With the HP Envy Wood Series laptops, HP is making another daring commitment to natural materials. It started with the all-leather-clad Spectre Folio, and now we have real walnut or birch inlay on four Envy laptops.
Each Envy Wood Series laptop features authentic wood inlay in the keyboard deck, including the touchpad surface. The rest of the laptop is clad in metal.
Now don’t worry, you can still get an all-metal Envy laptop if you wish. With the Wood Series, HP is offering a trendy option that gives you a warm, natural finish and a truly unique look, as each wood inlay is different from the next.
Announced Monday at Computex in Taipei, details on the four Envy Wood Series laptops are scant. They’re due to ship in the fall, with pricing yet to be announced. Notably, most offer a choice of Intel or AMD processors. Here’s everything else we know.
There are three wood/metal combinations:
Natural Walnut with a dark metal HP calls Nightfall Black
White Birch with White Ceramic (coated metal)
Pale Birch with Silver metal
All the wood comes from sustainable, FSC-certified wood sources. The wood has been treated with a special TPU soaking process to reinforce the wood grain, which measures less than 1mm thick. The surface coating has been tested for resistance to substances ranging from red lipstick and red wine; yellow mustard; coffee, soda, and beer; sunscreen, and solution inks, as well as the natural oils from your hands. HP advises that you protect the wood surface from excessive exposure to sunlight, high temperature and high humidity.
The HP Envy 13 will come in both clamshell and x360 models. Both versions will be available in Natural Walnut with Nightfall Black. The x360 will offer the Ceramic White with White Birch, and it will also offer processor options from AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen along with Intel.
The most compact of the Envy lineup, the Envy 13 variants measure 14.7mm thin (a little over a half-inch) and weigh less than 2.6 pounds. The HP Envy 13 offers up to 19.75 hours of battery life, while the Envy 13 x360 will offer up to 14.5 hours. Those are impressive numbers, but expect your mileage to vary.
With the Envy 15 x360, HP has reduced the bezel width by 28 percent compared to the past generation. An optional AMOLED display could be a dazzling (but likely pricey) upgrade. The convertible will come in Nightfall Black/Natural Walnut, plus Silver/Pale Birch combinations.
Focused on versatility, there’s no boring old clamshell version available, and you have the choice of Intel or AMD processors. Battery life will last up to 13 hours (again, your mileage will vary).
The Envy 17 is built for better performance, with Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics. HP reduced the bezels by 45 percent over the previous generation, so you can bask in the immense screen real estate.
The HP Envy line also offers security features, including a physical sliding cover for the webcam and a fingerprint reader. An optional HP SureView privacy screen obscures your display from the sides, so people can’t peek at what you’re doing.
No one except HP knows whether wood is any crazier of a material to put into a laptop than leather. (The Spectre Folio held up well over three months of use in our review.) If we get our hands on an Envy Wood Series, we’ll certainly tell you more.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
The HP Envy 13 Wood Series is the company’s second foray into natural design flourishes—remember the leather-bound Spectre Folio? Now the company’s thin-and-light Envy 13 laptop has a Wood Series variant, featuring a walnut wood palm rest and touchpad.
While these details might seem frivolous to some, the finely textured wood panel makes for a surprisingly warm, yet practical touch in a laptop that (for the most part) nails the fundamentals. That said, the 4K display on this reasonably priced Envy model skimps on a key feature, and we also had some (non wood-related) touchpad issues.
This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.
HP is offering three pre-configured SKUs for its latest quad-core Envy 13 models. We’ve already reviewed the Envy 13 in its “regular” form. The good news is, the special Wood Series is available in the least-expensive SKU, which offers a 10th-gen Core i7-10510U Comet Lake CPU, a Full HD (1920×1080) IPS multi-touch display, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive, 16GB of Optane Memory (good stuff!), and an $850 sticker price on HP.comRemove non-product link (after a $200 discount). A step-up non-Wood model ($1,200 on HP.comRemove non-product link) boasts the same internals save for a larger 512GB SSD and 32GB of Optane memory. The Wood Series model we’re reviewing ups the ante with a 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake processor and a 4K display that (unfortunately) lacks multi-touch, for $1,300 (or $1,050 after discounts) on HP.com.
Let’s take a closer look at the specifications of our review model:
CPU: Quad-core 10th-gen Core i7-1065G7
Memory: 8GB DDR4-2400
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus
Storage: 512GB SSD
Optane memory: 32GB
Display: 13.3-inch 4K IPS (400 nits, non-touch)
Wireless networking: Wi-Fi 5
Battery capacity: 52 watt-hour
Dimensions: 12.08 x 8.32 x 0.57 inches
Weight: 2.82 pounds
On paper, we’re looking at a thin, light, and reasonably powerful productivity workhorse, although a few corners have been cut to achieve that discounted $1,050 price tag.
On the plus side is the Envy 13’s U-series Core i7-1065G7 processor, which is Intel’s second-fastest Ice Lake CPU for laptops, plus a roomy 512GB SSD that gets a nice 32GB Optane Memory speed boost. The integrated Iris Plus graphics should rival the visuals of entry-level discrete graphics cards, while the bright (if power-hungry) 4K IPS display is always a welcome sight.
