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.

Comments closed
    • Anovoca
    • 2 years ago

    I wonder what peformance gains would there be after a clean install of windows. HP has some of the worst bloatware Ive come across in regards to resource hogging.

    • ET3D
    • 2 years ago

    Thanks for continuing to follow up on this subject. I hope that TechReport will be doing more internal testing of battery life and gaming performance on battery.

    • mtruchado
    • 2 years ago

    “Thankfully, AMD counts other builders like Acer, Dell, and Lenovo among its manufacturing partners.”

    Forget about the Lenovo Ideapad, It comes with single-channel DDR4 memory.

    As Asrock probed long time ago with its Beebox, for APUs a dual-channel memory smokes a single channel memory in terms of GPU performance

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEG3xYoct38[/url<]

    • bhtooefr
    • 2 years ago

    I almost think the way to do this is to wait for AM4 Raven Ridge, stick it on a desktop board with a Kill-a-Watt or similar, and compare [i<]that[/i<] to the same manufacturer, same tier Intel board. Then you can also play with clocking and better characterize power and energy usage...

      • dodozoid
      • 2 years ago

      Wouldnt realy work.
      Key in laptops is the race to idle and how often can the SOC stay in idle without affecting the user experience and I would gies BIOS/driver/firmware optimizations play a key role here.
      I cant realy be replicated on desktop system. What you can test that way is energy efficiency with repeatable workload. It is important and interesting metric, but it is not the same as laptops battery life.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 2 years ago

      I’m sure when Rave Ridge desktop parts launch, TR will do just that as part of the review process. I’m interested in seeing how they perform clock-for-clock with Ryzen 3 and quad-core Ryzen 5 because of the differences in cache and CCX cross-talk.

    • jihadjoe
    • 2 years ago

    HA! Now we know why HP called the line ‘Envy’.

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      Because you envy everyone else’s laptop?

        • Concupiscence
        • 2 years ago

        Like the Ford Aspire of yore, a car seemingly designed to only make the owner want a superior vehicle.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Seems like a common HP thing outside of their high end Spectres, or maybe some enterprise grade ones. With similar parts and battery sizes to some competitors, just something is unoptimized and battery life is unimpressive.

    I’d say BIOS or other system updates could improve it, but this seems to be a common trend over the years, so maybe they won’t fix it.

      • Klimax
      • 2 years ago

      Likely. Cant complain about my Zbook.

    • Goty
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]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.[/quote<] Was this something that was in doubt BEFORE these results?

    • Duct Tape Dude
    • 2 years ago

    That’s pretty strange. I recently got a Spectre X360 with an 8th-gen Intel chip and the battery life is incredible–about 8-12 hours of moderate use. HP must have spent all their engineering resources on their premium line.

      • smilingcrow
      • 2 years ago

      Surely they’re all using pretty much the same basic hardware regardless of form factor so wouldn’t they mainly share drivers and UEFI code?

        • dragontamer5788
        • 2 years ago

        They’re clearly cheaping out somewhere.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    Just goes to show that you need to go with an OEM like Acer that has a reputation for high quality over some el-cheapo brand like HP.

    Wait… what the hell!?!

      • mudcore
      • 2 years ago

      Has HP not been considered an el cheapo brand for decades now? HPE certainly has their fans but HP consumer side has been garbage for a very long time now.

        • Concupiscence
        • 2 years ago

        A friend of mine’s sworn off their consumer lines after two consecutive HP laptop lemons. Life’s too short.

        • Klimax
        • 2 years ago

        Probooks, Elitebooks and Zbooks say hi. (And they are under HP not HPE)

        • K-L-Waster
        • 2 years ago

        Pretty much since the early 2000s when Carly Fiorna gutted the place.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Edit: I misread your comment, my mistake.

      • dragontamer5788
      • 2 years ago

      HP and Dell have multiple lines of laptops, some of which are el-cheapo and others which aren’t. I figured the “Envy” line was pretty decent however. And based on my work with the laptop at Best Buy, its still above “absolute crap tier”.

      HP Spectre > HP Envy > [url=https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-hp-finish-in-jet-black/5868705.p?skuId=5868705<]HP Laptop[/url<] Dell Latitude > Dell XPS > Dell Inspiron I definitely consider "HP Laptop" to be an el-cheapo brand. HP Envy is definitely better than the "HP Laptops", but it still seems to have a few issues (the screen quality issue, as well as the battery life issue).

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        The envys are definitely more polished then the wal mart specials, but battery runtime optimization seems to be one thing they lack over even higher end systems like the Spectre X360.

        • smilingcrow
        • 2 years ago

        “Dell Latitude > Dell XPS > Dell Inspiron”

        There is a wide range in quality of Latitudes as they have multiple ranges so some XPS models will be better than some of them.

          • ludi
          • 2 years ago

          Sure, but on average, the good R&D money goes into the “business” line, the bling budget goes into the “prosumer/enthusiast” line, and the “consumer” line is scraped out of the bottom of the barrel with a putty knife and smeared across the retail sector. You get a bit of overlap at the transition points, but…

          • psuedonymous
          • 2 years ago

          Supporting an environment of several tens of thousands of various gens and models of Dell Latitudes: I would not pay a penny of my own money for ANYTHING of that line. I’d be wary of using one if you gave it to me for free. High failure rate unreliable randomly slow (a few hundred E7440s shipped with a bug that meant the CPU never clocked above idle, while reporting it was clocking normally) garbage. [i<]Even the Elitebooks were better[/i<].

        • Wirko
        • 2 years ago

        HP Laptop! That’s far more generic than “HP Photosmart” of a few years ago (… the model number did exist but was hidden on a sticker on the bottom).

        • Spunjji
        • 2 years ago

        Envy has been subject to gradual creep down-market. It used to be a marginally flawed XPS equivalent marque, now they stick products in that line which are cosmetically tweaked variants of their basic crap.

      • Waco
      • 2 years ago

      My 11″ x360 wouldn’t charge when plugged in when I first got it. Turns out the charging circuit can short on the bottom of the keyboard…

      I literally put a piece of paper between it and suddenly it works again. Never again, HP.

        • Bumper
        • 2 years ago

        I feel the same. The last hp I bought was the star wars “hp laptop”. I guess it was screen bleed, but the blacks were like shining an old flashlight on a black curtain. Bright yellow lights in all four corners.. I returned it the same day.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 2 years ago

        Something non-flammable might be better than paper 😉

          • Waco
          • 2 years ago

          It’s coated paper – it’s not the main charging circuit, just the sense circuit. No sparks. 🙂

      • dpaus
      • 2 years ago

      I’m so old, I can remember when an HP calculator was la creme-de-la-creme. Among engineers, they had a cult following that was disturbingly similar to the Apple cult of several years ago: engineers would show off by buying the latest HP calculator (and they were pretty expensive – I remember one model hitting $1,000 IN THE 70s!!) even though the one they bought last year still yield exactly the same results (and we couldn’t even claim that the new one was ‘was faster’ – it was just newer. And with even more arcane mathematical functions that you could pretend you not only understood, but actually used on a frequent-enough basis to justify the purchase…)

      Then HP started making laser printers for the consumer market….

      • NeelyCam
      • 2 years ago

      To me, Acer > HP.

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