy x360 15 actually deliver on its promise to be a creator’s dream machine?
Like other current Envy machines, the Envy x360 15 was designed with a minimalist aesthetic in mind. Most likely, this is different from HP’s Specter line, which uses a gem-carved case and colored chrome edging to make a strong fashion statement. The Envy x360 15 is a lot simpler, with a uniform Nightfall Black color that in my eyes looks brown in certain lighting, rounded edges, and no other accents on the beveled edges. The only splash of color is the gold HP logo on the lid. Like the Envy 14, Envy 15, and Lenovo’s Yoga line, it’s an attractive laptop that won’t be heralded in the crowd.
Like the rest of the Envy range, the Envy x360 15 is made from stamped aluminum, another differentiator from the CNC-machined aluminum used in the Specters. Nevertheless, the Envy x360 15 feels robust, without the lid bending and without any keyboard flexion. It’s not as solid as the Specter x360 15 or the Dell XPS 15, for example, but it still feels like a premium laptop. The lid is pretty stiff and requires two hands to open, but it holds the display in place in clamshell, tent, media, and tablet modes.
In terms of size, the Envy x360 15 benefits from a screen-to-case ratio of 88.7%, which means the bezels are relatively small on all edges. The chin is a bit big, but that’s to be expected on a 360-degree convertible. It’s not quite as chiseled as the Specter x360 15 with its 90% screen-to-body ratio, but it’s close enough.
It’s only slightly wider and taller than its higher-end brother, and it’s 0.72 inches thick and weighs 4.11 pounds – slightly thinner and lighter than the Specter’s 0.76-inch and 4.81 pounds. Part of this weight difference is due to the battery capacity, where the Envy x360 15 only has 51 watt hours compared to the Specter with 84 watt hours. For comparison, the Dell XPS 15 is also 0.71 inches thick and weighs 4.5 pounds with its 97 watt hour battery. The Envy x360 15 is a decently sized 15-inch 2-in-1, but it still gets clumsy in tablet mode.
There’s plenty of connectivity with a USB-A 3.1 port, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-C 3.1 port and audio jack on the left, plus another USB-A 3.1 port and a full size SD card reader on the right. Unfortunately, given the AMD chipset, there is no support for Thunderbolt 4, which limits flexibility and performance. The wireless connectivity is Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 via an Intel AX 200 radio.
AMD’s latest Ryzen CPUs were top performers on CPU-intensive tasks, and I was looking forward to putting the Ryzen 7 5700U through its paces. I expected solid CPU and GPU performance in line with Intel’s Iris Xe, and that’s pretty much what I got. Note that HP’s Command Center utility, which offers various performance settings, didn’t have much of an impact on the Envy x360 15 (compared to the Specter x360 14, which was much faster in Performance mode), so I’ll mention these not settings in this review.
Starting with Geekbench 5, the Envy x360 15 comes in second in our comparison group in the following table in the multi-core test. Only the MacBook Pro 13 with Apple’s M1 ARM CPU was faster, and none of the Intel-based laptops were anywhere near it. As usual, things went a little differently in the single-core test, where Intel’s chips do better than all but the Ryzen 7 5800U and the Apple M1.
In the PCMark 10 Complete benchmark, the Envy x360 15 again takes second place, this time behind the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED with Ryzen 7 5800U. This is thanks to a high score in the content creation part of the test, in which only Intel 45-watt H-series CPUs did better. The Ryzen 7 5700U beat the entire field of Tiger Lake U-series laptops.
In our more realistic Handbrake test, which converts a 420 MB video to H.265, the Envy x360 15 was the fastest device and even beat the ZenBook 13 OLED with its faster Ryzen 7 chip. It was twice as fast as the HP Specter x360 14 and nearly 80 seconds faster than the Dell XPS 13. And in Cinebench 23, the Envy x360 15 was the fastest laptop we tested – including H-series laptops. Simply put, if you are running a content creation application that is CPU based, the Envy x360 15 is a great machine to use.
