With the HP Envy Wood Series laptops, HP is making another daring commitment to natural materials. It started with the all-leather-clad Spectre Folio, and now we have real walnut or birch inlay on four Envy laptops.
Each Envy Wood Series laptop features authentic wood inlay in the keyboard deck, including the touchpad surface. The rest of the laptop is clad in metal.
Now don’t worry, you can still get an all-metal Envy laptop if you wish. With the Wood Series, HP is offering a trendy option that gives you a warm, natural finish and a truly unique look, as each wood inlay is different from the next.
Announced Monday at Computex in Taipei, details on the four Envy Wood Series laptops are scant. They’re due to ship in the fall, with pricing yet to be announced. Notably, most offer a choice of Intel or AMD processors. Here’s everything else we know.
There are three wood/metal combinations:
Natural Walnut with a dark metal HP calls Nightfall Black
White Birch with White Ceramic (coated metal)
Pale Birch with Silver metal
All the wood comes from sustainable, FSC-certified wood sources. The wood has been treated with a special TPU soaking process to reinforce the wood grain, which measures less than 1mm thick. The surface coating has been tested for resistance to substances ranging from red lipstick and red wine; yellow mustard; coffee, soda, and beer; sunscreen, and solution inks, as well as the natural oils from your hands. HP advises that you protect the wood surface from excessive exposure to sunlight, high temperature and high humidity.
The HP Envy 13 will come in both clamshell and x360 models. Both versions will be available in Natural Walnut with Nightfall Black. The x360 will offer the Ceramic White with White Birch, and it will also offer processor options from AMD’s 2nd Generation Ryzen along with Intel.
The most compact of the Envy lineup, the Envy 13 variants measure 14.7mm thin (a little over a half-inch) and weigh less than 2.6 pounds. The HP Envy 13 offers up to 19.75 hours of battery life, while the Envy 13 x360 will offer up to 14.5 hours. Those are impressive numbers, but expect your mileage to vary.
With the Envy 15 x360, HP has reduced the bezel width by 28 percent compared to the past generation. An optional AMOLED display could be a dazzling (but likely pricey) upgrade. The convertible will come in Nightfall Black/Natural Walnut, plus Silver/Pale Birch combinations.
Focused on versatility, there’s no boring old clamshell version available, and you have the choice of Intel or AMD processors. Battery life will last up to 13 hours (again, your mileage will vary).
The Envy 17 is built for better performance, with Intel Core CPUs and Nvidia GeForce MX250 discrete graphics. HP reduced the bezels by 45 percent over the previous generation, so you can bask in the immense screen real estate.
The HP Envy line also offers security features, including a physical sliding cover for the webcam and a fingerprint reader. An optional HP SureView privacy screen obscures your display from the sides, so people can’t peek at what you’re doing.
No one except HP knows whether wood is any crazier of a material to put into a laptop than leather. (The Spectre Folio held up well over three months of use in our review.) If we get our hands on an Envy Wood Series, we’ll certainly tell you more.
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Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.