HP Envy vs HP Spectre (2020)

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HP Envy and HP Spectre

HP has numerous good to very good notebooks & convertibles in its range and is one of the big players on the world market. Especially the current generation of HP notebooks can convince, as the good ratings show. In this article we compare the HP Envy x360 versus the HP Spectre x360. Below you will find the results of the test in the form of a Ranking. You will also find an in-depth analysis of each of the two Laptops below the Ranking.

Winner
HP Spectre x360 2019 13T Gemcut Laptop i7-8565U 1.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 10 Home, USB C, 13.3 FHD Touchscreen, B&O Speakers, Win 10 Home, 3 Years Mcafee Internet Security
Best Price
HP Envy x360 15.6-in Full HD Touchscreen AMD Ryzen 5 8GB 256GB SSD 2-in 1 Convertible Laptop (Renewed)
Model
Spectre x360
Envy x360
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent April 2020
Test Result 9.2/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
HP
HP
RAM
16GB
8 GB
CPU
Intel i7-8565U
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Quad-Core
Graphics Card
Intel UHD620
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Storage Capacity
512GB SSD
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
2.92 lbs
6.06 lbs
Pros
  • Best Perfomance
  • Convertible
  • Fast SSD
  • Good Performance
  • Great Battery
  • Many Ports
Cons
  • Display Mirroring in Sunlight
  • Display less colorful
Winner
HP Spectre x360 2019 13T Gemcut Laptop i7-8565U 1.8GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 10 Home, USB C, 13.3 FHD Touchscreen, B&O Speakers, Win 10 Home, 3 Years Mcafee Internet Security
Model
Spectre x360
Test Result
Test Result 9.6/10 Excellent April 2020
Manufacturer
HP
RAM
16GB
CPU
Intel i7-8565U
Graphics Card
Intel UHD620
Storage Capacity
512GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
2.92 lbs
Pros
  • Best Perfomance
  • Convertible
  • Fast SSD
Cons
  • Display Mirroring in Sunlight
Best Price
HP Envy x360 15.6-in Full HD Touchscreen AMD Ryzen 5 8GB 256GB SSD 2-in 1 Convertible Laptop (Renewed)
Model
Envy x360
Test Result
Test Result 9.2/10 Very Good April 2020
Manufacturer
HP
RAM
8 GB
CPU
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Quad-Core
Graphics Card
AMD Radeon Vega 8
Storage Capacity
256GB SSD
Battery Time
Value for money
Weight
6.06 lbs
Pros
  • Good Performance
  • Great Battery
  • Many Ports
Cons
  • Display less colorful

Ranking First: HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360 Score: 9.2 / 10

Pros

  • Good Perfomance
  • Convertible
  • Fast SSD

Cons

  • Display Mirroring in Sunlight

The Spectre x360 series from HP consists of high-performance convertibles with an exceptional design. The Spectre x360 with Intel Optane scores with a fantastic display, powerful hardware and a large SSD. This makes it interesting for everyone who is looking for a versatile and robust notebook that can handle demanding tasks without grumbling.

We’ve already had several notebooks from this series in the editorial office that cut a good figure in the tests. The x360 15 is now the first Spectre notebook with Intel Optane SSD. But before I explain if and how much more performance is available through Optane, there are the technical specifications.

Scope of delivery

The scope of delivery is clearly arranged. You get the Spectre x360, charger including cable, a leather case for the notebook as well as some paperwork with setup instructions and technical declaration of conformity.

All in all, the scope of delivery meets the expectations and the standard. The only negative thing is that each part is packed separately in plastic. That really doesn’t have to be the case nowadays.

Design

HP Spectre x360

The design of the Spectre x360 series is striking. In contrast to many other notebooks, the convertibles are angular. The display edges are bevelled at the hinge. There is also a clearly visible bevel on the side edges. The sides are set off in rose gold and further emphasize the edges. Whether one likes it is of course purely a matter of taste. But it is always an eye-catcher.

The edges do not remain unused. On the left side there is the power button, on the right is one of the Thunderbolt 3 connectors. The color is called Dark Ash Silver. Behind this name is ultimately an anthracite tone. HP uses aluminum for the case. This is of course always chic, but unfortunately it means that you have to clean a lot to remove fingerprints. The disadvantage of aluminum is that it attracts fingerprints like a magnet.

The combination of rose gold with anthracite looks very beautiful

The keyboard is located in a small recess. This ensures that it will not be damaged if you use the Spectre x360 in stand-alone mode. Additionally, there are four small spacers on the surface. These prevent the surface from being scratched when using the notebook in stand-up mode. They are positioned in such a way that they are not noticeable or disturbing in everyday use.

