If I was still commuting regularly on a bus or train, the HP Envy x360 13 two-in-one laptop would be on my shortlist. It would also be a top consideration if I were shopping for an older high school or college student. It’s small, stylish and light at just less than 3 pounds (1.3 kg). Battery life is long despite the size. And the AMD Ryzen 5-4500U processor delivered performance beyond that of pricier Intel chips. Add in fast Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 and, essentially, you’re getting a speedy little two-in-one that’s ready for working from home or remote learning but is also ready for your backpack.
The Envy x360 normally starts at $700 and the configuration I tested was $800 (£800, AU$2,000). (For those looking to spend even less, check out our list of best laptops under $500.) The price is more than reasonable for what you get, but the biggest issue I had with the Envy x360 13 was its availability.
The Envy x360 13-ay0010nr I tested would regularly come in and out of stock. At the moment, though, it looks like HP has supply ironed out and you can configure it with 4500U or 4700U processor. The 15.6-inch version has more availability, so if you don’t mind a larger display, it starts at $700. Also, if you’re not a die-hard AMD fan, it is readily available with Intel processors in both 13- and 15-inch sizes.
HP Envy x360 13 (2020, 13-inch)
|Price as reviewed||$800|
|Display size/resolution||13.3-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel IPS touchscreen|
|Processor||2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5-4500U|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 (soldered)|
|Storage||256GB PCIe NVME SSD|
|Ports||2x USB-A (3.1 Gen 1), 1x USB-C (3.1 Gen 2), MicroSD|
|Networking||Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows Home|
|Weight||2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)|
Streamlined and simple
HP was aiming for a minimalist design with the Envy x360 and I’d say it hit the mark. Made from aluminum, the outside is clean and subtle. The lid lifts easily and the display doesn’t have much of a bezel around it at all, including the bottom, which is significantly smaller than the 2019 model. That reduction shifts the keyboard and touchpad up with the keyboard going nearly edge to edge.
It’s a comfortable keyboard with a two-level backlight. The key legends are easy to read and the function keys include the usual hotkeys for volume and screen brightness along with options to instantly mute your mic and block the webcam for privacy. A responsive fingerprint reader is nearly hidden in the keyboard, sitting between the right Alt key and left arrow key.
The glossy display is definitely a highlight here. It has excellent color and contrast and, at 400 nits, it’s bright. Not quite bright enough to see past reflections outside on a sunny day, but otherwise it’s great. The reduced bezels do make it more comfortable to use on your arm as a tablet and the display supports simultaneous pen and touch input and works with MPP 2.0 pens.
AMD’s got what it takes
No doubt about it, AMD’s newest mobile processors outperform pricier Intel CPUs. The Ryzen 5-4500U can keep pace with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 and it isn’t even the fastest AMD chip available for this two-in-one. There isn’t a huge gap in performance between the 4500U and higher-end 4700U, so if only one or the other is available you’ll be in good shape regardless. Aside from the processor, though, you might want to go with a configuration with 16GB of memory. The memory is soldered on and that means models with 8GB of memory can’t be upgraded.
The Envy x360’s battery lasted a fairly long time. On our streaming video test, it hit 10 hours. In general use — streaming music, browsing, writing and basic photo editing — it was closer to 7 hours. However, it does charge quickly, getting up to 50% in 30 minutes.
The HP Envy x360 13 is an excellent small two-in-one with a higher-end design than you’d typically get at this price — assuming you can find one in stock. Factor in the solid AMD performance and battery life and it’s an easy recommendation.
|Acer Swift 3||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4700U; 8GB LPDDR4 3.2GHz; 512MB Radeon; 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|HP Envy 17 (2020)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 3.2GHz; Nvidia GeForce MX330; 512GB SSD|
|HP Envy x360 13 (2020)||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U; 8GB DDR4 3.2GHz; 512MB Radeon; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Asus VivoBook S15 S532FA||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics; 512GB SSD|
|Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)||Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 256GB SSD|
|Dell Inspiron 14 5000||Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics; 256GB SSD|