HP Envy x360 14 Review: A Versatile 2-in-1 Laptop Ushering In the AI PC Era

  • The HP Envy x360 14 is powered by an Intel Core Ultra 7 155U processor with a dedicated NPU for AI tasks.
  • The laptop also has a dedicated Copilot button for quick access to Microsoft’s AI assistant.
  • The 2-in-1 laptop features a 2.8K OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and IMAX certification.

AI is turning into a ubiquitous phenomenon in the world of technology, especially smartphones and PCs. Intel kick-started the AI PC era with its new Meteor Lake processors in early 2024. HP, along with other PC makers, is one of the first to launch AI PC laptops powered by Intel’s Core Ultra processors. But what exactly is an AI PC and why should one care? What sets them apart from previous PC generations?

Along with the CPU and GPU, AI PCs also have a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). This NPU helps in offloading some AI tasks from the CPU and GPU, helping save battery life. Since we are still in the early stages of this technology, the definition of AI PC will keep changing as things progress. Microsoft, at Build 2024, announced its Copilot+-powered AI PCs. According to Microsoft, a PC needs at least 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS) of AI performance to qualify as an AI PC.

Based on this, we may have entry-level GenAI basic PCs to the most advanced ones with top-notch configurations.
The HP Envy X360 14 is a 2-in-1 laptop powered by an Intel Core 7 Ultra 155U processor. However, it has a Meteor Lake architecture, which is not as advanced as Intel’s upcoming Lunar Lake architecture, that can deliver up to 120 TOPS AI performance. The HP Envy with Meteor Lake processor qualifies as a basic GenAI PC and, includes AI features that enhance the overall user experience from camera to audio, battery life to display, and much more.

Commenting on the growth momentum of AI PCs, Senior Analyst William Li said, “Microsoft’s announcement at the Build 2024 developer conference reaffirmed AI PC momentum in 2024, especially in the second half. Qualcomm’s first wave of AI laptops will enter the market in the upcoming month, while Intel and AMD are preparing for their next-generation AI solutions for PCs. Intel entered the AI PC market at the beginning of the year and is already working with PC partners to deliver a variety of laptops with the Meteor Lake platform, including the HP Envy x360 14. We believe Intel will continue to dominate the PC market in terms of shipments while Windows on Arm will also be in the spotlight in H2 2024. Overall, we believe three out of four laptops sold in 2027 will be AI laptops with advanced GenAI capabilities.”

We have been testing the HP Envy x360 14 for about three weeks to explore its AI features and see how the 2-in-1 laptop, priced at around $1,550, fits in the hybrid work scenario. Below is our detailed analysis.

WATCH: HP Envy x360 14 Review

2-in-1 form factor with a look and feel that evokes envy

At the launch event, HP mentioned that the Envy x360 14 is designed for creative professionals and freelancers. The laptop features a sleek and slim form factor, weighing just 1.39kgs, making it easier to carry around. The 2-in-1 design with a 360-degree hinge also makes it easier for different use cases. It can be used in the tent mode for watching content or can be folded all the way to be used as a tablet.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review tent mode

On the connectivity front, you get a USB Type-A 3.1 port on the left, an HDMI out, and two USB Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports. On the right, you get a USB Type-A 3.1 port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Unfortunately, the laptop misses out on an SD or microSD card slot.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review ports

The chiclet keyboard keys have enough travel to offer a good typing experience. The keyboard is backlit, making it easier to work and type in the dark. The keyboard also has a dedicated emoji button among the function keys at the top. The keyboard has a dedicated Microsoft Copilot button, located beside the arrow keys, indicating that the PC also has a dedicated NPU.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review copilot button

Using the dedicated Copilot button, you can quickly invoke the assistant to ask questions, to generate an image or email for you. You can also ask for recipes, travel ideas and itineraries, ask to change wallpaper, turn volume/brightness levels high and low, and much more. You can even use your voice to ask these questions, but unlike Siri on Macs which gets invoked by voice, here you will have to press the mic icon before you ask a question.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review copilot image generation

Great display with touchscreen functionality and stylus support

The Envy x360 14 features a 14-inch 2.8K resolution (2880 x 1800 pixels) OLED touchscreen display. With 500 nits of peak HDR brightness, the screen supports an adaptive refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz, which can automatically be adjusted based on the on-screen content.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review display

The OLED screen is IMAX-certified. It offers great viewing angles, good contrast, vibrant color reproduction and stands out particularly when watching immersive HDR content on Netflix. The touchscreen responsiveness is smooth. We did not experience any issues when scrolling through web pages, performing pinch-to-zoom gestures or playing games like Asphalt 9: Legends.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review touchscreen gaming

The screen also supports the HP stylus MPP2.0 Tilt Pen. The stylus is easier to hold and is just like a regular pencil in appearance. There is a small cover at the end of the stylus, sliding which reveals the Type-C charging port.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review stylus

In terms of usage, the stylus has good input precision, something that creative designers will find handy. We tried sketching using MS Paint, and it worked well. The screen supports palm rejection, but the optimization could have been better.