The keyboard extends over the entire width of the notebook. The touchpad is slightly offset to the left, but that doesn’t disturb while typing. You also have a complete Numpad here. The resistance of the keys is very low. Thus, typing feels spongy at first. But the feeling subsides quickly and then even longer texts on the keyboard are fun.

The fingerprint reader is also here in front of the Numpad and can be reached easily.

In front of the display there is a fine grid under which the two Bang & Olufsen speakers are located.

The display frames are pleasantly narrow at the sides, but relatively wide at the top and bottom. A reflective HP logo is attached to the lower display frame. The webcam and the sensors for face recognition are mounted in the upper display frame. There is a large HP logo on the display lid. Otherwise, the lid is blank.

No disturbing edges or burrs, no uneven gaps. In this price class, everything else would also be an unacceptable condition.

Connections / Terminals

HP did everything right when it comes to the connectors. 2x Thunderbolt 3, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A, 1x USB 3.1 Type C, HDMI and a microSD card reader. So you have the free choice of any peripherals to be connected.

All connections are located in the back of the notebook. On the left side you will find the 3.5mm connector, the HDMI port and the power connector. On the right side you have the card reader, the USB-A port, a USB-C port and on the bevelled edge the second Thunderbolt 3 connector. This positioning has the advantage that you can connect the Spectre x360 to an external monitor via Thunderbolt 3 and the cable is led away to the back. This makes the desk a little more tidy.

On the right side there is a small switch in front of the USB-A port. It serves to switch off the webcam.

Display

The display is a 4K touch display and therefore it is a reflective display. Of course it is comfortable to operate the notebook with a pen or finger. However, glossy displays have the disadvantage that there are many reflections. The 3840x2160px resolution makes sure that all your content is crisp and sharp.

Touch inputs are recognised quickly and precisely. This also works if you want to use touch in normal laptop operation. The display is firm enough that this is possible and wobbles only briefly. The display is protected against scratches with Corning Gorilla Glass, which is also used in smartphone displays.

HP installed an OLED panel in this Spectre x360. That means for you, rich and vivid colors and a black that is really deep black. Another plus point is the brightness. With an average of 338 cd/m², you have a very bright display here.

The Spectre x360 also scores points for color space coverage. 100% sRGB, 93% NTSC and 96% AdobeRGB are all excellent values. So you can also perform color-critical tasks. Thanks to the MX150, even small video editing is no problem with this notebook.

Software

The Spectre x360 comes with Windows 10 Pro 64-bit preinstalled. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of bloatware in this 1900 USD notebook. Candy Crush is, of course, part of it. There is also a dropbox special, McAfee and Netflix. Thankfully, unwanted stuff can be completely uninstalled.

There is also some HP software, such as the HP Support Assistant. With it you can easily keep your system drivers up to date and contact HP support in case of need.

418 GB are still free on the 512 GB SSD when delivered.

Performance

With the powerful Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM and the NVMe-SSD you have enough power for all kinds of tasks. However, you have to make sacrifices when it comes to gaming. The MX250 graphics card provides acceleration for image and photo editing, but it’s not really suitable for gaming. But the Spectre x360 is not intended for gaming.

Applications start up quickly and switching between applications is smooth and almost instantaneous. Even if you render a small video, for example, you can still surf the web or watch YouTube without any problems and without jerking. The SSD partly performs considerably worse in benchmarks than the one in the Spectre x360 model without Optane. But the differences aren’t noticeable in everyday life.

The notebook’s special feature is the 32 GB Optane memory. Put simply, this is a kind of non-volatile RAM, i.e. the data stored there is retained even after the notebook is switched off.

Ultimately, Optane is supposed to remember how you use your notebook and make the system faster by providing the necessary data.

This works quite well so far. While the first loading of a program went as usual, the second start was much faster – no matter how often I restarted the notebook. An example: Photoshop is not known to be one of the fastest programs when starting. The first start took about 13 seconds. Afterwards, the loading times were reduced to six to eight seconds.

You can choose which programs and folders are permanently considered by Intel Optane. To do this, right-click the appropriate folder/exe file and select “Pin to Intel Optane Memory” from the context menu. A small blue pin will show you whether the files are in Optane memory or not.

Optane makes no sense with small files. It’s strength comes into play with large files and programs.

Battery

The battery of this notebook is 84 Wh. The Spectre x360 thus lasted 4:21 hours in the benchmark. The brightness was fixed at 200 cd/m². This corresponds to a little over 70% brightness. If you turn the brightness down further, you can extend the battery life even further. Since the display is very bright, you can easily turn the brightness down to 50% without having to worry that you won’t see anything on the screen.

