HP's New Envy Laptops Beautifully Blend Metal with Wood
TAIPEI, TAIWAN -- HP is once again breaking the boundaries of laptop design with daring new ultrabooks. Following up on the genuine-leather bonded Spectre Folio, the company unveiled at Computex 2019 today new Envy laptops with authentic wood materials.
What HP is calling the Wood Series consists of a new Envy 13, Envy x360 13, Envy x360 15 and Envy 17. These specific models will be available alongside the previously announced aluminum versions when they go on sale in the Fall. Pricing will be determined closer to launch.
HP Envy Wood Series price and specs
|Envy 13||Envy x360 13||Envy x360 15||Envy 17|
13.3 inches, 1080p or 4K (Optional OLED)
|13.3 inches, 1080p or 4K||
15.6 inches, 1080p or 4K
17 inches, 1080p
Up to Intel Core i7; Up to AMD Ryzen 7
|RAM||Up to 16GB|
Up to GeForce MX250/Radeon Vega 10
|Storage||Up to 1TB SSD|
2 USB 3.1 (Type-A), Thunderbolt 3, headphone, microSD card
|2 USB 3.1, USB-C, headphone||2 USB 3.1, USB-C, HDMI, headphone||3 USB 3.1 (Type-A), USB-C, headphone, SD card, Ethernet|
|Size||12.1 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches||12 x 8.3 x 0.6 inches||14.3 x 10.8 x 0.95 inches||14.34 x 10.76 x 0.93 inches|
First leather, now wood. Each of these new Envy laptops features an authentic wooden inlay that runs across the palm rest and touchpad. The rest of the chassis --- the lid, base, and keyboard --- is made of aluminum.
The Wood Series laptops come in several different color variants. The Envy 13 sports a Nightfall black aluminum with walnut wood as well as a ceramic white with white birch wood while the x360 version comes exclusively in the black/walnut finish.
Along with the black/walnut, the Envy 15 x360 will also be available in natural silver with Pale birch, which is the only variant offered on the Envy 17.
We've seen all sorts of wooden gadgets in the past few years, but the material hasn't found its way onto laptops. Thus, the wooden panel on these Envy laptops gives them a distinctive appearance compared to anything else on the market.
As someone who appreciates the mid-century modern style, I find the blend of industrial aluminum with natural wood to be stunning. I was particularly smitten by the silver and birch combination during my brief hands-on time with the convertible Envy models.
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You might rightfully be worried about spilling a drink on the Envy's wooden surface, but HP promises that these notebooks passed multiple spill tests for a wide variety of substances.
What surprised me the most about the Envy laptops wasn't the aesthetics, but how strange it feels to use wood-coated touchpads. Thoughts of splinters sticking out my fingers flashed across my mind every time I swiped on the surface.
Fortunately, the touchpad operated as smoothly as any glass or plastic one I've used before, and no bandages were required. Also, the Envy touchpads will come with Precision drivers, so you can execute Windows 10 gestures just as you could on any other laptop.
Performance and specs
HP didn't reveal much else about the new Envy laptops beyond their design. However, we do know that the Envy 13, Envy 13 x360 and Envy 15 x360 will be powered by "next-gen Intel CPUs" and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen chips, while the Envy 17 will only be available with Intel processors.
Memory on these machines can be configured to up to 16GB while SSD storage tops out at 1TB. For graphics, the Envy 17, Envy x360 15 and Envy 13 will come with up to an Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU, which should provide solid performance for casual gamers.
When it comes to the displays, HP will offer a 1080p and 4K display on each of these laptops except for the Envy 17, which is limited to FHD resolution. If you want the best picture quality, then go with the Intel version of the Envy x360 15, which will come with an optional OLED panel. Note: HP warns that these specs are subject to change between now and launch.
Other confirmed features including Amazon Alexa support, a fingerprint reader, wake-on-voice, and security methods for protecting your privacy, including a physical webcam kill switch and an optional Sure View display.
HP continues to push the envelope when it comes to laptop design, and the new Envy Wood Series is yet another compelling option for people who value the aesthetics of their technology as much as the performance. These new notebooks could be perfect for one such group: college students especially considering the previous Envy 13t remains our favorite laptop for students.
There are still lots of things we don't know about these upcoming laptops, like pricing and specs, but their unique chassis has us excited to learn more.
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