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Product Review: HP Envy x360 Laptop

I am a computer science graduate student with an undergraduate degree in art and design. I have had this computer for five months and keep it at home on a desk; I carry a beater 10-inch wiped netbook with Linux xUbuntu to class. I bought the HP Envy x360 12GB RAM / Core i7 / SATA HD 500GB / SSD 128 GB for a little over a thousand US dollars at a local brick and mortar store.

◙ It is flawed — walk away!! ◙

I do not like island / Chiclet / Mac style keys. At least they are crisp, I have a full size QWERTY with 10-Key number pad, and it is easy to turn the back-lighting on and off.

1) The keyboard only came with one CTRL key, on the left! I use copy and paste a lot for code and other text, so I had to remap the keyboard and sacrifice the ALT key on the right to make it a CTRL key.
2) The insert slips into overwrite at odd times in a text field forcing me to stop typing and correct it.
3) The cursor loses focus and drops a right hand click drop down menu when I am trying to use the touchpad, causing me to hit the ESC key or try to move the cursor and click somewhere new, sometimes several times a day, which is annoying af.
4) The cursor loses focus and vanishes completely, requiring me to shut down the laptop and hold the power button for 15 seconds. Sometimes I have to do this two or three times. This makes me shut down all my projects and programs and is extra annoying af.
5) The pen stylus costs a lot but does not work for crap with Adobe Illustrator. The tablet screen often cannot differentiate between a hand touch and the pen stylus so if for some reason you are the master of “hover pen” vector technique then this may not bother you. It does not register drawing points on a path well. It is mediocre with Photoshop. I would describe it overall as under-performing compared to any Wacom product, even the non-visual pen stylus tablets.
6) The OS / HP skin of the OS is LOADED WITH ADVERTISEMENTS! I was bombarded with ads and click-bait. I downloaded an ad suppressor app that hid all of the sources except one which I cannot pinpoint that launches from the lower right hand corner of the bottom tool bar. These are full out advertisements for external media and products that have nothing to do with my laptop. You cannot strip these off via the Control Panel, they are hard built into the OS. I learned C / C-Sharp / C++ coders have stripped out the adware on their copies of Win-10 but it just re-installs itself whenever there is a Windows update. Advice is to find a reputable suppression app unless you love love love pop-up ads interrupting you all the time.
7) I immediately ditched McAfee and have a very aggressive and detailed firewall / anti-spyware / anti-virus suite which has stopped un-authorized attempts to access my webcam over 100 times in the five months I have had this laptop. This has been ongoing and I am not visiting any unusual websites: my server use is through my university, so it is very boring information searches for class projects or a knitting pattern and some online shopping. Literally I would show anyone on earth or my mother my use history, it is that boring and vanilla. No clue what’s the sneak attacks to access the webcam but it seems to be new to Win-10. Using Chrome most of the time and Firefox some of the time, so I do not think it is from a browser and also neither of those companies were sending themselves data from the Pentagon. Looking at you, Microsoft…

I am stuck with this laptop because I paid for it and I need to use particular software in Windows like Adobe, Axure, etc. I do not have the technical skills or experience to parse which problems in items 1 – 5 are OS versus hardware failures. This is just a collection of my experiences. I regret giving HP a chance, but, hey, my beloved Toshiba laptops are gone. I just wanted a keyboard I could live with and hoped the tablet features would be nice. 😦 HP is evil and their tech deserves to be burned as a coal substitute.

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