HP Envy 16 Review: The creator laptop for everyday people

HP Envy 16 Review: The creator laptop for everyday people

It’s almost as though everyone is a creator these days. If you’re like me, you’re creating new memories by tweeting, web browsing, and reading articles. You might even create fun moments when watching movies, editing family videos on your laptop, or even gaming with friends.

That’s exactly the kind of stuff that I feel the new HP Envy 16 is for. This laptop, which follows last year’s HP Envy 15.6, is mainly targeted at creators like video editors or photographers. Yet, it also has a little bit of everything that the everyday person might want in a laptop for gaming, productivity, and consuming content.

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That’s all thanks to the amazing set of specs that HP configured this Envy 16 review unit with. It’s the latest 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700-H processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, and a 1 TB SSD. On top of all that, I can’t forget the amazing 16-inch 3840 x 2400 resolution OLED touch display, either.

Despite very important refinements like a better 5MP webcam and a switch to the 16:10 aspect ratio display, there are some tiny flaws, too. Those include below-average battery life, as well as the system sounding a little too loud under heavy loads. But this is definitely one of the best HP Envy laptops in a while, with meaningful generational changes that finally make it worth buying over some of the best mainstream HP laptops.

    The HP Envy 16 packs a lot for creators and the everyday user, too. OLED displays, powerful RTX graphics, Intel H-class processors make it a great buy.

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HP Envy 16 pricing and availability

  • The HP Envy 16 is available at HP.com, Best Buy, Costco, and Micro Center. Prices start at $1,400.

HP is selling the Envy 16 at a variety of retailers. Certain configurations might not be in stock, depending on where you look. The lower-end version of the HP Envy 16 starts at $1,400, on HP.com. That’ll get you the 12th Generation Intel Core i5 H-series processor, Intel A370M Arc graphics, a standard 16-inch UHD+ display with 120Hz refresh rate, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It’s often marked down on the HP site for $1,180.

The model HP sent to me is usually priced at $1,809, but it’s currently on sale for $1,700. As I mentioned at the top of the review, that includes a 12th generation Intel Core i7-12700-H processor, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, and a 1 TB SSD. The display is also bumped up to 3840 x 2400 resolution OLED in my case.

If you really want a lot of power, you can bump the specs on this machine all the way up to a Core i9-12900H processor, with Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics, 32GB of RAM, a 2TB SSD, and a  WQXGA 120Hz panel. That’ll set you aside $2,600 or $2,380 when on sale.

HP Envy 16 specs

Processor Intel Core i7-12700H (up to 14 cores, 24MB cache, 4.7 GHz Turbo Boost)
Graphics Intel Iris Xe+ Nvidia Geforce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 memory
Body 14.07 x 9.94 x 0.78 inches, 5.91 pounds
Display 16-inch 3840 x 2400 resolution OLED, Touch, 60 Hz, WVA Edge-to-Edge Glass Micro-Edge Low Blue Light, 400 nits
Memory (Replaceable) 16 GB DDR5-4800
Storage (Replaceable) 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Gen 4
Connectivity 2×2 Wireless LAN Wifi 6E (802.11ax) MU-MIMO Supported

802.11b
802.11g
802.11a
WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
WiFi 4 (802.11n)
WiFi 6 (802.11ax)

Bluetooth 5.2

Battery 6-Cell Li-ion Polymer

200 Watt AC Adapter

Ports 2 USB 3.1 (Gen 2 Type-A)

2 Thunderbolt 4 x2

1 AC Smart Pin

1 HDMI

1 headphone/microphone combo

1 microSD media card reader

 

Webcam 5MP HP True Vision camera with Windows Hello and temporal noise reduction and dual array digital microphones
Audio Audio by B&O, quad speakers, HP Audio Boost
Input Full size, backlit, natural silver keyboard

HP Imagepad with multi-touch gestures

Color Natural Silver
Material Aluminum
OS Windows 11 Home
Price as reviewed $1,809

Design: Heavy, but lots of ports

  • The HP Envy 16 looks like your typical aluminum laptop, coming in just one Natural Silver color, but it’s quite heavy
  • Smaller design tweaks between generations help with ventilation and cooling
  • It has a lot of ports

If you’re spending well over $1,000 on a laptop like this one, then you want premium quality. You don’t want to feel plastic or cheap materials. You want to be satisfied with your purchase and use it with pride. That’s exactly what you get with the HP Envy 16.

