HP Envy 14 (2021) review: This budget content-creation laptop does it all

Laptops just like the HP Envy 14 fall into the class of “content material creation:”  pocket book PCs with a modestly highly effective discrete GPU that may play some video games, edit video, or just function a stable all-around PC. This $1,200 14-inch laptop computer satisfies all three.

In our assessments, we discovered that whereas some laptops outperformed the Envy 14, many couldn’t achieve this for the worth. Right here, the Envy 14 provides top-notch battery life, assist for highly effective exterior Thunderbolt hardware, and a satisfying on a regular basis typing expertise. We’ve awarded it an Editor’s Selection, and on this evaluate you’ll see why.

HP Envy 14 fundamental options

HP says it ships its Envy 14 in one in every of three configurations. The mannequin we examined is the midrange configuration (14-eb0010nr), which features a Core i5-1135G7, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD. The MSRP is $1,250, however we noticed it on sale for $1,210 at Amazon throughout testing. HP additionally sells a $1,070 fundamental model of the Envy 14 (often known as the HP Envy 14 14t-eb000) on HP.com with out the discrete GPU, a touchless show, and 8GB of reminiscence. HP additionally says that for $1,700, you should purchase the premium mannequin of the HP Envy 14 on HP.com with 1TB of SSD storage.  We didn’t see that mannequin listed at press time, although.

Whilst you would possibly take into account the Envy because the “trendy” HP product line, in comparison with the budget-friendly Pavilion line and the premium Spectre line, HP has just lately refocused Envy as optimized for creators. You may see the way it’s tuned for these customers as we undergo the specs and options, starting with this record of the fundamentals:

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr back Mark Hachman / PCWorld
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-1135G7 (as examined), Core i7-1165G7
  • Show: 14-inch (1900×1200 IPS, 400 nits, contact)
  • Reminiscence: 8GB DDR4, 16GB DDR4 (as examined)
  • Storage: 256TB PCIe NVMe SSD (as examined) / 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD/ 1TB PCIe NVME SSD
  • Graphics: Iris Xe, Iris Xe/Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q (as examined)
  • Ports: 1 USB-C (Thunderbolt four/USB4, at 40Gbps, DisplayPort 1.four); 2 USB-A (5 Gbps), 1 HDMI 2.zero, three.5mm headphone/mic
  • Safety: Fingerprint reader (Home windows Hi there)
  • Digital camera: 720p (user-facing)
  • Battery: 61.2Wh rated/ 61.2Wh (full cost)
  • Wi-fi: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2), Bluetooth 5
  • Working system: Home windows 10 House
  • Dimensions: 12.33 x eight.82 x zero.71 inches
  • Weight: three.three kilos, four.2 complete with 135W charger
  • Coloration: Pure Silver
  • Value:  $1,070 – $1,700; $1,250 as examined

Construct high quality: Stable and principally silent

HP’s Envy 14 lacks the visible splendor of the corporate’s premium Spectre laptops. Whilst you’ll see the stylized diamond grillework that distinguishes HP’s laptop computer vents, general the Pure Silver stamped-aluminum chassis is a little bit plain. The profile alerts a thin-and-light, although it is really about common weight at three.three kilos. Whereas the unit seems and feels stable, we observed a little bit of give when miserable the keyboard firmly.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr venting Mark Hachman / IDG

Like most laptops, the HP Envy 14 sucks in air by way of the underside vents and pushes it out by way of vents within the hinge.

One characteristic you’ll discover as quickly as you begin utilizing it: the relative lack of fan noise. HP employs a pair of followers, plus two warmth pipes, suck up air from the underside of the laptop computer and push it out by way of vents subsequent to the hinge. The followers appear delicate to ambient temperatures, remaining quiet on cooler days and ramping up extra rapidly on hotter ones. 

Even dialed up into efficiency mode, although, the fan ran extraordinarily quietly throughout each CPU- and graphics-intensive masses. (Creators don’t need to be drowned out by fan noise whereas streaming!) HP additionally gives a utility to handle fan noise, which we’ll speak about later.  The one time the fan actually howled was after we had been downloading a BIOS replace, throughout which we couldn’t really work on it, anyway.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr torx screws Mark Hachman / IDG

We didn’t open up the Envy 14, however the backside of the laptop computer is user-accessible by way of 4 Torx screws.

A show designed for creators

Creators take into consideration the show high quality greater than most individuals do. HP stated that is its first 14-inch, 16:10 show. This delicate vertical improve, in comparison with the extra conventional 16:9 ratio, permits the 14-inch display to transcend 1080p to 1920×1200. HP additional elevates it with coloration calibration and 100-percent sRGB assist. HP charges its touchscreen at 400 nits’ most brightness. As a conventional clamshell laptop computer, the display reclines to only wanting 45 levels.

