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[Review] HP ENVY 15-U493cl Unrivaled performance on a high end convertible

Convertibles have gained a strong positioning in the market and it's in no small part thanks to HP. The leading PC manufacturer worldwide has launched a slew of convertibles that have set the bar pretty high in terms of the quality we expect from a convertible laptop. Today we're here to talk to you guys about one of HP's most outstanding convertibles as we review the HP ENVY 15-U493cl.

This recently launched laptop is packed with high-end features such as a FHD touchscreen display, 12GB of RAM and a top notch Core i7 CPU. In this teardown review we aim to find out if this laptop is worth your money or if you'd better spend your money elsewhere.

Pros: 6th generation Core i7, 12GB of RAM, FHD 15 inch display, 1TB of storage, Windows 10.
Cons: a little over 6 hours of battery life.

HP ENVY 15-U493cl Review of a top of the line convertible

High end quality build with a Full HD display

While convertibles have a bigger presence in the 13 inch market thanks to the portability this size provides, the 15 inch segment should not be neglected. Sure, as a standalone tablet the 15 inch display might prove a little big but you'd be surprised at the varied usage you can get out of a 15 inch tablet with the specs of a high end tablet.

That said, we couldn't go into this review without mentioning the outstanding quality build of the HP ENVY 15-U493cl. With a brushed aluminium finish you really get the feeling you're dealing with a quality product here.

The screen itself is more than noteworthy with a full 15.6 inch WLED-backlit touchscreen IPS display with a 1920 by 1080 pixel resolution. It was about time for laptops to step up their game in the screen department and fortunately for us HP seemed more than keen to jump into this market with a high quality screen with wide viewing angles that will provide the perfect experience when browsing through the web, editing high definition images and watching Full HD movies.

As far as weight is concerned, HP's latest convertible moves well within range with a little over 5 pounds that still manages to place this model within the "portability spectrum".

It should also be noted that the HP ENVY 15-U493cl comes with a backlit keyboard, a feature that, oddly enough, hasn't gone mainstream in the convertible segment though it can be incredibly useful at times.

Outstanding performance across the board

Convertibles aren't typically known for being high-powered machines, however it seems HP didn't get the memo on this one and really decided to step things up a bit. Powered by an Intel Core i7-6500U dual core CPU, this laptop has more than enough power to deal with pretty much anything you'd like to throw at it.

With a base speed of 2.5GHz that can be catapulted to 3.1GHz, 4MB of Intel's smart cache and a 64 bit architecture there's little that this laptop isn't capable of handling. Whether you're a poweruser looking for a laptop that can run 16 hour marathons doing hardcore work or you're just looking for a laptop to take with you when you go to work, this laptop is just about ready for anything.

Add to the Skylake processor 12GB of DDR3L SDRAM and you've got yourself a powerplayer capable of handling dozens of apps running at a time without a hitch.

Battery life and storage

As impressive as the CPU and RAM are to this convertible, battery life and storage aren't all that impressive when compared to other models. Specifically, we've got a 3 cell battery that can deliver a little over 6 hours of usage on a single charge.

Personally I'm a bit skeptic when it comes down to battery life and I prefer to lower the numbers "officially provided", but even if we drop down to 5 hours that's still pretty good. I mean, it's not like the 8 hour battery life that you may find on other high end convertibles but this is understandable when you consider all the high end hardware this laptop needs to handle.

As for storage, HP decided to go down the more "traditional route" and implemented a 1TB mechanical hard drive working at 5400 rpm. We say the company went down the "traditional path" because a lot of convertibles are coming out with SSD storage options.

However, these options are typically much more constrained towards the 128-256GB options and therefore offer little comfort for those of us who like to manage their entire media libraries without worrying about the amount of space available.

What games can it handle?

Gaming has once again been left in the foreground as this machine packs an Intel HD 520 graphics chip that can use up to 6GB of RAM. That said, we don't really recommend gaming on this laptop, other than the casual 2D gaming experience we wouldn't really hold our breath on this being the next big thing in the gaming community.

Tell me about the connectivity options

We wouldn't be doing our due diligence in this review of the HP ENVY 15-U493cl if we didn't mention the connectivity options. However, as with battery life and storage we fear they aren't as impressive as one might've hoped.

We've got a couple of USB 3.0 ports, a standalone USB 2.0 port, an HDMI output, SD card reader, RJ45 port for a wired internet connection and the always present audio jack for audio input/output.

As with most convertibles, there's no DVD reader but we've got a quality sound system courtesy of Bang & Olufsen as well as an HD webcam.

Wrapping things up: Is this laptop worth it?

As we reviewed the HP ENVY 15-U493cl we found ourselves falling pretty enamored with this machine. The quality build in itself coupled with the Full HD display are reasons enough to fall for it. That said, the CPU and RAM are also pretty impressive, offering a fluid performance and future-proof internals that promise a relevant machine for several years to come.

Battery life and storage aren't all that impressive and the integrated graphics is a given on most convertibles. However, these aren't necessarily bad things, just not outstanding features. Bottom line; this is a great laptop for pretty much any kind of user. Gamers and graphic designers might need to look elsewhere but for everyone else we can't imagine this being anything less than great, especially when you consider it's tight price point.