When comparing HP Envy 13-ab016nr vs Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch), the Slant community recommends Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) for most people. In the question“What are the best ultra-portable laptops for an engineering student?” Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is ranked 5th while HP Envy 13-ab016nr is ranked 11th. The most important reason people chose Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch) is:
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks. As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps. It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
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Pro Extremely portable
The HP Envy 13 is one of the thinnest laptops on the market at just 12.9mm thick. This detail, coupled with the fact that it weighs just above 1.3kg make the Envy 13 one of the lightest and most portable laptops on the market.
Pro MX150 GPU
Adds extra grunt in a small form factor.
Pro People who usually use their laptop on a desk will feel very comfortable with this
The Envy 13 has a hinge on the back which gives the laptop a slight extra boost in keyboard height. This puts the keyboard at a much more comfortable typing position and reduces RSI and finger-fatigue from extensive periods of typing.
Pro Good performance for the price
The HP Envy 13 offers good performance for its price. It can handle up to 16 Chrome tabs open simultaneously without even a bit of lag. Daily mainstream activities such as web browsing, editing files and even development work can be done on this laptop without any particular issues.
Pro Gaming performance on-par with gaming laptops
The 15-inch version of the Surface Book 2 comes with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. This is a powerful, VR-ready card that handles intensive gaming tasks.
As for real-world performance, Hitman (1920 x 1080, ultra) runs at 71.9 frames per second, Grand Theft Auto V runs at 45 fps.
It should also be mentioned that you need to be using the dock in order to do graphic-intensive tasks since that's where the GPU is located; using the laptop in tablet-mode will yield poor results in this regard.
Pro One of the best performances found on a 15-inch laptop
Equiped with an Intel Core i7-8650U CPU, 8GB (or 16GB) of RAM and an SSD that goes up to 1TB, the Surface Book 2 certainly packs a punch. It handles multitasking perfectly; you can open dozens of Chrome tags, stream video, and draw using the built-in software without experiencing any lag even once.
As far as benchmarks go, on the Geekbench 4 overall performance benchmark, the Surface Book 2 got a score of 12,505, better than the 15-inch laptop average (11,004) coming third after the Dell XPS 15 (13,911) and the MacBook Pro (15,170).
Pro The hinge is quite stable as far as 2-in-1 laptops go
The new fulcrum hinge that Microsoft used for the Surface Book 2 is much more stable than the one found on the previous Surface Book or even other 2-in-1 laptops for that matter.
Pro Great display for creative professionals
This laptop's display is bright and vivid, making it perfect for people who do a lot of drawing, design, or video editing work. The display offers an excellent coverage of 131% of the sRGB colour gamut (the average for this price range is 101%). The colour coverage and the bright display which measures an average of 417 nits really makes colours truly pop out and offers lifelike pictures.
Pro Great tying experience
Even though the keyboard is rather shallow (just 1.2mm of travel), the typing experience is excellent. Keys have a great amount of feedback when clicking and you rarely (if ever) bottom out when typing.
Pro The battery easily lasts a full work day on a single charge
The Surface Book 2 lasts on average 12 hours on a single charge. This should be more than enough to get anyone to the end of their workday on a single charge.
Con Poor battery life
The Envy 13 has a relatively poor battery life. You may get about 9 hours out of it if you use it for general web browsing and some productivity work, but anything more than that (watching videos, light gaming) and you will start noticing that the battery life is considerably lower.
Con The touchpad may be unreliable
Sometimes while dragging the cursor to select text, the touchpad will not interpret the input correctly and may start zooming in or zooming out.
Con No touchscreen version
HP does not provide a touchscreen version of this laptop.
Con No Thunderbolt port
For a laptop aimed at creative professionals, the missing Thunderbolt 3 port is surprising considering the fact that Thunderbolt 3 is used to connect a laptop to peripherals such as external GPUs or power-dual 4K displays.
Con The pen must be bought separately
If you want to use the Surface Book for drawing then you will probably have to buy the Surface Pen which unfortunately does not come bundled with the laptop (it costs an additional $99).
Con Disappointing audio performance
The audio that comes out of the speakers is quite average. It's enough to fill a small room but that's it.