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This midrange HP laptop beats the Dell XPS 15 in one important way

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

Dell’s XPS 15 has found its place on a number of our best-of lists, including best laptops and best 15-inch laptops. There are a number of reasons for those accolades, including a robust, yet relatively thin and light design, as well as strong performance and lovely displays.

But that doesn’t mean it faces no competition. HP’s Envy 16 2023 is a 16-inch laptop that gives the XPS 15 a run for its money. It’s around the same price and offers similar or better performance. Is that enough to replace the XPS 15 on our lists?

Specs and configurations

  HP Envy 16 2023 Dell XPS 15 9530
Dimensions 14.07 inches by 9.91 inches by 0.78 inches 13.57 inches x 9.06 inches x 0.71 inches
Weight 5.12 pounds 4.23 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-13500H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Intel Core i9-13900H
Intel Core i5-13500H
Intel Core i7-13700H
Intel Core i9-13900H
Graphics Intel Arc A370M
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060
Intel Iris Xe
Intel Arc A370M
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 (40W)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 (40W)
Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 (40W)
8GB DDR5-4800MHz
16GB DDR5-4800MHz
32GB DDR5-4800MHz
64GB DDR5-4800MHz
Display 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
15.6-inch 16:10 Full HD+ (1,920 x 1,200) IPS
15.6-inch 16:10 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) OLED
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
8TB PCIe SSD (2 x 4TB SSDs)
Touch Optional Optional
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
2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x SD Card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello 720p with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11 Windows 11
Battery 83 watt-hour 86 watt-hours
Price $1,350+ $1,499+
Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.5 out of 5 stars

Right now, HP only lists one configuration of the Envy 16 2023 on its website. But when I reviewed the laptop, there were several configurations available. The basic model cost $1,350 with a Core i5-13500H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an Intel Arc A370M GPU, and a 16-inch WQXGA IPS display running at 120Hz. At the high end, you’ll spend $2,685 for a Core i9-13900H, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, and a 2.8K OLED panel also running at 120Hz. We reviewed a midrange configuration, priced at $1,750 for the Core i9, 16GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 4060, and the IPS display.

The XPS 15 also has a range of configurations. As of when this comparison is being written, the low-end model is $1,299 for a Core i7-13700H, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, an Intel Arc A370M GPU, and a 15.6-inch FHD+ IPS panel. Fully configured, it’s $4,349 for a Core i9-13900H, 64GB of RAM, an 8TB SSD, an RTX 4070, and a 3.5K OLED display. We reviewed the laptop with a Core i7-13700H, 16GGB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an RTX 4070, and the OLED panel, and it costs $2,399.

You can spend more on the XPS 15 due to higher RAM and storage options, but the Envy 16 you’ll want to buy is more expensive than the equivalent XPS 15. That’s a bit of a surprise since the Envy 16 falls in HP’s midrange lineup while the XPS 15 is a premium laptop through and through.


The XPS 15’s design hasn’t changed in several generations. That’s not a bad thing, really, because it’s an attractive laptop with its aluminum lid and bottom chassis, as well as a carbon fiber keyboard deck. It’s also built incredibly well, with no flexing, bending, or twisting, plus a hinge that’s dual-clutched and smooth as butter when opening the lid. Its hinge also opens smoothly, although not quite as nicely as the XPS 15’s, and there’s a bit more wobble in the display when you’re working hard.

The Envy 16 is also solid, although it doesn’t give off quite the same feel of quality as the XPS 15. It’s a simple design that’s attractive and doesn’t stand out, which is the trend among mainstream laptops today.

The XPS 15 has one of the best keyboards on a Windows laptop, with large keycaps and plenty of key spacing to go with switches that are snappy and precise. The Envy 16’s keyboard is almost as good, but just doesn’t provide quite the same confident feel when typing very fast. The XPS 15 also has a larger touchpad that takes up all available space on the palm rest, while the Envy 16’s is smaller than it could be. Both work well, with quite, confident clicks, so most users likely wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them.

Connectivity favors the Envy 16, which has several legacy ports to go with its Thunderbolt 4 ports. The XPS 15 has just USB-C and Thunderbolt 4, so you’ll appreciate the dongle that Dell includes in the box. The XPS 15 does have a full-size SD card reader versus the Envy 16’s microSD card reader, so that’s a plus. The Envy 16 also has the latest wireless connectivity while the XPS 15 is a generation behind.

