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Apple’s MacBook lineup finally had a change of heart last year. The Cupertino-based company swapped the Intel-based MacBooks with an in-house M1 chipset. Both the 2023 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro come with Apple’s M1 CPU that vows to offer superior performance without sacrificing battery life.
Apple is promising mouth-watering endurance time on both – MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. If you are getting less than expected battery life, read along the best tips to improve your M1-based MacBook’s battery life.
To be fair to Apple, the company did introduce some battery-saving measurements in the macOS. That coupled with a careful selection of apps and other tweaks can extend the battery life on your M1 Macbook by quite a margin.Tips to improve battery life on M1-based MacBooks
We will go through some battery-saving options from macOS System Preferences and include some third-party apps to see essential battery information and act accordingly.
1. Use M1-optimized apps
Apple terms Mac apps as Universal if they run natively on both Intel and M1-based Macs. If an app is yet to be updated for Apple Silicon, an M1-powered Mac will still run it, but it will do so by converting the Intel x86-64 code using Rosetta 2 emulation software.
The practice affects the performance as well as the battery life of your device. Instead, you should stick with apps that are already optimized for the M1 MacBook. You can visit this dedicated website that lists out all the M1-ready apps.
2. Opt for Safari or Microsoft Edge instead of Google Chrome
Google Chrome, the world’s leading browser, is infamous for excessive use of RAM and battery. If you live in the Apple ecosystem, I would highly recommend you try the Safari browser on Mac. It’s lightweight, efficient, battery-friendly, and the browser received a nice UI makeover with the latest macOS Big Sur update.
On the flip side, if you can’t live without all those nifty Chrome extensions, I would stir your attention to the Microsoft Edge browser built on the same Chromium platform and supports all the Chromium extensions.
3. Enable auto-brightness and turn off the keyboard backlight
This trick won’t improve the battery life by leaps and bounds. But hey, every small step helps, right?
Go to the Mac System Preferences menu.
Navigate to Keyboard.
Turn the keyboard backlight off and choose an inactivity time.
Another trick is to go to the Display menu and enable the Automatically adjust brightness option that adjusts the display brightness based on surroundings.
4. Use Activity Monitor on M1 Mac
Similar to Task Manager on Windows, macOS offers Activity Monitor to keep track of CPU and GPU usage by each app.
If your MacBook is getting unnecessarily warm, you should open the Activity Monitor and notice CPU usage from each app. If you observe an irrelevant high spike in usage, select the app and force close it using the ‘X’ mark above.
Last week I ran into a similar problem. I noticed my MacBook Air getting uncomfortably warm. I opened the Activity Monitor and glanced at high CPU usage by the OneDrive app. I had to force close the app to cool down MacBook.
5. Stop apps from automatically opening during startup
By default, apps like Slack, Dropbox, OneDrive, Adobe Creative Cloud, Alfred, VPN apps, etc., automatically open up during Mac startup. The practice makes sense for cloud storage apps as you want to keep the files in sync, but you should turn off behavior for other apps and services to save up some battery juice.
Follow the steps below to stop apps from automatically opening during Mac startup.
6. Keep an eye on the battery charge cycle
Every MacBook comes with a lithium polymer battery to provide maximum battery life in a compact space. According to the official Apple website, most MacBook Pro and Air models come with 1000 charge cycles.
You can check the current charge cycle under the Power option in the System Information menu.
Use Command + Space keys to open Spotlight Search
Type System Information to open the menu.
Go to Hardware → Power, and here you will notice the current Cycle Count under the Battery Information section.
If the number is more than Apple’s suggested one, it’s time to replace the battery on your MacBook.
7. Enable Battery Health Management
Let me get this straight. The Battery health management option isn’t designed to improve the device battery life. It’s focused on delivering a longer battery lifespan.
As I mentioned above, every MacBook comes with a fixed charge cycle. The Battery health management option learns your MacBook usage and limits the device to charge to 100% when necessary.
