Review: HP Envy 13 (2017) notebook
4.4Overall Score

Price (RRP): $1799 to $2,399 for the Core i7 – 16/512 model
Manufacturer: Hewlett Packard

HP’s new Envy 13 is an Intel 7th generation, Core i5 or i7 notebook that is quite a step up from the HP Pavilion and its other value sub-brands.

If envy is not one of the seven deadly sins, we should create a new category – anyone would love to have this superbly designed, value packed, notebook.

It also comes in both 13” and 15” models with a choice of clamshell or x360° style hinges. Unfortunately, it is not on HP’s web site but it is at Australian retailer Harvey Norman.

A word of warning. There is also an Envy 2016 on run-out and possibly dozens of different SKUs, so be careful if shopping – you really want the 2017 model.

First Impressions

First impressions are that it’s thin and a lot more premium-looking Ultrabook than last year’s variant, with narrower screen bezels, wider keyboard, enhanced speakers an attractive grille, and more of the other design changes seen on many of the new HP 2017 models.

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For reference the 2017 model has keys and the screen right to the edge – the older models have larger bezels and keyboard surrounds so that means a 13.3” screen in a 12” chassis.

How does it perform?

The i5-7200U is used in many notebooks and all they perform similarly Passmark is 4695 for i5-7200U and 5239 for the i7-7500U.

Intel HD Graphics 620 is fine for office, browsing and movies but it is not a games machine.

Wi-Fi AC is via an entry-level Intel 7265 dual band chip that supports up to 867Mbps in 2 x 2 MIMO. In the “20m test” (from an AC5300 MU-MIMO router through a concrete floor) it achieved from 170Mbps to 260MBps – I suspect this is an early driver issue.

The Toshiba SSD THNSN5256GPUK 256GB M.2 2280 SSD NVMe PCIe is capable of 1500/980Mbps read/write. In tests, it achieved 400/300Mbps. External read to a Samsung T3 SSD via USB-C 5Gbps 447Mbps.

Overall it is well above the performance of 2016 models and commensurate with the price paid.

Keyboard/trackpad

It is a good, rock solid, chiclet style with 1.5mm throw, 60g actuation and no key bounce. In typing tests, I achieved 89% accuracy comparted to a mechanical keyboard.

The trackpad allows almost a full sweep to move the cursor from top right to bottom left – almost as good as the HP x2 Spectre.

Screen

It is a good HD, 1920 x 1080, IPS panel using HP’s WLED (white LED backlight) like that used on the x2 Spectre. And like the Spectre, it gives a whiter screen but a slightly cooler colour gamut.