Friday, July 10, 2020

HP Envy x360 AMD Ryzen - Laptop Review


My never ending search for an all-in-one windows laptop that I can also draw in has led me to the HP Envy x360 13 with an AMD processor. Can this be my budget windows art machine of my dreams. As you all know when it comes to drawing tech things can get pretty pricey when a budget alternative pops up there always seems to be a catch, the surface go looks really cool but it's underpowered. There's some super cheap 200 android tablets out there but they're kind of janky and I've been looking for that sweet spot, the place where good price meets a good drawing experience and today that search brings me here the hp envy x360 this is an all-in-one windows convertible laptop, the screen flips up all the way around so you can set it up and draw on it using the included pen.

unfortunately and we're just gonna get the bad news out of the way here at the beginning the pen isn't as good as I was hoping, it would be but when you factor in the price it might be a trade-off that you're willing to make to have a small portable nice little windows laptop. Let's see what we've got in the box, we've got our power brick and also the extension cable that plugs into it also we have the pen included also that comes with the battery right here in the box. You can upgrade it and get a rechargeable version of this pen for 30 dollars more that pen will charge via usb. Then we have the laptop itself it looks pretty nice it's got this nice brushed metal look, it's a it's a darker color it's not ultra light in fact it weighs a good amount but it's solid it feels premium HP has made laptops like this before but what makes this particular one special is it's the AMD version .

The product i am checking out here is the entry level configuration that starts out at 650 dollars it's got a 13.3 full hd that's 1920 by 1080 screen you could jump up to a 15 inch model which has the same resolution but a couple more ports in it on these smaller screens especially a 13 inch screen not having that higher resolution doesn't really bother me much it looks pretty good and it gets plenty bright at 300 nits the viewing angles of the screen are just okay for every position i was in for drawing or using a laptop it was just fine but when i got to filming it i could really see that when you get off to the side or move it around it gets kind of dark this is also a touch enabled screen it's great for pinching and zooming but also the occasional accidental palm mark more on that in a minute also worth pointing out is this screen is a 16 by nine aspect ratio inside we have 256 gigabyte ssd which is more than i expected at this price point like i mentioned before this one is rocking an AMD Ryzen 3 4 300 u processor if you wanted to spec this out with a better Ryzen processor like the 5 or the 7 you can do that too.

I'm not a benchmark kind of guy but what i wanted to see with this AMD Ryzen processor was is it too slow for drawing an illustration task does it stack up that way against intel and i'm happy to report it ran adobe photoshop and the creative suite just fine probably not something i'd want to do video editing on but for illustration it was great this model also comes with eight gigabytes of memory built in or if you're an artist or illustrator that's usually the base point i tell most people to shoot for when you're looking at a laptop is you wanna go eight gigabytes or higher you probably don't wanna go under that and there's some more good news here if you got a phillips head screwdriver you could open up the back pretty easily and install more ram down the road if you need to on the left side we have a headphone jack a usb a port and a usb c port that is not thunderbolt 3. in this case that's because we're rocking some AMD internals not intel on the right side we have a power port another usb a port and also a micro sd card slot i've seen photos of these before but the usb a ports are the kind that kind of flap open to make the laptop center i thought that was kind of cool and you can make it talk.

Also point out if you upgrade to that 15-inch version of this laptop there's more ports for example it adds an hdmi port along the side as well there aren't a lot of bells and whistles to this budget-friendly laptop so things like the camera it's only a 720p camera it's only okay but they did manage to fit in a kill switch for that camera and also a fingerprint reader on the keyboard the battery on this thing was pretty good hp rates it about 12 hours of battery life i would say drawing in photoshop i was getting closer to around six hours which is decent windows laptops have come a long way in recent years the low end laptops feel a lot more premium now than they used to this keyboard feels pretty good to type on the all aluminum body gives it a more premium feel in general and even the speakers sound good the speaker grilles are along the bottom of the laptop so it's a bit muffled in laptop mode because of that but it sounds really good when you prop it up for drawing because the speakers are now facing you speaking of drawing the angles on this are pretty good when you flip it around you're probably going to want to hold it with one hand since it is a laptop putty the pull pressure of your palm is gonna close the thing but i found it was pretty comfortable to rest my hand along the side while drawing on it and propping it at the angle i wanted to use it at and that 360 degree hinge holds up pretty well that's something that i worry about the most on these laptops is i have no idea what that hinge is going to be like two years from now.

