HP ENVY x360 13-y023cl Review 2020

Today we will talk about the new HP ENVY x360 13-y023cl, powered by one of the new rise-in 4500 U processors. This is the smallest of the new rise-ins I have looked at so far.

Very attractive and lightweight package and this is a two-in-one so that you can put it into tablet mode here, have it work in tent mode, or of course, you can have the display seated like this for watching movies and that sort of thing.

We will be taking a closer look at this laptop and what it’s all about in just a second.

HP ENVY x360 13-y023cl: Quick Overview

HP ENVY x360 13-y023cl Review

The price point on this one is $799 as configured. It starts at $699 with a rise in 3 configurations, and if you want to go fully, check out you can spend about $1400 for an eight-core rise in 7 versions, so let’s take a closer look at the hardware.

Our review unit has an AMD Ryzen 5 4500 you processor inside a six-core chip; it’s got 8gigabytes of RAM, DDR4, and dual-channel configuration. The RAM is not upgradable.

This one has a 256-gigabyte NVME SSD. You can upgrade the storage on it, at least but again, not the RAM.

  • Surprisingly nice speakers
  • Doesn’t get very noisy or hot with games
  • Fairly compact and light
  • Doesn’t get very noisy or hot with games
  • Low-travel spongy keyboard might not be for everyone
  • Plastic construction with flexible lid and keyboard deck

HP ENVY x360 13-y023cl: General Overview

General stats

All configurations of this laptop include a 1080p 13.3-inch touch display. It works very nicely, looks great. It’s actually one of the fewer displays I’ve seen on some of these newer Ryzen laptops which is good to see here. I really like the overall industrial design on this; it’s all metal.

It’s not very big; it’s kind of in the smaller footprint versus some of the 13-inch laptops you might be accustomed to, so it’s really a thing and light, very attractive compared to the prior generation of this, they were able to strip off a lot of the bezels here and make the package smaller overall with the same screen size and I think they’ve done a terrific job with this, it’s a very attractive machine both in appearance and just in how it feels.

Now the weight on this one is just under three pounds or 1.3 kilograms. I always like to remind people that the thinner and lighter something is, the more it will cost.

So you can get a rise in machines with the same processor for less money but those are going to be a little bit bigger and heavier so if you want something thin and light like this there will be a price premium but it might be worth it if you don’t want to lug around something that is heavier than what this one weighs.

Ports and Accessories

Let’s take a look at the ports now. We’ve got a headphone microphone jack right here. Next to it is a rather unique USB 3 port.

This is just a standard USB A connector, but it’s got a little door on here, and I found the best way to use it is to take out your cable here and kind of nudge it in from the side to push the door down and then connect up the cable. I’ve never seen a door on a USB port before.

Still, this one’s got it next to it is a USB C port. This is a full-service USB C-port so that you can use it for a display output along with power in, and it will support data devices as well, so you could use a docking station or something like that with that USB C port note.

However, this is not a thunderbolt port, but it is a Gen 2 USB C port that can run at a max of 10 gigabits per second. On the other side of the laptop, we’ve got a micro SD card slot here.

You got another one of those USB 3 ports with a door and you have a power connector so the power connector that comes with the laptop is using that circular barrel connector and not the USB C so when you do have it plugged in, you’re not trying up the port if you don’t want to so I thought that was nice that you have the flexibility of power in over here or through the power adapter that’s on the side of the laptop.

And it’s got a very nice trackpad, it’s got plenty of real estates here, one thing that I did note is that it’s very sensitive when you tap on it so I did disable tap to click this is a click pad though so I get clicks when I actually push it down.

That was my only complaint with it and an overall very nice input mechanism there. Nice keyboard too. Good size keys, nicely spaced, they made very efficient use of the casing here.

It’s also backlit so that’s good and you got a couple of other things of note on here, you do have a fingerprint reader for getting in with Windows Hello so that’s good.

Webcam function

Your power switches here and there’s some other stuff that I thought was kind of neat.

The first thing is that it’s got a power shutter for the webcam so when you push down this key it will activate the webcams shutter so you can see when you push it down it will put a physical shutter in front of the camera lens.

You’ll know it’s on because your camera lens goes all white on you there and then you want to turn it off of course you depress the key and that key will light up because the camera will still work, it will just be obstructed so the key will be lit when you have the camera obstructed.

When you click it again it will come off and that light will turn off there as well.

Different performance settings

Next to it is another feature that was kind of unique to this one in that you can control the fan speed with this key here so when you push the key what you’re going to get is the thermal profile settings and you can see right now I’ve got mine set to performance.

