What's the Dealbreaker?
The HP Envy x360 ends up as a laptop that does a couple of things really well, while letting you down big time in a few other areas. While we are looking at a cheaper and lower-tier product than HP’s flagship Spectre line, I feel a more balanced approach would have led to a better final product.
Where the Envy x360 succeeds is undoubtedly in its main hardware: most configuration options leave you with either a Ryzen 5 2500U or an 8th gen Core CPU paired with MX150 graphics. You’ll be getting plenty of CPU and GPU horsepower here, with the Intel/Nvidia configuration giving you the best bang for your buck considering the discrete GPU is more powerful than AMD’s integrated Vega 8.
The design is also great from both a visual and construction standpoint, with nice bonuses such as a Windows Hello camera. The mostly metal body is premium despite the Envy x360 sitting below the Spectre x360 in HP’s lineup, and it features a keyboard just as good as we’ve seen in other recent HP ultraportables.
But the real deal breakers here are the display and battery life. The display isn’t capable of full sRGB coverage so it looks dull and undersaturated, plus it lacks top-end brightness. And the battery capacity is simply too small for a 15-inch laptop, falling more in the 13-inch category which leads to poor battery life when you move to a larger display.
By the time you configure the Envy x360 to something worth using – the $700 base model doesn’t include SSD storage, for example – you’ll find yourself spending around $1,000, which simply isn’t worth it. The competing Lenovo Yoga 720 starts at $950, and for that price you get a much faster CPU and GPU along with basics like an SSD and a suitably large battery.
It ends up a bit of a shame that the first Ryzen Mobile laptop isn’t actually that good, but I hope we have a few more options to look at as the year progresses. Maybe Acer's Swift 3 will knock the ball out of the park, because it's not AMD's fault the Envy x360 isn't up to scratch; the silicon is solid, it just needed to be paired with better hardware like it deserves.
Pros: Powerful hardware: either Ryzen Mobile, or Intel 8th-gen plus discrete Nvidia graphics. Excellent build with a great keyboard.
Cons: Substandard display can’t produce full sRGB gamut. Small battery delivers poor battery life. Uncompetitive pricing for configurations actually worth buying.