HP Envy 13 (2016) laptop review

An enviable proposition, pity about the average battery life

HP Envy Notebook 13-d002na

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The HP Envy 13 has a 1080p display, which stretches far beyond a 13-inch MacBook Air's 1440 x 900 pixel-resolution screen. The Envy is the cheaper model by £50, which isn't such a surprise these days - affordable Windows laptops with high-resolution displays are growing in numbers. Apple is expected to update its Air and Pro MacBook lines in 2016, so while Windows laptops may prove a better buy in the display front, that might not be the case before the year is out.

However, the Envy 13 also sports double the memory, HD space and a faster processor than Apple's machine. When you look at it this way, the Envy has value for money in spades.

HP Envy Notebook 13-d002na profile

Spec sheet

Here is the full spec sheet of the HP Envy laptop sent to techradar for review:

  • CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4MB Cache, turbo boost up to 3.1GHz)
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
  • Screen: 13.3-inch diagonal IPS Anti-Glare WLED-backlit 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Storage: 256GB M.2 SSD (plus 25GB of free online Dropbox storage for six months)
  • Optical drive: No
  • Ports: 3 x USB 3.0 (1 x HP USB Boost), 1 x HDMI, 1 x headphone/microphone combo, 1 x multi-format SD card reader
  • Connectivity: 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0 combo (Miracast compatible)
  • Camera: HP TrueVision HD Webcam (front-facing) with integrated dual array digital microphone
  • Weight: 1.36kg / 3lb
  • Size: 12.85 x 8.90 x 0.50-inches / 326 x 226 x 12.9mm (W x D x H)

As I mentioned earlier, the HP Envy Notebook 13-d002na undercuts the equivalent Dell XPS 13 by around nearly £500 (around $348) but the Envy saves on its asking price by using a lower res non-touch screen. It can be upgraded to a QHD+ 3200 x 1800 pixel-resolution screen but sadly no touchscreen option is available currently. However, the Dell features a reduced screen bezel which cuts down the footprint by over 22.5mm in height and 26mm in depth when compared to the Envy.

The brand new and updated Asus UX305, the UX305CA, features the new Skylake chip and our review of this model is coming soon. Judging by the UX305, it will be a machine to be reckoned with.

HP Envy Notebook 13-d002na angle


Here's how the HP Envy 13 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 5,293; Sky Diver 3,190; Fire Strike: 810
  • Cinebench: CPU: 300 cb; OpenGL: 38.28 fps
  • PCMark 8 Home: 2,512
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours 30 minutes

In everyday use, I loved the HP Envy 13's zippy boot and shutdown times. Multiple tabs and videos in Microsoft's Edge browser didn't phase it. The Envy also fared well in the Cinemark OpenGL benchmarks, trouncing the Dell XPS 13 (2015) by 9.52 fps. Not only does the faster processor help boost this, but the on-board graphics chip (Intel HD Graphics 520) also runs 1000MHz faster than the Intel Graphics 5500 solution on the XPS.

That said, the screen itself is bright and viewable from all angles. Its white and lighter colours are a little dull at mid-brightness levels but this isn't noticeable when watching movies. It's no Retina Display but it's an above average screen that represents value for money considering all the other bells and whistles this Envy has for its price tag.

PC Mark 8's benchmark registered a disappointing 3 hours 30 minutes, which is nearly an hour less than the Dell XPS 13 that clocked in at 4 hours 21 minutes. HP claims a maximum of 9 hours of productivity, but you would struggle to achieve that even by lowering the brightness to its lowest levels.

I also tested the Envy's 3-cell, 45 Wh Li-ion polymer battery by playing Guardians of the Galaxy on loop overnight in Airplane Mode with the brightness and volume halfway. It fared better but still only hit 4 hours 55 minutes. If there's one aspect of the hardware where the Envy falls down, it's battery life.

HP Envy Notebook 13-d002na top

Bundled software

Here's what you get when it comes to pre-installed programs:

  • McAfee LiveSafe Internet Security – HP's standard bundled antivirus software
  • HP Lounge – HP's own entertainment hub, a little like Spotify
  • HP SimplePass – Software to run the fingerprint scanner