Work-oriented laptops are designed to be discrete. They’re meant to get the job done without calling much attention to them. But if you want a little polish and just a little personality, HP has something for you with the Envy 13.

Looks like it means business.

There’s no doubt that the HP Envy 13 is a sleek business machine. While not the most exciting color, the silver model makes it look professional yet stylish at the same time. It’s all lines, geometric shapes, and sharp angles, but thankfully no real sharp edges. It keeps a polished look. But it’s a bit playful with its design of the speakers as well as the small sliver at the back of the laptop. I liked the dot matrix triangle design that adorns the speaker grille above the keyboard. Build quality is excellent. The unit is light and compact enough (just around the size of an average glossy magazine) to easily slip into laptop bags, backpacks, or even bigger handbags.

The things that were sacrificed to keep this laptop slim and light include the bare essentials for ports. But you still have more than you can expect from an Ultrabook like this. Also, the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the right side could be improved. It’s not the most ergonomic place for it. There isn’t Thunderbolt 3 or HDMI here either, so for the latter, you’ll need help with a USB-C dongle.

Great for consumption

The bezel at the bottom of this device is a bit thick, but all the other sides are thin enough that these disappear into the sides and top. And thankfully, the webcam is still in its proper place on top of the screen. This edge-to-edge, 16:9 display is great for watching videos. The screen is glossy, though, so you will experience glare when you use it outdoors.

Type away, navigate with caution

It’s a pleasure typing on the Envy 13’s full-sized island-style keyboard. There isn’t much depth for the keys to sink into (it’s a thin laptop, after all), but I didn’t mind typing on this thing. You will need to reorient your typing a bit because HP squeezed the page navigation buttons to the right. I appreciate that the keys are backlit, though.

The touchpad isn’t as good as the keyboard when it comes to responsiveness. There is a cheap sounding click to the touchpad, and multi-touch scrolling needs a bit of calibration. I’m more inclined to use an external mouse with this laptop.

Handles heat

One notable design decision we appreciate is the lifting hinge that raises and pitches the keyboard base at a slight angle. HP isn’t the first or only company to do this. But we appreciate that it brought it to this laptop. Not only does it make for a more comfortable typing position, but it also helps with thermals and airflow management. This means the Envy 13 doesn’t heat up as much.

Works to meet your needs

The Envy 13 isn’t the most powerful machine out there. But it’s an adequate workhorse. It can handle basic word processing, web surfing, watching videos, and listening to music. It’s also a pretty quiet machine. The only time I’ve heard the fans run was when I was doing minor Photoshop edits. I get around six to seven hours of use when I’m working with this machine and it takes around two hours to fully charge.

A little boom.

The speakers on the Envy 13 are said to be tweaked by Bang & Olufsen. It does sound better than the usual tinny laptop audio. It’s not the loudest laptop speaker out there. But if you’re just watching or listening alone, it’ll be okay to go without headphones. There’s even a hint of bass in them.

2.O Verdict:

The HP Envy 13 is for the professional who wants a sleek machine that can handle your entertainment needs on the side.

HP Envy 13 review: Style and substance
Form Factor8.7
Build Quality 9
Ease of Use 9
Performance 8.7
Value for Money 8.5
8.8Overall Score