HP Envy 15 Review: Built for Creators

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Today, as content creation begins to occupy an increasingly large part of the professional landscape, OEMs are finally beginning to see the segment as a standalone business opportunity. Apple has had this clarity for as long as they’ve had the MacBook Pro lineup, but the PC side is just starting to realize that creators have very specific needs, not all of which are fulfilled by slot machines. Asus jumped on the bandwagon by making the screens on many of their slot machines “Pantone Certified” and Dell changed their XPS 15 to be more of a creative laptop than a slot machine. Now HP is stepping up its game with the Envy 15, customizing it to meet the needs of those who produce content for a living. The Envy makes a few choices that set it apart from gaming laptops, but is this ultimately the right laptop for content creators or should they look elsewhere?

HP Envy 15 Specifications

Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
RAM: 16GB DDR4
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti (6GB VRAM)
Storage: 1TB Samsung NVMe
Screen resolution: 1920×1080
Display Refresh Rate: 60Hz

HP Envy 15 Creative Performance

Our standard tests for creative workloads cover Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Premiere. In addition, we also tested the Envy with DaVinci Resolve, Blender, Apophysis fractal rendering program and Photoshop to see how the laptop keeps up with these specific workloads. We exported a batch of 50, 100, and 500 RAW files, all shot on a Nikon Z7 via Adobe Lightroom Classic. This test is suitable for all our gaming and creative laptops. In this test, the Envy surprisingly recorded some very slow render times. The HP Omen 15 (Review) we recently reviewed has the same CPU and a lower GPU, but still managed to complete the export job much faster.

HP Envy 15 Adobe Lightroom Classic Render Test

When switching to Premiere Pro, we see a completely different behavior. Now Premiere Pro intelligently shifts the load between the CPU and GPU depending on the issue being displayed. Here, faster renders are also aided by Intel’s QuickSync technology. Here we noticed that the HP Envy does admirably well, with the fastest render times across all 10e gen gaming laptops and even the Ryzen 4000 laptops we tested. You can see the render times in the chart below.

HP Envy Premiere Pro Rendering Performance Test

HP Envy thermals

What’s especially interesting is that the HP Envy trades off the traditional copper-tube cooling system for a vapor chamber. While running our standard 20-minute 4K timeline export, the Intel Core i7-10750H remains largely fine in the 80s, but only temporarily in the early 90s. The vapor chamber manages to keep the CPU GPU well within their respective operating temperatures. hold. We also didn’t think the fans were too loud, even when they were working at their maximum. While the inside maintains a good temperate zone, the surface temperature is a different story. Using aluminum for the keyboard island also allows it to act as a heat sink, letting you feel the heat from within. You can feel the heat in the center of the keyboard, which clocks in at 47-48 degrees, while the WASD keys clock in at 40 degrees Celsius. Perhaps the most surprising find was the wrist rest, which we measured at 41.5 degrees Celsius. Suffice it to say, if you’re gaming on this thing or doing a sustained render load, this thing is sure to feel warm.

HP Envy 15 Gaming Performance

HP isn’t positioning the Envy 15 as a gaming laptop, but it would be ridiculous not to consider it a laptop. We ran our standard run of games on the Envy and found that it manages the 60fps mark in most games with their graphics setting set to the high or medium preset. The Envy only has a 60Hz display, so we’re more than happy to see games reach that goal. It’s smooth and free of any kind of cracks and that’s about all you can hope for. Where the Envy falters as a gaming system is due to the fact that after a few hours of sustained gaming, the surface temperatures do get very high. Good thing HP isn’t targeting gamers with this machine.

Keyboard, trackpad and I/O

The HP Envy 15 has a nice white backlit chiclet-style keyboard. White backlighting is becoming very common these days, especially in laptops with silver keycaps. It’s best to leave the backlight off during the day and only turn it on if you’re using the laptop in dark environments. The keyboard itself is a joy to use, with generous keys and decent key spacing, it was super easy to get used to. Where the keyboard IS a little weird is that it removes the appropriate CTRL key and puts a fingerprint sensor there. It’s an odd place for a fingerprint sensor, but it does fit into the scheme of things, at least aesthetically.

The trackpad on this machine is definitely smaller than the ones on the Dell XPS 15 and 16-inch MacBook Pro (Review† Like much smaller. However, you do get a good trackpad, one with unified clicks and also with Windows Precision drivers. The trackpad is useful for basic things like navigating through Windows and even easier photo and video editing.

The I/O on the Envy is quite impressive. You get two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI port, and two USB 3.0 ports. This should be enough for any maker. While the Thunderbolt 3 ports are great for further expansion, it’s sad to see they don’t support PowerDelivery.

Display

The HP Envy 15 has a Full HD IPS panel with a nominal brightness of 300 nits and 100 percent sRGB coverage. We measured the panel’s brightness numbers to be very close to what HP claims and in terms of color accuracy, the display appears to be calibrated right out of the box. The white point is set for the sRGB color space, which is nice. However, if you’re going to be using this for color sensitive work, calibrating the screen with a Spyder or an Xrite is imperative. This is because, although the panel is set up to display colors in the most accurate way, the ambient lighting in our work environment affects the way we perceive color. Professional screen color calibration fine-tunes the screen’s colors taking into account the ambient light, providing better color accuracy when it comes to color-sensitive work. The Envy 15 can be easily used for professional photo editing, video editing and even color correction.

The HP Envy 15 offers an FHD IPS display

verdict

The HP Envy 15 tries to take on brands that have practically ruled the kingdom. At the same time, however, the MacBook Pro and the new Dell XPS 15 are significantly expensive, so the HP Envy 15 fills a huge price gap that currently exists. The review unit we received is on sale for Rs 1.49,999, currently the cheapest of the maker laptops with Intel’s 10e generation processors. You could up the specs to an RTX 2060 and an OLED display if you wanted to and still not reach the price of the Dell or the MacBook Pro. The Envy manages to deliver on its performance promise for creative workloads, while also holding its own when it comes to gaming. For the price, it really offers solid value for money and can be a solid recommendation for those taking on the role of content creators and gamers.

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