A large convertible laptop with decent performance, but it doesn't excel in any area
Large convertible laptops have always been something of a hard sell. There’s the risk that you’ll pay significantly more than you would for a conventional laptop but end up with something less powerful and too heavy to comfortably hold like a tablet.
HP hopes the 15.6in Envy x360 will change your mind. The laptop tips the scales at 2.3kg, so you’ll need strong forearms to use it in tablet mode for any length of time. As with any convertible laptop, there are four modes to choose from: laptop, tent, tablet and stand, depending on whether you’re working, watching a film, surfing the web on your sofa or following a recipe in the kitchen, for example. You don’t have to worry about accidentally pressing buttons on the keyboard when in a non-laptop mode, as Windows 10 disables the keyboard automatically when the hinge is bent a little beyond 180 degrees.
The hinge is easy to operate but sturdy enough not to wobble. Build elsewhere is standard HP Envy fair; the whole device is awash with brushed aluminium. Tapering edges and sharp curves give the laptop a modern shape, but we feel the amount of metal detracts from the laptop’s appeal, as there’s no variety to break things up. Even the keys are silver, so the characters on each don’t contrast with the background as well as on a black and white model. Each key is backlit, although this should be only used in low light as the bright grey backlighting effect makes the key symbols blend into the keys themselves, making them very difficult to see in the light.
The laptop’s touchpad is wonderfully responsive, with two-fingered scrolling a particular highlight. Reactions to your inputs are instantaneous and feel natural, and you never feel like the touchpad is lagging behind your inputs. The touchscreen is responsive, too, so makes a viable alternative to using the touchpad.
The screen itself is a little underwhelming. It’s bright, with a 258cd/m2 measured maximum brightness, but its colour coverage is a middling 64%, some way behind the rival convertible Toshiba Satellite Radius 15. The display has an impressive 1004:1 contrast ratio, however, and the wide viewing angles mean you won’t have to adjust the hinge every time you move. As with all capacitive touchscreens, the Envy x360’s has a glossy coating. This can make colours look more vibrant than on a matt screen, but there are two side-effects: the screen is more susceptible to overhead lighting and sunlight, and fingerprints and smudges are very obvious, especially when you’re looking at darker images and films onscreen.
|Processor||Dual-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U|
|Memory slots (free)||1 (0)|
|Sound||3.5mm headset port|
|Graphics adaptor||Intel HD Graphics 5500|
|Total storage||1TB hard disk|
|Optical drive type||None|
|Ports and expansion|
|USB ports||2x USB3, 1x USB2|
|Networking||802.11ac, gigabit Ethernet|
|Memory card reader||SD|
|Operating system||Windows 8.1 (free upgrade to Windows 10)|
|Operating system restore option||Windows restore|
|Parts and labour warranty||One year collect and return|
|Price inc VAT||£599|