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There’s a lot to like about the HP Envy 13, starting with its super-slim design, its bright 4K display, its comfy keypad and impressive quad-core performance. The Envy 13 also manages to pack in a discrete GPU and respectable battery life, all for a very reasonable price tag. That said, we did encounter some issues with the laptop’s overly sensitive trackpad (which HP says it’s investigating), resulting in a jittery cursor that regularly jumped around the screen and even highlighted and deleted our words by accident.Configuration
We tested the HP Envy 13-aq0044nr ($1,100 on Amazon), which cherry-picks features from both the higher- and lower-end configurations of the laptop.
Overall, that’s an impressive amount of power under the hood for a fairly reasonable price. The 8th-gen Core i7 processor might look like a disappointing downgrade to those thirsting for a 10th-gen Intel CPU, but from what we’ve seen, there’s not much of a performance gap between the 8th-gen Whiskey Lake processor in this configuration and the 10th-gen Comet Lake chip in the pricier Envy 13 models. Both of these quad-core CPUs are built on Intel’s 14nm process, for one thing. While the Comet Lake processor has a slightly higher boost clock, you’re probably not going to feel the difference in typical daily desktop duties.Design
Sleek, slim and silver (or “pale gold,” if you cough up an extra $10 on HP’s online configurator), the HP Envy 13 cuts an enviably trim profile. Measuring 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.58 inches and weighing in at just 2.8 pounds (or 3.42 pounds with the AC cord, which comes with a compact power brick), the Envy 13 feels great to hold in your hands, and it’s barely there in your backpack. I should know, because the Envy 13 served as my laptop at CES in Vegas this year. My back is eternally grateful for the Envy 13’s light, wafer-thin shell.
The top of the HP Envy 13’s aluminum lid is featureless save for the HP logo stamped in the middle. When you close the lid, the front lip has an hourglass edge that makes the laptop easier to open, while the L-shaped back edge of the lid covers the hinge, making the rear of the Envy 13 look like the spine of a book. When opened, the hinge props up the Envy 13’s lower chassis, angling the keyboard while also allowing for a cooling airflow beneath the laptop.
The hinge on the HP Envy 13 props up the keyboard while helping to maintain airflow beneath the chassis.Display
Protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass NBT coating, the HP Envy 13’s 4K touchscreen checks most of our boxes. With its IPS (in-plane switching) display technology, the Envy 13’s screen boasts solid viewing angles, dimming only slightly when viewed from the side or top.
The bright 4K display on the HP Envy 13 features thin top and side bezels, although the bottom bezel is a tad chunky.
Of course, the brightness and 4K resolution of the Envy 13’s display will put a dent in the laptop’s battery life, as we’ll see momentarily.Keyboard, trackpad, speakers, and extras
We’re fans of the HP Envy 13’s comfortable keyboard. The niggly trackpad? Not so much.
I did, however, have trouble with the Envy 13’s overly sensitive trackpad, particularly around the bottom corners. With my right palm regularly grazing the trackpad as I typed (given that the trackpad is centered on the main chassis rather than the space bar), the mouse pointer frequently jumped across the screen, occasionally bringing the cursor with it if I happened to nudge the trackpad at the wrong moment. That meant the trackpad sometimes selected and deleted random swaths of text, or moved the cursor from one line to another while I was still typing. The problems persisted even after I fiddled with the laptop’s trackpad sensitivity settings.
We reported our issues with the Envy 13’s trackpad to HP, and the company was able to replicate the problem. We’re told that HP is continuing to investigate whether the trackpad bugginess we encountered was an isolated incident or more widespread, and we’ll update this review once we hear back. It’s also possible that a firmware update could fix any nagging trackpad issues.
Back on the plus side, I was impressed with the HP Envy 13’s Bang & Olufsen-designed laptop speakers. A sizeable cut above the tinny speakers you usually hear on laptops, the Envy 13’s top-firing drivers deliver solid mid-range sound, with a fair amount of high-end detail and even a little bass. Mind you, the Envy 13’s speakers can’t hold a candle to a decent pair of headphones or external speakers, but we’ve heard worse—much worse.Ports
Given the HP Envy 13’s slim and trim profile, the laptop’s limited selection of ports shouldn’t come as a big surprise. On the left side of the Envy 13, you get a drop-jaw USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port, and a combo audio jack.
