HP Envy x360 15 hands-on review

The convertible Envy x360 15 has one key flaw

The HP Envy x360 15 is a perfectly polished powerhouse.
The HP Envy x360 15 is a perfectly polished powerhouse.
The HP Envy x360 15 is a perfectly polished powerhouse.


  • Gorgeous, premium design
  • Top notch screen
  • 2-in-1 form offers great convenience
  • Good value


  • Hinge too weak to support screen
  • Keyboard off center

Stylish, powerful, and refined, the Envy x360 15 should be a dream. It’s convertible, supports tablets and inking, and has powerful internal components. You get the option of either a standard Intel offering or an AMD-powered model which includes Radeon Vega graphics onboard to boot. On top of that, it looks simply gorgeous.

A few quirks to the product left us scratching our heads, but we’re hoping production models iron out the wrinkles.

Premium as a master chef’s kitchen

The design is unquestionably premium: The Envy x360 is made from a smoked gray, CNC-machined aluminum (HP calls it “Dark Ash Silver,” even though it isn’t silver at all), and feels great in the hand. Cheap laptops are simply cases that hold components, frames for a screen and a keyboard. HP has carefully beveled the back edges and polished them to give the machine an angular profile, and a subtle “Damascus steel” pattern is etched into one of the faces. Damascus steel, HP notes, is commonly used in fancy chef’s knives, and often have a distinct pattern. Go check out your fancy knives, and you’ll see what it means.

Beyond just the material, there’s the 2-in-1 design of course. The Envy x360 has geared hinges that let you flip the screen around to enter either tent mode or full on tablet mode. At 4.85 pounds, it’s a bit heavy to carry around, especially compared to the lightweight 13-inch laptops that have become so popular, notably Dell’s XPS 13. To compete, HP offers the Envy x360 13, of course, which weighs just 2.87 pounds and has a Gorilla Glass 4 coating on its screen for added durability.

The Envy x360’s hinge isn’t strong enough to support the screen.

To talk about 2-in-1s is to talk about hinge design, which is a Thing. Microsoft made a point of underscoring the work that went into the fulcrum hinge on its Surface Book lineup, while the Lenovo Yoga 920 has a very different take on what a hinge should be. HP’s geared hinge – which actually has mechanical gears inside it, that mesh and ensure smooth motion – may not be the best of the bunch.

We often carry our laptop by the corner near the keyboard, an admittedly precarious way to treat a precision piece of equipment but a very common one nonetheless. The Envy x360’s hinge isn’t strong enough to support the screen like this, drifting slowly back until parallel before ultimately bending backward, 270 degrees from the keyboard. That ain’t good. It also means that the pressure of your finger from routine use of the touch display will gradual push the screen back toward the desk behind it. Again, not good.

We asked HP, which suggested the hinge was preproduction and the issue might be fixed before the unit finally ships. We hope so. That’s one small misstep in an otherwise beautiful design, of course.

Great for typing purists, despite an odd choice

Speaking of that beautiful design, the keyboard is fantastic. It feels great to type on, with a satisfying key depth that made this reviewer want to type and type. And it makes very little noise at all – although mechanical keyboard fanatics will lament the silence. People, please: Enjoy the silence.

HP Envy x360
Jeremy Kaplan/Digital Trends

But before you get to enjoying the keys, you’ll probably notice the keyboard and trackpad are weirdly misaligned, something HP swears customers prefer. The off-kilter keyboard accommodates a numeric keypad, which some will call a godsend and others will regard as an artifact. Who does data entry anymore? Because of the keypad, the resting position of your fingers on the ASDF and JKL; keys aligns you with the left half of the screen. And the touchpad is centered with them, rather than the center of the display.

It threw us off at first, but it’s something business-focused people will definitely appreciate.

The 4K screen – FHD resolution, meaning 1,920 × 1,080 pixels — is sharp and crisp and really bright. It caught our eye from across the room like a movie star. We didn’t have enough time to benchmark the system, of course — we’ll leave to our full review. But in our brief experience, apps launched promptly, and the entire system felt zippy. It’s worth noting that the Envy x360 turns on in the blink of an eye as well. Open the cover, and the system is instantly on and awake. It feels very responsive overall.

Support for inking via HP’s newest pens is a very good thing – and so are those pens. The latest models have tilt support, which lets you shade you in a sketch, and a button on the end that can launch apps via Bluetooth, a la Microsoft’s Surface pens. We didn’t have a chance to test this out, unfortunately.

The Envy x360 15 starts at $870 for a model with the 8th-gen Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, and onboard UMA graphics. If you opt for AMD, you can the alternative of a cheaper configuration, starting out at $760, packing a Ryzen 5 CPU and 128GB of SSD storage. As a bonus, you should get some better graphics performance with the AMD option, pushing up to Radeon RX Vega 10 for the spendier configuration.


Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Product Review

LG Gram 14 proves 2-in-1 laptops don’t need to sacrifice battery for light weight

The LG Gram 14 2-in-1 aims to be very light for a laptop that converts to a tablet. And it is. But it doesn’t skimp on the battery, and so it lasts a very long time on a charge.

Dell teases new XPS laptop with Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake for summer 2019

After teasing a mysterious Ice Lake-powered XPS laptop during Intel's keynote, Dell confirmed that it will announce a new 10th-generation Ice Lake-powered XPS laptop this year. The new XPS notebook could debut as early as summer.
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.

Faster new PCIe 5.0 standard leapfrogs the best feature of AMD’s Ryzen 3

PCIe 5.0 will bring even faster data transfers, but it may only be found on HPCs and servers initially. The standard is four times faster than your current PC at transferring data, and new devices could appear later this year.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for January 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.

Watch out for these top-10 mistakes people make when buying a laptop

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Don't spend a fortune on a PC. These are the best laptops under $300

Buying a laptop needn't mean spending a fortune. If you're just looking to browse the internet, answer emails, and watch Netflix, you can pick up a great laptop at a great price. These are the best laptops under $300.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Asus Zenbook 13: In battle of champions, who will be the victor?

The ZenBook 13 UX333 continues Asus's tradition of offering great budget-oriented 13-inch laptop offerings. Does this affordable machine offer enough value to compete with the excellent Dell XPS 13?

Take a trip to a new virtual world with one of these awesome HTC Vive games

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.