Open System Preferences → Battery → Battery Health → enable the Manage battery longevity option.
8. Use a third-party app on M1 Mac
Apps like Endurance are designed to help you to lower your energy usage. Endurance keeps track of what’s gobbling up your MacBook energy and puts those apps to sleep. The Endurance app also auto-dim the MacBook display when needed. The company claims to increase the MacBook battery by 20%.
The below-average battery life on M1 MacBook might be due to a software glitch. Thankfully, Apple is quick to resolve such issues with a software update. You should open the System Preferences menu and go to the Software Update menu to download and install the latest macOS available.Other tips to save battery life on M1 Mac
With your M1-MacBook optimized, charged, and ready-to-go, you won’t have to worry about stretching for a charger during working hours.
Parth previously worked at chúng tôi covering tech news. He is currently freelancing at iGeeksBlog, Guiding Tech, iPhonehacks, and TechWiser writing about apps comparisons, tutorials, software tips and tricks, and diving deep into iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows platforms.
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See our roundup of the best laptops for even more recommendations.
Updated 04/28/2023: To include the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra as our new best overall choice and the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 as our choice for best 2-in-1. Check out our summaries below to learn more about these top picks.
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra – Best laptop for teachers overall
Solid performance and great battery life
Gorgeous, powerful OLED screen
A 1080p webcam with Windows Studio Effects
Good interaction with Galaxy device ecosystem and apps
Average keyboard, trackpad
Audio needs some tweaking
Best Prices Today:
With its superb battery life, lightweight form factor, and powerful CPU performance, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra has a lot to offer. The 1080p webcam is a nice addition for remote learning, too. As for the battery life, our tests showed that it trounced the competition with 13.1 continuous hours of use, which means you can kiss those outlet-hunting days goodbye.
The Galaxy Book3 Ultra features a 13th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, the new Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. With that kind of power this machine should have no problem handling productivity tasks as well as day-to-day use. It also comes with a 16-inch OLED display that boasts a resolution of 2880×1800 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. Visuals should be both vivid and detailed. If you’re looking for a laptop that ticks all of the productivity boxes and more, then the Galaxy Book3 Ultra is well worth consideration.
Read our full
Acer Aspire 5 – Best budget option
Good selection of ports
Annoying bloatware comes pre-installed
Touchpad is a little hard to use
Best Prices Today:
This laptop has an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage. The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1080p and a matte coating. The keyboard is a high point, with a spacious layout. Our tester found it to be “quick, accurate, and comfortable.” That said, the design is a little utilitarian and the touchpad takes some getting used to. All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Read our full
Acer Aspire Vero 14 – Best eco-friendly option
Strong battery life
Convenient, fast fingerprint reader
Soldered-on RAM, not upgradeable
For the eco-conscious teacher, the Acer Aspire Vero 14, made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled plastics, is a great option. Acer should be commended for its design of the Vero 14, which is not only eco-friendly, but attractive and includes a few unique touches that help it stand out. It’s no slouch in the performance department either, sporting a Core i7 processor, Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a fast 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. The Vero 14 is an attractive ultraportable for the eco-conscious educator.
Read our full
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen – Best 2-in-1
Attractive, thin design
Excellent OLED display
All USB-C ports support display, power
Touchscreen with bundled active pen
Underwhelming graphics performance
Only one USB-A port
More expensive than 2023 model
Best Prices Today:
Lenovo’s flagship line of Yoga laptops have always been top-tier 2-in-1s, but the latest Gen 8 version has taken it a step further. Lenovo’s new Yoga 9i upgrades previous versions with a new 13th-gen Intel processor and a beautiful OLED screen. Thanks to the aforementioned Core i7 processor, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 512GB SSD, there is plenty of performance for everyday productivity tasks. It’s also a sleekly designed svelte laptop that’s just over half an inch thick and weighs a mere 3 pounds. There are some great extras for teachers with this laptop as well. These include the 1080p webcam, which helps you look nice for online lessons and meetings, an OLED touchscreen display, and an included stylus pen for when you want to flip the screen back and use the device in tablet mode.