Left-side ports on the HP Envy 13 including a combo audio jack, a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port.
On the right side, there’s a second drop-jaw USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, a microSD media card reader, and a barrel-shaped AC port, along with the aforementioned webcam kill switch.
The right side of the HP Envy 13 features a barrel-shaped power port, a second USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port, a microSD slot, and a webcam kill switch.
There are no Thunderbolt 3 ports, although that’s not much of a shock given the Envy 13’s $1,000-ish price range.Performance PCMark 8 Work 2.0 Conventional
The HP Envy 13’s PCMark 8 score is near the bottom of the pack, but any result over 3,000 (which the Envy handily achieves) works just fine for us.
While the HP Envy 13’s PCMark 8 score is second to last in our chart (we’ve compared the Envy 13 to a range of similarly priced two- and four-core Intel Core-powered laptops, along with a Dell running on a six-core Ice Lake chip), the laptop still has no trouble dusting our 2,000 low-water mark for the PCMark 8 benchmark. Indeed, if you take a laptop that scored about 3,000 in PCMark 8 (such as the Dell Inspiron 15 at the bottom of our chart) and another that snagged a 3,500 result (like our chart-topping Lenovo IdeaPad S340), you’d be hard-pressed to notice any difference in terms of general computing performance.
It’s also worth noting that the Ice Lake-packing Dell XPS 13’s PCMark 8 score sits almost smack-dab in the middle of our chart, which goes to show that paying extra for Intel’s hottest new CPU won’t pay much in the way of dividends when it comes to web browsing or Office.HandBrake
The HP Envy 13’s HandBrake score is pretty impressive given its thin-and-light chassis.
Looking at our results, the HP Envy 13 turns in a pretty solid showing considering its thin, light, and thus difficult-to-cool design. It sits in a tight bunch with similar (and generally thicker and heavier) quad-core, 8th-gen laptops. Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 13 and its six-core Ice Lake CPU (here’s where that pricey new Ice Lake chip starts to pay off) sits comfortably in first place, while the dual-core Acer Aspire 5 lags way behind the rest.Cinebench
The HP Envy 13’s Cinebench score gets a small boost thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor.
Again, the quad-core HP Envy 13 does well. The extra boost clock in its Core i7 CPU gives it a slight leg up versus its quad-core Core i5-packing competitors. In fact, the Envy 13 trails only the Dell XPS 13 and its Ice Lake processor, which manages to crush the rest of the field, while the dual-core Acer Aspire 5 (again) brings up the rear. For such a thin, light, and reasonably priced laptop, the Envy 13’s single- and multi-threaded Cinebench scores are nothing to sneeze at.3D Mark SkyDiver 1.0
With its discrete Nvidia graphics card, the HP Envy 13 whips its integrated-graphics competitors in our 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark.
Still, taking a quick look at our performance chart, you can see what a difference a discrete graphics card can make. Even with its new, super-charged integrated Iris Plus graphics, the pricey Dell XPS 13 can’t touch the graphics performance of the Envy 13 and the (barely) chart-topping Dell Inspiron 15 7000, each of which boast discrete GeForce MX250 graphics cards. The Inspiron probably gets its (slight) edge over the HP Envy 13 thanks to its larger, easier-to-cool chassis. Far below the Dell Inspiron and HP Envy are all the laptops saddled with integrated graphics, including the new Dell XPS 13 with its 10th-gen Iris Plus integrated graphics core.
While the GeForce MX250 is primarily intended for pro-video users working with (for example) Adobe Premiere, it can play some games provided you keep your expectations in check. Firing up Fortnite, the Envy 13 managed to squeeze out 50- to 60-fps visuals at medium settings for about five minutes or so. That figure fell to a still-playable 30 fps once the Envy’s fans began spinning up.
