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XPS 13 Killer? New HP Envy 13 Looks That Good

The Dell XPS 13 has been the ultraportable to beat for more than two years, but it may have finally met its match. The new HP Envy 13 is a stunning lightweight laptop, complete with a gorgeous, nearly borderless display, 7th generation Core power and up to 14 hours of (rated) battery life.

We went hands-on with the new Envy 13 at a preview event, which starts at $899, and it looks and feels like a very strong contender.

Weighing 2.73 pounds, the Envy 13 weighs about the same as the XPS 13 but, HP cut a uniquely sleek design that's available in silver or silk gold. For instance, we love the way the back of the notebook raises when you lift the lid, which should make for comfortable typing, as well as how the keys stretch from edge to edge. The mirrored panel on the back of the lid is another nice touch.

The micro-edge display also impresses, as there's practically no bezel on either side of the screen. There is a top bezel, but we don't mind that too much, especially since the webcam is in the right place. On the XPS 13, it's underneath the display, which results in shots pointing up at your chin. The full HD IPS panel was very colorful and very vivid, complete with 178-degree viewing angles.

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The all-metal chassis includes two USB Type-C ports, 2 USB 3.1 ports, a miniDisplay port, a microSD reader and a headphone/microphone jack. Unfortunately, neither of the USB-C ports supports the fast Thunderbolt 3 spec.

During my hands-on time, the keyboard provided springy feedback and the touchpad offered smooth input, though it felt a bit stiff.

In terms of specs, the Envy 13 starts with a 7th gen Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB NVMe SSD. That's pretty good, but the Asus ZenBook UX330UA starts with a 256GB SSD for just $699. 

We're really looking forward to testing the Envy 13's battery life. HP claims that the system gets up to 12 hours and 30 minutes during video playback and as much as 14 hours during mixed usage. (A company rep actually told us 10.5 hours, so we'll get to the bottom of it.)

Overall, the HP Envy 13 looks like a winner, but we'll have to see how it fares in our full review.

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.