HP Envy x360 (14-fc0100TU) specifications

Under the hood, the HP Envy x360 14 is powered by Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155U processor. Built on the Intel 4 Node (7nm fabrication), this is our first time testing a Meteor Lake SoC. The processor has 12 cores and 14 threads:

• Two performance cores (P-cores) with a base frequency of 1.7GHz and a max turbo frequency of 4.8GHz.
• Eight efficiency cores (E-cores) with a base frequency of 1.2GHz and a max turbo frequency of 3.8GHz.
• Two low-power efficiency cores (LPE-cores) with a base frequency of 700MHz and a max turbo frequency of 2.1GHz.

The processor has a base power of 15W, which can go up to 57W on turbo mode. On the graphics side, the laptop comes with Intel Graphics with four X-cores and dynamic frequency of up to 1.95GHz. The integrated graphics card supports ray tracing, and a maximum integrated resolution of 3840×2400 pixels with a 120Hz refresh rate.

One factor that differentiates Intel’s Meteor Lake disaggregated SoC architecture from its predecessors is the NPU. Intel has included the Intel AI Boost NPU with a max frequency of up to 1.4GHz. It supports AI software frameworks like OpenVINO, which we will talk about in detail in a bit.

Other specifications include 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM (onboard) and 1TB of PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD. Wireless connectivity options include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. The laptop comes with a 3-cell, 59Wh battery and a 65W Type-C charging adapter, which can charge the laptop from empty to 50% in about 30 minutes, and a full charge in roughly one hour 30 minutes.

The processor is also Intel Evo-certified, meaning it can offer a battery life of over nine hours, charges over a Type-C port, wakes up from sleep in less than a second, and includes Thunderbolt 4 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity options.

Dedicated NPU, unlocking new AI PC experiences

We have been hearing and talking a lot about AI PCs, but what are some of their use cases, and how are they different from traditional PCs? Well, the HP Envy x360 14 is loaded with AI features, which we experienced while using the laptop.

Microsoft’s Windows 11 OS, which the laptop runs on, has Windows Studio Effects. This feature allows the user to access various effects on the laptop’s 5MP IR camera such as auto-framing, eye contact, and background effects. The workload of these AI effects is entirely on the NPU (rather than on CPU/GPU), which also helps in conserving battery life. The auto-framing uses AI to detect your face in the frame and keep you in focus.

The eye contact feature ensures that your eyes are looking into the camera, even if you are looking elsewhere, say into your phone. Lastly, the background effects separate the subject from the background while adding blur effects.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review windows studio effects

The AI also filters unwanted background noise when on voice or video calls. This will be highly beneficial for people who work in hybrid environments, be it offices, café, airports and more. The speakers, tuned by Poly Studio, are good enough for casual media consumption and video calls. The AI does all this work in the background to optimize the laptop’s battery life.

HP has also included a Presence Detection feature which uses the IR sensor and AI to detect when you are around (max distance four feet) and looking into the laptop. Once you look away from the screen for a few seconds, the screen brightness is reduced. It increases again after you start looking at the screen. When you walk away from the screen (for over two minutes), the laptop automatically gets locked. The AI automatically unlocks the laptop when you get back and Windows Hello authenticates your face. However, one thing to note is that to awaken the laptop a few minutes after it goes into sleep mode, you will have to press the power button.

Testing Intel’s OpenVINO AI models

To spread AI everywhere, Intel recently announced over 500 AI models optimized for Core Ultra processors, unlocking new experiences. We tried a couple of these OpenVINO AI effects on the popular open-source audio editing app, Audacity, and the open-source photo editing app, GIMP.

