A powerful, versatile workstation.
Even though I am partial to Apple computers, I do enjoy working with other operating systems on occasion. I’m particularly intrigued by the convertible laptops that can act as a tablet or a laptop computer. This class of machine is typically more powerful than your typical tablet, which is the basis of its appeal to me. So when the opportunity to take a look at the HP Envy x360 came up, I jumped on it. Not only is it a powerful computer, but it’s also a ‘convertible’ laptop, which puts it in a class all on its own.
The HP Envy x360 has a lot of first-class features to it that make it a capable computer no matter what your primary use is.
- Windows 10 comes preinstalled on the computer.
- The Envy x360 is built to work with Windows Ink so you can use a digital pen right on the screen.
- 15.6″ Full HD Multitouch Screen
- 8GB system memory allows for advanced multitasking
- 1TB hard drive with 7200 RPM spin
- 360-degree flip-and-fold design
- AMD Radeon Vega integrated graphics chipset provides solid image quality for Internet use, movies, basic photo editing and casual gaming
- Built-in HD webcam with two microphones
My first impression of the HP Envy was good. It’s a sleek-looking laptop and fits with the modern style that most companies are following. The color is called “Dark Ash Silver,” which is similar to the Space Gray from Apple. It is a shade darker though. The next thing I noticed was the computer’s weight. It weighs 4.74 pounds. This is almost a full pound more than the 15-inch MacBook Pro. It may not seem like much to most people, but when you are talking about portability and laptops, 1 pound is quite a lot. When I got the laptop opened up, I have to admit that it ‘feels’ bigger than my MacBook Pro, too. It almost feels like the difference between a 13-inch laptop and a 17-inch laptop.
Set-up for the laptop was very easy. I turned it on and after I connected it to WiFi, Cortana took over and walked me through the entire set-up process. You are encouraged to connect the computer to an online Microsoft account. This is not mandatory to set-up the computer though. You can skip this step and just create a login ID for the computer without it being connected to the cloud. Once I was 100% connected and ready to start working, the Envy flew through the tasks I put before it. Most people might end up using this for standard office tasks and with a 1TB hard drive (7200 RPM — it’s not solid state) and 8GB of memory, you won’t be disappointed with this laptop’s performance.
The keyboard took a little getting used to for me. I think that’s because it’s a full-size keyboard with the number keypad included. That means that the main part of the keyboard is offset from the center of the screen. Therefore, I found myself mistyping quite a bit until I got used to the keyboard. The other thing I was really impressed with right off the bat was the screen. It’s a full 1080P HD widescreen LED display. The screen is smooth and clear. It’s also quite fragile. When I first received this laptop, I powered it on and connected it to my WiFi. At that particular time, I could not finish the set-up so I closed the lid with the protective fabric provided by HP. There were no wrinkles or folds when I closed the lid and the next time I opened it, I noticed a sizeable scratch on the screen. No one else had used the laptop so the only thing I can think of is that the fabric somehow caused the scratch. This was indeed disappointing considering that this is a convertible laptop and can also be used as a tablet. You would think a touchscreen laptop would have a more durable screen.
Switching to tablet mode is an automatic process. When you flip the keyboard around on its axis, the computer detects that it’s been rotated around and asks you if you want to switch over to tablet mode or exit it if you are switching back to laptop mode. When you answer ‘yes’, the screen enters full-screen mode for the tablet use. Even when you are in laptop mode, you have the option to still use the touchscreen and the other tablet features. Typing in tablet mode is easy. The on-screen keyboard is very responsive — more so than even my 12-inch iPad Pro. This is one feature I really enjoy. At times, I actually felt as though I was typing faster in tablet mode than with the keyboard. I have two main concerns about using this particular laptop in tablet mode. First, even though I like typing with the on-screen keyboard, the screen tends to shake quite a bit. This is really unavoidable since the computer is as stable and locked in as it can be, but it’s still something that bothered me a bit. The other issue I have is the sensitivity of the screen to scratches. Working on this computer in tablet mode concerns me because I feel that the screen could become easily damaged.
I like that this computer has 2 USB-A ports, an HDMI port, an SD card reader and a USB-C port. This makes for a very versatile laptop. Because it does have a standard USB port, I was able to connect a USB mouse quickly and easily so that I had maximum functionality.
The HP Envy x360 is a really great option for most types of users. It came pre-loaded with Microsoft Office (subscription required after trial) and a few other standard utility applications, but I think that this powerful laptop could handle other applications easily. I believe it could even handle being a design-driven laptop. It’s great for presentations and a powerful workhorse for most purposes.
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