These days, owning an ultrabook is a must for many people. These laptops are compact enough for on-the-go, yet they often possess unbeaten performance thanks to high-end components. HP Envy 13-ab020nr, the company’s latest brainchild, promises to fill this niche of power users who are also looking for portability. But how well are these promises kept? We will see about that right now.
The laptop shell is made of aluminum only. In my experience, this material choice has one major pro: the looks. Metal-based notebooks look professional whereas plastic shells are sometimes in the meh category. On the other hand, your aluminum dents rather easily. So be extra careful not to hit this thing around.
Partly thanks to the metal chassis, the unit is also quite lightweight: only 3 pounds. Furthermore, at 0.6 inches the thickness isn’t bad either. It’s thinner than any book. The laptop will take hardly any space in purse, backpack and such.
HP ENVY 13-ab020nr trusts on best components. The most important one is Intel Core i7-7500U, the company’s 7th generation processor. Based on the Kaby Lake architecture, this dual-core model was released in the late 2016 so it’s still, at the time of writing this, Intel’s newest CPU. The i7-7500U offers high clock speeds starting from 2.7GHz and ending up at 3.5GHz with turbo boost. According to CPU Mark, a score of 5200 is attained.
This notebook contains 8GB LBDDR3-1600 memory. Unfortunately to some, it is soldered on the motherboard. In another words, you can not upgrade the memory no matter what. However, I don’t see this as a disadvantage, just a minor hurdle. 8GB is still a decent amount and will take a power user far, even in 2017 and 2018.
Like any modern laptop also the HP enjoys the snappy performance of SSD. It has a 256GB PCIe/NVMe M.2 solid-state drive installed. Windows 10 installation is going to take its toll on the storage, leaving you around 220 gigabytes for your files. Unlike the memory, the SSD can be upgraded.
Graphics and display
I have some bad news for gamers. There is only so much HP ENVY 13-ab020nr can do for you. You will only find an integrated GPU on this unit, called Intel HD 620. For the latest games, it’s not really your go-to graphics card. As an example, Fallout 4 and Witcher 3 would have unfavorable frame rates below 20 on any settings. On the other hand, you would get decent FPS on sports games such as FIFA and some first person shooters like Counter-Strike: Go.
However, it must be noted, the lack of a proper graphics card doesn’t matter that much for software. You can edit images with Photoshop on this laptop if you want.
The non-touch display on this HP is professional-friendly. Despite its smallish 13.3″ diagonal, the resolution stands at 3200×1800. This is also called Quad HD if you are “in the know”. Simply put, there are more pixels in the screen than on Full HD screen, allowing a lot of data to be shown simultaneously. This is a desirable feature for power users and digital artists. Keep in mind the screen only works in laptop mode, it won’t rotate flat to tablet.
Ports and interfaces
It goes without saying that compact HP ENVY 13-ab020nr can’t have very wide selection of ports. But don’t be afraid, all the essentials are covered. The laptop boasts two USB 3.1 ports and one USB Type-C port to keep your devices connected. What it does not have is an optical drive, but the said USB ports happily accommodate external DVD drives.
On the side, you will find a full-sized HDMI output. Thus, the laptop can be used with an external monitor. This is a handy feature if you find the HP’s own screen too small for your taste.
The laptop has a pro-grade wireless adapter, Intel’s WiFi card that supports 2×2 802.11ac. It’s the WiFi standard for long range and strong signal. Also Bluetooth 4.2 is supported if that is your cup of tea.
Miscellaneous features and benefits
The battery on this HP is a 3-cell 58Whr unit. The notebook being so new there are no user reports about the battery duration yet. The manufacturer’s ad copy says up to 10.5 hours on mixed use. That might be close to truth – I’d say you’re looking at ~9 hours operating time on this computer, usually. It seems like the battery is integrated, meaning not replaceable.
Obviously, the laptop also has a backlit keyboard.
Why should you buy it?
The HP seems to have a gorgeous screen. In case you value high resolution and great image quality, this is for you. The 3200×1800 resolution gives you all the screen estate in the world, and working with your image details in Photoshop won’t be hindered by a poor display.
The general performance is solid, very solid. A Core i7 processor and solid-state drive is a combo that’s hard to beat. It works for the said image editing work, but also for multitasking and other resource-intensive use well. And remember, it will just take a few seconds to boot to Windows desktop due to the snappy SSD.
This is a laptop for traveling. The (almost) 10 hours battery life and lightweight make sure of that.
Why should you not buy it?
As is the case with most ultrabooks, also HP ENVY 13-ab020nr makes a bad gaming companion. The integrated graphics card won’t deal out great frame rates on new games, no matter what. In addition, it’s not possible to add a graphics card inside.
There are not too many bad things I can say about HP ENVY 13-ab020nr. Sure, it’s a bit pricey, but in exchange it offers unbeaten performance in a compact and neat looking package. The highlights in the component department are Core i7 and SSD that cater to the needs of power users. Thanks to the Quad HD resolution, the display should please professionals too. If you have the financial means, this HP makes a solid laptop for all software-related use where also portability is required (students, power users, traveling businessmen and others).