They have four different settings so you have the performance one which we’re on now and will give you the best performance but the most amount of fan noise HP recommended is a little less performance but a little less fan noise as well.

Its midpoint comfort is an odd one because what it does is keeps the temperature of the laptop down, which means it brings the performance of the laptop down, but it also runs the fan a little bit more to keep things cool and then the quiet mode will give you minimal performance but also no fan noise.

The fan will still run very very quiet but you really can’t hear it so if you’re just doing some web browsing or some word processing or something low-key and you don’t want to hear the fan noise in a quiet room you can switch to quiet.

That will turn the fan pretty much down to its lowest possible level, barely even audible and you can you the computer in silence but if you wanna boot up a game or something you can switch it over to performance and get the better performance out of the machine that this chip can deliver.

Fan noise overall is about what you would expect for a compact laptop. It can get a little bit loud, so it’s nice to have this control at their ready, so if you’re bothered by the fan noise, you can switch it into a quiet mode when you’re trying to concentrate at work.

Still, if you don’t care about that and need the performance, you can easily switch it back, and I thought it was kind of neat that they mapped that control to the keyboard and made it an essential feature that you can get at easily, so that was unique.

More features

There’s a mute microphone button here as well, so you can mute the mic just like you can shutter the camera with a keypress now. There is pen support on this one but we did not get a pen in the box with it.

However, HP says it supports the Microsoft pen protocol 2.0 which supports some additional options for drawing on the screen. Now, these new Ryzen ships get great battery life, and this laptop is no exception to that rule.

After an hour of testing with the display brightness up pretty high, we were getting about 8 hours of basic tasks done on the laptop, basic web browsing, word processing, that sort of thing.

Display settings

If you start doing photo and video editing and things that significantly impact the processor, you will see less battery life.

Of course, HP is rating the battery at about 12 hours for basic tasks provided. You have the display brightness turned down and I would agree with them on that battery life estimate again provided you’ve got the display at a lower level.

The display usually is one of the biggest eaters of battery life so if you get that display brightness down you’re going for a long hall or something I think you can get close to their estimates.

It does charge pretty quickly it does support fast charging so I think you should able to get the juice back in the tank pretty quick.

Battery

Overall it’s a good battery performer that I think will get most people through a workday so let’s take a look now at performances and we’ll load up Google Chrome here and take a look at a website to see how all comes together as you can see things render up here very quickly.

Web Browsing

The Wi-Fi ratio supports the new Wi-Fi six standard as well and as you can see web browsing is working pretty nice on here and is very snappy let’s take a look now at some YouTube videos so here we’ve got a 1080p 60 video running from YouTube.

It did drop a few frames initially when I first started playing the video and then when I made it fullscreen it dropped a few more but now that the videos playing back there at fullscreen no problems and we haven’t had any additional drop frames.

I think you’ll have a good outcome here playing back YouTube videos even those that are running at 60 frames per second along with Netflix and the other video services as well.

On the browser bench, org speedometer test with the full performance settings enabled we got a score of 178.4 on version 1.0 of the test and 101 on version 2.0 that puts it very close to the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 15 the margin of error there.

You can also see that all of these Ryzen ships are very competitive against some of the Intel machines out there namely the new tenth generation eye five chips but we’re these AMD devices do better is in graphics.

We’re going to load up some games now and I think you’ll be very impressed with the performance that we’re able to get out of one of these few AMD processors.

Game performance

GTA-5

Let’s kick things off with GTA 5 so here it is running on the laptop here and we are at 1080p lowest settings and as you can see our frame rate is in the 50s, it will occasionally jump into the 40s as you can see here, sometimes we’ll see a little bit of a hit when it reads off the disc.

I have a USB Drive powering this right now but overall it’s been great and on par with other rising based machines that we have looked at recently with this new generation.

These chips are potent for the price point and what we see here is a performance that we would typically get out of one of those MX 150 GPUs from just a couple of years ago, yet we’ve got everything in a really thin and light package here.

So GTA 5 is running great on this device and you’ll probably get an even better frame rate at a 720p resolution.

Rocket League

The next stop is Rocket League and we’re running it at 1080p with all of the settings turned up.

As you can see here we’re getting about 30 frames per second at those settings. A little bit of a dip there at 20 but by large it is holding its own at the maximum.

Now of course if we were to turn these settings down we could get a better frame rate at this resolution or we could go down to 720p and adjust the settings up again.

It’s up to you to figure out the best balance of visual quality and frame rate but overall this is spectacular for a computer that lacks that discrete GPU.