The battery supports fast charging and should reach 50% charge in about 45 minutes. Should you run out of juice on the way, a short stop at the power outlet is enough.

Noise and Temperature ( Overheating)

In normal operation, you will only hear the Spectre x360 occasionally. However, as with the model without Optane, the fans emitted a quiet high-frequency whistling noise. The volume is such that it is just perceptible, it is drowned out by normal office noises. The 13″ version of the Spectre x360 did not whistle.

This notebook also had to endure the stress test, in which the hardware is fully challenged. Many notebooks get really loud during this test. The Spectre does not. The fan’s volume remained at a pleasantly low level.

The fans do a good job and make sure that the temperatures in the Spectre don’t go into dangerous areas. The CPU warmed up to a maximum of 68° in the stress test and the GPU reached a maximum of 74° Celsius.

Upgrades

In principle, the Spectre x360 can be upgraded. Two visible screws and the screws hidden under the glued rubber feet must be loosened. If you want to remove the feet, you have to be careful, because there is a risk of destroying them. For this reason I have refrained from removing the bottom side.

With the previous models only the SSD could be exchanged. But with a 512 GB SSD this might not be necessary.

Sound System

The sound is quite useful for a notebook. The Bang & Olufsen speakers provide a largely balanced sound. The lows are only faintly recognizable, but the mids and highs are in a good proportion. The more you turn up the volume, the more the sound shifts towards the highs. However, all notebooks display this behavior. On the positive side, the sound doesn’t tend to get shrill, but is simply loud.

If you want to relax watching Netflix with the Spectre x360 or indulge in your favorite playlist on Spotify, you can do so at medium volume without any problems. At this setting it’s definitely loud enough.

Conclusion

The Spectre x360 15 fits seamlessly into the image of the previous convertibles in this series. It is superbly crafted, has a great display, powerful hardware and plenty of memory. It also scores points for battery life. The NVMe-SSD is partly considerably slower than in the model without Intel Optane. But this is hardly noticeable in everyday life. With Intel Optane you also have the possibility to open programs and files faster than before. This is especially noticeable with large files.

But it’s not a bargain. HP would like to see just under 1579 USD from you for the Convertible. If you don’t like anthracite as a color, this model offers an alternative in dark blue.

Ranking Second: HP Envy x360

Hp ENvy x360

Pros

  • Good Perfomance
  • Great Battery
  • Many Ports

Cons

  • Display less Colorful

The HP Envy series is aimed at all users who want to work on the move and need a robust device. The ENVY 13 is quite a powerhouse on paper. Intel Core i7 of the 10th generation, 16 GB RAM, Nvidia MX250 and lots of memory. Most use cases should be easily covered with this. And that also works out pretty well.

We’ve already had several notebooks from this series in the office that cut a good figure in the tests. The x360 15 is now the first Spectre notebook with Intel Optane SSD. But before I explain if and how much more performance is available through Optane, here are the technical specifications.

Design

Edgy. This is the first impression I had of the ENVY 13. There are almost no curves here. Despite the angular design there are no sharp transitions or ridges. The processing is generally flawless.

The display frames are pleasantly narrow on the sides, only the upper and lower frames are wider. HP has placed the HD webcam in the upper frame. The width of the lower frame is due to the grid for the speakers being above the keyboard. HP uses the space in the frame for a glossy HP logo. The frames are reflective. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they like this design or not.

The keyboard is located in a small recess so that it does not come into contact with the display when the ENVY 13 is shut. The keys have a very short stroke and offer very little resistance. Personally, I like a little more resistance when typing. But it is quite easy to type on the keyboard after a short period of getting used to it.

The display of the ENVY 13 lifts the notebook a little when you open it. On the one hand, the keyboard is slightly slanted and this results in a more pleasant typing feeling than a completely horizontal keyboard. On the other hand, the slight lifting of the bottom is supposed to allow a better airflow for cooling.

If you don’t need the webcam or want to deactivate it, you will find a small switch on the right side with which it can be deactivated.

HP relies entirely on aluminum for the materials. Thus, the Envy is very robust and stiff. I like it a lot.

Connections / Terminals

HP envy side

At first glance, the connections are the standard: 2x USB-A and 1x USB-C. You will see that you can get quite far with them.

Of the connections, only the USB-A port on the left side is a pure data connection. The USB-A port on the right side lets you charge your devices if you want to. HP Sleep and Charge is also supported on this port. So you can charge your smartphone even when the ENVY 13 is in standby.

