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New HP Envy 13 Gets Faster CPU, Webcam Kill Switch

HP today (March 19) revealed a new lineup of Envy laptops, consisting of 13-, 15- and 17-inch models, along with their convertible x360 counterparts. Priced at less than $1,000, HP's mainstream machines offer premium features in an all-metal chassis at a relatively low cost.  It's no wonder the Envy series is popular among students who need a durable, powerful machine but don't have the cash to spend on a Spectre or other pricier alternatives, like the Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Surface Laptop 2.

This year's models are shaping up to be the best yet since HP trickled down features from its excellent Spectre notebooks to the new Envy machines. To that end, these beefed-up Envys now offer a fingerprint reader, a webcam kill switch and deluxe software, like HP's Command Center.

 Let's take a look at each model so you can decide which one is right for you.

Pricing and Specs

The HP Envy 13 and Envy x360 13 will be available in April on HP.com with starting prices of $899 and $699, respectively. The 15-inch model, the Envy x360 15, will be available on HP.com in April and in Best Buy in May. An Intel model will start at $869 while an AMD-powered version will cost a bit less, at $799. The HP Envy 17 will be available for $899 in April on HP.com and at Best Buy in May.

HP Envy 13HP Envy x360 13HP Envy x360 15HP Envy 17
Starting Price$899.99$699.99$799.99$899.99
Display13.3-inch, 1080p13.3-inch, 1080p15.6-inch, 1080p17.3-inch, 1080p
CPUIntel Core i7-8565UUp to AMD Ryzen 7Up to Intel Core i7-8565U Up to AMD Ryzen 7 3700UIntel Core i7-8565U
RAM8GBUp to 16GB8GB12GB
GraphicsIntel UHD 620Radeon Vega 10Intel UHD 620 AMD Radeon Vega 10Nvidia GeForce MX250
Storage256GBUp to 1TB SSD256GB, 512GB SSD512GB SSD
PortsUSB-C, 2 USB 3.1, microSD, headphone2 USB 3.1, USB-C, headphoneUSB-C, 2 USB 3.1, HDMI, SD card, headphoneUSB-C, 3 USB 3.1, HDMI, Ethernet, DVD writer, microSD, headphone
Size12.9 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches14.1 x 9.7 x 0.7 inches15.9 x 10.5 x 1.9 inches
Weight3.5 pounds2.9 pounds4.5 pounds6.4 pounds

HP Envy 13

The most portable of the new releases, the Envy 13 is the successor to one of our favorite 13-inch machines and our current top pick for the best laptop for students. The new Envy 13 takes that solid foundation and adds several neat security features that weren't in the previous model, like a privacy camera kill switch and a fingerprint reader. HP deserves props for bringing the kill switch, a brand new feature that worked as advertised on the new Spectre x360, to these less expensive models.

The Envy 13 also has an updated Intel Core i7-8565U CPU, which should provide a nice performance boost compared to the older i7-8550U processor. Like last year's model, HP will sell the Envy 13 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. Graphics are limited to a UHD Graphics 620 GPU.

HP made few changes to the Envy 13's design this year, but that's certainly not a bad thing. The Envy 13 has a slim aluminum chassis with a unique inclined lip that elevates the keyboard. On the inside is a silver aluminum deck with silver backlit keys and an attractive speaker grill. HP touts the Envy 13's slim display bezels, but they're not quite as slim as those on competing laptops, like the Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA.

With quad speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen, the Envy 13 should pump out some sweet audio. Last year's model impressed us with its nearly 10 hours of battery life, the new model is rated at 19 hours, a promised 41 percent improvement over the previous version. You should take that figure with a grain of salt, but we'd be happy if it lasted for half that time.

At 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches and 3.5 pounds, the Envy 13 is thicker and heavier than most modern 13-inch laptops.

MORE: Best HP Laptops - Top Rated Laptops - Laptop Mag

HP Envy x360 13

No surprises here: the Envy x360 13 is the convertible version of the Envy 13, which means you can convert it into a tablet or flip it into tent mode by rotating the hinge. This additional versatility is great for artists who prefer to create with a stylus or students who need flexibility when taking notes.

Another big difference between the clamshell and convertible models is that the Envy x360 13 is powered by 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen processors (up to Ryzen 7), and the laptop supposedly offers up to 14.5 hours of battery life. Other specs include up to 1TB of SSD storage and up to 16GB of RAM. The Envy x360 13 will also flaunt two USB 3.1 Type-A ports along with a USB-C input and a headphone jack. The Envy x360 13 is just 0.6 inches thick and weighs just 2.9 pounds.

HP Envy x360 15

If you want a convertible laptop but need a larger canvas to work on, the Envy x360 15 might be a better option. Like the Envy 13, the Envy x360 15 has an all-metal chassis outfitted with a webcam kill switch and a fingerprint reader.

HP sells the Envy x360 15 in a number of configurations. An Intel-powered version comes with either Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs and 8GB of RAM. The base model has a 256GB SSD while the higher-end model is outfitted with 512GB of storage. 

It's nice to see the Envy x360 15 offered with AMD processors. The base AMD version comes with a Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, while a premium config comes with a Ryzen 7 3700U CPU.

No matter which configuration you choose, the Envy x360 15 will sport a 15.6-inch, 1080p display, quad speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen and a backlit keyboard with a numeric keypad.

Battery life is estimated at 13 hours of mixed usage or around 12 hours of video playback. We'll get a better idea of real-world runtimes once we receive a review unit.

Laptops with displays larger than 13-inch can get pretty unwieldy in tablet mode, but that shouldn't be an issue with the slim, 0.7-inch Envy x360 15. However, at 4.5 pounds, you won't want to carry this HP machine around for too long.

HP Envy 17

Is 15-inches still too small? Fear not, HP also offers the Envy 17, which sports a 17.3-inch, 1080p touch screen. That model is only available in a traditional clamshell configuration, not as a convertible. The Envy 17 shares a number of features with its smaller siblings, including an aluminum chassis, an angled keyboard, a webcam kill switch and a fingerprint reader.

However, the Envy 17 is the only laptop in this lineup to offer discrete GeForce MX250 graphics for those who need a bit more oomph to play games or run video-editing software. The Envy 17 also comes with 12GB of RAM to go along with its Intel Core i7-8565U CPU and 512GB SSD.

With a runtime of 6 hours and 45 minutes when streaming over Wi-Fi, the Envy 17 won't last as long on a charge compared with the more compact Envy laptops. And, as expected, the Envy 17 is considerably heavier than the rest of the lineup, weighing in at a hefty 6.4 pounds. Nevertheless, the Envy 17 sports an attractive silver aluminum chassis and a full-sized backlit keyboard with a numpad.  

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.