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The HP Spectre x360 13 is a charming laptop that looks great and has enough power for most productivity jobs, thanks to the use of Intel’s impressive 8th Gen CPUs. Among its peers the main draw is the 4K-as-standard screen. Not just sharp, it’s colourful and provides excellent contrast. You need to decide whether you’d prefer to have a super-sharp screen or killer battery life. The Lenovo Yoga 920 lasts hours longer than the HP, and performs better in benchmarks and games with the same CPU (although if this is thanks to the Meltdown vulnerability, the playing field is effectively levelled). For our use, which would boil down to at least 80% work, we’d likely pick the Yoga 920. However, those who will appreciate the HP’s rich 4K screen may well be swayed in this laptop’s direction.
The HP Spectre x360 13 is a hybrid laptop with no-compromise build and many of the latest components.
It looks good, feels great and runs well too. Some alternatives last longer, and HP’s less slim and light Envy laptops give you the option of discrete graphics: much better for gaming.
However, if you’re after something a little like a MacBook not made by Apple, this is a great choice.Price and availability
We’re using a high-end version of the HP Spectre x360. It costs £1,499, has an 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD and a 4K screen. Before you start thinking that’s expensive, the nearest MacBook Pro spec currently costs £1,919.
The standard version of the HP Spectre x360 13 costs £1,299 and has a 256GB and Core i5 CPU. However, both have a 4K resolution screen, which tended to be an expensive upgrade, if it is offered at all.
Those after the top-end version can pay £1,799 for a 1TB SSD and 16GB RAM.
The HP Spectre x360 13 comes with a one-year “collect and return” warranty.Design and build
When the first Spectre laptop arrived a couple of years ago, it seemed a very distinctive design. A two tone finish and, stretching the imagination a bit, hints of Ancient Egypt inspiration, it was one of the more recognisable laptops of 2023.
The new HP Spectre x360 is a little more conventional, but keeps a few of the design touches of the original. It is now cast in one colour in some variants, and ours is a mild rose gold shade. The original dark and bright-gold two-tone look is available for those after something more eye-catching, though.
Just 13.6mm thick and 1.26kg, the HP Spectre x360 13 is very light. As it has a narrow screen surround, the footprint is also significantly smaller than that of some older 13in laptops.
As you’d hope for the price, there’s minimal flex to all of the panels — although there is a bit more give to the lid than a MacBook’s. Aside from the glass of the screen, the shell is all-aluminium. It looks great and feels expensive.
HP-specific parts to note about the design when weighing this up against the Dell XPS 13 and Lenovo Yoga 920 include the funky pattern above the keyboard, which is part of the heat dispersal system, the fairly sharp keyboard keys and the angles to the back of the laptop’s sides.
At this price, looks do matter at least a little.
Equally important: why should you buy this instead of the cheaper HP Envy 13? At the time of writing, you can only get the 15in version of the Envy as a hybrid, the 13in version still uses 7th-gen processors and its looks are plainer.
The hybrid hinge is also a key part of the Spectre x360 13. It lets you keep the screen at any angle. You can flip the display all the way over to use the laptop as a digital notebook, or the keyboard can function as a kickstand. If you don’t care about this hybrid style, also consider the Spectre 13 (non x360) as it’s even thinner and lighter, although costs £100 more too. Ouch.Connections
When we first opened up the HP Spectre x360 13 we let out a sigh of relief. Unlike the original Spectre and Apple’s latest MacBooks, you don’t have to make do with USB-C ports alone.
There are two excellent Thunderbolt 3.0 USB-C ports on the right side, but you also get a full-size USB 3.1 port to the left. You don’t have to find an adapter or new cable just to plug in your USB 3.0 external hard drive or a USB stick.
There’s also a microSD slot.Keyboard and touchpad
The HP Spectre x360 13 has a typical ultrabook keyboard style. Key action is light and breezy, and typing is comfortable as long as you are not wedded to a meaty key feel.
There are a few keyboard alterations that may take a little time to adjust to, like how the normal keys are actually shunted left a little to fit in a column of function keys that couldn’t be crammed-in above. It does take a little bedding-in, but we’re not going to mark the HP Spectre x360 13 down for what is little more than a muscle memory blip.
