HP Envy 16 review: creative performance for less

HP Envy 16 front angled view showing display and keyboard deck.

HP Envy 16

MSRP $1,150.00

“The HP Envy 16 is beautiful, powerful, and surprisingly affordable laptop for content creators.”

Pros

  • Excellent overall performance
  • Spectacular 4K+ OLED display
  • Solid and attractive build
  • Good keyboard and touch display
  • Webcam is crisp and clear

Cons

  • Touchpad is too small
  • Gaming performance is erratic

HP’s Envy line lands in a unique space. These are premium laptops through and through, and often have the performance to back that up for content creators.

However, they aren’t as expensive as machines like the MSI Creator Z16P or the 16-inch MacBook Pro. A case in point is the new HP Envy 16, the replacement for the Envy 15, a laptop that’s been on our list of best 15-inch laptops and best video-editing laptops. Given its strong performance and solid build quality, the Envy 16 is an even more compelling entry than its predecessor.

HP Envy 16 specs

  HP Envy 16
Dimensions 14.07 inches by 9.91 inches by 0.78 inches
Weight 5.12 pounds
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
Intel Core i7-12700H
Intel Core i9-12900H
Graphics Intel Arc A370M
Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060
RAM 16GB DDR5
32GB DDR5
Display 16-inch 16:10 WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) IPS 120Hz
16-inch 16:10 UHD+ (3,840 x 2,400) OLED touch
Storage 512GB PCIe Gen4 SSD
1TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
2TB PCIe Gen4 SSD
Touch Optional
Ports 2 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2
1 x HDMI 2.1
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
1 x microSD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2
Webcam 5MP with infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello
Operating system Windows 11
Battery 83 watt-hour
Price $1,180+

Fastest when it matters HP Envy 16 side view showing ports and vents.Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Performance is the name of the game with the Envy 16. The keyboard, display, and clean design will have been for nothing if the Envy 16 didn’t live up to its promise of excellent performance. Fortunately, it does.

My loaded $2,600 review unit came with the 45-watt 14-core/20-thread Core i9-12900H CPU, 32GB of DDR5 RAM, fast 2TB PCIe 4.0 SSD (with two 1TB SSDs running in RAID 0 as an even faster option), and an RTX 3060 GPU.

On paper, the Envy 16 is a speedy mainstream laptop, especially given a thicker chassis and an upgraded thermal design with dual fans and a liquid vapor chamber. Note that the $1,180 entry-level configuration includes an Intel Arc A370M GPU rather than the RTX 3060, so choose wisely if GPU performance is important.

Interestingly, in our benchmarks, the Envy 16 was much faster at single-core tasks than at multi-core tasks. This extended to both Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23, where the Envy 16 led the pack in single-core results while falling behind in multi-core. The HP Command Center utility, used to switch thermal profiles, had little impact. I’ve reported balanced and performance mode scores, but only minor differences exist with the Envy 16.

The screen and keyboard of the HP Envy 16.

Creative applications tend to be heavily multi-threaded, meaning creators won’t benefit as much from the Envy 16’s fast single-core performance. Our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265 is a prime example, with the Envy 16 being slower than all but the MacBook Pro 16. And that includes laptops running the lesser Core i7-12700H.

At the same time, the Envy 16 performed well in the PugetBench Premiere Pro benchmark, which runs a live version of Adobe Premiere Pro and makes copious use of both the CPU and the GPU. It was the fastest Windows laptop in our comparison group in balanced mode. While it fell behind laptops like the Asus ZenBook Pro 16X and MSI Creator Z16P in performance mode, it was within spitting distance of the much more expensive Apple MacBook Pro 16 with its Apple M1 Pro CPU.

Synthetic benchmarks aside, the Envy 16 appears to be a strong performer in the kind of real-world applications that matter most to creators. It can also handle the most demanding productivity workflows with ease.

Geekbench
(single / multi)
Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Pugetbench
Premiere Pro
HP Envy 16
(Core i9-12900H)
Bal: 1,839 / 11,187
Perf: 1,811 / 11,387
Bal: 83
Perf: 84
Bal: 1,919 / 12,538
Perf: 1922 / 12,525
Bal: 814
Perf: 932
Asus ZenBook Pro 16X
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,628 / 12,227
Perf: 1,629 / 12,526
Bal: 78
Perf: 70
Bal: 1,655 / 11,983
Perf: 1,657 / 15,621
Bal: 771
Perf: 1034
MSI Creator Z16P
(Core i9-12900H)
Bal: 1,769 / 14,034
Perf: 1,835 / 14,051
Bal: 71
Perf: 69
Bal: 1,844 / 15,047
Perf: 1,837 / 16,084
Bal: 717
Perf: 1,042
Dell XPS 15 9520
(Core i7-12700H)
Bal: 1,470 / 9,952
Perf: 1,714 / 11,053
Bal: 100
Perf: 77
Bal: 1,509 / 11,578
Perf: 1,806 / 13,313
Bal: 760
Perf: 729
Apple MacBook Pro 16
(Apple M1 Pro)
Bal: 1,773 / 12,605
Perf: N/A
Bal: 95
Perf: N/A
Bal: 1,531 / 12,343
Perf: N/A
Bal: 977
Perf: N/A

With a fast CPU and an RTX 3060, it’s natural to play some games on the Envy 16. I expected solid gaming performance given the high single-core performance, but the Env7 16 had mixed results. Its 3DMark Time Spy score was strong for an RTX 3060, but that didn’t translate across all our gaming tests.

Specifically, the Envy 16 was fast in Civilization VI and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, but it fell behind in Cyberp

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