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The HP Envy 16 costs less, but the mighty MacBook Pro 16 retains its top spot

HP Envy 16 2023 front view showing display and keyboard deck.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

There’s no doubt that Apple’s MacBook Pro 16 is one of the best laptops you can buy today. It’s incredibly well built, offers plenty of power to go with the best efficiency, and its display, keyboard, and touchpad are superior.

But, it’s also incredibly expensive. That’s where a laptop like HP’s Envy 16 2023 comes in. It’s also quite fast and well-built, with a gorgeous display option. And it’s a lot less expensive. Can it topple Apple’s mighty MacBook Pro?

Specs and configurations

  HP Envy 16 2023 Apple MacBook Pro 16
Dimensions 14.07 inches by 9.91 inches by 0.78 inches 14.01 inches x 9.77 inches x 0.66 inches
Weight 5.12 pounds 4.8 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-13500H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Intel Core i9-13900H
Apple M1 Pro
Apple M1 Max
Graphics Intel Arc A370M
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Integrated Apple GPU
RAM 16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
16GB
32GB
64GB (M1 Max)
Display 16-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS, 120Hz
16-inch 16:10 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED touch, 120Hz
16.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR (3456 x 2234), 120Hz
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
2TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
4TB SSD
8TB SSD
Touch Optional No
Ports 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
3 x USB-C 4 with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD Card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
Webcam 5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 MacOS Monterey
Battery 83 watt-hour 100 watt-hour
Price $1,350+ $2,499+
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

When I reviewed the Envy 16, there were a few configurations available. The entry-level model was priced at $1,350 for a Core i5-13500H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an Intel Arc A370M GPU, and a 16-inch WQXGA IPS display at 120Hz. At the high end, you spend $2,685 for a Core i9-13900H, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060, and a 2.8K OLED display at 120Hz. We reviewed the $1,750 configuration with the Core i9, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, the RTX 4060, and the IPS panel.

The MacBook Pro 16 is a much more expensive laptop. It starts at $2,500 for an M2 Pro CPU with 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 16.2-inch Liquid Retina Mini-LED display. Fully configured, you’ll spend a whopping $6,500 for an M2 Max CPU with 12 CPU cores, 38 GPU cores, 96GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD.

The Envy 16 is a much less expensive laptop, and as we’ll see it provides similar performance. Of course, performance isn’t everything.

Design

The MacBook Pro 16 is carved out of chunks of aluminum, and it feels solid as a rock. Its aesthetic is simple and elegant, exuding quality and finesse. You can’t fault the Envy 16’s built quality or aesthetic, and compared to most other laptops it would hold its own. But the MacBook Pro 16 stands apart among 16-inch laptops in terms of its look and feel. That extends to the little things, like how the hinge opens so smoothly on the MacBook. One thing that some people won’t like about Apple’s machine, though, is the notch in the display that’s used to house the webcam.

The Envy 16’s keyboard is fine, with plenty of travel, large keycaps, nice key spacing, and switches that are light and snappy. Its touchpad is a little small given the available space on the palm rest, but it works well enough with quiet, confident clicks. However, while both input devices are competitive with most other Windows laptops, they can’t hold a candle to the MacBook Pro 16. Apple’s latest Magic Keyboard is the best keyboard you can get on a laptop today, with excellent key spacing and comfortable key size, and switches that aren’t that deep but still provide tons of feedback and precise bottoming action. And the Force Touch haptic touchpad is large and perfect in its responsiveness. It also offers the ability to “press” a little harder and activate additional functionality, something no mechanical keyboard can do.

Connectivity favors the Envy 16 for users who need legacy ports. But the MacBook Pro has an additional Thunderbolt 4 port and a full-size SD card reader to go with an HDMI port. It doesn’t support USB-A, but otherwise, its connectivity is solid. Both laptops use the lasted in wireless connectivity.

The Envy 16 has a 5MP webcam while the MacBook Pro 16 has 1080p, and both offer quality images for videoconferencing. The Envy 16 has an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello facial recognition, while the MacBook Pro 16 has a Touch ID fingerprint reader. Both methods of logging in without a password worked well.

Performance

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

The Envy 16 is available with a variety of Intel’s 13th-gen 45-watt CPUs, and we reviewed it with the highest-end Core i9-13900H. That’s a 14-core (six Performance and eight Efficient), 20-thread CPU that has provided excellent performance in the laptops we’ve reviewed. Our review unit also equipped the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU.