Another win for the Envy 16 is its 5MP webcam, which provides a much better image for videoconferencing than the XPS 15’s 72op version. Both laptops have infrared cameras for Windows 11 Hello password-less login, and the XPS 15 also has a fingerprint reader embedded in the power button.


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

Both laptops equip variants of Intel’s 13th-gen 45-watt CPUs. The Core i7-13700H and Core i9-13900H are both 14-core (six Performance and eight Efficient), 20-thread processors, while the Core i7 maxes out at 5.0GHz and the Core i9 at 5.4GHz. At the same time, the Envy 16 used the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 while the XPS 15 used an underpowered version of the RTX 4070 running at just 40 watts.

The higher speed of the Core i9 in the Envy 16 gave it a leg up in our CPU-intensive benchmarks, although the difference in performance wasn’t drastic. In the PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up a variety of processes, the laptops were evenly matched in their performance modes. The XPS 15 would have been faster if its GPU wasn’t underclocked so severely.

As it stands, both can handle the most demanding productivity tasks while also meeting the needs of creators. Neither stands out.

Cinebench R23
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
Dell XPS 15
(Core i7-13700H / RTX 4070)
Bal: 1787 / 11978
Perf: 1830 / 11769
Bal: 79
Perf: 76
Bal: 1865 / 13386
Perf: 1868 / 13927
Bal: 866
Perf: 1023

Display and audio

Dell XPS 15 front view showing display.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

Dell sent us a review unit sporting its 3.5K (3,456 x 2,160) OLED display, which provides phenomenal colors and deep, inky-black contrast. It’s much better than the IPS panel that HP sent us on our Envy 16 2023 review unit. You can get a 2.8K (2,880 x 1,800) OLED display with the Envy that won’t be as sharp, but will provide similar performance in colors and contrast.

It’s worth the extra money to get the Envy 16 2023 with the OLED panel, and if you do, then its close to evenly matched with the XPS 15. Stick with the IPS panel, though, and you’ll be happy with how it performs with your productivity tasks, but disappointed with creative work and media streaming.

HP Envy 16 2023
Dell XPS 15
396 358
AdobeRGB gamut 73% 96%
 sRGB gamut 97% 100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
1.01 1.31
Contrast ratio 1,010:1 24,850:1

Both laptops have quad-speaker setups, with two downward-firing and two upward-firing speakers. But Dell’s implementation is much better, offering the best audio you’ll find in a Windows laptop. Mids and highs are crystal clear, and there’s enough bass to make a difference in certain musical genres and action TV shows and movies. Only Apple’s latest MacBook Pros have better audio than the XPS 15.


Dell XPS 15 9530 left side view showing ports.
Mark Coppock / Digital Trends

The XPS 15 is thinner and lighter than the Envy 16 2023, making it slightly easier to carry around. But both are large laptops that you’ll notice in your backpack.

In terms of battery life, the XPS 15 managed much better longevity, even with a more power-hungry OLED display. Both laptops have similarly sized batteries, and so Dell just did a better job of optimizing efficiency. Yes, the Envy 16’s CPU is clocked higher, but that’s not enough to account for the hours of difference in battery life.

HP Envy 16 2023
(Core i9-13900H)
Dell XPS 15
(Core i7-13700H)
Web browsing 4 hours, 59 minutes 9 hours, 43 minutes
Video 7 hours, 47 minutes 11 hours, 46 minutes
PCMark 10 Applications 7 hours, 24 minutes 10 hours, 49 minutes

The Envy 16 puts up a good fight, but the XPS 15 wins out

The Envy 16 is just as fast as the XPS 15, even while using a lower-end GPU, but that’s it’s only real win in this shootout. The XPS 15 is more solidly built, it’s more attractive, and it has a better keyboard and touchpad. It also gets better battery life and has a sharper OLED display.

If the Envy 16 were less expensive than the XPS 15 with the same configuration, then it would be a more compelling option. As it is, the XPS 15 is simply a more refined laptop that’s better worth its investment.

Editors' Recommendations

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