Ever since the “work from home” started, there’s a dire need for good laptops. Consumers are looking for robust yet powerful laptops to keep the office running – laptops that don’t tag along IT-related issues. For most people, a basic laptop good enough to write and make presentations will be enough. However, power users need powerful laptops and HP has something to cater to them. Called the HP Envy 15, it’s an ultrabook that does not compromise on power.
At Rs 1,49,999, the HP Envy 15 is aimed at those who want the ultimate computing experience without compromising on practicality. It has the firepower of a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor along with a midrange NVIDIA graphics card – all while maintaining a slim profile. It is clearly aimed at those who want to carry on their video or photo editing work. At its price, you also have the option to opt for a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro, but without such great specifications.
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Is the HP Envy 15 a good buy for a power user? To find out, I spent two weeks with it and it left me impressed.
The Envy series has spawned some desirable laptops in the past. The 13-inch models look like an exquisite piece of art crafted out of metal. The Envy 15 is bigger and since it has to pack more powerful components, it adapts the elements from the 13-inch model. The designers have done a great job of making the Envy 15 look smart and desirable. The metallic lid has a matte finish with the HP logo sitting in the center. The sides are notably thick but HP designers have cleverly masked the bulk with sharp lines and ridges.
Open the lid and you are greeted by a gorgeously appointed deck finished in the same matte silver finish. The metallic build continues here, and the fit and feel are impeccable. Every surface you touch screams of quality and top-notch attention to detail. My personal favorite is the dual speaker grille that complements the spaced-out deck and a well laid-out keyboard. The trackpad is large and is using glass for a solid user experience.
The display is surrounded by narrow bezels but this is where the Envy 15’s love for quality falls away. After greeted by premium materials everywhere, the bezels are finished in cheap plastics you find in entry-level laptops. I would have loved to see HP relying on a metallic frame or even glass for these bezels. Thankfully, the bezels are unobtrusive and they still incorporate a webcam on the top.
Since the laptop is mostly made of aluminum, it tips the weighing scales at 2.14 Kg. That’s surprising given what it packs inside. The underside has raised lips to allow for smooth ventilation. Despite the slim dimensions, HP has managed to stuff in all the necessary I/O ports. You get two USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a micro SD card reader, and a 3.5m audio/mic port. For wireless connections, there’s Bluetooth 5.0 onboard along with Wi-Fi 6.
The Envy 15 packs a 15.6-inch display with narrow bezels around it. My unit came with a Full HD IPS LCD panel with a refresh rate of 60Hz. This is a good quality LCD panel with a 72 percent NTSC colors, or 100 percent sRGB colors. HP also offers it with an anti-glare coating to cut down on reflections.
By all means, this is an amazing display with high contrasts and bright colors. Viewing angles are wide enough for three people to watch the content together. The refresh rate is stuck at 60Hz and that isn’t much of a bother unless you are gaming. On a bright day, I was comfortably able to see the display in my verandah at the maximum brightness levels. If you are planning to get this for photo editing or video editing, you will love working on this display (unless you have a professional-grade monitor to work with).
The Envy series of ultrabooks are meant for delivering high performance. The Envy 15 gets all the 2020 performance upgrades, although not the latest ones. Beating inside as its heart is a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor with base clock speeds of 2.6GHz and up to 5GHz with TurboBoost. This is accompanied by 16 GB of DDR4-2933 SDRAM. For storage, there’s a 1 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD. An NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti with 6GB GDDR6 RAM takes care of the graphical processing. Windows 10 Home comes preloaded as the OS of choice.
These are highly capable names and they all add up to offer optimum performance. As an ultrabook, the HP Envy 15 runs fast in everything you throw at it. I relied on it heavily for my office work, including writing stories, running the CMS system on Chrome along with 8-9 tabs at once, streaming music in the background, and having Slack opened too. These tasks were a no-brainer for the HP Envy 15.
While working, I found the keyboard to be comfortable enough for writing long documents. However, the key travel isn’t as good as what you find in Lenovo’s ThinkPad notebooks. The feedback from the keys was good though and there isn’t much to complain. The trackpad is precise and easy to live with. However, the placement of the trackpad is weird and unless I disabled it, there were a lot of accidental touches or clicks.
The fingerprint sensor is a nice touch and it helps in unlocking the laptop quite fast. The webcam itself has a nice privacy shutter that can be activated with the dedicated button. However, the camera quality in itself is bad and during several meetings on Teams or Zoom, it did not leave my callers impressed.
What left me impressed though were the speakers. The dual stereo speakers facing you are loud and they sound good. They pack a decent amount of punch for a laptop speaker and during my short YouTube binge breaks, I did not find myself picking up the headphone or my wireless speaker.
Now, the HP Envy 15 is meant for power users such as video and photo editors, or those who use CAD. Since I don’t use editing software, I decided the put the Envy 15 through something it isn’t designed for – gaming. I played my favorite title on the laptop to flex the GTX 1660Ti and the results were good. Codemasters F1 2020 ran in High graphics settings at 1080p resolution. I noticed slight frame drops at this resolution and once I dropped it, I was able to get 60 fps consistently. A 30-minute session of the game saw the laptop become warm but it did not affect the performance. HW Info was indicating temperatures of 99 degrees Celsius after a 30-minute gaming session.
If you are a person who believes benchmarks, I have the numbers for you. On PCMark, the HP Envy 15 managed to score 4,475. I ran GeekBench too and it managed to score 1,243 on a single core. The multi-core score for the Envy 15 was 4989. I could not run CineBench due to a weird bug on the Microsoft Store.
The HP Envy 15 comes with a 6-cell, 83 Wh Li-ion polymer battery inside and is paired to a 200W charging adapter. HP claims up to 16.5 hours of battery life with special use cases. I left the battery in the Better Performance mode of Windows 10 and I managed to get up to six hours of battery life on a single charge. That’s not just average but given the Core i7 processor, I don’t expect more in daily usage. There’s fast charging to fill up 50 percent in 45 minutes but it warms up the keyboard deck noticeably.
Should you buy the HP Envy 15 2020 Edition?
For what it costs, the HP Envy 15 is an impressive laptop. It offers the performance that one needs for video or photo editing. It has a great display to accompany that performance and a solid build to back it up. I think the design is one-of-a-kind and it certainly stands out from the clamshells we are used to seeing at this price range. There’s still scope for improvement in battery life but as a desk computer, it works nicely.
At Rs 1,49,999, the HP Envy 15 has all that it takes to make you consider it over a Dell XPS 13, Asus ZenBook 15, and even a MacBook Air. If you seek raw performance without compromising on practicality and style, the HP Envy 15 2020 edition should be on top of your list.