Admittedly, it’s a bit pricey, but all of the great performance and features you get with the Yoga 9i make it good value for the money. 2-in-1s in general make great tools for teachers as they are flexible enough to fit into any setting and they can fulfill multiple roles. For anyone looking to purchase a 2-in-1, the Yoga 9i should be at the top of your list.
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HP Dragonfly Pro – Best MacBook alternative
Powerful AMD Ryzen chip
Surprising four speaker setup
Good battery life
High degree of value for the dollar
All myHP keyboard keys should be remappable
No user upgradeable components
No headphone jack
Only 2 high-speed USB-C ports
Apple’s line of MacBook Pro laptops are known for their attractive design, incredible efficiency, and great performance. But they are also extremely expensive. Now HP has created a worthy competitor with the Dragonfly Pro. They partnered with AMD to create a svelte laptop that packs the latest Ryzen 7 processor with 8 high-performance cores and a powerful Radeon 680M graphic card. The design of the laptop is spot on—it’s thin and attractive with a high quality feel made from aluminum and polycarbonate. The main drawback is that, just like the MacBook Pro models, this laptop takes a minimalist approach to ports, meaning that those who rely on plug-in accessories will need to find work arounds. Also, while the display is good enough, it just doesn’t quite live up to Apple’s best. Still, for a laptop that is significantly cheaper than any of the MacBook Pro models, this Dragonfly Pro laptop from HP is an excellent option.
Read our full
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 – Best Chromebook
Great processor performance
Sturdy, premium design
Top-notch keyboard and touchpad
Two USB-C ports with Power Delivery
Long battery life
A bit heavy for a 2-in-1 device
Display could be brighter
Android game performance is unreliable
Expensive compared to Windows alternatives
If you prefer using ChromeOS over Windows, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is a fantastic option. It has great battery life and a spectacular keyboard and touchpad. According to our reviewer, the Spin 514 features a “wide keyboard layout with large, easily located keys.” In addition to the dual USB-C ports with power delivery and a sophisticated-looking design, CPU performance is also quite peppy.
The Spin 514 comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 5625C CPU, AMD Radeon graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. The display, which folds back 360 degrees thanks to the 2-in-1 form factor, features a resolution of 1920×1080 and is touch-enabled. The picture should be clear enough for day-to-day use like checking e-mail and social media feeds. The $699.99 price tag is a little high for a Chromebook, but if you’re working with a flexible budget, then this machine won’t disappoint.
Read our fullHow we tested
The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop beyond its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test.Windows laptops Chromebooks FAQ
1.How much processing power do I need?
You won’t need a ton of processing power when it comes to lightweight tasks like grading homework, researching topics, answering student e-mail’s, and so on. That’s why we recommend aiming for something with an Intel Core i5 processor. It’s zippy enough for everyday use while still being reasonably priced. If you need more power, shoot for an Intel Core i7.
2.What about RAM?
To get the best performance out of your laptop, we recommend at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This will help your machine run smoother, especially if you’re using multiple programs at once. 16GB of RAM is obviously better, but it might be a little overkill depending on what you’re doing.
3.How important is storage?
If you’re saving homework and other important files to your laptop, you’re going to want at least 512GB of SSD storage. Solid state drives are faster and quieter than hard disk drives. They’re also more durable and power efficient. If you’re using a Chromebook, you don’t need to worry much about storage, as you can save everything to the cloud.
4.How much should my laptop weigh?
A portable laptop should weigh about three pounds or less. In terms of portability and value, we suggest getting a laptop with a 13- or 14-inch display.
5.Does screen quality matter?
