HP Envy 13t Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Attractive design; Impressive speakers; Accurate display; Sharp camera

The Cons

Short battery life; Thick bezel; Slow file-transfer speeds; Unnecessary bloatware

Verdict

The HP Envy 13t-d000 is a gorgeous and very thin and light laptop, but its short battery life is a deal breaker.

Windows laptops like the Dell XPS 13 have shown that you can build a beautiful, svelte machine that's even more versatile than the MacBook Air without sacrificing features or performance. HP hopes to mirror that success with the Envy 13t-d000, but it ultimately falls short. This 13-inch, $849 system catches the eye with a sleek aluminum chassis that's 20 percent thinner than the Air, along with a colorful display and strong audio quality. However, short battery life makes the 2.8-pound Envy 13t-d000 less versatile than we'd like.

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Design

The Envy 13t-d000's silver aluminum-and-magnesium chassis makes for one handsome laptop. Opening the lid reveals a backlit island-style keyboard with matching silver keys that's flanked on both sides by speakers. There's a fingerprint reader on the right side. A hinge that wraps around the lid lifts the keyboard at a slight angle when you open it, providing a better experience for touch typists.

However, the Envy 13t-d000's chunky, gray bezel really detracts from its otherwise premium look and feel. In comparison, Dell's similarly priced XPS 13 has almost no bezel at all, making it far more attractive than the Envy.

The Envy weighs just 2.8 pounds; I easily carried it back and forth between my desk and the Laptop Mag labs in one hand. It has a small footprint, measuring 12.85 x 8.9 x 0.51 inches, which is on a par with the 13-inch MacBook Air (12.8 x 8.9 x 0.11-0.68 inches) but larger than the Dell XPS 13 (12 x 7.9 x 0.3-0.6 inches).

Keyboard and Touchpad

The Envy's keyboard has a shallow travel of just 1.2 mm (we prefer 1.5 mm or more) but requires 53 grams of force to press -- just enough to be comfortable. There's some flex in the middle of the keyboard while you type, and it feels a bit spongy. The spacious, full-size keys meant that I could type at my average speed of 100 words per minute on 10fastfingers.com but with a slightly higher error rate of 4 percent. (I tend to have an error rate of 1 to 2 percent.)

The fairly large 4.3 x 2.1-inch touchpad provided accurate navigation as I guided the pointer around the screen. It responded immediately to touch gestures, such as three-finger swipe and pinch to zoom.

Display

The HP Envy 13t-d000's 1920 x 1080 display produced vivid, accurate colors. Based on our readings, it covers 103 percent of the sRGB spectrum (100 percent or more is excellent) and scored a Delta-E color accuracy rating of 0.45 (the closer to 0, the better).

I watched a video of SantaCon in Brooklyn and saw true-to-life red Santa outfits and leaves turning orange on the trees. The Envy 13t's panel is much more accurate than the nontouch Dell XPS 13 (8.2) and the MacBook Air (4.3), though Lenovo's Yoga 700 is just a tad better, with a rating of 0.3.

MORE: Best Ultrabooks (Thin-and-Light Windows Laptops)

I watched the latest trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and caught the detail in Henry Cavill's and Ben Affleck's stubble in close-ups. Superman's red cape soaring across clear, blue skies was crisp and vibrant on the screen.

The display registered an average of 312 nits, which is brighter than the ultraportable category average of 302 nits. But the Dell XPS 13 just beat the Envy, with 318 nits, and the 13-inch MacBook Air notched an even brighter 334 nits.

Audio

The Bang & Olufsen speakers on the HP Envy are a real treat. I took the Envy into the Laptop Mag labs, closed the door and filled the room with Ellie Goulding's "On My Mind." The two speakers on either side of the keyboard made sure the sound filled both of my ears. Vocals and mids were clear, and I could hear the bass thump rhythmically during each verse.

Heat

Whether it's on your lap or your desk, you will be able to use the Envy comfortably. After we streamed full-screen video from Hulu for 15 minutes, the underside of the laptop hit 91 degrees Fahrenheit, the touchpad reached 79.5 degrees and the spot between the G and H keys hit 82.5 degrees. These are all below our 95-degree comfort threshold.

Ports and Webcam

Being thin doesn't prevent the Envy from providing all of the ports you will need day to day.

The right side of the laptop plays host to the port for the power adapter, an HDMI port and two USB 3.0 ports. On the left side is a lock slot, an SD card reader, a USB 3.0 port with sleep and charge capability, and the headphone jack.

The 0.9-megapixel webcam on the Envy 13t is better than most. My selfie looked pretty sharp, even though the bright-red wall in our office was rendered a burnt orange.

Security

The built-in fingerprint reader read my digits quickly and accurately. After setting up Windows Hello by scanning my finger three times to register it, I logged in to the computer with just a single swipe -- no password required.

HP also includes a program called SimplePass that allows you to sign in to websites with a finger swipe.