Check movies we performed again on the inner show seemed brilliant, vibrant, and color-accurate throughout the colour gamut, with no dropped frames even at 4K/60 fps. The included HP Show Utility provides three preset coloration choices: Default (a little bit cooler), Native (a little bit hotter, with no optimization), and the “Photographs and Movies” setting, which is barely dimmer on the Default. (These choices have additionally been added to the Home windows 10 Settings menu.) 

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr right side Mark Hachman / IDG

A USB-A port and an SD slot, plus the ability charger, adorn the precise aspect of the Envy 14.

The Envy 14’s port choice embraces each the previous and the longer term, due to the Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake CPU at its coronary heart. This CPU household helps Thunderbolt four, the newest era of a robust connector that helps superior storage, charging, and show applied sciences. You additionally get HDMI 2.zero port and a pair of USB-A ports (one on both aspect of the chassis), plus an SD card reader for importing photographs.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr left side Mark Hachman / IDG

One other USB-A port, an HDMI connector, and the Thunderbolt four/USB-C port are on the HP Envy 14’s left aspect.

Glorious keyboard and typing expertise

The Envy 14’s keys are springy and fairly comfy to kind upon, with satisfactory journey. HP’s Envy 14 provides two ranges of backlighting, with some mild bleed close to the underside of the keys.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr keyboard Mark Hachman / IDG

The Envy 14’s keyboard is only a tiny bit smaller than what you’d discover on a bigger laptop computer, however it’s best to discover it extraordinarily comfy to kind upon.

The structure is a bit on the funky aspect, with some navigation keys stacked to the precise. In any other case, we appreciated the devoted keys to mute the mic and block the webcam. HP features a devoted keyboard shortcut to its HP Command Heart utility, too.

The one wasted alternative I discovered was the devoted “assist” key (the F1/? key), which merely opened a browser window with a pre-programmed “learn how to get assist in Home windows 10” question. Some customers could discover that insufficiently useful.

As an alternative of a Home windows Hi there digital camera, HP included a fingerprint reader, nestled in subsequent to the spacebar and changing the underutilized “proper click on” key. Fingerprint readers will be tough to evaluate, as your finger (or the sensor) can get dirty over time and reduce the efficacy. Although the fingerprint sensor labored properly initially, various occasions I used to be pressured to use my PIN code when the reader didn’t acknowledge me.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr fingerprint reader HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr

The Envy 14’s fingerprint reader wasn’t almost as correct as I’d like.

HP’s precision trackpad crams into the remaining area beneath the keyboard. Whereas the trackpad is probably not as slick as I’d like, it’s clickable as much as a couple of finger’s-breadth from the highest. Gestures labored reliably.

A gimmicky, privacy-minded webcam

Whereas HP touts the Envy 14 as a “private inventive studio,” it definitely doesn’t embrace streaming in that class…or does it? Sadly, HP consists of a normal 720p user-facing webcam—which, to be honest, performs admirably by way of coloration accuracy. Naturally, the 720p decision leaves room for enchancment by way of the how sharp the picture resolves. “Professional” controls, although technically obtainable inside Home windows’ Digital camera app, are non-existent.

HP Envy 14 webcam Mark Hachman / IDG

The Envy 14’s webcam gives wonderful coloration accuracy, although it’s a bit comfortable at 720p.

However wait! HP additionally consists of an app known as HP Enhanced Lighting, which tasks a white “ring” in your laptop computer’s show that you would be able to widen, dim and brighten, and even shade to mission no matter coloration of sunshine you’d like in your face. I’ve really finished that myself with my second show at my desk.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr hp advanced lighting what youll see HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr

On this photograph, you may see how HP’s Enhanced Lighting works, and what its weaknesses will be. 

The issue with such an strategy, in fact, is that the extra display actual property you commit to your fake ring mild, the much less data you may really see onscreen. You’ll be able to resolve this with an exterior monitor, in fact, or purchase a 1080p webcam with an built-in ring mild. 

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr hp advanced lighting collage HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr

Does HP’s screen-based webcam work? A little bit. On the highest I’ve snapped selfies in my residence’s eating room, and perched on a mattress in a darkened room; the decrease row of pictures have HP’s Enhanced Lighting turned on. 