So far, so good, but this particular model of the Envy is saddled with a few compromises. For starters, while the 8GB of RAM is adequate when it comes to smoothing out multitasking, 16GB would give busy people more room to queue up multiple applications and browser tabs. And while the 4K display is (as we’ll see) crisp and bright, it isn’t touch-enabled. (The HP Envy 13 models with full-HD displays do have touchscreens, and the configurable Envy has a 4K touchscreen option.) We’re also a tad disappointed by the Wi-Fi 5 networking, which means the Envy won’t be able to take full advantage of newer, faster, and more efficient Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Still, if you can live without a touch-enabled display, there’s a lot to like about this Envy 13 Wood Series configuration, which also happens to be among the least expensive Core i7-1065G7-powered laptops we’ve tested (assuming you can snag the discounted price).
Our HP Envy 13 Wood Series review unit boasts the same anodized-aluminum exterior that we’ve seen on other Envy models, complete with a pleasingly slim (0.57-inch) design and a “lift” hinge that props up the laptop when the lid is open, ideal both for boosting the angle of the keyboard and allowing extra airflow beneath the chassis.
Opening the Envy 13’s lid reveals the signature design element of this particular SKU (and the less expensive Comet Lake version): a walnut wood palm rest and touchpad. The finely textured wood grain feels smooth yet pleasingly tactile, particularly when you’re swiping the touchpad, and I enjoyed resting my palms against the firm, yet comfortable surface.
Besides its wooden palm rest, the HP Envy 13 boasts a few other nice design flairs, including the diamond-patterned speaker grille that sits above the keyboard, the flat rear spine with the sleek “Envy” logo, and a hourglass-shaped profile where the lip of the Envy 13’s lid meets the bottom edge of the laptop chassis.
The 4K display on our HP Envy 13 Wood Series review unit looked predictably sharp and vivid, and it’s also impressively bright. HP’s specs promise 400 nits (or candelas) of brightness for the screen, but our own measurements gave us a 495-nit reading—so yes, we’re talking a bright display here, although it should be noted that the brightness drops precipitously after just a couple of taps on the brightness-down button. It’s also worth remembering that a bright 4K display like the Envy 13’s will take a heavy toll on battery life.
The Envy 13’s display boasts wide viewing angles thanks to its IPS (in-plane switching) design. The screen dims only slightly when viewed from an angle, and I was able to read text on the display even when looking way over from one side or the other. For its part, HP promises a 178-degree viewing angle, and that sounds about right based on my experience.
A missing feature on the display of this particular Envy 13 model, however, is touch sensitivity. You won’t be able to swipe or tap the screen to interact with it, nor will you be able to write or draw on it with a stylus. The lack of touch support is surprising given how common it’s become on laptop displays, particularly on mid-tier and premium models. There are other Envy models that do boast full-HD and 4K touchscreens, although a custom-configured 4K touchscreen model with equivalent specifications (save for a downgraded Core i7 Comet Lake processor) costs about $240 more than the discounted price of our review unit.
Keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and extras
The HP Envy 13’s keyboard feels solid and comfy, with snappy yet quiet keystrokes, decent travel, and easy discoverability. You also get hotkeys for media playback, airplane mode, and mute, but none for laptop settings or disabling the built-in camera (although, as we’ll soon see, there’s another way to quickly shut off the Envy 13’s webcam).
While the Envy 13’s wood-crafted touchpad looks and feels great, we experienced the same occasionally jittery behavior from the touchpad on the Envy 13 Wood as we recently did with its aluminum sibling, the Envy 13, and a little further into the past with units such as the HP Pavilion x360 14. Not all typists who tried it had the same experience, so you might check your typing style for excessive palm-grazing, and try adjusting your touchpad drivers’ sensitivity as well.
Sitting just below the bottom-right corner of the Envy 13’s keyboard is a Windows Hello-enabled fingerprint reader, which lets you swipe a fingerprint to unlock Windows or log into Windows Hello-enabled apps. I enrolled my fingerprint shortly after I began testing my Envy 13 review unit and (aside from a very occasional hiccup) didn’t encounter any problems.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the Envy 13’s top-firing Bang & Olufsen speakers, which sounded impressively robust for laptop audio components. Just to be clear, the Envy 13’s speakers can’t rival the audio of external speakers or a good set of cans, but they sounded well above average, with a rich mid-range, plenty of high-end detail and even a sprinkling of bass.
While the HP Envy 13 might not give you all the ports you want, you get what you need. Starting on the left side, there’s a drop-jaw USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port (the first of two), a Thunderbolt 3 port (which supports data transfer rates up to 40GBps), and a combo audio jack.
On the right side sits a second drop-jaw USB 3.0 port, along with a microSD card slot and a barrel-shaped charging port. Also on the right side is a switch that electronically disables the Envy’s webcam (there’s no physical lens shutter, however).
Missing in action is an ethernet port, which isn’t a huge surprise given the Envy’s slim-and-light design, and HDMI, which you can do without, as the Thunderbolt 3 port can power a pair of 4K displays or a single 5K display.
Keep reading for performance scores for the CPU, graphics, and battery.