The computer also comes with a 30-day trial of Avast SecureLine VPN, should you want to hide your browsing habits from anyone who might be snooping.

Performance

The Envy 13t offers speedy overall performance, but its solid-state drive is sluggish. Our review configuration came with a Core i5-6200U clocked at 2.3 GHz, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.

On Geekbench 3, a synthetic benchmark that measures overall performance, the Envy scored 6,306. That score beats the Yoga 700 (5,855), which has the same Core i5-6200U processor, and the MacBook Air (5,783), which has a 1.6-GHZ Core i5-5250U. However, the Envy fell a bit short of the XPS 13 (6,391, also with a Core i5-6200U).

The Envy 13t's SSD performed poorly on the Laptop Mag File Transfer Test, taking 1 minute and 6 seconds to copy 4.97GB of files. That's a transfer rate of 77.1 MBps, which is far below the ultraportable category average of 166.9 MBps, the Lenovo Yoga 700 (145 MBps), the Dell XPS 13 (231.3 MBps) and the MacBook Air (358.4 MBps).

HP's notebook fared well in our spreadsheet macro test, matching 20,000 names with their addresses in OpenOffice in 4 minutes and 28 seconds. That time compares favorably to the XPS 13 (4:34) and the Yoga 700 (4:57), but trails the MacBook Air (4:03).

Graphics

The Envy 13t's Intel HD Graphics 520 chip helps it handle some low-impact gaming. The laptop ran World of Warcraft at 69 frames per second using autodetect settings at 1366 x 768 and at 48 fps at 1920 x 1080. The Dell XPS 13 ran the game at 80 fps and 40 fps on those settings and resolutions, respectively.

This HP beat other ultraportables in the 3DMark graphics benchmark, notching a score of 59,836. This is higher than the XPS 13 (49,394), the Yoga 700 (41,296) and the ultraportable category average (40,420).

Battery Life

For a laptop that's meant to be portable, the HP Envy 13t offers way too little battery life. HP's notebook lasted a mere 5 hours and 48 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of screen brightness.

MORE: Laptops with the Longest Battery Life

That's far below the ultraportable category average of 8:19 and less than half the endurance of competitors like the Dell XPS 13 (11:54) and the MacBook Air (14:00).

Software and Warranty

The Envy 13t comes with a couple of useful utilities but also has its fair share of bloatware. HP's own apps, like SimplePass and HP Recovery Manager, are inoffensive, but I had no need for Candy Crush Soda Saga, Snapfish or The Weather Channel, not to mention a handful of shortcuts for sites like TripAdvisor and Amazon. During my testing, Amazon's live tile rotated through ads for jewelry, showing a watch on one day and a necklace on another.

The Envy also comes with 25GB of Dropbox storage for one year -- a nice benefit, considering that a free Dropbox account comes with only 2GB.

HP sells the Envy with a one-year limited hardware warranty and toll-free phone support. You can buy a two-year warranty for $129.99 or three years of coverage for $199.99.

Configurations

We reviewed the HP Envy 13t-d000 in its $849 base configuration, which includes a Core i5-6200U processor, Intel HD Graphics 520, 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD and a 1920 x 1080 display. 

HP offers a number of different configuration options via its website. You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for an additional $70, bump up to a Core i7-6500U processor for $120 or upgrade to a quad-HD+ 3200 x 1800 display for another $50. If you want more storage space, you can spend $130 more for a 256GB SSD or $330 more for a 512GB SSD.

Bottom Line

The HP Envy 13t-d000 is really thin and very light, and it offers a vivid display and impressive B&O speakers. But the Envy's battery life, at just 5:48, is downright paltry. Other ultraportables last almost twice as long. Add in a relatively slow SSD and an unattractive bezel, and you'll want to look at other laptops.

Overall, we recommend the Dell XPS 13 instead, which lasts much longer on a charge and sports a more attractive design with an almost bezel-free screen. The Lenovo Yoga 700 is another good alternative, as it offers the flexibility of a 2-in-1 along with more endurance than this HP.

Ask a Question
CPU Intel Core i5-6200U @ 2.30
Operating System Windows 10 Home
RAM 8GB
RAM Upgradable to
Hard Drive Size 128GB SSD
Hard Drive Speed
Hard Drive Type
Secondary Hard Drive Size
Secondary Hard Drive Speed
Secondary Hard Drive Type
Display Size 13.3
Native Resolution 1920x1080
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Speed
Graphics Card Intel HD Graphics 520
Video Memory
Wi-Fi 802.11ac
Wi-Fi Model
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Mobile Broadband
Touchpad Size 4.3 x 2.1 inches
Ports (excluding USB) Lock Slot
Ports (excluding USB) HDMI
Ports (excluding USB) Fingerprint Scanner
Ports (excluding USB) Combo Headphone/Mic Jack
Ports (excluding USB) USB 3.0
Ports (excluding USB) SD card slot
USB Ports 3
Card Slots SD memory reader
Warranty/Support 1-year limited hardware warranty, toll-free support
Size 12.85 x 8.9 x 0.51 inches
Weight 2.75 pounds
Company Website http://www.hp.com/
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18 comments
  • Adarsh Hariprasad Says:

    I bought HP Envy Laptop recently, and i found an interesting problem in it,, screen gets flickering.. that too very frequently... i am fed up with it and its services.. please do not buy it...

