These days there isn’t a lot of innovation when it comes to designing laptops. Most follow a conventional design and differentiate themselves by the quality of the hardware and software. At first glance, you may think that the HP Envy x360 15 (2023) is another run-of-the-mill laptop. But there is more than what meets the eye. The Envy x360 15 features an OLED display and an ‘IMAX Enhanced’ certification.
With a price point of around ₹1 lakh, is this a laptop worthy of your attention? With solid build quality, an excellent keyboard, best-in-class speakers, and a high-quality webcam, it should definitely be up there.
The Envy x360 15 is a laptop that you shouldn’t judge by its cover. It’s a laptop that, thankfully, gets all the basics right, which is quite hard for a lot of laptops currently out there in the market.
The Envy x360 15, as the name suggests, is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop. For review, I was sent the Core i5 variant with an OLED display (there is also a 4K variant), which I’ve been using for about two weeks as my daily driver.
The first thing I noticed is the great build quality. I’ve accidentally bumped the laptop into a wall or a door, a few too many times. Yet, there isn’t a scratch or a coat of paint that has come off. The laptop fails the ‘one-hand open’ test, but beyond that, it’s built like a tank and the display has little-to-no flex. It’s constructed of recycled aluminium. The speakers use ocean-bound plastic. To me, this is one of the best-built laptops in recent memory. The rounded edges (versus some laptops with sharp edges) are very much a positive thing. The finishing - matte black - of the laptop is top-notch. It’s devoid of fingerprints and smudges.
The 60% layout of the keyboard is pretty good. I wouldn’t say it’s the best out there, but I’ve typed at least seven articles on this keyboard and my typing speed has been consistently high. There’s ample space to rest your palm and fatigue never sets in.
The touchpad is a little flaky, as I noticed accidental clicks, and sometimes none at all. It’s wide and spacious but could have been better.
Last, but not least, let’s go talk about the ports: the HP Envy x360 15 has two USB Type-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a full-size SD card slot (a rarity in today’s laptops), an HDMI port and a headphone jack. The only thing missing is an ethernet port but who really uses one in 2023?
The variant I received for review has a 15.6-inch Full-HD OLED display with an ‘IMAX Enhanced’ certification. There’s a toned-down variant, which features an LCD display and no ‘IMAX Enhanced’ certification.
I’ll let you in on a secret. Get the OLED variant. Not because of the extra ‘IMAX Enhanced’ certification (which no one knows if it is genuinely useful or not) but because OLEDs are a class apart from LCD displays. The IMAX certification aims to provide an immersive viewing experience similar to watching something at a cinema hall.
Let me boil it down for you and ask you one simple question; why do people watch movies on IMAX screens? The answer is simple. It’s because the screen is gigantic (larger than a regular 2D screen) and goes edge-to-edge. On an IMAX screen, you’re able to feel more life-like images and feel like you’re actually in the movie.
How are you supposed to do that on a 15.6-inch screen? I found IMAX content to be pretty redundant on this laptop. It reduces the black bars and makes them less intrusive. That’s about it.
With all that said, the HP Envy x360 15 is one of the best laptops out there to consume media. There are better and more vibrant colours, better contrast, and a good amount of brightness (400 nits) along with 100 percent sRGB space. This makes the Envy x360 15 a winner in terms of media consumption.
While the Envy x360 15 has a top-notch display, it isn’t the best laptop out there for content creators (here’s looking at you Asus and Apple). It isn’t as colour accurate as some of the competitors’ displays. Neither does it have the best-in-class speakers. If you’re specifically after louder, clearer speakers, the competition has HP beat. The Envy x360 15 speakers are tuned by Bang & Olufsen and have feature-rich bass and good soundstage but only until 70 percent volume.
One doesn’t need a Core i7 variant. That’s something I never thought I’d type. Within the Envy x360 15 that I got for testing, there’s a 13-th Gen Intel Core-i5 processor, a 512GB SSD and 16GB LPDDR5 RAM.
Those specifications were more than enough to handle all my daily tasks. From editing photos to playing casual games and having dozens of Google Chrome tabs open, multitasking was a breeze. With Iris Xe graphics (versus a dedicated graphics card) this isn’t the laptop for video editing and/or gaming. Once you take that into account, the performance is up there with the rest.
The laptop never lagged and neither did it heat up. Using it in its various modes, thanks to the 2-in-1 form factor was thoroughly enjoyable. The touch was very responsive, and switching between windows was a smooth experience. The only downside is that the display has a 60Hz refresh rate.
One last thing to note is that the Envy x360 15 comes with a 5MP webcam (and a physical shutter) along with AI enhancements. HP is leading the game when it comes to hybrid work and I was satisfied with the quality of the webcam and microphone.
One area where I was pleasantly surprised was the battery backup. The Envy x360 15 features a 4-cell 55Wh Li-on battery and comes with a 65W USB Type-C power adapter. I comfortably got about seven hours of usage, when I didn’t play any games. I had to watch a couple of movies for work on Vimeo, and that didn’t kill the battery as much as I thought it would. The laptop takes roughly 75 minutes to fully charge. The braided cable is something I haven’t seen and it is much more durable.
With superb build quality, an excellent OLED display, good, dependable performance, and the 2-in-1 form factor, the Envy x360 15 is by far the best HP laptop for under ₹1 lakh. The jury is still out on the ‘IMAX Enhanced’ certification, but the display is top-notch and battery life is solid.
If you’re a professional gamer or a video editor, then the Envy x360 15 isn’t for you. For everyone else, this laptop is a solid choice.
Sahil Bhalla is a Delhi-based journalist
Also read: The top laptops from CES 2023