HP Envy x360 13 (2020) review: This small 2-in-1 is more premium than its price

Josh Goldman/CNET

If I was still commuting regularly on a bus or train, the HP Envy x360 13 two-in-one laptop would be on my shortlist. It would also be a top consideration if I were shopping for an older high school or college student. It’s small, stylish and light at just less than 3 pounds (1.3 kg). Battery life is long despite the size. And the AMD Ryzen 5-4500U processor delivered performance beyond that of pricier Intel chips. Add in fast Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 and, essentially, you’re getting a speedy little two-in-one that’s ready for working from home or remote learning but is also ready for your backpack. 

LikeSmaller and higher-quality than you’d normally get for its priceSolid performance, battery life for its size

Don’t LikeMemory soldered onGlossy display makes outside use difficult

The Envy x360 normally starts at $700 and the configuration I tested is $800 (£800, AU$2,000). (For those looking to spend even less, check out our list of best laptops under $500.) The price is more than reasonable for what you get, but the biggest issue I have with the Envy x360 13 is its availability. 

A $1,000 version comes in and out of stock and the same is true of my configuration, the Envy x360 13-ay0010nr. You can get a better configuration from Costco right now with twice the storage and a faster processor for $900, although it’s been as low as $750 from the warehouse club. The 15.6-inch version has more availability, so if you don’t mind a larger display, it starts at $700. 

HP Envy x360 13 (2020, 13-inch)

Price as reviewed

$800

Display size/resolution

13.3-inch, 1,920×1,080-pixel IPS touchscreen

Processor

2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5-4500U

Memory

8GB DDR4 (soldered)

Graphics

512MB Radeon

Storage

256GB PCIe NVME SSD

Ports

2x USB-A (3.1 Gen 1), 1x USB-C (3.1 Gen 2), MicroSD

Networking

Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.0

Operating system

Microsoft Windows Home

Weight

2.9 pounds (1.3 kg)

Streamlined and simple

HP was aiming for a minimalist design with the Envy x360 and I’d say it hit the mark. Made from aluminum, the outside is clean and subtle. The lid lifts easily and the display doesn’t have much of a bezel around it at all, including the bottom, which is significantly smaller than the 2019 model. That reduction shifts the keyboard and touchpad up with the keyboard going nearly edge to edge.

The Envy x360’s keyboard is spacious, but it results in a smaller touchpad. 

Josh Goldman/CNET

It’s a comfortable keyboard with a two-level backlight. The key legends are easy to read and the function keys include the usual hotkeys for volume and screen brightness along with options to instantly mute your mic and block the webcam for privacy. A responsive fingerprint reader is nearly hidden in the keyboard, sitting between the right Alt key and left arrow key. 

The glossy display is definitely a highlight here. It has excellent color and contrast and, at 400 nits, it’s bright. Not quite bright enough to see past reflections outside on a sunny day, but otherwise it’s great. The reduced bezels do make it more comfortable to use on your arm as a tablet and the display supports simultaneous pen and touch input and works with MPP 2.0 pens. 

A headset jack and USB-A and USB-C ports are on the left side. On the right is the power input, another USB-A port and a MicroSD card slot. It can be charged through the USB-C port as well. 

Josh Goldman/CNET
AMD’s got what it takes

No doubt about it, AMD’s newest mobile processors outperform pricier Intel CPUs. The Ryzen 5-4500U can keep pace with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 and it isn’t even the fastest AMD chip available for this two-in-one. There isn’t a huge gap in performance between the 4500U and higher-end 4700U, so if only one or the other is available you’ll be in good shape regardless. Aside from the processor, though, you might want to go with a configuration with 16GB of memory. The memory is soldered on and that means models with 8GB of memory can’t be upgraded. 

The Envy x360’s battery lasted a fairly long time. On our streaming video test, it hit 10 hours. In general use — streaming music, browsing, writing and basic photo editing — it was closer to 7 hours. However, it does charge quickly, getting up to 50% in 30 minutes. 

The HP Envy x360 13 is an excellent small two-in-one with a higher-end design than you’d typically get at this price — assuming you can find one in stock. Factor in the solid AMD performance and battery life and it’s an easy recommendation.

The trim 13.3-inch display gives you room to write and sketch in tablet mode without being too big. 

Josh Goldman/CNET
Geekbench 5 (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:
Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R20 CPU (multicore)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:
Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition (complete)

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:
Longer bars indicate better performance

Streaming video playback battery drain test

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Note:
Longer bars indicate better performance (in minutes)

System configurations

Acer Swift 3

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 4700U; 8GB LPDDR4 3.2GHz; 512MB Radeon; 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

HP Envy 17 (2020)

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 3.2GHz; Nvidia GeForce MX330; 512GB SSD

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 5 4500U; 8GB DDR4 3.2GHz; 512MB Radeon; 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD

Asus VivoBook S15 S532FA

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics; 512GB SSD

Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 (Intel)

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro (64-bit); 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7; 16GB DDR4 RAM 4.27GHz; 128MB Intel Iris Plus Graphics; 256GB SSD

Dell Inspiron 14 5000

Microsoft Windows 10 Home (64-bit); 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-10210U; 8GB DDR4 RAM 2.67GHz; 128MB Intel UHD Graphics; 256GB SSD

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