Is a $650 Gaming Laptop Worth It?

– Hey guys, this is Austin Is a $650 gaming laptop worth it? So this is the new HP Envy x360

Now while it might not look like a gaming laptop, inside it is rocking the brand new AMD Ryzen Mobile If you've bought a laptop in the last few years, more than likely it was powered by Intel However, AMD has stepped up in a big way with Ryzen Mobile Not only does this have a much more powerful CPU, but the graphics should be good enough for actual gaming So it is definitely a larger laptop with a 15 inch display

But, as part of their x360 line, what we're getting here is a fully convertible design, which actually isn't too thick either Cover wise, it feels pretty nice So we're getting a slightly sharp, angular design, which a lot of HP laptops have had these days But considering the $650 price point, it looks and feels pretty premium Open this guy up and we're going to see the full size keyboard, as well as number row, as well as the Bang & Olufsen speakers

Something you won't find, however, are any stupid Intel stickers all over the laptop Actually, there are no AMD stickers at all, are there? For ports, there's a pretty decent selection, including HDMI, a USB 3, as well as your headphone jack And on the other side, you're going to be getting one more USB 30, a USB-C that supports charging, as well as a full size SD card slot HP doesn't claim this is a gaming PC, but with Ryzen 5 inside it should be capable of some decent gaming

So not only are we getting a Quad-Core Zen processor, but we're also getting eight Vega GPU cores Now that's not going to be able to blow away some proper dedicated graphics, but the idea is, is that for $650, especially considering that this is a very battery focused, sort of, lightweight laptop, it should give us decent gaming performance Ryzen has proven to be pretty impressive on the desktop side, offering a lot of fast cores at a reasonable price Thankfully, that comes across to Ryzen Mobile So in Geekbench, while it's not quite on par with Intel's latest 8th-gen, 15 watt processors, it actually performs really well compared to slightly older Core i5s

Definitely plenty of performance for pretty much any kind of normal usage Where things get really interesting is with those Vega graphics So it is a huge step up over something like Intel Integrated Graphics, and it's even on par with some of the lower end dedicated graphics options Now this might not sound that impressive, but consider that this is all in a 15 watt chip It nearly matches Intel's latest and greatest on the processor side, and completely destroys them on the graphics side

And again, this is from AMD To put this to the test, we have CS:GO Now here running at 1080p medium, we're actually getting pretty decent frame rates So we're averaging somewhere between the high 40s to mid 50s And that is definitely very playable

Obviously, ideally you're running in like 300,000 frames, but considering that we've got a $650 laptop, I'm definitely not complaining Next up, we have Rocket League Now this is a game that is pretty popular, and it's also not that hard to run And yet again, here we're running at 1080p, this time on quality settings Now the frame rate's actually really impressive here

We're just pretty much staying above 60 frames per second at all times Wow, that was terrible So, in theory, we actually can bump those settings up, all the way up to the high quality if we wanted to Move over to GTA, and we're actually getting pretty decent performance So on normal settings, at 1080p, we're getting between 30 to 40 frames per second

For less demanding areas like this, we're actually in the mid 40s or so When you get a lot of explosions, sometimes it dips around 30, but again, pretty playable To really put this to the test, we have Pubg And well this, is not so great So, low settings at 720p, we're barely getting like 27, 28 frames per second

I mean, this is a little bit more of an open area, but even after we walk inside this building we're still barely touching 30 It's kind of usable It's not the worst experience I've ever tried But, maybe not the best Pubg machine in the world Things aren't all perfect in normal use either

So when I was first setting up this laptop, I had some weird driver issues, where the screen would go really dim and I would have no control over it, and sleep mode just completely disappeared Thankfully, a few Windows updates fixed that But still, not the best out of box experience Now it's not a huge surprise considering that this is one of the very first Ryzen Mobile products to actually go on sale So there might be a few kinks to be worked out

I will say though, the AMD x360 is nice piece of hardware And of course, you do have that fully flexible hinge And while it is nicely weighted, I don't like how much wobble there is when you actually touch it Although again, this is a very common complaint with pretty much any of these sort of convertible designs The keyboard also isn't too bad

So not only do I like the spacing and the layout with having the number row, but also has a nice feel, and importantly, especially considering the price, it is going to be backlit With the screen issues patched it's a good panel So at 156 inches, with a 1080p resolution, it looks pretty good And especially with this kind of size and price point, I feel like 1080 is a totally reasonable sweet spot for gaming, as well as productivity

Now the actual display itself The color is nice, and the contrast is pretty impressive, however, it just doesn't get that bright So when you're looking at it dead on, it's okay But that, combined with the fact that it's really reflective, means that if you get this guy even slightly off axis, it is really hard to see anything So like a lot of other HP laptops recently, it does have Bang & Olufsen branded speakers, and especially considering that it's a pretty big speaker row that's directed straight at you

Not only does it sound pretty good, but it gets surprisingly loud However, it's not all great So the trackpad is just kind of okay Now I really wish it did have Windows Precision drivers As it is, the tracking is okay, and it does support most of the major gestures, but the tracking could be a lot better, and especially the trackpad size feels a little bit small for a laptop in 2018

There's also Windows Hello support for facial recognition, which is a nice feature, except that for me, it only works when I get my face very, very close to the laptop The webcam isn't much better So it is at least 1080p, but as you guys can see from this quality, Team Crispy, this is definitely not The biggest issue though, is the hard drive So while the rest of the system is pretty well specced out with the Ryzen 5, dual channel eight gigs of memory, however, having a mechanical hard drive in a laptop in 2018 just feels slow

It would be so nice if they had actually configured this with an SSD On one hand, Ryzen Mobile is seriously impressive Look back just a few months ago, and Intel was selling 15 watt laptop processors with lackluster graphics and only two cores Yeah, they've stepped it up to Quad-Core now, but you look at AMD, who has come out of nowhere with an impressive Quad-Core design, and some seriously powerful graphics And again, this is from AMD

I know I keep saying that, but it is really impressive what AMD has been able to pull off, especially coming out of nowhere like this Now sure, this is not going to be a super high end gaming machine that's going to work for everyone, but it does have enough power to play some pretty decent games On the other hand, the Envy x360 is good, but not perfect I feel like they got about 85% right With a better trackpad, a couple of tweaks, and especially a standard SSD, I would like this thing a lot more

What gets me really excited is that this has forced Intel Nvidia to price some gaming laptops in this sort of $600 price range So, if you guys wanna see a video on one of those, definitely be sure to let me know in the comments below, and I will catch you in the next one

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