HP Envy 13 Review – Jealous of his predecessor

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The new Envy 13 is thinner than its predecessor, but HP has still mounted USB-A connections with the help of a cover, the type that is still most commonly used. Unfortunately, the new Envy is slightly less good than its predecessor on many points. The performance, battery life and image quality are slightly less than with the Envy 13 that was released in 2017. That does not immediately make the new Envy a bad laptop, but we do not expect a deterioration from a new model. The price has become somewhat lower, while the keyboard still taps nicely despite the thinner housing.


  • Thin housing with USB-A
  • Nice keyboard
  • Fingerprint scanner


  • Less fast than predecessor
  • Less battery life
  • Impractical card reader

In the world of ultrabooks, new models often appear at the same time as the underlying hardware is renewed. A new screen type or processor is a good argument to bring something new to the market, but what if you have had to make do with the same hardware for three quarters of a year? In such a case, car manufacturers give their model a ‘facelift’ and that is exactly what HP has done with its new Envy 13.

With that facelift, the Envy 13 follows the style of other new HP laptops, which can be seen in the signature diamonds that make up the grille above the keyboard and can also be found at the cooling vent, between the hinges in. The clean lines that characterized the previous Envy 13 have been made even tighter and, according to good practice among laptop manufacturers, this model has also become a bit thinner.

In a nutshell, that’s the exterior of the Envy 13 and I like it. It is made entirely of metal and feels quite solid. As with the pre-facelift model, the laptop rotates slightly when you open the screen, with the laptop then resting on the lower screen edge. Fortunately, the hinge gives a solid impression, but the construction can still cause the screen to move slightly back and forth when you are typing firmly. If you’re in a room with little ambient light, it won’t be disturbing, but if it is, the reflective screen will ensure that you see every touch as a moving reflection.

Keyboard, touchpad and connections

Despite the thinner housing, the pleasant touch of the keys has not changed compared to the previous Envy, which is good, because more and more laptops are appearing where typing comfort is sacrificed for less thickness. That’s not to say the Envy keys have a lot of travel, because they certainly don’t, but by ultrabook standards it’s pretty decent. In addition, the keys provide a pleasant, clear feedback.

The touchpad is wide, but not particularly high, given the limited space on the case. Remarkably enough, a Precision Touchpad was not chosen, but one from Synaptics with its own associated software. The glass surface ensures that the touchpad responds well and the software is configured so that all Windows 10 gestures are executed neatly.

Finally, the side of the housing houses the connections and HP has made the striking choice for USB-A ports, while there is actually no room for that. More and more manufacturers are therefore opting for the smaller USB-C connections, but HP has undoubtedly seen that USB-A is used much more. The USB ports on the left and right therefore work with a kind of cover that does not disrupt the design, but still provides a full USB connection. There is also USB-C and although no USB-C charger is included, you can charge via USB-C with five, fifteen and twenty volts. You can also use the USB-C connection to connect external screens, because an HDMI connection is missing. A card reader is included, but unfortunately that is a micro and not a regular SD reader.

HP has sacrificed a USB-C connection for the fingerprint scanner, but that positioning on the side leads to a fairly small surface. It is an elegant way to hide the scanner, but your fingerprint is not recognized as quickly as with fingerprint scanners with a larger surface area, as we often see from other manufacturers.

Benchmarks and hardware

With thin laptops like the Envy 13, the cooling and power limits of the processor often determine the performance of the laptop. The Core i5-8250U can perform very differently depending on its configuration. To see how that performance turns out, we run our usual benchmarks, such as Cinebench, Photoshop and Lightroom.

It’s somewhat disappointing that the new Envy is slower than its predecessor in those three benchmarks. Perhaps it is because the laptop has become thinner that HP has adjusted the energy limits somewhat conservatively, because the processor taps a maximum consumption of fifteen watts in all benchmarks. Many competing laptops with the same processor go over that, which leads to higher performance. The Envy is therefore not really problematic to call slow, like the Yoga 520 for example, but it also does not get the most out of the i5 processor. Remarkably enough, the new laptop is faster in 3DMark.

The fact that the CPU is not the fastest is shown by the throttling test, in which we render the same image with Blender for half an hour, and then write down the longest and shortest time. The shortest time of 84 seconds shows that the laptop that has not yet warmed up is already not very fast compared to many competitors, which has to do with the conservatively set energy limit. Over time, the Envy starts to clock itself back due to heat development, but that difference is not alarming in percentage terms.

Battery life and image quality

Speed ​​won’t be the most important factor for everyone when choosing an ultrabook. Things like a good screen and a long battery life weigh more heavily for some. The battery of the new Envy has become a fraction smaller, but that difference should not have a name. In addition, the previous Envy 13 had great battery life, so we expect the new one to match that. Unfortunately that is not the case; in the browsing test we get 9 hours and 38 minutes. That is still in the margin of error of the battery test, but when watching video, the battery life becomes significantly worse.

This also produces lower results than with the previous Envy 13. Instead of a BOE panel, our new Envy has an LG panel, which has a somewhat lower maximum brightness and lower contrast.


‘Just a little less’ seems to be the trend in the test results of HP’s new Envy 13 laptop. The CPU is slightly less fast, the screen has a slightly lower contrast and a lower brightness, and the battery life is also slightly shorter.

There are also positive points, because the housing is slightly less thick, while HP has not been tempted to only mount USB-C, but has opted for USB-A in a practical way. The keyboard also has the same fine touch, while the housing offers less space. A small plus is that you can now also charge the laptop via USB-C, which we were unable to do with the previous version.

The last point that has become less is the price. The previous Envy 13 with i5 processor, 256GB storage and 8GB memory cost a thousand euros, while the new model is on sale for nine hundred euros at the time of writing. There are a lot of laptops with similar specifications for that money and the new Envy can best distinguish itself by its compact housing with USB-A. On points such as performance, there are plenty of competitors who do better, including the old Envy 13. The new one should have made you forget it and the question is whether a hundred euro discount is enough for that.

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