HP Envy x360 13: An affordable laptop with Ryzen 4000
PCWorld|September 2020
HP Envy x360 13: An affordable laptop with Ryzen 4000
This might just be the best deal in thin-and-lights right now.
GORDON MAH UNG

HP’s Ryzen 4000-powered Envy x360 13 proves that you can get first-class features for coach pricing. Don’t believe me? Here are some of the goodies included:

Decent 13.3-inch IPS panel with good off-axis viewing, touch, and optional pen support

Solid all-aluminum body with 360-convertible hinges

Speakers that actually sound better than the ones on a lot of larger 15.6-inch gaming laptops

And the crown jewel, a mid-priced Ryzen 4000 CPU with high-end CPU performance

In fact, the HP Envy x360 13 we tested is so good, yet so affordable (despite a few corners cut to save cost), that you might not be able to get it. At the time of this writing, our exact, $799 configuration was sold out. However, you can customize it into being by upgrading components on this nearly-identical model (with a smaller 128GB SSD by default), currently $700 on HP.com (go.pcworld.com/hp70). For $820 at Walmart (go.pcworld.com/wl82) you can get another nearly identical version, the difference being a higher-end Ryzen 7 4700U CPU. You can find another Ryzen 7 4700U-based model (Envy x360 13-ay-0021nr), with a heftier 16GB of memory and 512GB SSD, for $1,000 on HP.com (go. pcworld.com/hp10). If you’re a Costco member, the best alternative deal is there: A Ryzen 7 4700U with 8GB of RAM and 512GB SSD, for $900 (go.pcworld.com/cc90).

The left side of the HP Envy gives you an analog combo jack, a USB-A 5GBps port, and a USB-C 10Gbps port.

SPECS AND FEATURES

As one of the first handful of Ryzen 4000 laptops we’ve tested, we were interested to see what was under the hood. Other than the new CPU, it’s largely like any other budget laptop, with an adequate configuration— though we did notice and appreciate the Wi-Fi 6 and tote-able 2.8-pound weight.

CPU: 6-core, 6-thread AMD Ryzen 5 4500U

GPU: AMD Radeon Graphics

RAM: 8GB DDR4/3200

Display: 13.3-inch, 1920x1080 IPS touch screen with MPP pen support using an optional pen

Storage: 256GB Kioxia NVMe PCIe 3.0 x2 SSD

Wireless: Intel Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0

Dimensions: 12.1 x 7.6 x 0.6 inches

Weight: 2.8 pounds, 3.4 total with AC adapter

Battery: 50 Watt-hour

In build quality, the Envy x360 13’s aluminum body feels very rigid. Holding it by one corner with the lid open exhibits minimal body flexing. The SSD is in a slot, and while not intended to be user-upgradeable, obviously it could be.

Ports

We’ll let the pictures for the Envy x360 13 speak for themselves. First up is the left side with an analog combo jack, a SuperSpeed USB Type-A (5Gbps), and a SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps Type-C. The USB-A port uses a “dropjaw” latch that can be expanded when you insert a USB key, keyboard, or other standard USB-A device. The USB-C port supports USB data transfer and can output DisplayPort or HDMI if you have the right dongle.

A microSD reader, SuperSpeed USB-A (5Gbps), and barrel charger populate the right side of the HP Envy x360 13.

There is no Thunderbolt 3, which opens up opportunities for fast external storage or external GPUs (go.pcworld. com/exgp), or single-cable displays. That’s an expensive port to implement and is more common on pricier machines. (Psst: We just saw one on the Acer Spin 3 [$650 at Costco, go.pcworld.com/ s36].)

The right side of the HP Envy x360 includes a microSD reader, and a second SuperSpeed USB Type-A (5Gbps) port that can charge a phone even when the laptop is off. There’s also a port for the 65-watt barrel charger.

Yes, you heard us right: a barrel charger. If your eyes are rolling because you thought old-school round laptop plugs could be found only in $150 Chromebooks and $250 budget Windows laptops, that’s not true.

The reason HP included the barrel charger is likely cost. A USB-C charger is a pricey add. The power brick is at least rounded rather than a truly old-school brick, but the cloth braid you get on the fancy HP Spectre x360 isn’t used either.

A 65-watt barrel charger definitely tells you this isn’t a luxury laptop.

HP does, at least, build USB Power Delivery into the USB-C port, so you could pick up a tiny 60-watt GAN charger and go on the road with that instead. Of course with just a single USB-C port, you would have to juggle any other USB-C devices. We’re in this middle age where some of us cling to our USB-A ports, while others yearn for USB-C, and it’s hard to please everyone.

Keyboard and Trackpad

articleRead

You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD

Log in, if you are already a subscriber

GoldLogo

Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories, newspapers and 5,000+ magazines

READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE

September 2020