The USB-C port supports Power Delivery 3.0 as well as DisplayPort™ 1.2 and HP Sleep and Charge. So you can connect pretty much anything your heart desires. If the connections are not enough for you, simply plug a docking station into it.

I think the microSD card reader is very cool. If you take a lot of photos and videos, you will appreciate it. This feature should be available on many more notebooks.

Software

The ENVY 13 comes with Windows 10, so far so good. Unfortunately it is not a clean Windows version, but there is some additional software available. These are for example Farm Heroes Saga or Candy Crush Saga. Additionally there is a McAfee trial version and a Dropbox special. Who likes that: Great ! For everyone else: You can completely uninstall the apps.

In addition, there are HP programs that are designed to make your life easier. For example, the HP Command Center, where you can set thermal profiles and control the fan performance. Another tool is the HP Support Assistant. There you can determine whether you want to install updates automatically or whether you want to send usage data to HP. In the tool itself you will find an overview of available updates, the system status and easy ways to contact HP support.

In delivery state, 407 of 476 GB are still free on the SSD.

Performance

Thanks to the combination of the Quad-core Intel Core i7-10510U of the 10th Gen. (Comet Lake), 16 GB RAM and the Nvidia MX 250, even computing-intensive tasks like image editing and rendering smaller videos go smoothly. The CPU works with a base clock rate of 1.8 GHz and reaches a proud 4.9 GHz in turbo on a core.

The SSD isn’t the fastest under the sun, but it is fast enough that even larger amounts of data can be loaded quickly. The differences between the built-in SSD and the top models should hardly be noticeable in everyday life, though.

Battery

The battery should last 14 hours according to HP. If you stick to the display brightness of 40% set by the energy profile “Balanced” and only use light things like surfing or Word, then this may be possible. The fact that the value is not reached in everyday life is no big deal, as these specifications usually refer to laboratory conditions.

In everyday life the whole thing looks a little different. With the given brightness, you can get there for almost eight hours with Microsoft Office and surfing. So the workday is clearly feasible. However, you have to accept a rather dark display for this. You can still see everything well in the office. But only as long as there is no direct light. Working with graphics software – for example with Photoshop – is no fun.

If you turn up the brightness, the battery won’t last that long. At 90% brightness (200 cd/m²) – yes, the brightness does not seem to scale linearly – I still managed to work for well over six hours with a mix of Photoshop, Lightroom, Surfing and Office. The exact runtime depends on your activities, of course.

The Envy 13 also supports HP Fast Charge. This means that a completely discharged battery is recharged to 50% within 45 minutes. Necessary stops at the power outlet can thus be kept short.

Noise and Temperature ( Overheating)

In everyday life you don’t even hear the ENVY 13. Surfing, Office, YouTube. There is no sound.

If you push the notebook hard enough, you can hear it. The sounds are so loud that normal office noises can’t drown them out. But even then, you will only hear them if you listen consciously. Because it is nothing but noise. The high-frequency whistling that occurs in many flat notebooks does not occur here.

The temperature development is also kept within good limits. Keyboard and wrist-rest stay cool even under load, the case only gets warmer in front of the display. The temperatures also stay well under 40°. It looks similar on the bottom. So you can put the Envy 13 on your legs and use it under heavy load without problems.

Upgrades

HP does not make it easy for you to get at the inner workings of the Envy 13.

There are only two visible screws. More should be under the glued rubber strips at the bottom. Since the danger is quite high that they will be destroyed when removing them, I did not attempt this.

However, given the built-in components, it’s not like you would would need to get to your hardware. The Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD should be sufficient for a while.

Sound System

Now onto my favorite chapter. Not. The sound on notebooks, and especially on flat notebooks, is lousy in most cases. The Envy 13 with its four speakers is one of the few exceptions. It delivers a reasonable sound. Depths are naturally only weak – the case has no resonance chamber. But mids and highs are in a reasonable proportion to each other.

Fortunately, this does not change when you turn up the volume. In most cases, the treble becomes so dominant that it hurts your ears. They do become more dominant on the Envy 13. But they are not shrill.

Conclusion

Apart from the reflective display, there’s no reason to complain about the Envy 13 x360, but that’s always a matter of taste. The workmanship is flawless and the built-in hardware leaves nothing to be desired for everyday use. You get a bright display, a 10th generation Intel CPU, a good SSD with lots of memory, lots of RAM and a dedicated graphics card. With this, even computationally intensive tasks can be done quickly. I was especially surprised by the battery life. I wouldn’t have expected that the Envy 13 x360 would last this long.

For the price of under $600 you really get a lot offered here. So if you are looking for a power pack for on the road, you should definitely take a look.


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2 thoughts on “HP Envy vs HP Spectre (2020)”

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