Like some of the HP devices on the Spectre and the mainstream Pavillion line, this laptop is built tough. It’s made out of aluminum. There’s no flexing and bending to deal with, even when I pressed hard on the keyboard deck and pulled on the screen. I sure see this laptop standing up against time. What’s even better is that the lid opens with one hand, I’ve had issues with this on other bigger laptops in the past.

HP also made some interesting generational design choices to help with the cooling of the laptop. The bottom of the chassis is extended out a bit for better airflow. Rubber feet also elevate the laptop to slant it a bit to help with cooling, and dual air vents can intake and exhaust. I found that these features help ensure great airflow so that your desk doesn’t get hot when the laptop is in use.

As I’ll get into later though, between last generations HP Envy 15.6 and this year’s HP Envy 16, HP tweaked the display to a 16:10 aspect ratio. That means a bigger display, and a taller, less wide laptop. It doesn’t help with the overall weight though. This laptop is still heavy. I moved around with it in-between various rooms in my house, and I really feel the weight difference over my typical device, the Surface Laptop Studio. If you compare the two, the weight of the HP is nearly 1 pound more than my Surface.

One thing that’s great with this 16-inch form factor, is the ports. It leaves HP room lots of room on the side of the chassis for them. On the left, there’s a USB-A port (it’s the drop-down type,) a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. The right has HDMI, a standard USB-A, and two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C.

For creators or even those who like connecting to monitors, this is great. Even everyday people who aren’t creators might still use USB-A accessories like a mouse or a USB drive. The important thing though is that you can connect to more displays this way without the use of docks. Plug one into the HDMI port, and another two into the Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and you’re good to go. Those other USB-A ports will still be free for accessories.

Display: Beautiful OLED 16:10

  • The 16-inch OLED display is immersive and comes in a new 16:10 aspect ratio
  • The top of the display has an improved 5MP webcam

I can name a lot of laptops with OLED displays, and we even have a list for them. So, it’s great to see that HP is again including an OLED option on the Envy 16. Last year’s Envy 15.6 inch had one too so it isn’t new, but there is one thing that’s fresh on this year’s model. With a new switch to the 16:10 aspect ratio on the Envy 16, there’s more room to see stuff, and the content looks extra beautiful.

It goes back to what I said at the top of the review, creative types and everyday people can benefit from OLED displays. Content just looks so much more vibrant and alive than on a traditional laptop with an LCD panel. You’ll want to work on his laptop every day, just like I did. On laptops, OLED displays like this one mean you can get truer to-life blacks and more lively colors.

This doesn’t mean much when the laptop has ugly thick bezels, though, as that ruins the overall immersive feeling. So, with the switch from 16:9 to the 16:10 aspect ratio this year, HP is able to cut the ugly bottom chin on the display out and make the display taller. That adds up and makes things feel better. So much better that you get 11% more vertical room for your content.

In my case, when I was web browsing, webpages came alive thanks to the OLED display. On the XDA website, for example, I noticed more purple color in the XDA header logo. Even while writing this post, the black text looked more vibrant against the white background. And let me not forget media. I watched New York Mets baseball games on this HP Envy, and boy, from the color of the grass to the blue in the Mets’ home uniform, I felt like I was at the ballpark myself.

The numbers I hit in my colorimeter testing will back that. The Envy’s display hits 100% of the sRGB spectrum, 97% of the AdobeRGB spectrum, 92% of the P3 Gamut, and 92% of the NTSC gamut. For creatives who need the best color accuracy in Photoshop and other apps, these are great numbers for an OLED screen. You get really accurate colors to ensure your content looks just as you intended.

