The new AMD Ryzen mobile processors embody the great return of the designer under the keyboards of our laptops. HP put on one of these chips to power its seductive Envy x360 13, touted as a real nomad, very versatile. Deal?
The Envy x360 13 new generation is here. If usually, it is the Intel processors that have always been praised by HP on this type of machine, in this season, things change. On the 13-ag0999nf model, it’s an AMD Ryzen 5 at the helm. Yes, you read correctly, the American chose one of the latest generations APU processors from the red designer.
Models launched at the end of last year, to offer hybrid machines with a template and a tight price. With the Envy, we are talking about a 13.3-inch hybrid, which should normally be more versatile than references equipped with Core i3 or Core i5. Why? Simply because the graphics part of the Ryzen processor is known to be much faster than the Intel UHD graphics controller, implanted in the latest generations of Core. Clearly, we could indulge in some fun video games with Envy.
The Envy x360 13 (13-ag0999nf) is announced at a price of 1000 euros but it is already found around 900 euros on the Web. Also know that two other versions of the machine are available, respectively sold at 850 and 1200 euros on the online site of HP and everywhere on the Web. The main differences with our test model: a less powerful processor on the first; a 4K screen, the double of memory and storage on the second.
At HP, the Envy range is sandwiched between the Pavilion, the consumer notebook, and the Specter, the top of the basket. A kind of in-between, displaying neat finishes, a generally rather powerful configuration and, above all, an attractive price.
On paper, the Envy x360 13 hybrid meets all these criteria. Moreover, once the machine unpacked and auscultated from every angle, difficult not to find him a furious look of resemblance with his big brother, Specter x360 13.
Let’s go even further, in terms of aesthetics, the two-hybrid laptops are equal. We find almost the same case, profiled forwards, with a nice metallic finish on the back of the screen and the bottom (the keyboard piano retains its magnesium alloy). Even the hinges of the screen, typical of a hybrid laptop PC, adopt the same lines. Recall that they allow the latter to make a complete turn around the keyboard to use the machine in different positions (PC classic tablet, tent or stand).
Passed to the board and on the scale, the Envy offers almost the same dimensions as its high-end alter ego, a few millimeters. Weight, it differs slightly: 1.23 kg for the Specter and 1.3 kg for Envy. All this fits in a pocket tissue.
Side keyboard, same observation. From the silkscreening of the letters, the backlighting of the keys to the shape and/or layout of the “Enter” and “<>” keys a little different from those usually found on a keyboard, this Envy has everything ‘a ghost. In terms of seizure comfort, very good, we are in known terrain. The sensations of glide experienced on the touchpad, not terrible, unfortunately, remain also unchanged.
Even the power buttons, volume control, headphone jack, and microSD card reader are in the same place.
Tariff positioning requires differences remain. The most visible is at the level of connectivity. For example, the Spectrum x360 13 is only equipped with USB Type-C and a mains charger adopting the same socket to power the battery. The Envy x360 13 is more classic. Here, no USB Type-C but 3 full-size USB 3 and a proprietary connector for charging. Finally, it should be noted that on the Spectrum, a fingerprint sensor is on the right side; on the Envy, there is none.
A Bright And Contrasted Screen
The Envy x360 13 can boast a 13.3-inch gloss screen of good quality. Which was not quite the case of Spectrum. We measured the average maximum brightness at 331 cd / m2, which is not staggering but still makes it possible to fight effectively against the luminous reflections captured by the brilliant coating of the slab. The contrast ratio, for its part, flirts with 1200: 1, a very high value for an IPS panel, guaranteeing deep blacks and bright colors.
In our tests, however, we struggled with the VariBright technology in the AMD driver. This takes control of the default settings of Windows and is intended to limit the brightness of the slab when the machine runs on battery. By default, it seems that HP had the heavy hand: the brightness goes from 331 cd / m2 to 133 cd / m2. In other words, in these conditions, the machine is unusable. Better to either adjust the Everbright to your liking or disable it and then vary the intensity by hand, depending on where you are and, most importantly, the visual comfort sought.
Ryzen 5, Not The Same As The Core i5
To evaluate the performance of the Envy x360 13 – and thus the Ryzen 5, we used another machine from the HP team, the last Spectrum x360 13 spent in our hands. The latter embeds one of the latest Intel Core i5, 8 GB of memory (LPDDR3 and non-DDR4 as the Envy) and the same amount of SSD (256 GB). He, too, lacks a dedicated 3D graphics part.
Clearly, on paper, the two platforms are substantially identical, which should allow us to appreciate the performance and capabilities of the new APU AMD notebook. By comparing the results obtained in all our tests, the Envy x360 13 often remains behind the Specter x360. This is the case in PC Mark 8 and PC Mark 10, for example, where the AMD platform often scores 100 to 900 points less than the Intel version. However, in concrete cases of use such as surfing the Internet, multimedia or office applications, we did not have to deplore any lack of responsiveness of the machine. That’s the main thing and that’s why his Global Performance rating is very correct.
Let’s move on to the 3D part, an area in which the Vega 8 of the Ryzen must be illustrated. In 3D Mark, it is more comfortable than the integrated Intel controller. It scores nearly 1000 points more on the test portion that focuses only on pure and hard 3D (Cloud Gate Graphics Score) performance. The overall score is also in favor of AMD.
However, on real video games, there, the Radeon shines more than that. Worse, it is almost equal with the Intel UHD Core i5 and is not more comfortable or able to collect a higher level of detail, both in HD and HD. We expected a little better from him.
Given the benefits of the platform, we did not expect that the ventilation of the Envy is noticeable. If the Spectrum device was very quiet (33.5 dB maximum raised), that of the Envy, it gives the voice and emits up to 37.1 dB. Given the temperature of the air ejected through the openings, it is clear that this action is justified. A warmth that, thankfully, does not diffuse or feel on the rest of the case. The mercury does not exceed 32.7 ° C on the palm rest and under the machine, we found that a peak at 46.4 ° C maximum. Values which, for information, are substantially the same as those found on the case of Spectrum x360.
Endurance Is Not At All At The Rendezvous
Finally, let’s talk about autonomy. It is probably in this matter that the Envy x360 13 has disappointed us the most. We did not expect him to be able to do the same feats as his Spectrum counterpart (8:20 past our versatile use scenario, over 10 hours of low definition video playback) because, again, it would be difficult for HP to justify such a price gap between the two machines.
Nevertheless, for a hybrid notebook PC of this format, not being able to hold a minimum of 6 hours must be sanctioned without any other form of trial. With our protocols, at best, the Envy takes 4 hours 12 minutes in versatile autonomy and 4 hours in low definition video playback. And if you’re addicted to Full HD content, you’ll only be able to count on it for just 3.30 hours of continuous playback.