HP Envy 14 2021 Review: Nice Laptop computer, However Tread Evenly

HP Envy 14 (2021) review: Nice laptop, however tread flippantly

MSRP $1,250.00

“The HP Envy 14 lacks a superb show, however makes up for it with spectacular efficiency.”

Professionals

  • Glorious productiveness efficiency
  • Stable construct high quality
  • Conservative beauty
  • Good entry-level gaming
  • Superior keyboard and touchpad

Cons

  • Show is subpar for the meant inventive market
  • A little bit thick and heavy for the category
  • Media battery life is underwhelming

HP’s Envy laptops have morphed from midrange choices into what the corporate intends as probably the most enticing machines for inventive varieties. The Envy 15, for instance, is a strong laptop with a color-accurate OLED show that competes properly towards different 15-inch laptops when it comes to efficiency and, significantly, worth. Now, HP has reintroduced its HP Envy 14 type issue with a brand new machine that leverages Intel’s Eleventh-gen Tiger Lake CPUs and discrete Nvidia graphics — all in a chassis that’s a bit smaller than its bigger sibling.

I reviewed an $1,150 Envy 14 configuration with the Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), a 14-inch WUXGA (1,920 x 1,200) IPS show in a extra productivity-friendly 16:10 side ratio, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU.

That’s a premium worth for the configuration, proving that the Envy 14 is meant to compete with the perfect laptops you should purchase. However does it provide the efficiency and show high quality that inventive customers crave?

Design

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The Envy 14 is constructed of stamped aluminum, which is one distinction from the CNC-machined Spectre line. The latter is a little more sturdy in its construct high quality, with the Envy 14 demonstrating only a contact of bending within the lid and flexing within the keyboard deck. It’s a strong construct, simply not up there with the likes of the HP Spectre x360 14 or different premium laptops just like the Dell XPS 13.

The MSI Status 14 Evo is one other 14-inch clamshell laptop that feels about the identical because the Envy 14 — strong however not fairly top-notch. Observe that the Status 14 Evo can be a few hundred {dollars} lower than the HP with a Core i7 and 1TB SSD. Lastly, I’ll point out the Porsche Design Acer E-book RS, which mixes carbon fiber and metallic for a extra strong really feel.

Aesthetically, HP was going for a minimalist design with the Envy 14, and it succeeded. Not like the gem-cut and multicolored Spectre x360 14, the Envy 14 is a matte silver coloration with an uncluttered look and easy strains. It’s enticing sufficient however doesn’t stand out. The MSI Status 14 Evo can be extra aggressive in its styling and coloring, however I discover the Envy 14 strikes a pleasant steadiness.

It’s lots like Lenovo’s Yoga 9i on this respect — a design that’s not meant to attract consideration to itself however gained’t embarrass you irrespective of the atmosphere. In order for you a 14-inch clamshell to point out off, the Porsche Design Acer E-book RS has by far probably the most aggressive styling.

hp envy 14 2021 review sideMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

hp envy 14 2021 review speakersMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

hp envy 14 2021 reviewMark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

The Envy 14 is a bit stouter than a lot of its 14-inch competitors. Its chassis is fairly sized because of an 88% screen-to-body ratio and small bezels throughout aside from the chin, which is simply barely bigger than the present pattern. However it’s a bit thicker at 0.71 inches and heavier at 3.3 kilos. The Status 14 Evo, for instance, is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.85 kilos, whereas the Acer Swift 5 is 0.59 inches and a couple of.31 kilos.

These laptops don’t have the choice for discrete graphics, nevertheless, and may give up inner area for conserving issues cool. The Envy 14 additionally seems a bit thicker because of a rear leg that props up the keyboard and provides further area beneath for higher airflow.

Connectivity is an actual energy, with a USB-A 3.1 port, full-size HDMI 2.0 port, USB4 Sort-C port with Thunderbolt 4 help, and a 3.5mm audio jack alongside the left-hand aspect, and one other USB-A 3.1 port and a microSD card reader on the right-hand aspect. Wi-fi connectivity is dealt with by Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

Efficiency

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Not like the bigger Envy 15 that sports activities a 45-watt Intel CPU, the Envy 14 options an Intel Eleventh-generation Tiger Lack Core i5-1135G7 processor. We’ve discovered that to be a fast choice within the U-series, practically as quick in lots of instances as Intel’s Core i7 that’s clocked only a bit sooner.

The Envy 14 lives as much as the CPU’s promise. As you may see within the desk beneath, it doesn’t excel in Geekbench 5, but it surely’s extra aggressive in our different assessments. HP presents its Command Heart software program that permits you to tune the CPU for fan noise and warmth versus full-on efficiency, but it surely doesn’t make as a lot of a distinction within the Envy 14 because it does within the Envy 15 and Spectre x360 14, as two examples. The Spectre x360 14, particularly, makes good use of the utility — it’s fairly quick in Efficiency mode whereas very quiet and far slower in Balanced mode. The entire Envy 14 outcomes listed below are with the utility set at Balanced.