I like HP’s strategy to webcam privateness higher. Should you click on the digital camera privateness button on the keyboard (to the precise of the F12 key), the webcam shutter closes with an audible snap.  About the one downside is that this fools Home windows, too. Attempt opening Home windows’ Digital camera app, for instance, and also you’ll see an error message. The Envy gives a button to mute the mic, too, one thing we want extra distributors would do, and which HP has led the way in which on.

The audio expertise is a combined bag. By default, what comes out of the Envy 14’s audio system is as tinny as we have come to anticipate from any laptop computer, and considerably muddled on the low finish. Like many HP laptops, although, HP requested Bang & Olufsen to tune the Envy’s audio system. Open the included Bang & Olufsen Audio Management app, go to the Equalizer tab, and flip on the Audio Preset–that dramatically improves the audio high quality. My advice is to not fiddle an excessive amount of with the precise equalizer, additionally within the app; any preset I selected moreover the default “HP Optimized” setting required an excessive amount of fiddling to make proper.

HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr camera shutter HP Envy 14 14-eb0010nr

Whereas I like HP’s digital camera privateness shutter, the selection of a white shutter is just too visually much like the white LED that HP makes use of to point that the digital camera is in truth, on. 

Like mainly any laptop computer, you may resolve a lot of your audio issues just by plugging in a set of headphones.

Chock filled with preloaded apps

HP’s Envy 14 ships with various further preloaded apps, although happily they don’t take up a lot bodily area in your exhausting drive. The Home windows 10 taskbar consists of the Amazon app, a Dropbox promotion (25GB of area without cost for one 12 months) plus the MyHP app. You’ll additionally discover Amazon’s Alexa app, an Vitality Star app; free one-month trials of Adobe apps, a trial of McAfee Private Safety; and shortcuts for the LastPass password supervisor and Reserving.com. 

HP additionally has 11 (!) of its personal utilities cluttering the Envy’s Begin menu. Some are extra task-specific, such because the HP Show Management app for shifting the colour temperature by app (a bit cooler by default, with a slight warming impact for viewing photographs) and the HP Enhanced Lighting app we’ve talked about above.

HP Command Heart is the overarching system utility, and it pales compared to different OEM utilities, particularly these for enterprise PCs. Command Heart is noteworthy for its fan controls, permitting you to show the pretty frequent fan off in Quiet mode, or ramp it up into Efficiency mode. A separate Community Booster tab means that you can management which apps in your PC obtain probably the most Web bandwidth, for those who’d like. (It’s off by default.) We didn’t check this, since we had been lucky sufficient to have a strong broadband connection.

HP AirDrop is HP’s devoted app for transferring photographs and different paperwork backwards and forwards out of your cellphone. In some methods, it duplicates the operate of Home windows’ Your Cellphone app, nevertheless it’s extraordinarily simple to arrange and use. Sadly, nevertheless, it requires your laptop computer to be on-line through an energetic Web connection.

HP Envy 14 efficiency: Tuned for creators 

By positioning the Envy 14 as a instrument for content material creation, HP is setting an expectation for higher efficiency tier than you’d get from a mainstream PC. By and enormous, it delivers. As you may see within the efficiency charts under, the HP Envy 14 sits just about sq. within the center between gaming laptops with high-performance CPUs and GPUs, and premium mainstream laptops with good CPUs however mere built-in graphics. 

HP units its default energy/efficiency setting to the center “higher efficiency” setting, which is the place we left the laptop computer for our assessments. Be happy to take a look at the comparability laptops: On the gaming aspect, now we have the Acer Predator Triton 500 and the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14. The MSI Status 14 is much like the HP Envy 14 in goal consumer, with the identical low-end GTX-1650 Max-Q GPU. The Acer Swift 3X, Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 9310, and HP’s personal Spectre x360 14 represet premium mainstream laptops with built-in Iris Xe graphics.

The trendy PCMark 10 benchmark assessments quite a lot of duties encompassing workplace productiveness, photograph and video modifying, and even some rendering workloads. The HP Envy 14 performs within the upper-middle vary, very satisfactorily.

HP Envy 14 pcmark 10 edit Mark Hachman / IDG

HP’s Envy 14 performs greater than competently in on a regular basis workplace duties.

We check CPU efficiency utilizing the Cinebench benchmark, which renders a posh 2D scene over a brief time frame. Although this can be a considerably artificial benchmark, it does point out how properly the HP Envy 14 will carry out in real-world functions that lean closely on the CPU. Predictably, the Envy 14’s Core i5 processor is available in behind the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 with its Ryzen 4000 processor, and a number of other laptops with extra highly effective Core i7 CPUs.