HP Envy 13 2018 (13-ah0000) review – a classy business notebook

HP is one of the leaders when in comes to business notebooks. The company has a variety of series covering every performance and budget gap. The Envy series is set to deliver luxury at a more affordable price than the Spectre series for instance.

You might remember our review of the HP Envy 13 from earlier this year. Back then we tested a model with 7th generation Intel processor but now we will take an in-depth look at the refreshed 8th gen configuration.

We are aware of the fact that keeping track of HP’s model numbers can be daunting so to save you some time here is the exact model number of today’s review notebook – HP Envy 13-ah0xxx. Stick around to find out if it’s worth the upgrade.

You can also take a look at the Dell XPS series.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-envy-13-13-ah0000/

Contents


Specs Sheet

HP ENVY 13 (13-ah0) technical specifications table

Acer
Not available
Display
13.3”, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160), IPS
HDD/SSD
512GB NVMe PCIe 3.0 x4
M.2 Slot
1x 2280 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe M.2 slot See photo
RAM
8GB DDR4, 2133 MHz
Dimensions
307 x 212 x 14.9 mm (12.09" x 8.35" x 0.59")
Weight
1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
Body material
Aluminum
Ports and connectivity
  • 1x USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
  • Card reader microSD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2x2)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • Audio jack headphone/microphone combo
Features
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HP Wide Vision HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual-Array microphone
  • Speakers Bang & Olufsen, quad speakers
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot
  • Corning Gorilla Glass

What’s in the box?

HP Envy’s box opens up like a jewellery box and indeed inside you can find a jewel – the device itself. Other than that, you get a 45W wall adapter.


Design and construction

The design of the HP Envy 13 is undoubtedly one of its best features. Slick, slim, and beautiful – these are the three words we would use to describe it if we had to keep it short. At first glance, you can’t tell it apart from its predecessor, however, there are a few details that give it away.

The lid has a smooth matte finish which fells great to touch. Despite being an aluminum build, there is a noticeable flex in the middle. There is also a reflective HP logo in the center which gives that desired premium look but it also attracts fingerprints. There is also a strip at the back which we believe to be part of the Wi-Fi antenna.

What really sets this new refreshed version of the Envy 13 apart from its predecessor is the back. Now, the lid is bent at 90 degrees at the hinges, rather than the previous 45 degrees angle we saw with the predecessor. This flat back has a unique finish that looks like the rings of a cut pine tree. Unfortunately, opening the hinges use this back to lift the notebook so this unique finish remains unseen.

The keyboard is well-spaced with sufficient key travel and feedback and as little as no flex when pressure is applied. The touchpad is accurate, fairly big but a bit narrow.

Since its last version, the Envy 13 has shed or gained a couple of millimeters here and there but most importantly it has become even lighter now measuring at 1.20 kg (2.6 lbs).

Width Length Height Weight
HP Envy 13 (2018) 307 mm (12.09″) 212 mm (8.13″) 14.9 mm (0.59″) 1.20 kg (2.6 lbs)
HP Envy 13 (2017) 305 mm (12.01″) 216 mm (8.50″) 13.9 mm (0.55″) (-7%) 1.38 kg (3 lbs) (+13%)

Ports

Due to its size, the HP Envy 13 does not provide us with too many ports. There are just a few and most of them are located of the left side which is more comfortable.

On the left-hand side, we find a 3.5 mm audio jack, a USB 3.1 port with a sort of a bottom cover similar to an Ethernet port. Next to it, you have a USB Type-C port which doubles as video output, and the SD card reader.

On the right-hand side, there is a power connector, a second USB 3.1 port with a bottom cover and HP Sleep and Charge technology, and a fingerprint reader.


Disassembly, upgrade options and maintenance

Disassembling the HP Envy 13 is not as easy as it looks. At first glance, you see only two screws, however, they have Torx heads so you will need a multi screwdriver kit. But removing those two screws is not enough. Beneath the two rubbery pads there are another few hidden screws that you need to remove.

Once that’s done popping the back cover is easy. There you can see the fairly large for a 13.3-inch notebook 53.2Wh battery, the M.2 SSD slot on the right and the M.2 Wi-Fi+Bluetooth module on the left.


Display quality

HP Envy 13 has an Ultra HD display manufactured by AUO with a model number B133ZAN02.0 (AUO202B). The screen size is 13.3 inches in diagonal with 3840 x 2160 pixels resolution. The screen ratio is 16:9 and the pixel density is 331 ppi. The pixel pitch is 0.077 х 0.077 mm. The screen becomes Retina when viewed from further than 25 cm (9.84”) (from this distance the eye can’t see the individual pixels).

The HP Envy 13 provides comfortable viewing angles. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

The measured maximum brightness is 357 nits in the middle of the screen and 350 nits average across the whole surface of the screen with a maximum deviation of 4%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 7360 K – colder than the standard for sRGB 6500K. The average color temperature through the grey scale before profiling is 7410K. In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from uniformity perspective. In other words the leakage of light from the light source.

The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 72% Brightness (White level = 142 cd/m2, Black level = 0.11 cd/m2).

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1240:1.


Color reproduction

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction of the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows HP’s Envy 13 (2018) color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 93% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of HP Envy 13 (2018) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle and the surrounding light conditions.


Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 29 ms.


PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

HP’s Envy 13 (2018) display is not modulated for all brightness levels which makes the notebook suitable for prolonged use without causing unwanted effects.


