HP Envy x360 15-aq005na full review

The HP Envy 360 is one of the largest convertible laptops. It has a 15.6-inch screen, but also a 360-degree hinge like some of today's top lifestyle hybrids. Also see: Best laptops 2016

Also see: Best Black Friday Laptop Deals

This is a solidly-made laptop whose somewhat-aggressive pricing makes sure it doesn't seem you're paying over the odds for the hinge. One question remains: what are you going to with a hybrid this big? If you don't have an answer, you should also consider the HP Envy 15, this laptop's non-convertible brother.

HP Envy x360 15 review: UK price

The Envy range sits in the middle of HP's laptops. It gets you some frills HP Pavilion laptops lack, but doesn't have the glitz, or the price, of a Spectre model.

The HP Envy x360 comes at a typically mid-range cost, of £779 for the version with an Intel Core i5-6200U. For £849 you get the Intel Core i7 version, which also has a more powerful GPU. More on that later.

HP Envy x360 15 review: Design

You have to admire HP's resolve in continuing with many of its HP Envy lines. Not only was the HP Envy x360 quite poorly received critically back when it was first introduced in 2014, there are even still 17-inch HP Envy models available. Unlike some brands, HP still believes in the laptop.

The HP Envy x360 is a bit of a head-scratcher, though. It's a 15.6-inch laptop with a 360-degree hinge. Such hinges are common nowadays but you don't often see them on laptops this large.

In case you're new to these hybrids, the HP Envy x360 hinge feels a lot like that of a normal laptop, but instead of stopping at around 135 degrees, it carries on. The screen can be folded right back onto the keyboard.

Start off trying to position these convertibles an alternative to an iPad and you're on a bad road. They need to be appreciated for their particular talents, that you can prop up the screen at any angle you like, and in small space. See all laptop reviews.

Those benefits do start to sound muted in a 15.6-inch laptop, though. The HP Envy x360 is it a bit odd, isn't it?

It's a low-key sort of oddity, though. The HP Envy x360 is otherwise a fairly plain and tasteful full-size laptop. Its shell is aluminium, and while it's a mammoth compared with most convertibles, it is rather slim and portable for a computer with a 15.6-inch screen.

Our review model is 2.19kg. This is just a little heavier than a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and 200g or so heavier than the HP Envy 15, this laptop’s non-convertible sibling.

We find this sort of weight a little too heavy to be perfectly suited to super-portable use. However, the only obvious choice among 15-inch laptops substantially more portable is the Dell XPS 15, which is also more expensive.

The HP Envy x360 comes across as a desktop-replacer with a lifestyle edge, a laptop for people who’d value being able to able to perch the thing comfortably on the kitchen top over beating rivals in a CPU number-crunching drag race. We’ll look at this more closely in the performance section.

This is also one of the first laptops we’ve reviewed to use Windows Hello, a combo of software and hardware that lets you bring the x360 out of sleep with your face rather than a pin or password. It uses IR cameras next to the webcam so that it works fine in dark rooms as well as well-lit ones.

Don’t start thinking this is some sort of Retinal-scanning security. The cameras are quite low-res, relying on facial geometry rather than recognising fine detail. Performance is somewhat patchy, veering between working in a second or so failing altogether after 10 seconds of ‘checking’ a face. However, it does work whether the Envy x360 is used in laptop or ‘tent’ position, where the camera sits at the bottom of the screen. Also see: Best budget laptops 2016

HP Envy x360 15

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