Throughout the board, the Envy 14 performs admirably, even towards the Core i7 competitors. In our Handbrake take a look at that encodes a 420MB file to H.265, the Envy 14 was according to all however the Status 14 Evo and the Ryzen 7 5800U-based Asus ZenBook 13 that blew away its Intel competitors. In efficiency mode, the Envy 14 was in third place amongst this group.

In Cinebench R23, the outcomes had been related, with the Status 14 Evo and the Zenbook 13 main the pack. Observe that the Envy 14 scored an much more aggressive 6073 within the Cinebench multi-core take a look at in efficiency mode. Within the PCMark 10 Full take a look at, the Envy 14 got here in second place within the general rating. It additionally did properly within the Productiveness and Content material Creation parts of the take a look at whereas falling behind within the Necessities portion.

General, the Envy 14 was a strong performer in our benchmarks, and it felt that manner whereas I used to be utilizing it in the course of the review. It’s a speedy machine for all of the productiveness duties you’ll wish to throw at it, and it does as properly in inventive functions as another Tiger Lake laptop. It will possibly’t sustain with AMD’s Ryzen CPUs in processor-intensive duties, however that’s the place the discrete GPU comes into play.

For those who’re utilizing an utility that may reap the benefits of the GPU, then the GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q — a rarity within the 14-inch class — makes an actual distinction. HP configured the GPU with Nvidia’s Studio platform drivers, which give higher efficiency and reliability in sure well-liked inventive functions.

For instance, I ran the PugetBench benchmark that runs by a collection of intensive duties in Premiere Professional — an utility that makes environment friendly use of a GPU. The Envy 14 did fairly properly for a U-series machine, scoring 432 to embarrass the ZenBook 13’s 180 and the MacBook Air M1’s 320. It couldn’t sustain with laptops powered by Intel’s 45-watt CPUs and sooner GPUs, but it surely did properly primarily based on its parts. Actually, it beat out the HP Spectre x360 15 that scored 339 with its Core i7-10750H and GTX 1650 Ti.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single/multi)
PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
HP Envy 14 (Core i5-1135G7) 1398/4741 190 1343/5028 5178 3147
MSI Status 14 Evo (Core i7-1185G7) 1593/5904 162 1479/6680 4866 1465
Porsche Design Acer Base RS
(Core i5-1135G7)
1415/5364 181 1380/4973 4682 1504
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1165G7) 1540/5432 201 1449/4267 N/A 1589
Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
1423/6758 124 1171/7824 6034 1342
Acer Swift 5 2020 (Core i7-1165G7) 1580/5836 190 N/A N/A 1686

The Envy 14 can be an honest entry-level gaming laptop for anybody who needs a bit of break from work. It led the pack within the 3DMark Time Spy take a look at, doubling up the Intel Iris Xe-based competitors. It additionally carried out decently in Fortnite, hitting 49 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and excessive graphics (57 fps in Efficiency mode), the place the remainder of the Tiger Lake class runs round 30 fps.

With epic graphics enabled, the Envy 14 hit 39 fps (40 fps in Efficiency mode), nonetheless fairly playable and far sooner than the Tiger Lake common of round 22 fps. You gained’t run fashionable titles with graphical particulars turned up, however tune issues down a bit of, and most titles shall be playable.

Show

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Artistic professionals need shows with broad coloration gamuts and correct colours to associate with a excessive brightness stage and wonderful distinction. Does the Envy 14’s productivity-friendly 16:10 show stack up in addition to its design and efficiency?

In a phrase, no. It’s a shiny show at 371 nits, properly above our 300-nit threshold. However it covers simply 70% of AdobeRGB and 94% of sRGB, barely beneath common for premium and near-premium laptops and properly beneath common for shows meant for inventive varieties. Not one of the 14-inch laptops I’ve mentioned on this review are significantly better — the MSI Status 14 Evo and Porsche Design Acer Base RS each got here in at 73% of AdobeRGB and 97% of sRGB, for instance, so simply barely increased.

The Envy 14’s coloration accuracy was good at 1.28 (1.0 or much less is taken into account wonderful). The Status 14 Evo hit 1.3 and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS was at 1.15. These higher than common outcomes and nearer to the skilled stage.

The distinction was one other weak spot for the Envy 14, which achieved a ratio of simply 880:1. We prefer to see premium shows at 1000:1 or increased, which the MSI and the Acer each practically achieved at 970:1 and 940:1, respectively.

In fact, the Envy 14’s show can be barely acceptable as a premium productiveness show. It actually doesn’t stay as much as the requirements desired by creators, not like the OLED show on the Envy 15 that managed 97% of Adobe RGB, 100% of sRGB, a 404,410:1 distinction ratio (to be honest, that’s typical for OLED shows and no IPS panel will ever come shut), and a DeltaE of 0.73.

If the Envy 14 has a weak point relating to its goal market, this show can be it. And it’s an essential one — anyone wanting to purchase this laptop for picture or video modifying ought to hold these leads to thoughts.