  • Raja hassan & 50 others Says:

    Hp pavillion dv6 is one of the most best pc ever made and it is one of the best 6th generation.It has always taught me english and i am writing this review from my pavillion dv6. I have spent more then 6 years of my life with pavillion dv6.

  • Rana shabbir Says:

    Hp pavillion dv6 is the best pc ever made and it acts as a resistant to extreme winters for pakistanis.

  • lollllol Says:

    Xps is love and i recommend you to buy it at any cost

  • Jackson Says:

    I personally bought xps 13 and envy 13, i have used both of them and envy 13 is better than xps 13.

  • lollol Says:

    simply put - worst review i have ever read.

  • Dr@goS Says:

    I agree, the review puts the HP in a bad light when comparing with XPS 13. The specs are high enough and the performance is great for such a price. And not to forget the design is pretty awesome. 2.5 stars, highly underrated!!!

  • Karn Singh Says:

    I don't know what they are are talking about the battery life, in my experience is last me 10 hours ore more. Sound is so much better compared to other ultra books and the mac books. I love this ultra book it is lighter and thinner than the air. I was hesitant to buy the ultra book looking at the reviews, i bit on it anyways and i just love it.

  • Anindya Says:

    Guys, Please don't buy this laptop. HP compare it with Apple but they are not near to them.

    All the hardware are belong to Samsung HDD,RAM,Display,Camera etc.

    Camera quality is poor.
    I recently found that my Seagate Expansion external drive is also not working with this laptop.
    Battery is decent but get heat-up too much.
    Exhaust fan make noise like aeroplane taking take off.

    You can buy because this laptop is cheap as compare to Dell XPS and Apple Air.

    Quality wise is not good. I made a mistake.

    HP support people didn't know what they are doing.

    My recommendation will be not to buy this laptop.

  • Mikey Says:

    There is an option in the Bios to disable 'fan always on' It must be safe to do so otherwise why would Hp offer this as an option. I can imagine the battery would last longer as well. Interested to know if people have knowledge on this.

  • Taegon Says:

    I returned this laptop with i7 since its fan sound is annoying even right after boot up and it keeps crashing with graphics driver which causes frequent hiccups while web browsing. I compared it with XPS13 old model with Win 8.1 and XPS fan sound is much smaller. HP fan sounds to me little bit higher pitch which annoys me much.

  • Piong Says:

    Will this ultrabook have any problems running a game like Hearthstone?

  • andy ross Says:

    Poor review. HP envy is better spec'd, is cheaper and looks nicer than the Dell. Battery life is only an issue if you are going on a long haul flight. The HP envy can manage 8 hours in flight saving / battery saving mode. SSD is a bit slow but bigger than the Dell model of a similar price. Seems like the reviewer is a Dell fanboy

  • Adam Lee Says:

    Definitely not a good review. The Dell XPS 13 costs so much more if ur comparing the one which has the same specs.

    The build quality of this laptop is good and this laptop is thinner than Macbook and Macbook uses an M processor so my opinion is that this laptop is rly rly good for the price u pay.

  • josef Says:

    This review is so biased in favor of the XPS 13. I specifically compared these two computers side-by-side at a Microsoft Store. The HP won hands down. The build is way better, display is easier to read, my palms did not fall off the edge of the computer, and it's a few hundred cheaper for an i7. The only thing the XPS 13 supposedly does better is the battery life. I can live with that tradeoff.

  • Mike Says: Says:

    Hp envy 13 256ssd 8gb ram and amazing Qhd display £699 while Dell xps 13 same config. but only full hd costs £949. Terrible review to give this awesome machine 2.5 stars

  • Mikey Says:

    Not a great review. Giving this fantastic machine 2.5 stars and nit picking comments is a poor show. For starters one can purchase the Hp envy for £699 with i5 256gb ssd 8 gb ram and Qhd display. The Dell xps 13 with similar specs but not even Qhd costs a huge amount of £949 !
    As for the bezel, nothing wrong with it in my opinion so that's just a personal tast and shouldn't reflect so highly in the review.
    As for other geeky benchmark tests e.g. Speed of ssd in the real world it wouldn't affect most people and they wouldn't even notice.
    Also for such a thin machine the battery life is still excellent.
    About the bloat ware, so what just sort it out, no problem.
    Try and compare other machines for same spec and price and I bet you will not find one !
    Overall disrespectful review to company Hp for producing such a product at this price point.
    I am simply a customer but have done my research !

  • Jacko Says:

    Completely neglects to mention that whilst got can pick up an i7 envy for £800 the Dell xps would be around £1300 for the same configuration

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