HP Envy 15 ep0098nr (2020) Evaluate: Blowing Microsoft Floor away
The HP Envy 15 2020 ep0098nr’s processor, graphics card, show, and total system efficiency provide plenty of worth for $1,700. It blows away something the Microsoft Floor lineup affords for the worth.
Final 12 months, I reviewed the Floor Laptop computer 3 for Enterprise and referred to as it “the final word laptop computer I’ve at all times wished.” For the $1,300 worth, it positively was a very good laptop computer for me. That’s because of its spacious 15-inch display screen, the three:2 side ratio show, and the Intel Core i5 Ice Lake processor inside. However just lately, with the discharge of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, I used to be itching for a brand new laptop computer with extra energy.
My outdated XPS 15 with a GTX 960M inside simply wasn’t reducing it and, my Floor Laptop computer 3 couldn’t play the simulator in any respect. Taking a look at all of the choices out there, together with a Floor Guide 3, I made a decision to promote my Floor Laptop computer 3 to my colleague, and settled for getting the HP Envy 15 ep0098nr, as a substitute.
For the sale worth of $1,600 ($1,700 usually,) this laptop computer affords plenty of worth. From its CPU, RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card, AMOLED show, and total efficiency, it’s one massive beast. In the long term, I even suppose it even has all the things that ought to come within the subsequent Floor Laptop computer or Floor Guide.
The specs, the worth, and the choices
To start my overview, I’ll begin first with the specs and a little bit of a tangent. However, please, do stick with me. As a Floor fan, I believe the HP Envy 15 departs from something Microsoft has to supply from the Floor lineup. After utilizing it as my primary machine, I do hope Microsoft might make some modifications for its next-generation Floor Guide gadgets, or the Floor Laptop computer 4.
My top-range Envy 15 mannequin from HP (there’s one other mannequin with extra storage and RAM on sale at Costco) comes configured with the tenth Technology Intel Core i7-10750H processor, clocked at 2.60 GHz. It must be famous that this can be a 6-core processor that may turbo-boost to five GHz when wanted.
The Envy 15 additionally comes configured with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD with 32GB of Intel Optane storage enhance. Each RAM and storage are upgradeable by eradicating the screws on the backside of the laptop computer and prying the casing off. There’s additionally the star of the laptop computer, the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q graphics card with 6GB of VRAM. The show, in the meantime, is available in at 15.6 inches, 4K Decision. It’s additionally an AMOLED panel, as nicely. Full specs are listed under.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-10750H (6-cores, 1.6G GHz, 5GHz Turbo Increase)|
|Graphics||Built-in Intel UHD Graphics
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM
|Show||15.6 inch 4K OLED, multi-touch, 400 nits of brightness|
|RAM||16GB DDR4-2933 SDRAM (Person upgradable)|
|Storage||512GB Intel SSD + 32GB Intel Optane Reminiscence
(Person upgradable, second SSD slot out there)
|Connectivity||Intel WiFI 6, Bluetooth 5 Combo
(Soldered to motherboard, non-upgradable)
|Ports||2 Thunderbolt 3 with SuperSpeed USB Kind-C
1 SuperSpeed USB Kind-A
1 SuperSpeed USB Kind-A
1 HDMI 2.0
1 headphone jack/microphone combo
1 AC good pin
1 microSD Card reader
|Digicam||HP Vast Imaginative and prescient HD Digicam with a kill swap on keyboard|
|Weight and Dimensions||14.09 x 9.32 x 0.73 in
|Audio system||Audio by Bang & Olufsen; Twin audio system|
|Battery||6-cell, 83 Wh Li-ion polymer|
Trying on the Floor Lineup, that is the place there’s plenty of worth for the worth within the HP. Microsoft’s personal 15-inch Floor Laptop computer doesn’t include a devoted graphics card inside. Maintaining that distinction in thoughts, configuring a 15-inch Floor Laptop computer 3 with Ryzen 7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD will push the worth to nicely over $2,099. The 15-inch Floor Laptop computer 3 for Enterprise, in the meantime, is available in at $2,200 for a mannequin with 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and the Intel Core i7 processor. Once more, all these fashions come with out a devoted graphics card.
With simply the Floor Guide 3, in the meantime, the distinction is kind of astounding. This is among the closest Floor gadgets to the Envy 15, when it comes to specs. It’s true that the Floor Guide 3 has the advantages of a removable display screen and pill or inking (the HP Envy 15 doesn’t help pens) however in terms of uncooked energy, this HP is difficult to beat for this worth.