The same is not true of the PugetBench benchmark, which uses Premiere Pro to perform a number of demanding video editing tasks. The Envy x360 15 only managed 185 points here. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 with Core i7-1165G7 and Intel Iris Xe graphics achieved 241, the HP Envy 14 with Core i5-1135G7 and Nvidia GeForce 1650 Ti Max 16 -Q GPU achieved a much higher value of 432.
Obviously, Intel and Adobe have worked together to optimize Premiere Pro for Intel chips, and the review absolutely benefits from a faster GPU. The latter is likely true of any application that can use the GPU to speed up processes.
|Geekbench (single / multiple)||Handbrake (seconds)||Cinbench R23 (single / multiple)||PCMark 10||3DMark time spy|
|HP Envy x360 15
|Asus ZenBook 13 OLED
(Ryzen 7 5800U
|Lenovo Yoga 9i
|HP Specter x360 14
|HP Envy 15 (Core i7-10750H)||1274/5542||139||N / A||N / A||5123|
|MacBook Pro 13 (M1)||1707/7337||N / A||1487/7547||N / A||N / A|
|Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7)||1549/5431||204||1399/4585||N / A||1380|
The Ryzen CPUs are also limited when gaming thanks to integrated Radeon Graphics, which are about as fast as Intel Iris Xe in the 3DMark Time Spy benchmark. I also ran Fortnite, where the Envy x360 15 managed 25 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and high graphics and 16 fps with epic graphics selected. That’s just a few fps from Tiger Lake laptops with Intel Iris Xe graphics, which means the Envy x360 15 isn’t really designed for gaming.
In addition to performance, a great display with wide and accurate colors is on every content creator’s wish list. The Envy x360 15 should therefore offer exactly that if it wants to target creative types.
Unfortunately, the IPS Full HD display of the 2-in-1 – which in my opinion has too low a resolution for 15-inch displays – falls short. The same was with the Envy 14 (although that device benefited from a 16:10 aspect ratio), which was an excellent workstation for creators in many ways. As with this laptop, the Envy x360 15’s display suffered from colors that are much wide at 71% AdobeRGB and 95% sRGB for premium productivity laptops, but too narrow for anyone serious about photo or video editing.
The HP Envy 15 with its OLED display, another laptop that HP touts for creatives, hits 97% of AdobeRGB and 100% of sRGB, and Dell’s XPS 15 with its 4K display hits 100% of both color gamuts. The Envy x360 did well on color accuracy at 1.06 (where 1.0 or less is considered excellent) compared to the Envy 15 with X and the XPS 15 with 0.65.
The Envy x360 15’s display wasn’t very bright either, only reaching 270 nits, well below our preferred threshold of 300 nits. The Envy 15 got 404 nits and the XPS 15 got 442 nits. Contrast wasn’t a strength of the Envy x360 15 either, which hit 900: 1 (below our premium limit of 1,000: 1), while the Envy 15’s OLED panel came in at a ridiculous 404,410: 1 and the XPS 15 at 1480: 1 (excellent for an IPS display).
The bottom line is that while the Envy x360 15’s display would be fine for productive users, serious content creators will complain about the lack of color. I found the display to be fine for writing this review, although the brightness was still too low, but if I had worked seriously in Photoshop or Premiere Pro I would have been disappointed.
The sound was very loud with no distortion and the mids and highs were pleasant. Bass was minimal, however, and while it looks like there are speakers on either side of the keyboard, there are only two downward-facing speakers. You need headphones or bluetooth speakers for music or long Netflix binge sessions.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Envy x360 15 inherited the excellent keyboard from its Specter siblings and offers a large clearance, large and attractive keycaps, and plenty of travel. The switches offer a nice jump and comfortable floor movement and offer a lot of precision for quick typists. It’s my favorite keyboard behind Apple’s Magic Keyboard on the latest MacBooks. Only Dell’s XPS line comes close. One downside to the laptop’s design is that the power button is on the keyboard, which means you have to open the lid to turn it on.
