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Does Dell or HP make the best 16-inch laptop? You might be surprised

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus front angled view showing display and keyboard.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

You can spend a lot of money on 16-inch laptops with fast components for video editing and photo editing. We’re talking $2,500 and a lot more. But there’s a class of midrange 16-inch machines that offer much of the same performance for less money.

Dell’s Inspiron 16 Plus and HP’s Envy 16 are two such laptops with prices that start well under $2,000. Both can be equipped with some fast components, but they’re not identical by any means. Which of these more affordable 16-inch powerhouses is the best?

Specs and configurations

  Dell Inspiron 16 Plus HP Envy 16 2023
Dimensions 14.05 inches x 9.92 inches x 0.67-0.79 inches 14.07 inches by 9.91 inches by 0.78 inches
Weight 4.54 pounds 5.12 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-13620H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Intel Core i5-13500H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Intel Core i9-13900H
Graphics Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Intel Arc A370M
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
RAM 8GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
16GB LPDDR5
16GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
32GB LPDDR5
32GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
64GB DDR5 (RTX 4060)
16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
Display 16.0-inch 16:10 FHD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS, 60Hz
16.0-inch 16:10 2.5K (2,560 x 1,600) IPS, 120Hz
16-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS, 120Hz
16-inch 16:10 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED touch, 120Hz
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
2TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
Touch No Optional
Ports 1 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD card reader
1 x microSD card reader (RTX 4060)
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 1080p 5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 86 watt-hour 83 watt-hour
Price $1,450 $1,350+
Rating 3 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Inspiron Plus 16 has a dizzying array of specifications, but the number of configurations you can actually purchase today is more limited. The laptop’s entry-level configuration costs $1,200 and includes a Core i7-13620H CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 16.0-inch 2.5K IPS display, and Intel UHD graphics. The most expensive configuration is $1,850 for a Core i7-13700H, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU. Our review configuration costs $1,450 for a Core i7-13700H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and an RTX 4060.

The Envy 16 also offers a number of configurations. It starts at $1,350 for a Core i5-13500H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 16.0-inch 2.5K IPS display, and an Intel Arc A370M GPU. The high-end model is much more expensive at $2,860, with a Core i9-13900H, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, a 16.0-inch 2.8K OLED display, and an RTX 4060. We reviewed the laptop with a Core i9-13900H, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, the IPS display, and an RTX 4060, which costs $2,385.

Design

Photo of an HP Envy 16 laptop.
HP Envy 16 Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The Envy 16 is an all-metal laptop with a minimalist design that’s attractive and appears contemporary. Its chassis and lid are rigid, with only a little bit of give in the keyboard deck. The Inspiron 16 Plus also has an external aluminum shell, but while its bottom chassis was rigid enough, the lid was quite flexible and there was LCD distortion with just a little bit of pressure. That and the plastic display bezels detract from a quality, premium feel. And it’s even more simply designed and not as attractive as the Envy.

The Envy 16 also enjoys a better keyboard, with large keycaps, excellent key spacing, and switches that have plenty of travel and a springy, precise feel. The Inspiron 16 Plus’s keyboard also had good key spacing and large keycaps, but its switches felt looser and less precise. Both laptops had similar mechanical touchpads with a comfortable feel and confident, quiet clicks.

Connectivity was another similarity, with both offering a mix of Thunderbolt 4, legacy ports, and microSD card readers (on the RTX 4060 model of the Inspiron 16 Plus). The Envy does have twice as many Thunderbolt 4 connections, however. Both laptops have modern wireless connectivity.

Finally, the Envy 16 has a higher-resolution 5MP webcam, beating out the Inspiron 16 Plus’s 1080p version. The HP also has an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition, while the Inspiron 16 Plus uses a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button. Both worked reliably to log in without a password.

Performance

HP Envy 16 2023 side view showing ports and display.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

We reviewed the Inspiron 16 Plus with the Intel Core i7-13700H, a 45-watt CPU with 14 cores (six Performance at 5.0GHz and eight Efficient at 3.7GHz) and 20 threads. That’s slower than the Core i9-13900H in the Envy 16 that we reviewed, which has Performance cores at up to 5.4GHz and Efficient cores at up to 4.1GHz. Both laptops had the same RTX 4060 GPU.

The Inspiron 16 Plus kept up with the Envy 16 in two of our CPU-intensive benchmarks while falling behind in the Cinebench R23 benchmark. The Envy 16 also was much faster in the PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up various processes.

The Envy 16 benefitted from a faster CPU but at a higher price. But for those who need the most power, at least the option is available from HP.

Geekbench
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
Pugetbench
Premiere Pro
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(Core i7-13700H / RTX 4060)
Bal: 1,812 / 12,309
Perf: 1,773 / 12,693
Bal: 74
Perf: 79
Bal: 1,855 / 12,480
Perf: 1,867 / 13,535
Bal: 767
Perf: 814
HP Envy 16 2023
(Core i9-13900H / RTX 4060)
Bal: 1,997 / 12,742
Perf: 1,992 / 12,645
Bal: 73
Perf: 75
Bal: 1944 / 15,596
Perf: 1,954 / 15,422
Bal: 1,106
Perf: 1,121

Display and audio

HP Envy 13 2023 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

We reviewed both laptops with similar 16.0-inch 16:10 2.5K IPS displays running at up to 120Hz. Unsurprisingly, they demonstrated similar performance, with the Envy 16’s display being brighter and the Inspiron 16 Plus’s panel having a higher contrast ratio.

While these displays are similar, the Envy 16 benefits from a 2.8K OLED option that will provide much wider and more accurate colors and inky blacks. Again, it costs more, but these extras are the reason why.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(IPS)
HP Envy 16 2023
(IPS)
Brightness
(nits)
308 396
AdobeRGB gamut 76% 73%
 sRGB gamut 98% 97%
Accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
1.19 1.01
Contrast ratio 1,510:1 1,010:1

Both laptops use four-speaker setups, two downward-firing and two upward-firing, to provide decent audio. They performed similarly, with enough volume and clear mids and highs. Like most laptops, both lacked in bass.

Portability

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus left side view showing ports and vents.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The laptops were almost identical in terms of being wide, deep, and thick, but the Inspiron 16 Plus was about half a pound lighter. Both will fill up a backpack, but the Dell will be a little easier to lug around.

Regarding battery life, the Inspiron 16 Plus lasted considerably longer than the Envy 16 in our web-browsing test. Oddly enough, it did worse in our video-looping test, which is unusual, closely matching the Envy. Neither laptop will get you through a full day’s work, but the Inspiron 16 Plus may last a bit longer.

Dell Inspiron 16 Plus
(Core i7-13700H)
HP Envy 16 2023
(Core i9-13900H)
Web browsing 9 hours, 8 minutes 4 hours, 59 minutes
Video 7 hours, 36 minutes 7 hours, 47 minutes

The HP Envy 16 costs more, but it’s worth it

The Inspiron 16 Plus is a bit overpriced given its flimsier build, and while it performs well, it can’t be configured much higher than our review unit. The Envy 16 starts at a lower price and is just slightly more expensive when similarly configured. But it offers a more robust and attractive feel.

The Envy 16 can also be configured with a faster processor and a much better OLED display. That gives it the edge, even if the best options do bump the price over $2,000. As is often the case, you get what you pay for.

If neither of these laptops work for you, make sure to check out some of our laptop roundups:

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Coppock
Mark has been a geek since MS-DOS gave way to Windows and the PalmPilot was a thing. He’s translated his love for…
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