HP ENVY 13-ab016nr Laptop Review

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November 21, 2016
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Laptops in the price range of HP ENVY 13-ab016nr often offer everything a power use can wish for: speedy processor, a big and fast storage, and beautiful screen to look at. Surely on paper, this HP seems to give them all. But many times reality is different than what you can expect by just reading the spec sheet. I’ll give you more ideas about this laptop’s usability below…

Performance

The most essential component when determining performance is processor. And Intel, the major manufacturer, has recently released their newest 7th generation processor family to production. In HP ENVY 13-ab016nr is one of them, the Intel Core i5-7200U, with architecture called Kaby Lake. The unit offers two cores like its predecessor i5-6200U. The clock speed is however upped to 2.5 – 3.1GHz (turbo) whereas the older model had 2.3 – 2.8GHz readings. In real life there is quite big difference between these two, as the i5-7200U receives ~4800 points in CPU Mark tests while the previous i5-6200U got 4000.

Continuing with RAM, the system comes with 8GB installed. It’s the DDR3 type and it is integrated on the system board. This is alright as long as you’re not planning to add more, such a soldered RAM can not be upgraded. These days eight gigabytes still tends to be a lot and pretty much nobody needs more – even gamers would be happy with that.

In the storage room lives a 256GB solid-state drive, attached to M.2 PCIe/NVMe interface. Now some people argue it’s small in size, if you compare to spinning hard drives it is true. But also remember the drive is darn fast, it beats those older drives easily in performance. Plus, if you have a screwdriver you can just open the computer and upgrade the SSD to a bigger version if you want to.

So in short, the performance of this unit is adequate for power users dealing with exotic programs. While the processor is not a quad-core model, it’s still the latest technology and together with 8GB RAM multitasking should be a piece of cake. Examples of software that people use this notebook for include Photoshop, Illustrator and Microsoft Office.

Notes on gaming

You might’ve heard that integrated graphics units are not great for gaming. Well that is true – and sadly for players – HP ENVY 13-ab016nr has one, the Intel HD 620. It’s definitely one of the better integrated engines but still in no way in the same league than dedicated cards. With many games you will need to drop settings. If you accept that, you got yourself an alright rig for casual gaming. Here are some examples you can expect:

– GTA 5, low settings and 720p, ~30FPS
– Battlefield 4, low settings and 720p, ~45FPS
– Counter-Strike: Go, ultra settings and Full HD, ~40FPS

Obviously, you can not install a new graphics card in this laptop.

Ports and connections

For a small unit the HP ENVY 13-ab016nr is exceptionally well equipped with ports. There are a couple of USB 3.1 and one USB Type-C at your disposal. You might know the latter can be used as a multi-purpose port as long as you use the right cable – which are of course cheap. Surely there is a dedicated HDMI-output, you can use it the traditional way to connect an external monitor – be it a PC monitor or HDTV.

The networking options are limited to wireless. The notebook sports a nice 802.11ac WiFi card built in, it also supporting Bluetooth. You can’t use the laptop with network cable out of the box since it doesn’t have RJ-45 port. But USB to RJ-45 adapters exist, hint hint.

Due to size there’s no optical drive installed in this HP. Of course, you can order an external DVD drive and plug it to the laptop’s USB. Or you may also utilize its SD card slot.

Miscallenous, important things

The screen of HP ENVY 13-ab016nr has been praised as professional, sharp and colorful. For this price and specifications it’s easy to believe. It works on Full HD so image quality should be top-notch. Keep in mind that touch is supported and it’s not going to flip into a tablet. The UWVA technology means ultra wide viewing angles which in reality is about 180 degrees. People have said the front webcam works well even in low light conditions.

The manufacturer says battery life is up to 14 hours, but that won’t happen. Users reported around 10 hours on web surfing and similar, which is still a lot – over one working day. Charging is also fast, it takes just around 2 hours from zero to maximum. The battery is integrated.

Material is mostly aluminum with some plastic thrown at some areas. It gives the unit a professional look, just remember aluminum is prone to scratches and they show.

This model sports a backlit keyboard. You might find it useful in dark places, however what I’ve found enough myself is the screen shining light on the keys on a laptop with no backlit keyboard.

Summing it up

HP ENVY 13-ab016nr is not too expensive an unit, but it surely offers performance of one! The engine room is darn solid, nothing is really lacking in there when it comes to running software. Especially the PCIe based SSD is sweet. Also the display with Full HD resolution and top-notch viewing angles will be nice to look at and use for, say, image editing. The laptop will last forever (~10 hours) with the default battery. You’ll need to be careful with in-game settings, but otherwise this HP is close to a perfect snappy notebook if you ask me!


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