Audacity OpenVINO AI Effects

On the Audacity app, there are four key AI features – music separation, music suppression, music generation, and transcription. All these AI features work on-device and do not need an internet connection. Music separation is great for musicians as it allows editors to separate the vocals, drums and other instruments, and then remix the song. We tried it with a couple of songs, like Hotel California by Eagles, and it worked pretty well.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review audacity music separation

Music suppression is good for podcasters as it greatly helps to reduce the background noise, like fan noise, AC hum, and wind noise. Using music suppression, we recorded an audio clip with background noise, and the results were impressive.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review audacity music generation

With the music generation GenAI feature, you can generate original music based on a prompt. While it worked well, the prompt needs to be detailed to get the desired results. You get an option to use NPU as well, and you can see most of the load taken by the NPU, while keeping the CPU and GPU free. In our test, it took two minutes and 11 seconds to generate a track using the NPU.

Lastly, we also tested the audio transcription feature which uses the Whisper model to transcribe audio to text. For a 28-minute podcast audio file, it took around three minutes and 40 seconds to transcribe with decent output.

GIMP OpenVINO AI Effects

We used GIMP for two tasks – text-to-image generation using Stable Diffusion 1.4. The output was decent, and it took around 35 seconds to generate an image using the text.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review gimp

It also supports semantic segmentation fully using the NPU, which took about seven seconds to separate the background from the subject. The edge detection was not that good, but since these key tasks are handled by the NPU, it unburdens the processor.

(Do note, that installation is not a straightforward process. There is no direct installer, and you will need to download resources from GitHub, install Python, and install the requisites using Command Prompt.)

Filmora AI Effects

Intel and Wondershare have partnered to optimize the processor for the popular video editing app, Filmora. The AI effects allow you to separate the subject (foreground) from the video and add background blur. You can also replace the background while keeping the person in the foreground.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review fimmora

There are other AI effects too, like noise cancellation, video effects like flares, neon lights, and more. All these AI effects make use of the NPU with Intel AI Boost, while also sharing resources with the CPU and GPU. In our test, adding some of these effects to a one-minute video and rendering took about six minutes, which is not bad.

LM Studio

Lastly, we downloaded LM Studio, an app that lets you download small language models (SLMs) and large language models (LLMs), such as Meta’s Llama3, Microsoft’s Phi-3 and Google’s Gemini, to run these AI chatbot models locally. We asked a bunch of questions like the best places for burgers, or top tourist places in different cities, and it offered good results. However, the token generation time taken for the final output was slow as the workload was taken by the GPU. There were no options to shift the workload to CPU or NPU.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review lm studio 2

Good performance, even better battery life

The Envy x360 is powered by the very competent Intel Core Ultra 7 155U processor and offers reliable performance for a wide range of day-to-day tasks. This includes web browsing, audio/video calls on platforms like Teams and Zoom, checking and responding to emails on Outlook app, and using apps like Word and PowerPoint.

Sure, the 155U is not as powerful as the Core Ultra 7 155H, but it does offer a good balance between performance and efficiency. We were pleasantly surprised by the steady frame rates when playing casual games like Left4Dead2 (hitting even 130fps at times), Rocket League (hitting around 40fps), and Counter-Strike 2 (hitting about 30fps). This is despite not having a discrete graphics card, or the latest Intel Arc graphics solution (as on 155H).

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review left4dead2 140fps

HP has also included the OMEN Gaming Hub, a customization tool for all your games to ensure better all-round gaming performance.

counterpoint hp envy x360 14 review hp omen gaming

In terms of battery life, we got a little over seven hours of backup with usage that included writing blogs, web browsing and a few audio calls on Teams. With slightly heavy usage, including editing a couple of video reels and watching videos, we still managed to get around five hours of backup. With casual gaming, the laptop still managed close to two hours of backup. (Do note, throughout our heavy usage like gaming, video editing and testing AI tasks, the battery performance settings were set to high mode.)

Final thoughts

The HP Envy x360 14 is a compelling option for users who are looking for a powerful and versatile 2-in-1 laptop. With Intel’s latest Core Ultra 7 processor at the helm, along with a dedicated NPU, it offers innovative AI features thoughtfully designed for everyday use cases. From enhanced video conferencing experiences to handy features like presence detection and a dedicated Copilot button, NPU unlocks a new level of user experience.

All this paired with a great OLED display, good keyboard and long battery life positions the Envy x360 14 as a well-rounded AI PC for professionals, creators and casual users alike.

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Ritesh is a Global Content Manager with Counterpoint Technology Market Research. With over 10 years of experience, he is joining Counterpoint from BGR India where he was the Head of Features. At BGR, Ritesh also used to cover tech news, product launches, and review consumer tech. Ritesh is a science graduate from Mumbai University, with major in Physics. He followed his passion for tech, took up writing as a career and is also a well-known tech journalist in the industry.

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