Teachers spend a great deal of time in front of a screen. If you suffer from eye strain or tension headaches, don’t settle for anything less than 1080p resolution. If you can stretch your budget a bit more, 4K should provide a very sharp picture, and OLED tends to be more color accurate.
MacBook Pro battery retested as Consumer Reports tries Apple’s fix
Consumer Reports is re-testing battery life on the latest MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, after Apple released a software update intended to address wildly varying runtimes. The patch, which is being released to the macOS beta channel today and will eventually be included for all users of the software, focuses on a buried setting in Safari, the browser which Consumer Reports used for its controversial testing back in December. Back then, the organization found that despite Apple’s claims of around 10 hours of battery life for the new notebooks, the MacBook Pro models it bought would sometimes deliver just a fraction of that.
It now seems that it’s how Consumer Reports set up the test, and in particular the settings it established for Safari at the start, which likely led to the confusing battery results. As part of its test process, Consumer Reports explains, it turns off the local caching of webpages. “In our tests, we want the computer to load each web page as if it were new content from the internet, rather than resurrecting the data from its local drive,” the site says. “This allows us to collect consistent results across the testing of many laptops, and it also puts batteries through a tougher workout.”
That, Apple argues, isn’t how the vast majority of MacBook Pro owners use Safari. Meanwhile, in the process it also apparently “triggered an obscure and intermittent bug” around how icons were reloaded; that, Apple says, led to the inconsistency in runtimes overall. A new patch has been released to address that icon bug.
“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results. We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro” Apple
With the caching turned on, Consumer Reports says that “the three MacBooks we’d originally tested had consistently high battery life results.” The organization plans to re-run its entire battery testing process and issue an update.
It’s unclear when the beta patch will graduate to the full macOS channel. If, though, as Apple suggests the setting that led to it having an impact is so little used, it may indeed not be required by most owners. The controversy does raise the question of how accurate and relevant battery testing is in today’s electronics, especially given the ways that hardware and software manufacturers are trying to coax out longer runtimes by optimizing both.
In smartphones, for instance, chipset and device manufacturers I’ve talked to recently have taken issue recently with battery tests that deactivate the various optimization tweaks. Their argument is that those efficiency steps are now integral to the way hardware and software works together, and that “raw” performance – such as locking processors into their most power-hungry mode, or preventing things like data caching – is no longer an accurate representation of how devices will run in everyday life. Indeed, with improvements in battery chemistry thin on the ground, finessing how software and hardware makes use of what energy is available is the primary area where chipset vendors like Qualcomm and Intel, and device manufacturers, are able to improve things.
Undoubtedly, the controversy over how long a new MacBook Pro can last will linger. After Consumer Reports’ testing was made public, some owners chimed in with complaints of their own; whether they too had deactivated the caching and thus also potentially fallen victim to the icon reloading bug is unclear. For our own experiences, check out our full MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review.
Baidu’s Android apps go green for better battery life
We’ve all been there: the excitement of getting a new smartphone, the fun of loading it up with your favorite apps, and then the frustration when your handset starts getting weighed-down and your battery runs flat. DU Battery Saver and DU Speed Booster, products from China’s biggest search engine company Baidu, admittedly can’t satiate your upgrade lust for the latest Android flagship. Instead, they promise something perhaps even more useful: the ability to squeeze more performance out of your existing phone and postpone the need to buy a new one. But for the app developers, those benefits are secondary to an even more ambitious goal: helping the environment. If you’re upgrading your phone less frequently, you’re reducing your e-waste footprint and energy usage and putting less strain on the planet.
According to the product team at Baidu, keeping phones out of landfills and saving electricity have always been the philosophies behind DU Battery Saver and DU Speed Booster. “Nearly 2 billion people have smartphones, and lots more are joining their ranks every minute,” said Carol Lu, who manages both apps at the company. “If you look at the big picture, even a modest reduction in energy consumption per person can add up to a wonderfully positive environmental impact.”.
