HP ENVY 13-ab020nr Notebook Review

HP’s ENVY 13 notebook series is the company’s attempt to reinvent themselves in a market that puts more and more value on both design, and performance. Having great specs on a laptop isn’t enough anymore, and manufacturers know it. The HP ENVY 13-ab020nr is a brand new model: elegant, ultraportable and can also pack a punch.

Review

As I mentioned earlier, the HP ENVY 13-ab020nr has design traits which firmly place it in ultrabook territory. This model’s body is built entirely from lightweight metal and features a smooth, all-silver colored chassis. Except for the screen bezel, which is painted black, the rest of the laptop has that silk-like metal feeling to it.

Keys feature slightly rounded corners and have enough travel distance to allow for a comfortable typing experience. Also, the ENVY’s speakers are placed on both sides of the keyboard, so that you’ll enjoy crystal clear audio.

Another interesting feature is the innovative hinge design. When the lid is opened, the hinge’s bottom part forces itself against the surface it’s placed on to angle the whole laptop just so. It acts this way to allow for an improved typing experience, as it’s easier to type on a slightly raised keyboard, than it is on a flat one.

Performance

Having covered the main design features, it’s time to look at its specs. The HP ENVY 13-ab020nr comes equipped with a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor. This dual core processor has a base frequency of 2.7 GHz that goes up to 3.5 GHz when in turbo mode. Its 4 megabytes of cache mean that this processor will easily handle even the most demanding tasks. It’s a great option, and one that’s widely used across the board in mid-range ultrabooks.

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Standard system memory is rated at 8 gigabytes of LPDDR3 SDRAM. You may have noticed that instead of using the latest DDR4 standard, HP have opted to use the previous DDR3 generation. I don’t know why, but you, as a user, will likely see little difference when using it for daily tasks. I wouldn’t worry about it.

Plus, 8 gigabytes is an adequate amount of system memory for most ultrabook users. You can easily multitask, handle large data sets and use demanding software (photo editing, VM software, etc) with relative ease using the allotted RAM.

The HP ENVY 13-ab020nr has a 256-gigabyte NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive installed. This is great news for users who need and expect the best of out their machines. Not only is an SSD much faster and reliable than a mechanical Hard Disk Drive, but the new NVMe SSDs are faster, even.

The only downside would be the apparent lack of space, but again, I wouldn’t worry. Chances are you already own a couple of external drives if you need that much space anyway.

Graphics and display

The HP ENVY 13-ab020nr hasn’t been fitted with a dedicated graphics card. Instead, it has an integrated Intel Graphics HD video card. This is bad news for users who may have wanted to also play games on this notebook. It will run the likes of CS:GO, LoL and similar titles at acceptable framerates, but don’t expect to be able to play AAA titles.

However, business and working professionals shouldn’t be affected by the lack of a dedicated card. Video conference calls, media streaming and visual software will work just fine on the ENVY.

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Impressive as this laptop has been for me until now, its screen is more impressive, still. The HP ENVY 13-ab020nr features a 13.3 inch WLED-backlit QHD+ (3200 x 1800) display. Despite being glossy, its panel performs well in bright sunlight conditions. Pixel density is, therefore, a good reason to warrant buying the HP, and not other similarly priced ultrabooks.

Interface and connectivity options

I’d say interface options are adequate for a $1000 ultrabook. It features only modern ports, no legacy options have been made available. These are the ENVY’s available ports:

  • 1 x USB-C port
  • 2 x USB3.1 ports
  • 1 x HDMI-out
  • 1 x COMBO audio jack
  • 1 x Media card reader

As for connectivity options, the HP ENVY 13-ab020nr comes with standard options: a high speed 802.11ac wireless card with built-in Bluetooth 4.0 technology.

Portability and battery life

As it stands right now, the HP ENVY 13-ab020nr is one of the thinnest ultrabooks around. It’s only 0.55 inches thick, meaning it will fit in the most cramped backpacks and bags. Furthermore, it’s a lightweight device, although it’s not the lightest one on the market. However, a 13-inch device that weighs 3 pounds is light enough for avid travelers and traveling professionals.


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A full charge of the ENVY’s Lithium-Ion battery pack will provide you with up to 10 and a half hours of usage time. That’s more than a day’s worth of work getting done. If we combine the extended battery life with its portability stats, we can safely assume that this model should prove to be a star among the frequent traveler/digital nomad communities.

Conclusion

I can’t give the HP ENVY 13-ab020nr any negative points. It really is a solid device across the board. It has great specs, a fantastic display and will allow users to go further for longer on a single battery charge. Sure, it’s not as light as the LG gram, and neither is it as portable as the Dell XPS.

It may not particularly excel in any given area, but as a whole it’s one of the most balanced mid-range ultrabooks out there. Great value for your money if you’re looking for a versatile $1000 laptop.

Summary
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HP ENVY 13-ab020nr
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