If you want a stylish yet affordable 15-inch 2-in-1, HP's Envy x360 m6 could be up your alley. Starting at $629 ($899) as configured, this sleek convertible combines an attractive aluminum chassis with strong multitasking performance and accurate audio output, However, the Envy x360 is also packed with compromises, including a dim screen, shallow keyboard and old-fashioned mechanical hard drive.
The sleek, silver aluminum Envy x360 m6 looks like a MacBook when viewed from the front, but the shiny metallic accents of its rear-mounted 360-degree hinges make it more than a copycat. Those hinges allow you to transition the device between display, laptop, tablet and tent modes, and it feels stable in each.
At 0.9 inches thick and 4.6 pounds, the Envy x360 m6 is similar to the Acer Aspire R 15 (0.8 inches, 4.8 pounds), and slightly thicker than the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 (0.7 inches, 4.6 pounds) and the 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 (0.7 inches, 4.2 pounds).
HP placed the Envy's first USB 3.0 port and its security lock slot on the notebook's left side along with the power and volume buttons. Its second USB 3.0 port, non-charging USB Type-C port, HDMI port and SD memory reader are on its right side.
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The Envy x360 m6's 15.6-inch display is crisp, but it suffers from dim, muted colors. When I watched the music video for Missy Elliot's "I'm Better," I noticed that the pink laser lights didn't pop the way they should, while the view from an underwater scene looked gray instead of crystal blue. Still, the 1080p panel wais sharp enough that I could see individual glitter flakes in Missy's makeup and the grout tiling in the floor in the background of the pool scene.
Readings taken with our colorimeter revealed that the x360's screen reproduces only 62 percent of the sRGB spectrum. That's tied with the Inspiron 15 (62 percent), but paltry compared with the Yoga 710 (101 percent), the Aspire R (109 percent) and the mainstream-notebook average (91 percent).
The Envy's display wasn't terribly accurate, scoring a 5.8 on the Delta-E test (lower is better). That's worse than the results from the Aspire (4), the Inspiron 15 (0.9), the Yoga (0.8) and the average for mainstream notebooks (2.6).
I knew the HP convertible's panel was dim, but I wasn't expecting it to measure so low on our brightness test. The panel emitted only 200 nits (an average of brightness). That falls short of the Aspire (310 nits), the Inspiron 15 (244 nits), the Yoga (322 nits) and the mainstream notebook average (267 nits).
Keyboard, Touch Screen, Touchpad
The Envy x360 m6's full-size backlit keyboard needs a little more depth. When I tested it out on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I click-clacked my way to 77 words per minute, a notch below my 80-wpm average. My performance fell because its keys were too shallow, which led my fingertips to bottom out, hitting the deck, which became painful over time. Our subsequent keyboard measurements (1.3 millimeters of travel and a required 60 grams of actuation force) proved that travel is the problem, as we prefer between 1.5 and 2.0 mm.
The convertible's touch-screen display accurately tracked my input as I navigated the desktop. It also had no trouble keeping up with my finger as I speedily doodled in Paint.
The Envy's 4.6 x 2.5-inch buttonless touchpad accepted my swipes and gestures smoothly, recognizing two-finger scrolling and three-digit app-switching. It also provided a solid feel with each click.
The Envy x360 m6 can kick out the tunes. The laptop's speakers filled a large conference room with a solid reproduction of Missy Elliott's "I'm Better." The highs sounded sweet without being too sharp, vocals came through clearly and the bass actually kicked (a rarity considering what passes for bass in a lot of laptops).
This convertible sounds so great, thanks to tuning from Bang & Olufsen. Keep it locked to the Music preset, as I heard no real benefit from using the Movies or Voice settings.
Equipped with an Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 7,200-rpm 1TB hard drive, our review configuration of the Envy x360 m6 offers strong mainstream performance and multitasking. I didn't notice any lag even after I split my screen between 12 Chrome tabs (including Slack, TweetDeck and Google Docs) and a 1080p YouTube video. The system stayed responsive once I launched a full-system scan in Windows Defender.
Thanks to its 7th-Gen Core i7 CPU, the Envy x360 m6 notched a solid score of 8,069 on the Geekbench 3 general performance test. Because of their less-powerful, older CPUs, the $649 Acer Aspire R 15 (Core i5-6200U) (5,318), the $749 Inspiron 15 (Core i5-6200U) (6,499) and the $949 Yoga 710 (Core i7-6500U) had results of 5,318, 6,499 and 6,681, respectively.
