The HP Envy x360 2019 13 and 15-inch series has added the latest
AMD 3000 series Ryzen 3, 5 and 7 systems on a chip (SoC) to its range offering
more power for a lower price point.
The HP Envy x360 2019 series sits about halfway up the HP range
– Essential, Pavilion, Envy, Spectre and Elitebook, so you are getting many of the
high-end specs for the price. The trade-offs are an injection moulded
polycarbonate chassis (that is just as rigid and strong as aluminium) and
perhaps not the latest tech like BT 5.0 or Wi-Fi AX.
So, the HP Envy x360 2019 is what Joe and Jan Average aspire to. Will it meet and exceed their expectations?
As tested HP Envy x360 2019 (models prefixed by ar0)
Note: Test unit supplied by AMD, not HP. This model 13-ar0075AU
does not currently appear on HP Australia’s website as HP preconfigures SKU’s
to suit various retailers and channels. This is equivalent to the 13-ar0018au
at $2099 (less the current bonus $200 gift card offer).
For our reviews, we use the words FAIL, PASS and EXCEED to
denote performance in the various paradigms.
My first impression – EXCEED
Deep bronzy brown (called Nightfall Black), subtle ENVY
branding (on the hinge), solid build, small side bezels (larger top and bottom).
Like name, like nature – aspirational – it is not bland aluminium.
The thing that most drew my attention was the screen – it is
bright and colourful, and you will find out why below. Add to that a decent
keyboard, fast SSD and battery life and well – the AMD Ryzen version has lots
to offer at a better price.
Screen – EXCEED
13.3″ diagonal 1920 x 1080, WLED-backlit, touch with
anti-reflection Corning Gorilla Glass NBT, 400 nits, 100% sRGB IPS panel
It is bright, colourful and the AMD Radeon software/driver allows
for plenty of customisation. 100% sRGB means (standard Red Green
Blue) – an RGB colour gamut that HP and Microsoft created cooperatively in 1996
to use on monitors, printers, and the Internet. It is a subset of AdobeRGB (creative
professionals) and DCI-P3 (movies)
Processor – PASS
AMD and Intel fight it out in the x86 processor race. These
days, model-for-model there is little between them. The AMD Ryzen 3, 5 and 7
series in the ‘U’ (low power) versions are roughly equivalent to the respective
Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 series. Both have embedded graphics on the SoC.
The AMD Ryzen 5-5300U 2.1/3.7GHz, 4-core/8-thread is almost equivalent
to the Intel Core i5-8265U (Pass Mark 7910 versus 8008). Both are 15W TDP, but the
Ryzen can go as high as 35W under load that can affect battery life.
Geekbench single/multi scores: 731/2550 showing a slower single-core
performance but good load performance.
Fan: 32 to 42dB under load
CPU Heat: 33-75°
Power – 3W idle and 25W+ under load
Throttling: None evident at 100% load for 15 minutes – just a louder fan
It is a great SoC for general office work, productivity and casual gamers.
GPU – PASS for productivity and content but FAIL for ‘serious’ gamers
Most often compared to NVIDIA GeForce 940MX or 945M
Fine for non-demanding games 1080@10-15fps and no worse than
Intel’s embedded UHD Graphics.
8GB DDR4 soldered to the motherboard (FAIL – not
1 x M2 slot for PCIe NVMe
Samsung PCIe 3.0 x 4 lanes 512GB
8GB RAM is fine for office use but not being able to expand
to 16GB loses some points.
The SSD performance is spectacular, achieving more than 3000/1700MBps
sequential read/write. That is high-end performance
Ports – PASS
USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps, PD 3.0, DP 1.4, HP
Sleep and Charge) connect to a dock
USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (HP Sleep and Charge)
USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
3.5mm headphone/microphone combo
multi-format SD media card reader
You are not paying for Thunderbolt 3, HDMI or Ethernet, but you get a very competent USB-C and two USB-A ports. You will need a dongle or a dock to run an external monitor or two. 5Gbps will run 1 x 4K@60Hz or two x 1080p@60Hz.
Wi-Fi/BT – PASS
RTL8822BE Wi-Fi AC 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2
It is standard fare. Wi-Fi AC achieves 866Mbps at 2 metres
from our D-Link AC5300 router.
Battery – PASS
Uses either the HP 65W plug adaptor supplied or any USB-C PD
45W or greater (5V/2A, 12V/3A, 15V/3A, 20V/2.25A)
Typical use gave nearly eight hours (Wi-Fi, BT,
screen-on, Word, Internet etc.)
Heavy load gave about two hours
1080p video loop 50% brightness, aeroplane mode
gave nearly seven hours
Battery life is as expected for a 53W battery – if you need
more, then you need to look at 80W or higher.
Keyboard/trackpad – PASS
The backlit keyboard has three-coats nightfall black paint
with reverse lettering. It will wear off eventually. The keys are 16x15mm with
a 1.2mm throw and 40g actuation. Typists will find it a little light, but
overall it is a good keyboard.
The 11 x 5.5cm trackpad is good but ‘clunky’ when you click
it. It does not affect performance.
The fingerprint reader substitutes for Windows Hello.
Sound – PASSable
Quad Bang & Olufsen tuned speakers – front bottom-firing and two rear top-firing with HP Audio Boost 2.0 that provides a +/- 12dB equaliser and 15 pre-sets.
720p camera (privacy switch and camera LED), and dual mic
No bass, mid starts late at 250Hz building top flat
at 500Hz start dropping at 8Khz – mid centric
It is not overly loud, nor a sound signature suited to movies
and music – more a clear voice. But you can play with the B&O EQ to fill in
a little bass.
Case/Build – EXCEED
Injection moulded polycarbonate is the material of the future.
It is well made, durable and has little flex.