HP ENVY 13-aq1010nr Laptop Review

HP’s popular ENVY series has just received a much awaited refresh earlier this month, in terms of hardware. Its design hasn’t changed a bit since the last iteration which featured 8th gen Intel processors. The brand new HP ENVY 13-aq1010nr laptop is as lightweight and practical as ever, with the added benefit of having the latest technology inside it.

Review

As I previously mentioned, the HP ENVY 13 hasn’t suffered any changes to its overall design. It’s the same device on the outside. Distinctive and stylish, HP’s all-metal chassis and speaker grill will surely appeal to anyone on the lookout for an understated, not basic, notebook.

HP ENVY 13-aq1010nr featured image

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What I’d like to discuss in this relatively short review is its performance. How does it compare to current competition? How well will it actually behave in real-life situations? Is it worth it?

A new generation of processors

The HP ENVY 13 13-aq1010nr features the latest in terms of processing power from Intel. Codenamed “Comet Lake”, this brand new 10th generation of Intel processors is actually a sort of refresh of their popular 8th generation. As such, the Intel Core i7-10510U on the HP represents the continuation of the Intel Core i7-8565U which was launched last year.

When compared on Intel’s website, we can see they both are very similar, with the exception of the maximum clock speed, which is about a 6% increase in the favor of the i7-10510U. So, we can expect slightly better performance out of this processor, when compared to its predecessor. However, said difference is so small, it’ll likely go unnoticed by virtually all users.

So, what’s the deal with this new CPU then? Well, being a refresh means you’ll get regular updates for longer than you would with the 8th gen. In essence, it turns the HP ENVY 13 into a more future proof laptop.

Sub-standard system memory and storage capacity

While HP has brought a new CPU model to the table, we see no other hardware improvements. It comes equipped with 8 gigabytes of DDR4-2400 SDRAM and with a 256-gigabyte PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive. Not bad, right?

You get plenty of system memory for all your multitasking needs, as well as a decent amount of storage space. The thing is its memory is not upgradeable by the end user, as it’s soldered to the main board. Should you want to upgrade further down the road, you’ll find yourself stuck.

However, when looking at its main competition, things aren’t looking rosy at all. I’d say that its main rivals are the Dell XPS and the ASUS ZenBook. Both series feature models which have double the amount of both system memory and storage space for about the same price.

The HP ENVY 13 laptop is as portable as they come

Probably the best feature of the ENVY 13 series is portability. More precisely, the 13-aq1010nr model weighs around 2.8 pounds. You’ll be able to travel with it wherever, whenever without feeling overburdened. Plus, its battery pack will hold a charge for about 16 to 17 hours of light/medium use. Having almost two full days worth of work is worth every penny in my book.

While competitors have managed to shed more weight off of their devices, they’re all rather similar. A Dell XPS weighs 2.65 pounds, while the ZenBook takes the prize with just 2.6 pounds. Still, barely noticeable.

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What is interesting is battery life. Compared to the two models, the HP ENVY 13 should outlast them both by a couple of hours. At least on paper. So, if you need a device which blends portability with battery life, the ENVY is probably your best bet right now.

Features and extras

HP builds gorgeous high end laptops. There’s no doubt in my mind that design is as much of a feature as anything else with the ENVY 13. It’s a selling point, alongside exceptional build quality. There are a couple of nifty features as well:

  • Fingerprint Reader
  • Webcam Kill Switch
  • Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Fast Charge
  • Backlit Keyboard

The ENVY’s 13 inch Full HD display also has multi touch capabilities, meaning that you’ll be able to use it almost like a tablet, but not quite. This is not a convertible laptop. As such, its hinges won’t fully rotate to 360 degrees.

Interface options are plentiful. There’s no HDMI port, but you’ll be able to connect to either your monitor or TV using a USB-C to HDMI cable.

  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C
  • 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
  • Media Card Reader
  • Audio Combo Jack

Main competition

As I previously said, the HP ENVY 13 13-aq1010nr has a small issue with price and hardware options when compared to similar laptops. The Dell XPS 13 9370 (FHD model) and the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 come to mind. Both fantastic laptops. Both in same price range. Each has their own unique selling points and strong areas in which they excel.

However, at the end of the day, what really matters is performance, portability and quality. I’m sad to say that this model falls behind the two when talking about hardware options. There’s no denying that apart from the processor, the HP offers less in terms of raw power for about the same money.

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Portability is where the HP outshines the others, in my opinion at least. It’s significantly more balanced in terms of weight and battery life.

Final words

It’s hard to pick a certain demographic for who this laptop is most suited. I could think of college students who are not restricted by a tight budget. It ticks almost all boxes which make a notebook great for students: lightweight, powerful, portable. Also, traveling professionals will surely enjoy its long lasting battery life on long flights.

While not your typical everyday laptop, the HP ENVY 13-aq1010nr is certainly a worthy competitor for the likes of Dell and ASUS this year. While it falls short on performance, it makes up with its fantastic portability and build quality.

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