The new Envy 15 arrived today to take on the 16-inch MacBook Pro and HP is putting up a compelling argument.
HP's Spectre laptops are typically seen as the company's "flagship" premium devices but no expense was spared with the Envy 15. The portable laptop can be equipped with a 10th Gen Core i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 4K AMOLED display.
With those specs, HP is aiming the Envy 15 at content creators, like videographers, photographers or artists. That puts it among elite competitors in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 15. We haven't gotten our hands on the Envy 15, but based on the following features and specs, it could make a serious splash in the 15-inch premium laptop segment when it arrives later this year.
The Envy 15 is what HP is calling its "hero" laptop but there is also an Envy x360 15 (available with Intel or AMD chips) for those who want the convenience of a convertible. Now let's go over the Envy 15 and the Envy x360 15.
HP Envy 15 price and release date
The Envy 15 is expected to ship in June at a starting price of $1,349. You'll be able to purchase it from Amazon, Costco, Office Depot and directly from HP.
The Envy x360 15 will arrive in early May for $699 with AMD chips or $849 for the Intel version. It will be sold at Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers.
HP Envy 15 design and display
The Envy 15 has a minimalist silver design that, at 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches and 4.7 pounds, is more compact than the latest MacBook Pro (14.1 x 9.7 x 0.6, 4.3 pounds) but heavier and not as thin.
If you're familiar with the Envy design, then the Envy 15 won't surprise you. It has simple, elegant silver aluminum surfaces with clean lines and sharp corners. Frankly, it looks a lot like the MacBook Pro, complete with front-firing speakers on each side of the keyboard, although I prefer the matching silver keys on the HP.
Those speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen whose brand sits opposite of "Envy" on the laptop's palm rest. Port selection is good and includes two Thunderbolt 3 inputs, two USB 3.1 Type-A ports, an HDMI input, an SD card reader and a headphone/mic jack.
Speaking of the display, the Envy 15 comes with a 15.6-inch, 4K (UHD) AMOLED touch screen. If the panel is anywhere as good as other AMOLED screens we've tested (see the Galaxy Chromebook) then it'll put the 16-inch display on the MacBook Pro to bed.
I'll need to get some eyes-on time with the Envy 15 before any definitive conclusions are made, but I like what I'm seeing from the specs. HP says the 4K panel covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and gets up to 400 nits of brightness. Each display is also individually calibrated to have a Delta-E color accuracy rating of under 2.
HP Envy 15 keyboard
I don't usually write about a keyboard I haven't typed on, but there are a few notable things going on with the Envy 15's.
The Envy 15's keyboard doesn't have a numpad but there are dedicated keys for frequently-used apps. Using shortcut keys, you can turn on/off the camera shutter, mute the mic and open HP Command Center. There is also a fingerprint sensor integrated into the keyboard to the left of the arrow keys.
Now, something I'll complain about in my Envy 15 review: the power button. Before I get too worked up, see my complaints about turning the power button into a keyboard key in my Asus ExpertBook B9450 review. The Envy 15 has a similar thing going on, and I'm not looking forward to accidentally powering down the machine.
HP Envy 15 performance and graphics
That processor is an 8-core Comet Lake chip capable of hitting over 5Ghz. Combined with a new vapor chamber cooling system, the Envy 15 delivers significantly more performance over its predecessor.
HP promises 33% faster video editing compared with the old 15-inch MacBook Pro when using Adobe Premiere Rush CC. We'll do our own benchmarks to see how it fares against newer devices.
The Envy 15 should deliver great graphics performance for its size thanks to Nvidia RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics. That should give it a boost over other portable multimedia laptops that come with integrated graphics or weaker discrete GPUs.
HP Envy x360 15
If you want the convenience of a convertible, HP is also selling the Envy x360 15. Interestingly, this isn't a direct spec-for-spec match with the clamshell model as you might expect.
The Envy x360 15 is much cheaper on the low end and comes with fewer premium specs. You can outfit the machine with an AMD Ryzen 4500U CPU or an Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU on the low end. More powerful versions are equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U processor or an Intel Core i7-1065G7 chip.
You won't get the same display as the clamshell Envy 15, either. The Envy x360 can be configured with various 1080p touch screen displays, which get up to a disappointing 250 nits of brightness.
Only the convertible version comes with a numeric keypad, further emphasizing the differences between the x360 15 and Envy 15.
HP Envy 15 outlook
The Envy 15 has been hit-or-miss in the past, but HP has been really bringing it these past few years with its Envy and Spectre laptops. The Envy 13 (also being updated today) is a perfect example. It gives you a striking aluminum design, fast performance and long battery life for well under $1,000.
With the Envy 15, HP is targeting a different audience; one with less concern for the budget and more for creating content using the best possible equipment. With a 4K AMOLED display and up to a 10th Gen Core i9 CPU, the Envy 15 is well on its way to proving that it can meet those needs.
There are still questions surrounding the Envy 15, particularly around battery life. We'll be sure to answer them all once we get our hands on a review unit.