The MacBook Pro 16 offers a choice of Apple’s M2 Pro or M2 Max CPU, with a variety of core counts ranging from the 12-core CPU/19-core GPU M2 Pro up to the 12-core CPU/38-core GPU M2 Max. We haven’t reviewed the latest 16-inch model, so we’ve used the MacBook Pro 14 with the M2 Max as a proxy. The larger machine is likely to get slightly better performance given better thermals, but these results should be close enough for comparison purposes.

In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Envy 16 was faster than both the previous model MacBook Pro 16 and the latest MacBook Pro 14. That’s a significant achievement and cut across both single-core and multi-core scores. In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up various processes, the Envy 16 again took the lead.

It’s possible that the MacBook Pro 16 will provide better performance in apps that are the most optimized for the M2 processor. But for typical applications used by creators, the Envy 16 holds its own. Given the price differential, that’s quite the accomplishment.

Geekbench
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
Pugetbench
Premiere Pro
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
MacBook Pro 16
(M1 Pro 10/16)
Bal: 1707/ 12605
Perf: N/A
Bal: 95
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1531 / 12343
Perf: N/A
Bal: 977
Perf: N/A
MacBook Pro 14 M2
(M2 Max 10/38)
Bal: 1668 / 14422
Perf: N/A
Bal: 85
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1608 / 14789
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1093
Perf: N/A

Display and audio

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

We reviewed the Envy 16 with the 16-inch IPS display running at 2560 x 1800. It’s not as sharp as the 16.2-inch Mini-LED panel on the MacBook Pro 16 that runs at 3456 x 2234. Nor does it provide even close to the same brightness, color width, or contrast that Apple’s Mini-LED can muster.

Note that the Envy 16 is also available with a 16-inch OLED panel at 2880 x 1800, which still isn’t as sharp but is likely to offer even better colors and equivalent contrast. It won’t be as bright, though, nor will it do as good of a job with high dynamic range (HDR) content as the MacBook Pro 16. But then again, the latest MacBook Pros are the best laptops for watching HDR content that you can buy today. Note that all displays run at 120Hz, which makes both Windows 11 and MacOS a much smoother experience.

If you’re a creator, you’ll want the Envy 16’s OLED display, while the IPS panel is fine for productivity work. But overall, the MacBook Pro 16 still offers a superior display.

HP Envy 16 2023
(IPS)
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(Mini-LED)
Brightness
(nits)
396 475
AdobeRGB gamut 73% 90%
 sRGB gamut 97% 100%
Accuracy
(DeltaE, lower is better)
1.01 1.04
Contrast ratio 1,010:1 475,200:1

In terms of audio quality, the MacBook Pro 16 wins by a country mile. Its six-speaker setup offers the best audio you can get on a laptop, with surprising depth, incredibly clear mids and highs, and a ton of bass. The Envy 16 does okay with its quad speakers, but the MacBook Pro 16 is simply in a different class entirely.

Portability

A side profile of the 2021 MacBook Pro.
Digital Trends

The MacBook Pro 16 is thinner and lighter than the Envy 16, but they’re both large laptops. You’ll definitely notice them as you haul them around in your backpack.

When it comes to battery life, though, the MacBook Pro 16 is once again in a different class. It offers some of the best battery life you can get, and about double what the Envy 16 can achieve. If you need a laptop that can last all day and into another day, then the MacBook Pro 16 is the better choice.

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i
(Core i9-13905H)
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(M1 Pro)
Web browsing 4 hours, 59 minutes 9 hours 18 minutes
Video 7 hours, 47 minutes 23 hours 11 minutes

The Envy 16 is great for budget shoppers, but the MacBook Pro 16 is more refined

Yes, the MacBook Pro 16 is incredibly expensive, and the Envy 16 manages to provide equivalent performance at a much lower price. For anyone who needs a fast machine with a great display and has less money to spend, the Envy 16 is a great choice.

But overall, the MacBook Pro 16 remains a vastly more refined experience. Its display is better, its build feels exquisite in hand, and its battery life is better than anything else around. Toss in the best audio in a laptop, and the MacBook Pro 16 is worth every penny.

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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