One thing I did miss is there's no real place to put the pen there's nowhere to store it on the inside there's no magnets in the pen or along the side of the screen so you could stick the pen to it the pen just kind of is there another thing to be aware of is the fan tended to be on when i was drawing on this thing and the fan points like right it's at the bottom so it points right at your wrist while you're drawing on there so if you don't like hot air blowing on you while you're drawing it does that on to the drawing experience so this is the pen that comes with the hp envy x360 and the main thing to know about this pen is in the back of it there is a battery and what you find in many battery powered pens is that you get some wave and jitter to your lines and this pen is no different so i'm starting this process this little demo here that i'm about to do in autodesk sketchbook and and the reason why is because sketchbook sentence to have wigglier lines wigglier i'm trying having a hard time getting that word out than many other applications and that's totally what i'm seeing here let me zoom in here so you can see these aren't like super slow like sometimes i'll go really slow to get the wobble in there these are just kind of normal speed lines and and they look nasty.

They look absolutely horrible the other thing that was happening in sketchbook is i was getting these palm recognition dots i should point out i'm wearing a drawing glove people ask that in every video and the main reason i wear that is is not so much to reduce these uh palm rejection dots the main reason is because it's august and it's hot and my hand sweats and sticks to this smooth glass screen there is a way to turn on streamlining with these lines which is how i drew most of this character so your wine will start really jittery but when you let go it'll come in there and it'll smooth it out for you so there are some ways around that if you choose to go this route let's jump over to Photoshop here and i'm going to go ahead and create a new document really quick because in Photoshop i feel like i'm getting better performance than i do in an app like sketchbook now you do see some wiggle to the lines but it's you know it's not as bad as what we were seeing before let me undo that brush stroke and let me get some lines in here just some normal speeded lines i'm making up words here as i go and you can see there's some jitter to these.

I can turn on smoothing in Photoshop and once i get it up to about 20 percent you see these lines get pretty nice actually those look pretty good so there are ways to turn on smoothing and to get this pen looking better than it was before this also has smoothing on but i'm going to just kind of go through the pressure and the pressure curve is okay it it seems to at times take a little while to turn on it has i would call it a strong initial activation which means you have to apply more force before it starts happening so if i just drag it across the screen nothing i start applying force and then i get a line so if you're really light drawer this probably isn't going to be a good fit for you so overall i would rate this pen a c minus if you use smoothing and if you don't have to worry too much about the the initial activation force it's okay it works you can create good artwork with this if your software is helping you out a little bit if you need that perfect pen feel if you're looking for something really smooth and really nice out of the box without having to worry about doing all these edits and customization's.

This is probably one to pass on let's talk about those pros and those cons the pro is definitely the price here getting this form factor at this price can be a little bit hard to come by it seems like as soon as you get into the convertibles or the tablet e space the price starts getting really really high i saw some configurations on amazon of the same exact laptop except it had better specs but it was only a little bit more and overall generally i thought that the price versus value that you're getting for this and the way you can customize those specs on hp's website was was a very good value if you're an artist what it comes down to is you have to ask yourself is do you need a great pen and if you need a great pen like the perfect pen this probably isn't the laptop for you if you are looking to take notes or just want a pen to use on the side or want to do some light sketching from time to time or take up a new hobby i think this is a fantastic laptop in fact in general i thought it was a very good value obviously it's not a super powerful laptop so if you're doing drawing and illustration you're going to be just fine if you're going to go into 3d work or you want to use it for gaming i'm not so sure so that was the nvx 360.