The challenge, then, is making sure that the apps really do save energy, speed up your phone and preserve battery life, no matter the usage scenario.
For example, I might not make calls but instead spend hours sending messages and taking photos. You, however, could be an avid mobile gamer and a social network addict. Problem is, the low-power modes some smartphone manufacturers are beginning to offer generally limit you to a small subset of apps, quite possibly not the software you actually want to use. Usage habits between people in different countries can also vary substantially, explained Baidu’s Ms Lu.
Baidu’s approach is thus more nuanced, and its two apps tackle both everyday usability and longer-term environmental impact from two different angles.
DU Battery Saver doesn’t go with the one-size-fits-all strategy. Instead, it looks at what’s actually loaded on the phone, which are being used, and what’s going on in the background – even when users might think they’ve shut down some apps altogether. By tracking how each app taps into the system resources like the processor, DU Battery Saver can figure out if there are related background components invisibly eating into a phone’s power – even if you’ve “swiped” an app closed.
Meanwhile, DU Battery Saver also tackles “hot ear syndrome” by tracking a phone’s internal temperature and correlating that to which apps might be stressing the CPU. By intelligently managing greedy apps you should get a phone that’s cooler to use – sure enough, we found that even after an extended period of use, phones using the notoriously hot Snapdragon 810 were still comfortably cool – but Baidu’s engineers also say that your battery will stay healthier, since Li-Ion batteries are damaged under higher temperatures.
As for DU Speed Booster, that tackles performance by taking a power hose to what’s hiding in your phone’s storage. Over time, unneeded files build up in the app cache, old image thumbnails linger – sometimes even after the original picture was deleted – and installers leave data behind or even the entire APK.
In addition to a full clean, which scans the phone’s memory – and, optionally, your SD card too – DU Speed Booster also has an Accelerator feature, which looks at what’s running in that moment and then figures out which RAM-intensive apps can be safely shut down.
Together, they promise to be a smarter way of managing the everyday build-up of background processes, messy apps, and Android-run-wild that can slow a phone down and chew through battery life. Importantly, Baidu doesn’t just force-close everything but the app you’re looking at: core features and services are left to run as they should, and it’ll suggest potential changes based on how you actually use your phone.
DU Speed Booster doesn’t just flag up the infrequently-used files, meanwhile; it compares what it discovers with a continuously-evolving profile list compiled by Baidu’s engineers, so that important data doesn’t get mixed in with what’s known to be useless. If they’re photos, music, or video, there’s a double-confirm process to make sure you don’t accidentally delete something you might have really wanted to keep.
The exact degree of performance improvement you’ll see will, of course, depend on what phone you have and how you use it: both apps are free to download and use. Nonetheless, it’s hard to argue with the potential of saving you time and frustration in the day, prolonging the lifespan of your smartphone, and hopefully keeping older devices and batteries out of the landfills. When you’re looking at 2 billion smartphone users, every bit of energy saving can help.
The HP Envy x2 is a sleek tablet and one of the first devices to run Windows on a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. Starting at £999 it’s more expensive than we expected but you get the keyboard case, stylus and 4G connectivity all included. It has an excellent screen and the best battery life we’ve seen on anything at over 20 hours. However, performance isn’t great even on the more expensive model with 8GB of RAM. You’ll also need to upgrade from Windows 10 S to install software not found on the official store. If you’re looking for a Windows tablet with amazing battery life to do basic things, this will be an expensive luxury purchase. If you’re looking for a balance of battery life and productivity, the Surface Pro is a much better option.Best Prices Today: HP Envy x2
It took some time for Windows 10 devices running on Snapdragon 835 to arrive, but they’re finally here and the Envy x2 is the first one to make its way through out test lab. here’s our in-depth review.
