HP Envy 13 review: HP Envy 13

For a laptop with a 2.13GHz SL9600 low-voltage Intel CPU, the Envy 13 performed admirably, coming close to matching the performance of Apple's 13-inch MacBook. An ultrathin system like Dell's Adamo, which uses an older U9300 processor, was much slower, highlighting the importance of finding the right balance between performance and power management. In anecdotal use, we found the Envy 13 to be quick and responsive, and it likely benefited from skipping Windows Vista in preference of Windows 7.

The 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 graphics are entry level, as far as dedicated graphics solutions go, but technically it is more powerful than the integrated Nvidia GeForce 9400 graphics found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro. At 1,280x800 pixels, we got a very playable 31.5 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 3. It's not going to be a gaming monster, but for casual gaming, it should get you through some World of Warcraft sessions while waiting at the airport gate. The discrete GPU can also be switched off in favor of integrated graphics, or set to automatically switch off when running on battery power.

The HP Envy 13 ran for 2 hours and 59 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, using the included battery. Our battery drain test is especially grueling, so you can expect longer life from casual Web surfing and office use. While the 13-inch MacBook Pro nearly doubles that, this falls within our general 3-hour minimum preference. Unlike Apple's laptops, this battery is removable and replicable.

We also received an optional second battery, called a slice battery, that is large, thin, and covers the entire bottom surface of the laptop. We're still testing this additional battery and will update the battery life results when they are available, but in an initial run, it added between four and five hours to the system's running time. Note that we're running the system with the discrete graphics chip enabled, and turning it off will provide additional power savings.

HP includes an industry-standard one-year parts-and-labor warranty with the system. Support is accessible through a 24-7 toll-free phone line, an online knowledge base and driver downloads, and Envy owners get a dedicated support number to call, manned by, "Envy product experts." Online support chat is also available, and, according to HP, e-mails to its tech support team should be answered within one hour.

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS3 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

HP Envy 13
Windows 7 Professional (64-bit); 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo SL9600; 3,072MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330; 250GB Toshiba 5400rpm

Dell Adamo
Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 (64-bit); 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9300; 2,048MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 779MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 128GB Samsung SSD

Apple MacBook - Summer 2009 -Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.13GHz
OS X 10.5.7 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.13GHz; 2,048MB DDR3 SDRAM 800MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Toshiba Satellite U505-S2940
Windows Vista Home Edition SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P7350; 4,096MB DDR2 SDRAM 800MHz; 128MB (Shared) Mobile Intel GMA 4500MHD; 400GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

Apple MacBook Pro -Summer 2009-Core 2 Duo 13.3 inch - 2.26GHz
OS X 10.5.7 Leopard; Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz; 2,048MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,066MHz; 256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400M; 160GB Hitachi 5,400rpm

Editors' Top PicksSee All


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy See all prices

HP Envy 13-1030nr - 13.1" - Core 2 Duo SL9400 - Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - 3 GB RAM - 250 GB HDD

Part Number: VM173UA#ABA Released: Oct 18, 2009
MSRP: $1,899.99 Low Price: $989.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 18, 2009
  • Resolution 1366 x 768 ( HD )
  • Operating System Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Edition
  • Installed Size 3 GB
  • Weight 5.1 lbs
  • Optical Drive DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM
  • Graphics Processor ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 - 512 MB
  • CPU Intel Core 2 Duo SL9400 / 1.86 GHz