Most of the 13-inch laptops I’ve reviewed over the past few years have been high-end options, typically starting at or above $1,000. Usually you’d get pretty decent hardware and features for this price, including metal bodies, gorgeous high-resolution displays, and powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 processors.
But for many people, spending $1,000 on a laptop is not feasible, even if high-end hardware is important. This is where the HP Envy 13 comes in: it packs hardware that’s comparable to a $1,000 laptop in a MacBook Air-like package, complete with a price that starts at just $800. In some ways, the Envy is the budget high-end laptop that price-conscious shoppers may be after.
For $800, you get a very respectable collection of hardware. On the processor side, it’s equipped with an Intel ‘Skylake’ Core i5-6200U, paired with 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB solid state drive. The display is a 13.3-inch 1080p IPS LCD, although for just $50 (a bargain in the PC space) you can upgrade that to a high-resolution QHD+ panel.
In other markets, such as Australia, there’s an even cheaper model available with a Core i3-6100U and just 4 GB of RAM. That’s the model I have on hand for review, and it will be interesting to see how the weaker hardware on offer stacks up.