HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD Ryzen and Radeon Vega Graphics (review)
4.2Overall Score

Price (RRP): $from $1,599
Manufacturer: HP

HP have embraced AMD’s new Ryzen CPU and Radeon Vega GPU. Enter the HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD Ryzen and Radeon Vega Graphics. For the price, it is a stunner.

I have had the notebook for a few weeks. I like HP’s x360 hinge format, new injection moulded 3D alloy chassis, great screen, long battery and copious power from the new AMD Ryzen 5 APU.

What is an HP Envy x360?

Envy sits above the HP and Pavilion sub-brands and below the Spectre (prosumer and business) and EliteBook (enterprise). It targets consumers who want the good, better best scenario. They may want a Spectre but settle for an Envy for value. Good marketing strategy.

HP has several Envy x360 AMD variants (this list is a small sample – there are many more)

  • 13-ag0012au, Ryzen 3/2300, 8/256GB, 13.3-inch FHD touch, $1,599
  • 15-cp0010au, Ryzen 3/2300, 8/128GB, 15.6-inch, FHD touch, $1,598
  • 15-cp0013au, Ryzen 7/2700U, 26/256GB, 15.6-inch FHD touch, $2,398
  • 15-cp0005au, Ryzen 7/2700U, 8/256GB, 15.6-inch FHD touch, $2,499
  • 15-cp0011au, Ryzen 7/2700U, 16GB/1TB, 15.6-inch FHD touch, $2,899

It is a choice of

  • 3 or 15.6-inch FHD touch screen or a 4K touchscreen (15.6-inch has HDMI port) both with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT
  • 8/16GB DDR4 dual channel RAM
  • 128/256/512GB or 1TB PCIe 3.0 4 lane NVMe M.2 SSD
  • One-year warranty (upgradable to two and three years)
  • Active Pen (included on some models)
  • Dark Ash or Natural Silver
  • Windows 10 Home or Pro (for business use to join a domain)

On HP’s Australian website it sells HP Envy x360 with Intel Core processors a well.

AMD is Ryzen from the ashes

AMD is quietly assembling a cadre of loyal manufacturers. HP is using Ryzen four-core 15/25W mobile processors (for convenience Ryzen numbering is similar to Intel’s i3, i5 and i7 Core processors).

  • 3/2200U, 2.5/3.4GHz, Vega 3 graphics
  • 3/2300U, 2/3.4GHz, Vega 6
  • 5/2500U, 2/3.6GHz, Vega 8
  • 7/2700U, 2.2/3.8GHz, Vega 10

Ryzen is a seriously good processor design that has put AMD back on the map. It is no longer the ‘cheap’ x86 alternative.

It enables laptop makers to design thinner, lighter, more battery efficient and faster notebooks. Its built-in SenseMI AI Technology learns, predicts and adapts to user actions, delivering optimal power and performance for compute and graphics intensive applications.

Radeon VEGA supports 4K (external), HDR, Vulcan, DirectX 12 and its Adrenalin edition software.

Back to the review: HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD Ryzen and Radeon Graphics

Model 13-ag0xxx, Part number 4NL18PA#ABG

This unit has

  • AMD Ryzen 5/2500U (similar in performance to an i5-8250U)
  • Vega 8 graphics (about 10% slower than a GeForce MX150)
  • 8GB RAM

HP Envy x360 13-inch

I have had been using this for a month. Initial tests were good, not outstanding. Early international reviews said it was prone to hanging etc. Yes, I had minor issues too.

I put that down to early software. HP issued a firmware/software update on 5 August. This has made significant improvements. So, take any reviews before that date with a grain of salt.

The first impression

This is an Envy? They used to look like any other aluminium notebook!

It is pretty. I love the dark silver ash colour. It is not so much of a premium product, but it stacks up well beside the more upmarket Spectre.

HP Envy x360 13-inch

My aim is to see if the AMD Ryzen/Vega graphics are as good as others say it is.

Design

The Envy uses a new injection moulded and pressed metal process versus the milled alloy unibody of the Spectre and EliteBook series. While the process is lower cost, the result is great. A textured, anodised finish and minimal side-to-side flexing. The detail in the honeycomb speaker grill and on the back is excellent.

HP Envy x360 13-inch

The base can be removed using a T5 hex driver. It allows the upgrade of SSD – nothing else.

I love the x360 hinge. It is not as solid as the Spectre leaving the screen a little vulnerable to shake.

Sound

Underneath everything is a standard Realtek High definition audio codec. B&O then tune the four speakers (two under the honeycomb grill and two under the base). We are amateur audiophiles, so we measure maximum volume and frequency response.

HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD

  • Bass<100Hz – none
  • Midbass 100Hz -400Hz – almost none
  • Mids 400Hz-2kHz – good
  • Highs 2-16kHz – declining dropping off a cliff at 10Khz
  • Maximum volume <80dB

This is a bright vocal signature that is best for voice. The B&O EQ has a full EQ and presets for movie, voice or music. These make minimal adjustments.

It is Dolby Atmos capable if you want to buy the software update from Windows store for $22.45. While I object to what amounts to paying for a driver I am assured it is to cover licensing fees. Dolby Atmos only works with wired and Bluetooth headphones. It will output a 5.1.2 signal to an amplifier/soundbar via the 3.5mm wired and BT.

Bottom line – great through Bluetooth and wired headsets but the speakers lack any perceptible bass for movie use.

Battery

HP claims the 53.2Wh battery is good for 11 hours. We ran a 1080p video loop at it lasted just over seven hours. General office productivity and web surfing should extend that to 9-10 hours.

The 45W ‘pin’ adaptor will fast charge to 50% in 45 minutes and a full charge in 1.5 hours. It can also charge using a 45W USB-C Belkin charger. The separate power is a good idea if you don’t want to invest in a USB-C power pack.