The touchpad is 19% larger than the last version and takes up almost all of the available space on the keyboard deck. That’s a welcome upgrade, and the Microsoft Precision touchpad was responsive and reliable with the full range of Windows 10 multi-touch gestures. The touch display also supports the MPP 2.0 pen protocol with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and inclination. My test device didn’t come with a pen, so I didn’t have a chance to try it out.
Windows 10 Hello support is provided by a fingerprint reader embedded in the keyboard where the right control key is usually placed. This is a problem for any application that hard codes the correct control key, but I found the reader quick and accurate.
Finally, you will find buttons on the keyboard to mute the microphone and physically trigger the webcam. These are welcome additions to privacy, and it’s easy to see when the webcam is obscured thanks to an obvious pattern that’s visible even in low light.
HP only packs 51 watt hours of battery life, which is not enough for such a powerful CPU and a large display (even if it only runs in Full HD). As mentioned earlier, the Specter x360 15 has 83 watt hours of battery life and even the Specter x360 14 has 67 watt hours. I didn’t expect much from the longevity.
As it turned out, the battery life was mixed. In our web browser test, which ran through a number of popular websites, the Envy x360 15 lasted for 11.25 hours, a solid result that is slightly above average. The Envy 14 was more powerful at 12.6 hours, while the XPS 15 4K only lasted seven hours. The Envy 15 lasted under seven hours mainly because of its power-hungry OLED display. In our video test, which repeats a Full HD Avengers trailer, the Envy x360 15 managed it to last 13.5 hours, which is about average and not as long as I would have expected – laptops usually perform much better in the video test from than in the web browser test. The Envy 15 only lasted 7.9 hours, the XPS 15 7.4 hours and the Envy 14 14.4 hours.
When I switched to PCMark 10 I ran the gaming test and the Envy x360 15 died out after 1.5 hours, which is on the lower end of the laptops we tested. Press the Ryzen 7 hard and it sucks up the battery life. The Envy 14 was also guilty in this test and lasted two minutes less. In the PCMark 10 application test, the best indicator of battery life, the Envy x360 15 lasted for 12.5 hours, which is the third longest result in our database. Only the LG Gram 16 (17.8 hours) and the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (14.8 hours) lasted longer. The Envy 14 would fail this test.
All in all, the Envy x360 15 is a strong performer when it comes to productivity battery life. It will get you through a full day of work and more. It’s not that strong of a streaming medium, and when you’re pushing the CPU and GPU you’ll want your power brick close by. But overall, I was impressed that HP managed to get decent battery life out of such a small battery – although one could add that if HP were a little less stingy, the Envy x360 15 is a real world champion in terms of. could be longevity.
The Envy x360 15 is an attractive, well-built, and very powerful laptop for $ 1,000. With its 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, it’s a real value. But unfortunately, HP hasn’t chosen a display that does justice to the laptop’s supposed focus on creators. So it was with the Envy 14 – a great laptop for the creative type in everything but one very important aspect.
Choose the Envy x360 15 as a fast (if you don’t worry about the GPU) 2-in-1 with a great keyboard, touchpad and pen support for all your productivity needs. Just don’t expect too much when great colors are on your wish list.
Are there alternatives?
The Specter x360 15 is a better alternative if you want to run Adobe apps. Its 45 watt CPU and discrete GPU win in this scenario. And if you are a creative type, you should go for the OLED display with its great colors. But it’s also a lot more expensive.
The Dell XPS 15 is the best clamshell alternative with even better build quality, a significantly superior display and better performance in Adobe apps. As with the Specter, expect a little more.
Finally, you could go for the Envy 15, which is again more expensive but has great performance and another great OLED display. It’s not that fast in CPU-intensive apps, but its fast GPU helps it blow through processes that can take advantage of it.
How long it will take?
The Envy x360 15 is solidly built and has modern components (apart from the lack of Thunderbolt 4 support). It will serve you productively for years. It’s a shame that the industry standard warranty is only one year.
Should you buy it?
Yes. But like the Envy 14, you buy it for its productivity, not when you need lots of colors to do your creative work.