The alternative to Intel aims to offer amazing battery life inside a thin and light design, complete with built-in 4G connectivity.Price and availability
Despite a promise from Qualcomm of prices around $400-700, the HP Envy x2 is available for a far less wallet-friendly price of £999/$999. A model with more memory and storage is available at £1,199/$1,199.
You can buy it from Currys or directly from HP.
That’s a lot of money, even if the device does come with accessories. It somewhat defeats the point of these machines being affordable and cheaper than Windows rivals running Intel or otherwise.
One of the other three devices on Snapdragon, the Asus NovaGo, is much cheaper at £599/$599 – albeit at a retailer we’ve not heard of before, Silicon Nerd.
You can also get the Surface Pro from last year with the Type Cover for just £619 from Amazon. If you go for a similar iPad Pro 12.9 with cellular data and the Smart Keyboard, your bill will come to over £1,000.
A Windows tablet like this might not be the right purchase for you so take a look at our best laptop chart and also the best budget laptops.Design and build
In terms of design, the Envy x2 is hardly anything new, but is a little different to the likes of the Surface Pro or even HP’s own Spectre x2.
Instead of a built-in kickstand, it’s part of the keyboard cover so it’s a sort of all-or-nothing situation. You can still use it in various different modes but it’s all a bit more fiddly and limited.
The case is faux-leather and feels like plastic but the magnetic system means the Envy x2 connects easily and securely.
The keyboard is decent enough, there’s a row of function buttons at the top but keys are little bit spongy. It’s similar to, but we prefer the Type Cover for the Surface. It’s also backlit (simply on or off) which is useful.
The trackpad is also a good size for a 12in device, it’s very wide, with a smooth feel that’s nicely responsive to touch input.
The keyboard cover hinge is excellent so you can put the screen at almost any angle. You can have the keyboard section flat or at an angle thanks to magnets. There’s also a loop on the side to store the supplied stylus.
Like the Surface Pro, it’s a slightly awkward device to use on your lap but it’s not the worst.
The good news is that the Envy x2 looks and feels great. It’s a stylish and desirable gadget. Build quality is premium with machined aluminium and that’s one of the reasons for a higher price than expected.
There are fairly thick bezels around the screen which don’t look great but this helps when holding the tablet when it’s not in the keyboard case.
One of the things having Snapdragon inside brings is the possibility for thin designs. HP has made that promise a reality with the Envy x2 thinner than a lot of flagships smartphones out there at just 6.9mm.
It’s impressive and that also means the devices is light at 680g, which is a lot lower than many laptops but that’s without the keyboard case. Add it in and the package is a more comparable 1.2kg.
The size of the tablet itself does have drawbacks, though. You’re probably used to using Windows with various gadgets and peripherals but the Envy x2 only has a single USB-C port rather than any full-size.
So this means getting additional adapters or Bluetooth accessories – not quite the ‘every port you need’ as HP suggests. A rep says some markets might get an adapter in the box, but our sample did not.
There’s a mircoSD card slot, which is handy but many would prefer a full-size SD slot – particularly photographers.Specs and features
We’ve not seen a Windows device running a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor before and there are some big claims about what this means, including amazing battery life. Let’s take a look at what’s on offer with the Envy x2.Screen and stylus
The display on offer here is 12.3in and uses a 1920×1280 resolution. The screen might have some sizable bezels around it as mentioned, but the quality of the panel itself is very good.
This IPS LED display offers great levels of details and colour. Add in the fact that it can go very bright – 460cd/m2 when over 300 is good – and you’ve got yourself a great display for all kinds of tasks.
It’s touch sensitive, of course, but also supports the HP Digital Pen stylus which is included in the box, so you can use this for navigation or for things like drawing. It’s about on a par with the Surface Pen, which is an optional accessory.Core specs and performance
It’s what’s hidden beneath that’s perhaps more important here, as the Envy x2 doesn’t have an Intel inside as you might expect.
