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HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx Review: It Makes No Sense To Pay So Much More For The Dell XPS 15

By: Vishal Mathur

Last Updated: August 25, 2020, 12:30 IST

HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx Review: It Makes No Sense To Pay So Much More For The Dell XPS 15

The HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx goes into the creators’ battle against the Apple MacBook Pro 16 and the new Dell XPS 15. I would discount the XPS 15 purely because it is significantly more expensive then this HP ENVY machine, with largely similar specs.

HP has given the ENVY laptop range a proper refresh, and how. The addition of the new 15.6-inch screen size option is exactly what was needed in the battle against the updated Dell XPS 15 laptops as well as the Apple MacBook Pro 16. Laptops are very much in vogue these days, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that has pushed pretty much everyone into the work from home mode, and that is how it is expected to stay for a while. And if you are looking for a premium laptop, with a large screen, this is the territory you will most likely find yourself in. And why not, it is choices aplenty, with powerful machines that are geared to be your home workstation for many years to come. That leads us to the newest arrival, which is the updated HP ENVY Laptop 15. Mighty impressive, I have to say.

There is a reason why I say this. Let us look at the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx vs the new Dell XPS 15 battle from the price perspective, and to be honest, there can only really be one winner. The HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx is priced at Rs 1,49,999 and is powered by an Intel Core i7-10750H processor paired with 16GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, the 15.6-inch display is Full HD and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB) graphics. In comparison, a similarly spec-ed Dell XPS 15 with the same Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (4GB) graphics started out with a price tag of Rs 2,08,160 and since then that’s been slashed to around Rs 1,89,660. See the differences, in the specs, particularly how you get more storage and a notch better graphics with the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. I am sure the XPS 15 variants are brilliant in their own right, but I absolutely do not see a reason for you to pay so much more over what the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx costs for an XPS 15—after all, how much do you really love carbon fiber to pay a hefty premium on a laptop?

So, How About The New HP ENVY vs The Apple MacBook Pro 16?

Then the big question—this or the Apple MacBook Pro 16? There is never a clear answer for this question. A lot depends on your workflow, the apps you use and whether you are more comfortable with Windows 10 or macOS. And the whole willingness to try something new.

The MacBook Pro 16 is priced Rs 1,99,990 onwards. But this does make one thing clear—if you want to stay within the Windows 10 ecosystem, the new HP ENVY Laptop 15 series, including the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx, should be your pick over pretty much everything else.

Design: Glory In Metal And All That

With that sorted, let us get down to what really matters. The experience that the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx brings to your work from home workstation. For starters, the aluminium design, clean lines and an understated tone of affairs really comes together well. There are no shiny or blingy elements to this. It is put together very well, something you’d expect from a premium laptop. The sides are largely the same thickness all the way through, much like how it is on an Apple MacBook—it really have an opinion on laptops that attempt to give the illusion of thinning side spines on the near side and then hide huge bulk in the base that sits beneath it. There are speaker grilles either side of the keyboard, and the audio is tuned by Bang & Olufsen, something that we have seen on many HP laptops till now. The touchpad is large and that’s a lot of real estate for getting the swipe gestures going along smoothly.

The HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx is 18.4mm thick which is not entirely different from the 18mm thickness that the Dell XPS 15 rocks in its latest avatar. The colour which HP calls natural silver on this aluminium body exudes the sort of aura that suggests it means business, but teases just enough to let you know that it’ll be your companion for some light gaming, binge watching sessions on Netflix and just as you do some retail therapy, right after a hectic day at work.

There is no shortage of connectivity options either. This has two USB ports, two USB-C ports, HDMI out and a memory card slot. It’s a bit perplexing though that the power delivery still happens via a the proprietary port you would have seen in laptops over the years, with the thick brick adaptor accompanying it, and not via USB-C. For a premium machine, that is perhaps now a necessary upgrade, even if for the optics.

All in all, the exquisite craftsmanship is more than apparent from the outset. And that is something HP does well, including with the Spectre line-up of premium laptops and convertibles. For the ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx to also receive a lot of that goodness is not at all a surprise.

Performance: Style And Substance In Equal Measure

The variant that we have here is powered by the Intel Core i7-10750H processor which clocks at 2.6GHz and Turbo Boost takes this up to 5GHz when the applications or tasks you are running demand it. This might power bundle is paired with 16GB RAM, which means you have more than enough headroom for running the most complex video and photo editing application—this is a machine that is designed to appeal for those who need a laptop that can be a workstation at home and doesn’t slow down when rendering 4K video, for instance. As well as extensive multi-tasking where you go a bit over the top with tabs in the Google Chrome browser, multiple Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents open, Apple Music streaming tunes while editing some photos, the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx doesn’t even break a sweat.

A lot of that performance comes from the really fast SSD that is in use for the storage requirements. This variant has 1TB SSD, which ticks off what you need—lots of space, and lots of speed. This particular spec also runs the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6GB) graphics, which offers really good performance at this display resolution, that is Full HD. If you want to game, this will be more than ready for that too, but at slightly tuned settings. However, for the creators, the editors and the designers this is aimed at, the GeForce GTX 1660 takes advantage of the architectural improvements that should stay up to speed for a few years to come.