The keyboard also has a backlight, although it only has a single level of intensity. We’d like to see at least a couple at this price.
Below sits a very long, fairly large trackpad. It has a textured glass surface and integrated buttons. While a solid, high-quality pad, we do prefer those of the Yoga 920 and
Topping off the HP Spectre x360 13’s high quality, if note quite perfect, inputs, there’s a fingerprint scanner on the side. It’s one of the best we’ve used on a Windows laptop, logging in quickly and usually working every time. It just takes a little while to get used to its position as it’s on the edge, not by the trackpad. You use it “blind”.
The HP Spectre x360 13 also has face unlock, using an IR camera rather than just a webcam. It too works well, getting you logged-in within a second or so even if you’re using the laptop with low-level indoors lighting. You just have to make sure the screen is at the right angle.Screen
The HP Spectre x360 13 has a 13.3in IPS LCD screen. Unlike last year’s laptops at this price, its resolution is 4k, providing superb sharpness. You may have to fiddle with scaling or, in some extreme cases, alter the system resolution, to make older apps look right. But we’re not going to complain too much about such a pixel-packed display.
Every aspect of the display is great. Maximum brightness of 368cd/m is towards the upper end of laptop display power, and colour saturation is excellent. The Spectre x360 13 covers 98% of sRGB according to our colorimeter, and actually does deeper in certain tones, for total (by volume) sRGB coverage of 109%.
It covers 77.3% of the cinema standard DCI P3 and 73.9% of the ultra-wide Adobe RGB gamut. Movies and games look rich on this laptop.
Contrast is also about as good as you’ll see in an LCD laptop. At 1302:1, black levels look deep even in a dimly lit room.
This screen is better than that of the original HP Spectre, which covered 89% of sRGB, was slightly dimmer and (in our review sample at least) was “only” 1080p resolution.
As a hybrid, the Spectre x360 13’s screen is touch sensitive. All versions of the laptop also come with an active stylus, which is worth £60 on its own. It offers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, making its fidelity comparable with some (slightly older) pro-grade graphics tablets.
We imagine most graphics pros will want to stick to their Wacom Cintiq Pro tablets, but the Spectre x360 13 will do the job for rough sketches and weekend work. And, of course, just mucking about.Performance
The Spectre x360 13 has one of Intel’s 8th Generation CPUs. Different specs have either Core i5 or Core i7, and ours has the higher-end Core i7.
This processor is paired with 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Thanks to the huge improvements Intel has made in this generation, performance is quite excellent, almost doubling the results in Geekbench 4 compared with a Core i7 from the last generation.
In Geekbench 4 the Spectre x360 13 scores 13608 points, and 3422 in PC Mark 10. While these are good results, we did get consistently higher numbers from the Lenovo Yoga 920, even though it uses the same CPU. The Lenovo laptop scores 14423 in Geekbench 4 and 3976 in PC Mark 10.
This is a significant difference. So why is it here?
Switching the laptop’s resolution to 1080p didn’t help at all, leaving RAM speed as possible culprit. The HP Spectre x360 13 has DDR3 RAM at 2133MHz, the Yoga 920 DDR4 clocked at 2400MHz.
However, we’re still a little surprised by the extent of the difference, particularly in the PC Mark 10 score, which is a little less abstract in its nature and scoring. We’re left wondering whether the Spectre x360 13 either keeps a tighter rein on clock speed and the Core i7 CPU’s Turbo mode, or if this dip in performance is down to security updates following the “Meltdown” CPU vulnerability.
The Yoga 920 may “win” this fight if it’s not the latter, but the HP Spectre x360 13 is still an admirable performer. It can run any app you like, and will handle challenging apps significantly better than any Core i7 laptop with a 7th Generation CPU.
Gaming is a weak area, though. Like most ultra-slim and light laptops, the Spectre x360 13 only has integrated graphics hardware, the Intel HD 620 GPU.