It can also use USB-C dongles or USB-C 3.1 docks like Belkin’s Express with pass-through power to add an HDMI screen or two, Ethernet LAN, extra USB-A ports and more.

Keyboard

The backlit (on or off) keyboard has well-spaced keys and is quiet. The throw is about 1.2mm and actuation force 40g. The feel is excellent I can achieve 85% of the typing speed on a mechanical keyboard.

The smaller 12.0 x 6.0 cm, 2:1 aspect t trackpad feels less expansive. It can only swipe 66% across the screen unlike the 1009% of the Spectre and Elitebook. It could do with a bit more vertical height, and it doesn’t have quite the same responsiveness or accuracy as the best trackpads I’ve used.

HP includes a stylus pen (on some models) which supports Window’s Ink 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. It is not bad, but Spectre and Elitebook support 4096 pressure levels.

HP Camera

It has HP Wide Vision HD IR Camera which means it supports Windows Hello facial recognition login. The camera is .9MP (1280 x 720) and records [email protected] Colours are a little dull, but it is fit for purpose.

It has an integrated dual array digital microphone that can follow two people’s voices – good for a huddle group.

Screen

The 13.3-inch as tested has an IPS WLED (white LED WRGB) with Corning Gorilla Glass NBT.

Colours reach 89% sRGB, and colour distribution is even with a slight deterioration at the left and right vertical edges. Contrast is 1,100:1.

HP claimed 250nits brightness. We tested an overall average 225 nits. Still, that is not bad, and low reflectivity means good outdoor readability.

It is not for gamers – 30ms grey-to-grey is a little slow.

Bottom line: One of the better lower cost screens I have seen. It is fine for movies and Office

Connectivity

  • 2 x USB-A 3.1 (one is sleep and charge)
  • 1 x USB-C 3.1, Gen 2, 5Gbps (not Thunderbolt 3). This will support dongle and HDMI 2.0b, DP 1.4, Power delivery 3.0 (up to 100W)
  • 5mm combo audio
  • Separate power brick to round connector (as well as USB-C charging)
  • microSD slot

Welcome to the world of USB-C. Dongles are good!

HP Envy x360 13-inch

HP Envy x360 13-inch

Comms

It uses a Realtek B822 WLAN chip to provide Wi-Fi AC 2×2 MIMO. Although it can connect at 867Mbps at two metres from our D-Link AC5300 router, it falls off quickly to 500Mbps at 3m and 100Mbps at 20m etc.

It supports Wi-Di and Miracast.

Tale of two notebooks

The Ryzen/Vega APU has a 15 to 25W thermal design power. Let’s call them Thermal profile #1 and Thermal Profile #2.

On battery (#1) the whole unit is effectively throttled to the lowest CPU and GPU speeds. This is fine to lengthen battery life. Temperatures never rise above 30°, and fan noise is imperceptible.

On 240V power (#2) it unleashes the full power of the Ryzen APU up to 3.6Ghz. Temperatures go to 40° and fan noise increases accordingly.

This is also the case with Intel processors, but from my testing, the differences are not as significant.

On power

HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD

On battery

HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD

Summary: On power, it has heaps of horsepower to do any of the typical consumer uses. Graphics performance is average. On battery, it still has plenty of horsepower, but graphics performance drops to ‘terrible’ levels.

We understand the lower video performance will improve with new Vega drivers.

Crystal Disk Mark Samsung 256GB PCIe 3.0 x 4 lanes

HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD

This is blistering disk performance helped by using four PCIe lanes. You don’t typically find this on a lower cost laptop.

Warranty

One 1-year standard parts and labour (1-1-0) limited return to base warranty. Analysis and remote diagnostics now use web Chat.

GadgetGuy’s take. AMD Ryzen/Radeon Vega graphics cut it!

I tested the Ryzen 5 which is equivalent in power to Intel i5-8250U. Apart from some early firmware issues (that completely disappeared), it performs better than expected.

I was disappointed with video performance. It is OK on 240V power but not so on battery. Having said that I watched a 1080p movie (the video test loop) and it was smooth with no jerking.

Overall the AMD Ryzen 5/Vega 8 (as tested) had good performance and was 100% reliable. There is no need to seek out Intel alternative.

Pro

  • Competitive price
  • Flagship build using injection moulded metal
  • Screen better than the price dictates
  • Plenty of CPU grunt

Con

  • Fan gets noisy under load
  • 15W throttle on battery means it’s a tale of two notebooks
  • Bit of hinge shake (not on Spectre x360)
  • No fingerprint scanner

Rating

We are rating this as a mid-level notebook where compromises are made to achieve a price level.

  • Overall: 4.2 out of 5
  • Features: 4 out of 5 – would have loved one HDMI port (even a mini HDMI) as well
  • Value for money: 4 out of 5 – Shop around and bag that bargain
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – The Ryzan 5 has plenty of grunt on power. It is OK on battery, but graphics suffer
  • Ease of Use: 5 out of 5 – Its Windows and x360
  • Design: 4 out of 5 – elegant

Pricing and Availability

The HP ENVY x360 13 Laptop (ag0014AU) is now available at Harvey Norman and HP.com.au from $1,799.

The HP ENVY x360 13 Laptop (ag0012AU) is now available at JB Hi-Fi and HP.com.au from $1,599

HP Envy x360 13-inch

 

 

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HP Envy x360 13-inch AMD Ryzen and Radeon Vega Graphics (review)
Price (RRP): $from $1,599 Manufacturer: HP
AMD Ryzen CPU and Radeon Graphics are a good combo for this mid-range notebook
Very different performance on power and battery
Overall
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
4.2Overall Score
Reader Rating 8 Votes