For $2,300, Microsoft’s Floor Guide 3 comes configured with an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor. That is nonetheless a 4-core processor, to be clear. It additionally has 16GB of RAM and solely 256GB of Storage. The GPU, in the meantime, maxes out on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q with 6GB VRAM.
Now for the TL;DR model. For $1,700 (or $1,600, as I paid, when on sale,) the Envy 15 is an absolute steal. It comes with a greater graphics card, a greater 6-core processor, and a greater AMOLED panel, too. To not point out, you may improve the RAM and the storage on the Envy, which isn’t a straightforward job on a Floor.
Although I don’t personal one, opinions have proven that the Floor Guide 3 is its personal monster, and is nice for video modifying and even gaming, Nonetheless, the $600 distinction between Floor and HP could make an enormous distinction when in search of a tool with uncooked energy.
The Floor comes at a premium, however Microsoft actually might make some positive factors by together with a graphics card within the subsequent Floor Laptop computer, or buffing up the Floor Guide 4 with a heftier GPU, even when it means altering up the design. This overview will present classes to be taught for Microsoft and potential Floor patrons. There are certainly higher laptops on the market for the worth you pay for a Floor.
The design, keyboard, and trackpad
Talking of design, Microsoft’s Floor lineup has at all times been related to premium feel and look, and HP’s Envy 15 isn’t any completely different. Microsoft opts for an aluminum enclosure on its Floor Laptop computer gadgets, and magnesium on the Floor Guide and Professional lineup. HP appears to have discovered from this and applies that to the Envy 15. Tl;DR, this appears like a Floor gadget.
Throughout, the Envy 15 sports activities a minimalist look. It options an aluminum silver-colored chassis which appears identical to a MacBook, or a Floor Laptop computer from afar. For this high-end worth, there aren’t any low cost supplies. The Envy is constructed like a tank, together with the keyboard deck, in addition to the show itself.
However I say “constructed like a tank” as a result of the Envy 15 is a heavy laptop computer. At practically 4.7 kilos, and with a devoted GPU inside, it’s heavier and lots thicker than a Floor Laptop computer 3, which is what worries me if Microsoft ever decides so as to add a devoted graphics card to the Floor Laptop computer lineup. It’s additionally heavier than a Floor Guide 3, too, which is available in at 4.2 kilos.
Nonetheless, the Envy 15 nonetheless a lot transportable while you evaluate it to different gaming laptops with RTX graphics just like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701GX. It’s extra just like the Razer Blade 15 and has a compact look when sitting on the desk. Silver look and all, it’s so way more of knowledgeable look and slimmer profile than most gaming laptops. And, the lid is simple to open with only one hand, too.
The keyboard on the Envy 15 in the meantime, is one in all my all-time favorites on a laptop computer. Whereas I appreciated the keyboard on the Floor Laptop computer 3 (discovering it was as snug because the Floor Kind Cowl) HP manages to take issues up a notch with the Envy 15. The keyboard is in a chicklet-style format, and tapping on the keycaps provides a pleasant soft-feeling, a bit of softer than what you get on a Floor. I used to be capable of get to 75 phrases per minute on Bing’s typing check.
In contrast to Floor, the keycaps are silver on grey, although. Which means that it is likely to be arduous for some to see, particularly when the 2 ranges of backlighting are turned on at evening. However to rescue itself, HP integrates a webcam kill swap and a microphone kill swap on the keyboard. This disables each digital camera (it places a bodily shutter in entrance of it) and microphone within the gadget supervisor, a pleasant factor to have after we’re spending most of our time in conferences as of late.
Shifting to the Trackpad, now. It’s simply effective. With Floor gadgets, the Trackpads at all times really feel like they’re strong and built-in into the keyboard deck. The Envy 15’s trackpad, whereas does characteristic Microsoft precision drivers, payment,s a bit gentle and “low cost.” It makes a hole clicking noise, which I hate. Most occasions I did attempt to use a Bluetooth mouse with the Envy.
Oh, and let me not neglect! There’s a fingerprint reader on the keyboard, too, because the Envy 15 lacks a Home windows Whats up webcam. I appreciated having this for fast and straightforward logins, identical to Home windows Whats up on my outdated Floor. Simply faucet the fingerprint reader and login in a rush. No passwords are obligatory.
