Report: HP Envy x360 battery life drags regardless of CPU vendor

We were a bit disappointed by the battery life of the HP Envy x360 convertible laptop when we tested the machine at the end of last month. The machine, powered by AMD's latest Raven Ridge APU, was unable to deliver the same staying power as an Acer Swift 3 bearing Intel's almost-as-new Core i5-8250U CPU and Nvidia's GeForce MX150 discrete graphics. We endeavored to remove different screen sizes from the battery equation and were still left with a puzzling account of the HP's longevity. Now Laptop Mag has tested versions of the Envy x360 bearing AMD and Intel processors against one another. The good news, if it can be called that, is that battery life across both machines is about as disappointing.

Laptop Magazine observed just under six hours of battery life with the Intel Core i5-8250U (five hours and 49 minutes), while the AMD-powered unit lasted just five hours and 11 minutes. Both results are lower than the figures the outfit observed from competing models, suggesting that immature firmware and drivers may share some of the blame for the below-average runtime between appointments with the wall outlet. While the Intel machine still won out, the results lend credence to the idea that the implementation of the Ryzen 5 2500U in the Envy x360 may be more to blame for the short run time than any inherent flaw with the AMD processor itself. We observed a much greater gulf in battery life across machines from different vendors.

Other differences between the systems that Laptop Mag tested might have contributed to the gulf between their results. The publication notes that the AMD and Intel machines were outfitted with different screens, both offering sub-par color gamut coverage. The screen in the AMD model had inferior brightness to go along with its limited color gamut, an inconsistency that seems worryingly widespread given that our Envy can easily hit its 220-nit specified maximum brightness. The AMD and Intel machines bore different exterior finishes, too, though we imagine that wasn't a contributing factor to battery life.

Ultimately, these results suggest that evaluating the battery life of mobile machines powered by AMD's Raven Ridge Ryzens is going to take more than a sample size of one. Thankfully, AMD counts other builders like Acer, Dell, and Lenovo among its manufacturing partners. Stay tuned for more information in the future.

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