Keyboard and touchpad

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The Envy 14 inherited an identical keyboard to the one present in HP’s Spectre line — and that’s a superb factor. There’s loads of spacing between the sq. keys and the switches are gentle and exact, with a cushty bottoming motion. The lettering is enticing and legible in good lighting, and the two-level backlighting is efficient and constant. This is likely one of the higher keyboards round, rivaling Dell’s XPS 13 and solely barely falling behind Apple’s newest Magic Keyboard on its MacBook line.

The touchpad can be wonderful, benefitting from the bigger keyboard deck because of the taller 16:10 show. The touchpad is a Microsoft Precision model, in fact, and so it’s responsive and exact. The buttons click on solidly however with out an excessive amount of noise, which is a plus. There’s additionally an equally responsive contact show, and I appreciated it throughout my testing.

HP Envy 14 2021 Finger Print Scanner
HP Envy 14 2021 Webcam

A fingerprint reader offers home windows 10 Howdy help on the keyboard and replaces the proper management button. I’m not a fan of that placement, having run into at the least one utility with a hard-coded use for the proper management button, however the fingerprint reader was correct and quick in my testing.

Extra safety and privateness are offered by a perform key that controls a bodily shutter for the webcam and a devoted button to show off the microphone. These are small touches which can be appreciated for these occasions once you don’t need your webcam displaying off your messy workplace — or worse, being hacked and used to spy on you.

Battery life

HP Envy 14 2021Mark Coppock/Digital Tendencies

The Envy 14 packs a 63 watt-hour battery, which frankly is smaller than I anticipated. The Spectre x360 14, a a lot smaller laptop, managed to slot in 67 watt-hours. Even so, I used to be anticipating higher longevity out of the Envy 14 because of its lower-resolution 1,920 x 1,200 IPS show in comparison with the Spectre’s 3,000 x 2,000 OLED panel.

Because it seems, my expectations had been met. The Envy 14 achieved simply over 12.5 hours on our internet searching take a look at that loops by a collection of well-liked web sites. That’s a robust rating that beats out all of the 14-inch competitors I’ve talked about by a number of hours and is within the higher echelon of all of the laptops we’ve examined.

The Envy 14 wasn’t fairly as sturdy in our video take a look at that performs a Full HD Avengers trailer till the battery runs out. Right here, the HP managed 14.5 hours, a superb rating however one which’s beat out by the MSI Status 14 Evo and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS. Normally, we see a bigger distinction between the net and video assessments, with the latter usually being fairly a bit longer.

Lastly, I ran the PCMark 10 Gaming battery take a look at that stresses the CPU and GPU, and the Envy 14 manages slightly below 1.5 hours. That’s on the low finish of all of the machines we’ve examined, demonstrating that the Envy 14 is an actual battery hog when it’s below load. Sadly, the Envy 14 couldn’t full the PCMark 10 Functions battery take a look at, which is the perfect indication of real-world productiveness.

General, I’d charge the Envy 14’s battery life pretty much as good for productiveness work and never pretty much as good for media consumption. And definitely, when you’re going to be pushing the CPU and GPU, then you definitely’ll wish to carry your charger with you.

Our take

The Envy 14 is a well-built, handsome 14-inch laptop with a quick Core i5 and a discrete GPU that’s uncommon for a nongaming laptop of this dimension. That makes it a robust performer and, in that sense, a superb choice for the inventive varieties that HP is aiming to please. Sadly, its show is a bit subpar — it’s ok for productiveness customers however not a lot for creativity.

That makes the Envy 14 an attention-grabbing laptop to charge. It’s a strong providing for basic customers, with good efficiency and productiveness battery life, a strong construct, and a very good keyboard and touchpad. It could not meet the wants of the inventive varieties that HP is aiming at, but it surely’s an excellent laptop for everybody else.

Are there any options?

The MSI Status 14 Evo is a strong various to the Envy 14. It’s sooner at CPU-intensive duties, has a greater show, and good battery life. It’s additionally fairly a bit inexpensive, however in fact, you don’t get the quick GPU.

If a 2-in-1 is extra your fashion, then you definitely’ll wish to contemplate the HP Spectre x360 14. It’s sooner when in efficiency mode, it’s constructed and appears higher, and its OLED show meets the wants of picture and video editors in a manner that the Envy 14 can’t.

As regular, I’ll additionally provide up the Dell XPS 13 in its place. It’s smaller, positive, with its 13.4-inch 16:10 show, however that show is barely higher, and the Dell has a significantly better construct high quality.

How lengthy will it final?

The Envy 14 is constructed properly sufficient to final for years of productive service. The parts are updated and will sustain with the everyday person’s calls for for fairly a while. The one-year guarantee is disappointing however the trade commonplace.

Must you purchase it?

Sure, however not for picture or video modifying if tons of correct colours are required. The Envy 14 is a superb productiveness machine and must be judged as one reasonably than the inventive powerhouse that HP positions it as.

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