Targeted toward a price-conscious audience, the Envy x360 m6 uses a 1TB hard drive rather than a speedy, but smaller and more expensive SSD. As a result, HP's laptop completed our File transfer test in a modest time of 1 minute and 40 seconds, a transfer rate of 50.9 MBps. That might beat the 29.9 MBps drive (1TB, 5,400 rpm) in the Aspire R 15, but the 122.6 MBps SSD in the Inspiron 15 and the 164.2 MBps SSD in the Yoga 710 smoked it with their times, as does the 162.8 MBps average for mainstream notebooks.
The HP convertible matched 20,000 names to addresses in our OpenOffice Spreadsheet Macro test in 3 minutes and 35 seconds. That's faster than the times posted by the Aspire R 15 (4:59), the Inspiron 15 (4:47)and the Yoga 710 (4:02), as well as the average for mainstream notebooks (4:21).
You won't be able to play anything close to a demanding game on this notebook, as it could only run the Dirt 3 racer (set to 1920x1080 and medium graphics) at 22 frames per second. That's below our 30 fps playability threshold.
Games with more modest requirements should run smoothly on the Intel HD 620 Graphics-powered Envy x360 m6, which scored a 74,705 on the Ice Storm Unlimited graphics benchmark test. That beats the Intel HD 520-equipped Aspire R 15 (49,995) and Inspiron 15 (64,067), but it's behind the average for mainstream notebooks (82,322) and the Nvidia GeForce 940 MX-based Yoga 710 (84,670).
Mainstream 15-inch notebooks aren't really known for great battery life, and the Envy x360 m6 won't change that perception. It lasted only 6 hours and 15 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test (web-surfing over Wi-Fi at 100 nits of brightness), which is near the average for mainstream portables (6:31) and longer than the Aspire R 15 (5:20). The Inspiron 15 and the Yoga 710 get more out of a full charge at 6:55 and 9:19, respectively.
The Envy's 0.9-megapixel webcam shoots grainy, but color-accurate photos. When I shot a selfie in our office, it correctly captured the red of a wall and the dark, dark blue of my shirt. However, the overaching blotchiness took out any sort of detail.
This HP convertible is one cool customer. After we streamed 15 minutes of full-screen HD video on the notebook, our heat gun captured temperatures of 81 degrees Fahrenheit on its touchpad, 83 degrees on the G&H keys and 89 degrees along the underside. Those temperatures were well beneath our 95 degree comfort threshold.
We're used to seeing notebooks come with bloatware such as Candy Crush Saga and Netflix preloaded, but HP throws in a link to Priceline.com and an Amazon shopping app. Buying a new computer shouldn't require any digital house-cleaning on day one, but that's what you'll be doing after that initial boot.
HP also tosses in a few proprietary apps, including JumpStart, which walks you through Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts and system customization. There's also Recovery Manager, which provides maintenance options, and Audio Switch, which makes it simpler to manage audio input and output.
The entry-level 15-inch Envy x360 m6 is sold by HP for $629 and includes a Core i5-7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive. HP also sells it with a Core i7-7500 CPU, 16GB of memory and that same 1TB 5,400-rpm hard drive for $729.
The $899 Best Buy-exclusive model we tested is almost the same as the above $729 model, but it has a faster hard drive (1TB 7,200 rpm). It's clearly not worth a $170 premium just to go from a 5,400-rpm drive to a slightly faster one. A better, albeit pricier version is the $949 model sold by HP that packs both a 1TB 7,200-rpm drive and a 128GB SSD.
The HP Envy x360 m6 is a sexy, speedy 2-in-1 that thrives when it's doing tons of multitasking at the office and blasting tunes after-hours. Although the $899 configuration we tested is a bit pricey for a laptop with a mediocre screen and a mechanical hard drive, the $730 or $629 models offer good value for the money.
However, if you're looking for an affordable 15-inch 2-in-1, the Acer Aspire R 15 provides decent performance and a bright display for only $550. And if you can spend a full $949, the speedy 15-inch Lenovo Yoga 710 offers a great keyboard, speedy SSD and long battery life. However, if you want a good balance between performance, style and price, the HP Envy x360 m6 is a worthy choice.
Credit: Jeremy Lips/Laptop Mag