The OLED display makes you feel like you're there.

I just wish that 120Hz was an option on the OLED panel, though. But I think HP makes up for that with the HP Display Control. You can manually switch to a display mode optimized for color vibrancy, web, Adobe RGB, DCI-PC, or stick to native. Auto Color mode will also switch the mode based on the application. It’s great to see HP give options for how you’ll be using the display.

As for what’s at the top of the display, HP’s now includes a 5MP Windows Hello webcam. The Fingerprint reader from last year’s Envy 15.6 is gone in favor of this. Most laptops have 1080p webcams, so it’s great to see HP move beyond the basics. Creative types using this device will spend a lot of time on calls with clients, or even friends and family.

Coming from a Surface Laptop Studio, I really noticed the difference in quality, my face looked so much brighter, and did the room behind me when I fired up this webcam. It can get even better, too, thanks to the HP-enhanced lighting app, which can create effects for you. Or, HP Auto Frame, which keeps you in the camera frame.

Keyboard and trackpad: Good to type up a storm & scroll with

  • The chicklet-style keyboard is comfy and adds a new emoji button on the F1 key
  • The trackpad is large and accurate

I always write my reviews on the actual laptops I am reviewing. In this case, I am glad I did on the HP Envy 16. The chicklet-style keyboard is quite comfortable. As I jammed my way through this post, I got great feedback, as the keys softly retract into the chassis when typing. Since this is a 16-inch laptop. the plastic keycaps themselves are pretty big, too, allowing for good travel.

One new addition on the keyboard this year is the emoji button on the F1 key. It helped me choose emojis when messaging my colleagues in Slack, though I’m not sure everyone will need it that much. And yes, a loss this year is the fingerprint reader on the keyboard. HP opts for Windows Hello instead. The mute microphone and camera shutter buttons are still there, though.

As for the trackpad, it is centered directly in the middle of the laptop. It’s fairly large, too. I didn’t have issues with accidental touches on the trackpad when typing. I like how soft the trackpad feels when clicked. Some other laptops like the older XPS models have a trackpad with harsher feedback. The surface has a nice coating to it that makes it easy to scroll with fingers.

You might also notice the speakers next to the keyboard. HP’s jumped to Quad Speakers this generation, whereas last year, it was stereo speakers. This helps bring movies and TV shows alive with richer bass and room-filling sounds.

Performance: Intel H-class CPUs and RTX graphics win, but not for battery

  • The HP Envy 16 comes with options for Intel’s H-class processors paired with Intel Arc or Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics
  • Battery life is bad because of the 45-watt CPU and power-hungry Nvidia GPU

The processing power of the HP Envy 16 is a lot to wrap your mind around. I have a Core i7-12700H model which has 14 cores (6 performance and 8 efficient), 20 threads, and can boost up to 4.7 GHz. HP also offers an insane model with the Intel Core i9-12900H CPU. This has the same number of cores and threads as the Core i7 model but a higher 5.00 GHz turbo boost. I honestly don’t see why you’d want to upgrade for that reason, except if you want to get more multi-core performance.

Both these CPUs operate at 45 watts, which adds to my doubts about the Core i9 model. HP is also making the jump in faster RAM and Storage between HP Envy generations, too. This new model uses the faster PCIe Gen 4 spec and faster GDDR5 RAM. It’s a difference to feel when it comes to more demanding tasks, that we get into next.

The model that I have with the Core i7 and RTX graphics is a stunner for performance. In writing this review, I had about 20 tabs open in Microsoft Edge, I was connected up to a 4K monitor and the laptop didn’t slow down  Other than that, since this laptop has a dedicated GPU, I did fire up some games to try out. As my colleague noted in his HP Pavillion Plus review, Intel H-class processors perform better with dedicated graphics.

The HP Envy 16 is a stunner for performance.