Instead, it’s running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, a processor you’d normally find in a smartphone. It’s worth noting that it’s taken a while for devices like this to arrive so there’s actually a newer model, the Snapdragon 845 available.
Performance was always going to be an interesting point, not having seen Windows on an ARM chip for some time. To run some of our benchmarks, we’ve had to upgrade to Pro but the Envy x2 comes with Windows 10 S – see below for more on that.
Overall, the device is noticeably slower than rivals when doing day-to-day tasks, even rotating the screen.4G LTE and USB-C
A key point is connectivity, so the Qualcomm X16 modem means Gigabit LTE wherever you go.
There’s no need to plug in a USB dongle, find Wi-Fi or hotspot to your phone. This is the kind of thing you have to pay extra for on an iPad so it’s nice to have it included here. Using the Envy x2 with the same data connectivity as your phone will be a real boon for some users.
It uses a nano-SIM slot like most modern smartphones so get a SIM only deal and away you go.
As mentioned earlier, the only port on the Envy x2 is a single USB-C port so although the device is thin, this is a sacrifice. You need the port for charging and there’s no adapters included in the box either so you’re quite limited here.Cameras and audio
The Envy x2 comes with front and rear cameras to use as you see fit. The rear camera is 13Mp, a higher resolution than most, which produces reasonable shots.
At the front is a 5Mp Wide Vision camera which is most useful for signing in using your face and Windows Hello. It works pretty well unless the lighting conditions are poor. You can also use it for video chat, of course, and the image is good as long as you’re in a well lit place.
On the audio front is a headphone jack, a trio of microphones and a pair of front facing stereo speakers by Bang & Olufsen which sound pretty good for a tablet, especially for music.Battery life
Battery life is the other headline feature here with HP touting a whopping 22 hour battery life of local video playback. That’s three hours more than the Surface Book 2 which is much bigger, heavier and has two batteries.
With 700 hours of standby, the Envy x2 is supposed to be always on like your phone. With this level of power efficiency, Microsoft says you’ll be able to use it for a week before charging – although this will be with occasional use rather than a full-on day of work.
We haven’t had it for long enough to test that standby time but it seems plausable. What we have tested is the video loop claim, as our normal test is very similar to HP’s conditions.
So if you want a Windows device with exceptional battery life then you’ve just found it. This is the Envy x2’s strongest feature, it’s more a case of whether everything else is to your liking.
The tablet also has fast charging so you can get up to 90 percent in 90 minutes, which is quite impressive. You’ll be able to forget the charger and not panic about it.Windows 10 S
As mentioned earlier, the Envy x2 comes pre-loaded with Windows 10 S and, like the Surface Laptop, this isn’t a very good thing.
It’s a relatively new edition of the operating system and in simple terms means you get normal Windows but you can only install apps from the official Store, rather than download and install whatever you like.
You can upgrade to Windows Pro for free if you like, it’s quick and easy but there’s a dilemma here.
Keeping on Windows 10 S will help with performance by restricting you to apps on the Store but it’s frustrating not being able to use the software you want, even Chrome instead of Microsoft’s Edge browser.
However, upgrading to Pro might mean you end up with a more laggy experience. You can load up multiple tabs in Chrome but start running other programs at the same time means everything quickly slows down – and this is when using the model with 8GB of RAM.
We wouldn’t recommend the Envy x2 if you’re thinking of upgrading to Windows 10 Pro and using any demanding pieces of software. This is a shame, but HP doesn’t make any huge claims about it being a machine you can throw anything at.Specs HP Envy x2: Specs
Windows 10 S (upgradable to Pro)
12.3in IPS display, 1920 x 1280
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.6 GHz, 8 cores)
Adreno 540 GPU
Micro-SD card reader
4G LTE (Nano-SIM)
13MP rear camera
5Mp front camera
690g (tablet), 1.2kg (with case)
Keyboard case included
Digital Pen included
The best MacBook accessories:
Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best MacBook accessories as new accessories launch.
