HP Envy 13

Cool factor 5/5
Usability 4/5
Value for money 4/5

Straight out the box, the HP Envy 13 is a stand-out laptop. It’s sleek, slimmer and shinier than most, and it’s immediately clear that design was top of mind in production. The aluminium chassis, precision edges, and geometric styling make for an arresting first impression, and this focus on aesthetics means it’s clearly being set up to compete with MacBooks. Fortunately, looks are not the only thing it has going for it.

The 13-inch model reviewed by the FM is one of six new releases in the Envy range. We took the silver one for a spin, but they also ship in a pale gold colour. They’re designed to be all-rounders, capable and pretty — and HP definitely got the mix right here.

Despite its slim profile, the Envy 13 has the full set of ports you want, including two USB 3.1 (Type C) ports, two USB ports, a headphone jack, and microSD card reader. The Gorilla Glass screen is 33.8cm (13.3 inches), full high-definition (FHD) resolution (1920 x 1080), and touch-capable. The Envy 13 offers eighth-generation Intel quad-core processors (either i5 or i7), 8GB of memory (RAM), and 256GB solid state drive (SSD) storage. It has a large speaker section, covered by an attractive grill, and capable of good volume and clarity — the upshot of the collaboration with audio specialist Bang & Olufsen. Finally, HP promises up to 14 hours’ battery life (as always, that’s a best-case scenario).

But the upshot of all these stats is that the Envy is playing out of its league as a midrange laptop. It’s the first princess from an HP-range perspective, falling behind the Spectre range. Pricing starts from R16,000.