HP is clear that this isn’t a gaming laptop. It’s intended as a content creation machine for apps like Photoshop or video editors like Adobe Premiere Pro. Yet with RTX graphics, you can still play games if you want. You’ll get good results close to an actual gaming laptop. Even actual video or photo editing should work better than you’d expect, based on the Cinebench, Crossmark, and 3D Mark scores. These are all on a gaming laptop level and I am comparing this device, too. On all of our tests that stress the CPU as well as the GPU, you can see that it lines up with another creator-first laptop, the XPS 17, which is configured almost the same as this unit.

Test Performed HP Envy 16 Dell XPS 17 (2022) Core i7-12700H, RTX 3060 Alienware x15 R2 Core i7-12700H, RTX 3070 Ti Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Core i7-12700H, RTX 3070 Ti Dell XPS 15 OLED
Core i7-12700H, RTX 3050 Ti
Acer Predator Triton 500 SE
PC Mark 10 6,829 6,789 7,141 7,076 6,640 6.955
3DMark: Time Spy 6,729 6,250 10,443 10,391 4,535 11,192
Geekbench 5 (Single/Multi) 1,712/10,848 1,753/12,992 1,768/13,200 1,787/9,209 1,774/11,580 1,881/12,938
Cinebench R23 (Single/ Multi) 1,814/12,149 1,767/11,714 1,776/16,182 1,714/9,549 1,767/11,714 1,815/12,886
CrossMark (overall/ productivity/ creativity/ responsiveness) 1,731/1,608/1,981/1,444 1,871/1,702/2,157/1,624 1,830 / 1,670 / 2,123 / 1,543 1,871/1,702/2,157/1,624 2,001/1,854/2,196/1,901
VRMark Orange/Cyan/Blue 9,331/2,750/2,097 8,689/2,752/1,902 11,066 / 8,834 / 3,073 13,593 / 9,480 / 3,176 4,745/2,753/1,325 9,331/2,750/2,907

I played three games on my machine, and all ran smoothly at native resolution. Microsoft Flight Simulator was set to the highest possible settings and I still hit close to 30 frames per second on the native resolution. Forza Horizon 5 also performed the same on similar settings. Even Grand Theft Auto V performed well without lag.

Overall, this is one well-performing machine but all that power comes with poor battery life. I only got to around 4 and a half hours of battery life in my tests of running through my days of work of video calls, web browsing, YouTube watching, and other productivity tasks. Plugged into a monitor, that went down to 3 hours. The OLED screen is very power-hungry. With the display pulled down to 38% brightness, and Windows set to Balanced I only lasted from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM and had to plug back in by the end of the day. You should not have to do that, and this is a laptop where you’ll have to be close to the charger.

The other downside is fan noise. While the fan blades are 33% lighter this year, and HP added 6 more blades than last year’s model, they’re still pretty audible. During prolonged periods of use under regular loads. the fans kick in to cool down the keyboard deck and sides of the laptop. It’s not crazy loud, but still annoying. You’ll definitely notice it more when gaming at a high resolution and high settings when they kick in at near full speeds.

Should you buy the HP Envy?

The HP Envy 16 is a great laptop for content creators, or anyone looking for an all-rounder laptop.

Who should buy the HP Envy 16

  • Content creators who are into video editing or photo editing
  • You want a laptop with RTX graphics and an OLED display

Who should not buy the HP Envy 16

  • Creators that need a laptop with good battery life

Overall, the HP Envy 16 is a great laptop with a fantastic display and great power. Just the battery life holds it back from being perfect, and for that, you might want to consider a Spectre, or an HP OMEN gaming laptop instead.

    The HP Envy 16 packs a lot for creators and the everyday user, too. OLED displays, powerful RTX graphics, Intel H-class processors make it a great buy.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

About author

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus

I have over six years of experience covering Microsoft, Surface, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS news and rumors for sites like Digital Trends and OnMSFT. I also write laptop reviews and how-to guides. I am a Microsoft fan and I have a drawer full of PCs and other devices. You can follow and interact with me on Twitter if you want to chat!

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