Trying on the ports onboard the Envy 15, there’s a lot to go round. You gained’t ever want a dongle for those who purchase your self this laptop computer. It comes with 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, an HDMI port, and 2-USB-A ports, too. After all, there’s additionally a headphone jack as nicely. Oh, and there’s even a microSD card port for enlargement, too.
That is the place the Envy 15 doesn’t really feel prefer it has wasted area. In contrast to what you get on a Floor Laptop computer (USB-C and USB-A and no expandable storage) there’s a port for all the things you want. It comes nearer to what Microsoft has on the Floor Guide 3 (2 USB-A, 1 USB-C, 2 Floor Join, and full-size SD card reader.) For content material creators, which each Floor Guide 3 and the Envy 15 goal, that’s a pleasant mixture of ports, although some people may need wished a full-size SD card reader as a substitute of micro SD on the Envy.
There may be nonetheless one flaw, although. Whereas all trendy Floor gadgets with USB-C might be charged by the port, the Envy 15 cannot. It solely will cost up by its 200-watt proprietary pin charger. This makes plenty of sense due to the devoted power-hungry RTX graphics card, however it’s a bummer for this worth. It could have been nice to have the ability to cost the laptop computer up on the go.
Associated to ports are the audio system, webcam, and connectivity. In these areas, the HP feels a bit completely different from a Floor. I liked the audio system on my Floor Laptop computer 3, however with the HP, audio system are buried underneath the laptop computer chassis and are downward-firing. I usually needed to flip the sound as much as excessive ranges simply to really feel immersed.
The webcam can also be identical to what you get on a Floor as it’s 720p. Nonetheless, the HP Envy doesn’t have a twin far-field microphone as you’d discover on a Floor. It’s noticeable while you’re on net calls. I needed to plug in an exterior microphone once I do my weekly Podcast for OnMSFT.
As for wi-fi, the Envy sports activities help for WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5. No points there, as that is routine for many laptops in 2020.
The efficiency and gaming
One of many causes I bought my HP Envy 15 was for gaming and having fun with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. On this space, the Envy doesn’t disappoint. I could also be repeating myself, however it’s one heck of a machine, with specs that may deal with nearly any recreation.
However to be clear, although, HP doesn’t promote this as a gaming laptop computer. As a substitute, it’s meant as a studio laptop computer, for coding, designing video games, and movies. That is evident while you boot up the laptop computer and open the Nvidia GeForce Expertise. There aren’t any game-ready driver updates for obtain, as you’d see on most gaming laptops.
Like most of my opinions, I don’t need to dive too deep into technical testing and elements. Usually talking, I’ll simply point out how I used the HP Envy 15. For me, that’s informal computing and work, in addition to gaming.
For work and informal computing, the Envy 15 doesn’t disappoint. Usually, I’ve a workflow in Fringe of 10-15 tabs. Generally its media-heavy content material, and different occasions, it’s webpages with numerous photos. Right here, the Envy blasts by all the things. That’s evident with its Basemark net rating of 765 in addition to the apparent benefits of getting a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor inside. There’s no want for Geekbench, right here.
For gaming, the Envy 15 tackles each recreation I threw at it. In Microsoft Flight Simulator, I didn’t get any lag when taking part in on “Excessive-Finish” settings on the native 4K decision. The lands under my airplane loaded simply effective, and it seemed nice when flying by New York Metropolis and taking in all of my house city’s particulars from the skies above. I completely loved cross-country flights, flying over Pakistan, Disney, and even Downtown Los Angeles, to not point out the real looking feeling of flying through a hurricane.
Once more, the HP Envy 15 isn’t designed to be a gaming laptop computer, however with RTX graphics inside, there’s no motive why it could actually’t be one. It was capable of play some video games on Steam at glorious body charges. I downloaded Metro: Exodus on Steam, and it hit about 40 frames per second on extremely settings with ray-tracing enabled, and 38 with out it enabled. It’s superb to see that recreation push out such excessive frames.
Actually having fun with Microsoft Flight Simulator. That is oddly stress-free. Glad I lastly have a PC that may deal with it, and a lot extra! I can see Citi Subject and Flushing Meadows Corona Park from up right here, too! pic.twitter.com/OqFoSjUl6T
— Arif Bacchus (@abacjourn) October 17, 2020
Lastly, for video-editing, the Envy 15 doesn’t disappoint, both. After I encoded a 38 minute lengthy 1080p 30 frames per second video (the weekly OnMSFT Podcast) the HP Envy took round 2 minutes to push it out to completion. My MacBook Professional usually takes about half-hour to do that similar job.