Doom

Let’s take a look at a few more things. This is DOOM 2016 we’re running in Vulcan Mode 1080p lowest settings and as you can see we’re getting about 30 frames per second sometimes 40 frames per second.

If we were to turn it down to 720p we would get into the 60 frames per second territory but again another recent title that is running exceptionally well on a computer without a discrete GPU.

Alright, next up is no man’s sky 1080p lowest settings. We’re getting about 30-35 frames per second or so when we’re in the spaceship, and then when we go down to the surface of the planet, we’re probably around 20 frames per second territory, give or take.

This is one game that we do better at 720p and I think there are a lot of triple-A titles that will also perform better on this chipset at around that resolution as well most of the time with low settings.

Nonetheless, this is something that you really couldn’t do very well on one of these small laptops in the past and now you can do that without having to spend a lot on a gaming laptop so it’s a great little gaming device if you’re looking to play games casually.

Of course, you’ll probably want to go with a gaming laptop to get better performance with its own GPU but again I think you know that this is fantastic for what you’re getting here and it’s really remarkable to see how far along these processors have come.

Benchmark

And on the 3Dmark time spy benchmark test, we got a score of 964 with the laptop here set in the performance mode that puts it right on par with the Lenovo that we looked at a few weeks ago, and even the Acer Swift 3, which is running with the 8core variant of this AMD processor.

Again, you’ll be hearing the fan really going on this thing when you’re running games like this and that’s what that performance mode is there for. You can also turn it down with that utility we looked at a little bit earlier. When you are not playing games to get quieter operations going.

I also ran this benchmark on each of the different performance settings just so you get a feel for what that does to the overall system performance and if we pull up that slide now you’ll see of course that we get 964 in that performance mode, the recommended mode is pretty close at 957.

It’s a little bit slower on the CPU side but pretty close to what we got on the performance mode.

The comfort, we’ll take a dip in performance both on the CPU and the GPU. Then, of course, quiet will run at the least amount of performance, so going from the performance mode to the quiet mode is a substantial step down in-game performance.

Final performance thoughts

Still, I do think when you’re running basic web browsing and word processing and that sort of thing, the quiet mode, if that’s important to you, won’t impact your day-to-day work all that much.

On the 3D mark stress test, we got a score of 98.3% that is a passing grade, and you can also see the temperature that the processor was registering when it was at the end of that test.

One thing to note is that we ran that test in performance mode, which means that when you are set to that mode, you shouldn’t see all that much variation in performance, especially when you’re playing games, and that was something we experienced when we were playing the games we were testing.

Pretty consistent across the board but know if you go into comfort mode or quiet mode that’s where you’re going to see the thermal throttling because it will be adjusting the processor performance based on how much heat it is detecting and that will be very very evident in the quiet mode.

So again quiet mode is gonna be good for the basics but if you start doing things that are more demanding on the processor you will see in quiet mode a pretty big variation in performance from 1 minute to the next so switch it into performance mode.

Those fans will kick on but you will have very consistent performance when you’re stressing the processor.

Now the fan intake is on the bottom here so you’re going to want to keep the laptop off of carpet and fabric and things that would clog up those vents. The rubber feet here will keep it elevated enough to get airflow in to cool down that processor.

Speakers

The speakers are also here on the bottom; they’re on the left and right-hand side here; they are downward-firing, so they will vary in their sound quality depending on what they’re placed down upon.

I found the speakers to be ok. They are Bang & Olufsen branded but there’s not a lot of base to them but there’s good stereo separation.

However, if you want better audio quality I would plug in a pair of headphones or use some Bluetooth headphones here on the laptop.

Linux

Let’s take a look now and see if it runs Linux and then we’ll wrap things up. We’ve got them boom 220.04 loaded up here.

As you can see, the touch display is working; video is being detected properly, Wi-Fi Bluetooth audio all good on here. The one thing that isn’t good is the brightness setting here.

I can’t get the brightness to change on the display even though it thinks it’s doing it, so that’s one area that I’ll have to spend a little bit more time tinkering with, but beyond that, it looks like it’s running Linux as well as some of the other recent 4000 series Ryzen chips we have looked at.

Final Thoughts

So altogether, I think it’s a very nice laptop. I think it’s pretty reasonably priced for what it is.

The performance is great; I really just like the overall look and feel of it, and it just feels like a nice premium Ryzen experience, and it’s nice to see these chips getting some love in some higher-end looking hardware here.

So all in, I continue to be very excited about the direction that AMD has taken with these new chips.

We see just remarkable performance out of all of these new computers, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of these as the year progresses.

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