1. Apple AirPods
They’re not the best-sounding true wireless earbuds, but the Apple AirPods are known for their convenience with Apple products. Once you pair them to an iCloud-connected Apple device, all your other Apple devices automatically pair with the AirPods. Airpods are almost quintessential to the Apple ecosystem and are one of the best MacBook accessories out there.
2. Samsung T5 Portable SSD
MacBooks start at 256GB of storage, so a drive with some extra space on it is one of the best accessories for MacBooks.
Thanks to Samsung’s V-NAND flash memory and USB-C, the T5 Portable SSD provides transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s. Even better, the external SSD delivers the speeds mentioned above while weighing only 1.8 ounces and coming in at 0.41-inches thick.
T5 Portable SSD storage sizes include 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, though we recommend getting at least 500GB of storage. Prices start at $89.99 for the 500GB model and go up to $279.99 for the 2TB model.
3. SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive USB-C
If getting an external HDD or SSD is too much money for your wallet, take a look at the affordable SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive flash drive.
4. Satechi Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter V2
An all-USB-C life isn’t yet as glamorous as Apple claims it to be. After all, people still have use for the SD card slot, regular USB ports, and HDMI. That’s where the Satechi Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter V2 comes in, which restores many of the ports you lost by going with the newer MacBooks.
The adapter features three USB 3.0 ports, separate slots for microSD and SD cards, a USB-C port for pass-through charging, an HDMI port, and even a gigabit Ethernet port. The HDMI port supports output up to 4K resolution at 30Hz. Finally, the USB-C port supports up to 60W of output.
The Satechi Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter V2 is available for $79.99.
5. Anker Powercore III Elite bundle
Anker’s charging products are incredibly high quality. This charging bundle scores you an 87w wall charging brick and a 65w power bank with 4 ports so your devices will never run out of juice. Those wattages are more than enough for a MacBook air and even for some MacBook Pros.
6. Amazon Basics Felt Laptop Sleeve
For those who don’t like their laptops enclosed in a plastic case, the next best option for protection is a laptop sleeve. Laptop sleeves are generally inexpensive, with one of the better options coming from Amazon’s Amazon Basics accessory line.
As the name implies, the Amazon Basics Felt Laptop Sleeve features a felt exterior. There’s also a velcro closure and soft suede interior to keep the laptop safe and secure. As a nice bonus, there’s a second pocket to put away essential accessories, such as pens and a small notebook.
The Amazon Basics Felt Laptop Sleeve comes in 11-, 13-, and 15.4-inch sizes. Pricing starts at $9.80 for the 11-inch version and goes up to $14.39 for the 15.4-inch version.
8. Anker PowerLine+ II USB-C to Lightning
Weirdly, Apple has stubbornly stuck with Lightning for the iPhones, yet its latest MacBooks only have USB-C ports. One of the best MacBook accessories will be one that can charge your iPhone on the go. The Anker PowerLine+ USB-C to Lightning cable is a great fit for that.
The cable measures six feet in length and supports Apple’s 29W, 30W, 61W, and 87W USB-C power adapters. The MFi certification means the cable shouldn’t give you any issues when connected to an iPhone. Finally, the double-braided cable can supposedly withstand 30,000 bends. Talk about durability, huh?
9. Rain Design mStand
Some folks, including myself, sit in front of a computer all day to get their work done. If you’re one of those people, give your neck a break and pick up the Rain Design mStand laptop stand.
The mStand raises your MacBook 5.9 inches off your desk. That way, you’re not hunched over or looking down at your screen all day. The single-piece aluminum design means you don’t have to worry about durability, while the two-inch hole in the back allows for some cable management.
10. Logitech K780
The new MacBooks’ butterfly keyboards are generally OK, but they can be a bit uncomfortable for longer typing sessions. That’s where the Logitech K780 wireless keyboard comes in to alleviate any discomfort.
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