Encoding the newest episode of the OnPodcast for tmrw. Wow my HP Envy 15 will blow by it and end it in 2 minutes. Insane. My MacBook Professional 13 inch normally takes 30 minutes, lol. pic.twitter.com/txVdCYOERP
— Arif Bacchus (@abacjourn) November 1, 2020
I do additionally need to point out the cooling, right here, as nicely. HP is utilizing “vapor cooling” know-how on the Envy 15. That is normally reserved for higher-end gaming laptops, and I believe it really works nicely with this Envy, too. The Envy by no means felt too sizzling to the contact, particularly once I was gaming and taking part in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
HP’s personal Efficiency Management app can even give full management of the programs’ followers to assist settle down the laptop computer when gaming. The followers may come on full-speed when plugged in and gaming, however it does it for a function — conserving the laptop computer cool. Air will go by the edges and the vents on the rear, in addition to the vents on the highest of the keyboard, too, guaranteeing the laptop computer by no means turns right into a stovetop.
Lately on a laptop computer, it’s all in regards to the bezels and picture high quality. Whereas Floor Guide 3 and Floor Laptop computer 3 do have thicker bezels than laptops just like the XPS 15, HP’s Envy 15 is on the same footing. The bezels alongside the aspect are slim, however there’s an unsightly chin on the backside of the show. Nonetheless, the 4K AMOLED Panel (which helps HDR) makes up for this in each single method.
Although I praised the PixelSense show on the Floor Laptop computer 3 once I reviewed it, the Envy 15 kicks issues up a notch. Because of the AMOLED panel, it pushes out some very correct colours and deep blacks. On the primary day I unboxed the laptop computer, I watched a pattern video to check the 4K HDR high quality, and I used to be amazed. The yellow and golds within the saxophone within the video have been tremendous vibrant and full of life. To not point out, the correct brightness of the colours on the DJ’s stage. I felt like I used to be within the scene with these musicians.
I’ve but to see a laptop computer with the sort of shade accuracy and vibrancy. Microsoft’s PixelSense shows are nice for inking, however 4K OLED is even higher, particularly for creators. HP says it could actually hit 100% of the DCI-PC shade gamut, and whole brightness of 400 nits. Simply bear in mind, there’s no screen-technology for avid gamers, right here. You gained’t discover Nvidia’s G-Sync on board and the display screen is locked to 60Hz.
The show does have some faults, although. One in all which is battery life, as we’ll talk about subsequent. The opposite is its side ratio. Coming from utilizing a Floor Laptop computer 3, I actually do miss the three:2 side ratio. On this HP, with a 16:9 side ratio, it appears like I’m shedding plenty of vertical area. If the underside chin was minimize out, this drawback most likely would have been solved.
The battery life
To finish this overview, there’s the all-important battery life section. Right here’s the place there’s a combined bag. AMOLED and 4K shows are recognized to devour plenty of energy. And, with this HP Envy 15 having a power-hungry RTX graphics card inside, the mixture doesn’t fairly equate to good battery life.
Maintaining the show brightness right down to round 20 %, and setting Home windows to “higher battery” I obtained about 5-6 hours of screen-time for my basic day-to-day productiveness. When gaming on the battery (which I’d not advocate as a result of the HP isn’t ready to make use of the total energy of the RTX GPU) I acquired half that, with the efficiency settings set to “finest efficiency.” Contemplating that is extra of a workstation and desktop alternative, quite than an ultrabook. That is nonetheless good battery life contemplating the specs, although.
The tip: Higher than a Floor
In case you’re in search of a strong laptop computer that’s underneath $2,000, but in addition has sufficient energy for gaming, video modifying, and even managing digital machines, then this HP Envy 15 is you. In comparison with Microsoft’s top-end Floor gadgets, there’s plenty of worth right here for the worth.
For positive, you do lose some issues from Floor with the HP. That features a 3:2 side ratio, pen help, and the pill type issue, together with battery life. Nonetheless, when it comes to uncooked energy, the HP Envy 15 is unmatched for it’s $1,700 (and when on sale $1,600) worth. You’ll get higher RTX graphics, a incredible show, and the flexibility of a six-core Intel processor.
It could possibly be classes discovered for Microsoft, too. The corporate’s personal Floor Laptop computer 3 lacks a devoted GPU, and when in comparison with the Envy 15, the Floor Guide 3 sports activities a lesser-powered GTX graphics. Right here’s to hoping the following Floor packs extra energy.