What impressed me all this while was how cool the laptop manages to remain. I usually never use a laptop while sitting on the bed, in any position. But just out of curiosity, I did use the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx while sitting on the bed—a pretty weird position where it was partially on the bed and partially on me (okay, focus!) with less than optimal ventilation for sure, and yet it didn’t heat up or have the fans whirring loudly. And well, the performance wasn’t throttled either, which is a great sign for sensible users who will use this properly on a table or a hard and flat surface with adequate space for ventilation.

A lot of that has to do with what HP has done on the inside of the ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. There is a vapor chamber that helps with the cooling, so do the nicely chiselled vents, the placement of the fans and the smarter switching between CPU and GPU to reduce consumption and therefore heating. In fact, this heat dissipating vapor chamber is used in the HP Omen gaming laptop series to keep those incredibly powerful machines cool, and that tech has been integrated in the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx as well. If nothing else, that shows you how things have been well thought out. There are dual fans as well, which use a motor that has been designed for less friction. All said and done, I hardly ever heard the fans whirring up, let alone them ever creating a din.

It is not just the power which is the futureproofing in the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. This laptop is Wi-Fi 6 ready, which means as and when you upgrade your home broadband line for faster internet speeds and upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router for better coverage, bandwidth and range, this laptop will be ready to take advantage of that. This is something that will become more and more common with Windows 10 laptops in the coming months.

Battery life: You Will Be Pleasantly Surprised

For a laptop as big as this, in terms of the screen size, and packing in this much power, the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx does rather well on the battery life front. I’ll give you an instance. Two hours of working documents, Microsoft Edge web browser in use side by side with up to 7 tabs open permanently and more opened and closed as an when needed, with the screen brightness at 50% (too bright for me, but we must undertake these perils for you), keyboard backlight at the highest and music streaming to a Bluetooth speaker—the battery charge reduced from 100% to 93%. That is just 7% in 2 hours, of not exactly sitting around in a low power setting. Which is why I really would believe most users, for most use cases, will get close to the 16 hours of battery life that HP claims from the ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. Even if this gets close to the 12 hour mark for most users, that is most definitely a win. The HP Fast Charge juices up a completely discharged battery to 50% in 45 minutes.

Display: A Good Canvas To Play With

The test mule that we got, the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx, has the Full HD display. I have often shared my view on the matter of Full HD vs 4K, and it is always on the lines of how one really doesn’t need a 4K display on a laptop. The WLED display, the full 15.6-inches of real estate, does a rather good job on almost all fronts. It is bright enough for indoor use, at 300nits rated brightness. It is crisp, it isn’t very reflective, it is colourful and viewing angles are good too. The only aspect where this doesn’t really stand out is that you could perhaps note how the colours while being accurate and well distinguished, aren’t exactly popping out. It is this accuracy that should appeal to the creators, particularly as they set about editing photos or videos.

Keyboard: Apple MacBook Pro-esque Excellence

As someone who has to write a lot on a daily basis, the keyboard is a very important tool in my daily workflow. An inferior keyboard or a plainly bad one will slow down work, deadlines will be missed and there will be anguish and rage as a result. There is a reason why I have often said that the Apple MacBook Pro line have the best keyboards in the business. Whether it was the much maligned Butterfly keyboard or the new Scissor mechanism, Apple gets the feedback, travel, spacing and size spot on. Many have tried to replicate that, but the thing is, simply aping the design and hoping for substance doesn’t work.

HP, on its part, has matched the Apple keyboards over the years. HP laptops do the basics well—key size, key spacing and travel are not compromised or unnecessarily modified for the sake of it. The same ingredients have been put together in just the right manner in the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. Switching from my trusted Apple MacBook Pro 16 to this didn’t at all make me re-learn the keyboard and the typing experience. In fact, I would have perhaps preferred if there was no extreme right row of keys, but that apart, this keyboard is very easy to get used to. Again, HP has done a very good job with the keyboard experience.

The Last Word: Why Would You Want To Spend So Much More On A Dell XPS 15?

It is hard to ignore the price differences between the Dell XPS 15 and this, the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx. The entry spec Dell XPS 15 with the same Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, lesser 512GB SSD and the very slightly lower spec Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (4GB) graphics started out with a price tag of Rs 2,08,160 and since then that’s been slashed to around Rs 1,89,660. The HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx is priced at Rs 1,49,999. Within the Windows 10 ecosystem, it pretty much becomes a no-brainer in terms of what offers better bang for your buck.

All considered, the HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx ticks off the design bit, in absolute style. Performance is excellent all through, including the 1TB SSD, and so is the battery life. Amazon Alexa assistant is built in, if that’s what catches your fancy—actually it is incredibly easy to tell Alexa to add something to your calendar, while you continue working. The Full HD display is a very pleasant real estate for creatives to look at all day. And when you aren’t working, this will help you let out a bit of steam with some gaming too. Yes, HP could have perhaps bundled an adapter that was USB-C, but that doesn’t really change anything. The HP ENVY Laptop 15 ep0123tx is an excellent machine for those who may have the budget, and it will deliver.