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HP Envy x360 (15-aq055na) review: A slight upgrade to last year’s model

Wonderfully flexible, the new HP Envy x360 falls short in portability

Performance and battery life

With its 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-6560U processor and 8GB of RAM, the new Envy X360 produced an overall score of 50 in our demanding 4K benchmark tests. Image editing was excellent at 82, but it was let down considerably when it came to multi-tasking, scoring just 36. Still, it's a respectable score, and compares well with other 15.6in convertibles such as Dell's Inspiron 15 (5668) and even smaller ultraportables, as HP's own Spectre 13, whose 2.5GHz Core i7-6500U processor only managed a score in the low 40s.

Even more impressive is how HP's managed to pack everything inside such a thin chassis. With so little space to dissipate heat, I was expecting severe throttling issues, but even under load the Envy x360 managed to keep its cool, only becoming a little warm to the touch during our benchmarks. Likewise, the fans were barely noticeable.

Sadly, all this power does have a rather adverse effect on battery life, as it reached just 6hrs and 28mins during our continuous video playback test when I set the screen brightness to our usual measurement of 170cd/m2. It's not the worst score I've seen, especially considering the similarly sized Dell Inspiron 15 (5668) was an hour behind under the same conditions, but it still leaves a lot to be desired.

Ports and speakers

There's a decent amount of ports to be found here. You've got two USB3 ports and one USB Type-C, as well as an SD Card reader, HDMI output for connecting the laptop to external displays and a 3.5mm headset jack. Unlike last year's model, though, there's no Gigabit Ethernet port in sight, so you'll have to stick to the 802.11ac Wi-Fi if you want to get online.

Meanwhile, the Envy x360's Bang & Olufsen-branded speakers are surprisingly good. My test tracks were wonderfully loud and punchy, but I did notice a bit of distortion at high volume levels, so you probably will want to keep the volume in check for the best experience. The bass could also do with a bit of a boost but that's the case with most laptop speakers.

Not convinced? Check out our sister title Expert Reviews' best laptop 2016 guide for a list of all the best devices you can buy this year.

Verdict

The new HP Envy x360 fails to make much of an impression when you factor in the price. Yes, you get fantastic performance, but its poor display, mediocre battery life and problematic keyboard make it difficult to recommend otherwise. It’s also fairly bulky as convertible laptops go, which rather defeats the point of it being a 2-in-1 device in the first place.

Instead, you’d be much better off buying a more traditional ultraportable, such as the entry-levelDell XPS 13, or, if you’re desperate for something that folds in half, the infinitely superior Asus Zenbook Flip UX360CA does a much better job overall than HP’s effort. The Zenbook may not be as fast, but a decent display and respectable battery life, it’s still my 360 hybrid of choice.

Processor: Dual-core 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-6560U, RAM: 8GB,Dimensions: 380x250x18.8mm,Weight: 2.17Kg, Screen size: 15.6in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Graphics adaptor: Intel Iris Graphics 540, Total storage: 1TB Hard disk, 128GB SSD 

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