Blue light emissions

Installing of our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

You can see the levels of emitted blue light on the spectral power distribution (SPD) graph.

Conclusion

HP Envy 13 (2018) boasts s great display with high detail (Ultra HD resolution), good contrast ratio and comfortable viewing angles, lack of PWM and almost 100% coverage of the colors used in the web and HDTV.

The only thing that we don’t particularly like is that some apps can’t scale correctly and everything look tiny due to the very high resolution and small screen size.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for HP Envy 13 (2018) configurations with 13.3″ AUO B133ZAN02.0 (AUO202B) (UHD, 3840 × 2160) IPS.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

Health-Guard

Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Sound

HP Envy 13 delivers great audio quality thanks to its Bang&Olufsen speakers. Two of them are located at the bottom of the notebook and two on the front. The sound is crisp in the low, mid, and high frequencies.


Drivers

The HP Envy 13 (2018) come preloaded with Windows 10 Home. In case you need some drivers, you can find them on the official support page: https://www8.hp.com/za/en/search/search-results.html?ajaxpage=1#/page=1&/action=leftTree&/cat=Laptops&/qt=HP%20ENVY%2013-ah0000

Battery

The HP Envy 13 features a 4-cell 53.2 Wh battery which is rather large for a 13.3-inch notebook. The large battery combined with efficient hardware provides long battery life when browsing. Unfortunately, due to the screen’s UHD resolution, playing movies drains the battery fast. This is one of the reasons we would recommend sticking to the more orthodox Full HD panels.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

For every test like this, we use the same video in HD.

We use F1 2017’s built-in benchmark on loop in order to simulate real-life gaming.


Storage performance

Our model comes with 512GB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 SSD part of the Intel Pro 6000p series. The exact model number is SSDPEKKF512G7H. It’s good to see that NVMe drives start to find there way even in more affordable devices.

SSD model (480-512GB variants) Max.Seq.Read (GB/s) Max.Seq.Write (GB/s) IOPS 4K Read IOPS 4K Write Latency Read (ms) Latency Write (ms)
Intel SSDPEKKF512G7H (Pro 6000p series) 1.83 0.59 7792 28296 0.075 0.033
Intel 600p Series (512GB, PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4) 1.63 0.55 8480 34960 0.050 0.027
Toshiba XG5 KXG50ZNV512G (512GB, PCIe 3.1 x4 NVMe) 3.13 0.46 8425 29661 0.055 0.046

CrystalDiskMark – Max.Seq.Read/Write; AS SSD – IOPS 4K Read/Write, Latency Read/Write

CPU options

The HP Envy 13 can be configured with either an Core i3, i5 or i7 8th gen ULV chip. Our review unit comes with the Core i7-8550U. It scores a bit lower than average but considering the small form factor of the notebook it’s expected.


GPU options

Our unit uses the integrated Intel Graphics UHD 620 but if you want you can opt for the discrete  NVIDIA MX150.


Gaming tests

As you may guess, the HP Envy 13 is not meant for gaming and it is certainly not capable. We tried running a couple of games. CS:GO is playable on lower graphics settings although we wouldn’t recommend playing. On the other hand, GTA V couldn’t even load.

cs-go-benchmarks

CS:GO HD 768p, Low (Check settings) HD 768p, Medium (Check settings) HD 768p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 79 fps 47 fps 33 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Implementing a good cooling system in a thin and light device such as the HP Envy 13 is one of the hardest things from an engineer’s perspective. We could say that the small notebooks behaves rather well, however, the fans start running even when performing simple tasks and the noise they make is quite noticeable.


Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core temperature (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Core i7-8550U (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
HP Envy 13 (2018) 3.06 GHz (B+70%)@ 76°C 2.21 GHz (B+23%)@ 66°C 2.26 GHz (B+25%)@ 67°C

Gaming comfort

Although the HP Envy 13 won’t be used for gaming, you might like to know that it remains rather cool in the area of the keyboard. The maximum temperature we measured was around 43 °C. The hottest parts are above the F-keys where the speakers and main vent are located.


Verdict

Overall, we are impressed with this notebook. It’s a great business or travel companion that won’t break your wallet either. You get some premium features like the optional UHD panel and it will definitely catch people’s eyes with its looks.

The HP Envy 13 is by no means meant for heavy tasks, however, you could pump some power into it with the Core i7-8550U and NVIDIA MX150. Out particular model was a bit of an underperformer but that could be due to the fact that it’s an engineering sample. Nonetheless, Envy 13’s job isn’t to deal with heavy tasks.

With its big 53.2 Wh battery and low-powered components, the Envy 13 can get you trough a full day without any hiccups. There could be some exceptions if you opt for the crisper UHD panel but even so battery life is good.

A comparable alternative to the Envy 13 is Dell’s XPS 13 series. If you like to step things up a notch you can check out HP’s Spectre 13 series.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: http://laptopmedia.com/series/hp-envy-13-13-ah0000/

Pros

  • Great UHD display with 93% sRGB coverage (B133ZAN02.0)
  • No PWM (B133ZAN02.0)
  • Very light and portable
  • All-aluminum build


Cons

  • Low video playback battery life (UHD panel)
  • Fan noise

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rsd10
rsd10
3 years ago

Hi, is 4k a really big improvement in quality and brightness compared to getting the 1080p version?

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