There’s much less of a performance boost with shift to an 8th Generation CPU here. And once again, we got better results from the Yoga 920. Alien: Isolation runs at 28.5fps at 720p resolution, low graphics settings. This is far from perfect, but playable. The Yoga 920 manages 36fps: again too much to be explained solely by slightly faster RAM.
Alien: Isolation average frame rates drop to 14fps at 1080p, maxed settings. And at native 4K the game is painfully slow.
The Spectre x360 13 can handle Alien: Isolation, but only just.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is too much for the laptop. It runs at an average 14.5fps at 720p (Low graphics) and a dismal 3.4fps at 1080p (Ultra).
If you care a lot about games but want still want a slim and light laptop, you might want to wait for the Envy 13 to get an Intel 8th generation update. Current 7th Gen modes come with GeForce MX 150 graphics. While still low-end gaming hardware, it’ll play Alien: Isolation at 1080p and Deus Ex at 720p comfortably.
The HP Spectre x360 13 uses a fan system rather than passive cooling, effectively mandated by the use of the punchy Core i7 CPU. It’s not loud, never too distracting, but we have found it can take a while for the fan to cycle down after some gaming or tackling a CPU-intensive app.
There’s also some light noise during general operation, despite the use of pure solid state storage. It’s most likely caused by coil whine, which is fairly common but can be annoying if you’re expecting a totally silent laptop.Battery life
The HP Spectre x360 13 has a 60Wh battery and, as with any laptop like this, it’s locked into the frame: not easily replaceable. Battery performance actually outdoes HP’s own claim according to our testing.
HP says it’ll last for 10 hours, or 8 hours 45 minutes of Full HD video. In our looping video test, playing a looped movie at 120cd/m brightness, it lasts 10 hours 32 minutes. HP delivers on its promises, and this is about an hour and a half longer than the original Spectre. To explain the difference between our results and HP’s, the manufacturer tests at a brighter 150cd/m.
However, it is still soundly beaten by the Lenovo Yoga 920, which lasts six hours longer. It’s a huge difference, and one not just provided by careful power management as the Lenovo has a larger 70Wh unit. The 4K screen clearly takes its toll on the battery, though.
Finishing off with the Spectre x360 13’s speakers, there are drivers to each side of the laptop’s bottom panel. Volume and clarity are good, and a degree of mid-range presence stops them sounding too thin or harsh. There’s no real bass, though, leaving kick drums sounding weak. Still, it’s not a bad performance for a laptop this thin.
If you like all-in-ones, you’ll find HP’s new Envy Recline TouchSmart to be intriguing. The innovative new design promises to deliver the best touch experience since HP introduced its first TouchSmart all-in-one back in 2008.
HP’s consumer design manager, Glenn Wong, told me he spent a great deal of time studying how people interact with touchscreen displays before he set about designing these new TouchSmart all-in-ones. The first series of tests focused exclusively on how people use a touch interface on its own, and the second study targeted how they use computers with traditional input devices, such as a mouse and keyboard. He then set about creating the optimal experience for both scenarios.
You’ll be able to pull HP’s new Envy Recline all the way to the edge of your desk to make the best use of its touchscreen display.
As a result of these studies, Wong engineered the Envy Recline’s center of gravity to reside precisely at the midpoint of the display. This allows you to draw the computer all the way to the edge of your desk, lay its screen at any angle, and interact primarily with its touchscreen display without worrying that the computer will topple into your lap. But you can just as easily slide the computer back from the edge to make room for a mouse and keyboard without losing the ability to continue using the touchscreen. Plastic feet on the bottom of the computer should prevent scratches from appearing on your work surface.
The Envy Recline will be available with either 23- or 27-inch touchscreens.
HP announced three Envy Recline models at IFA, each of which will be powered by a fourth-generation Intel Core (aka Haswell) processor and an Nvidia GeForce GT 730A discrete graphics processor: one with a 27-inch touchscreen; one with a 23-inch touchscreen; and a Beats Special Edition model with a 23-inch touchscreen, Beats audio processing, quad speakers, and a flashy black-and-red color scheme.
A standard 23-inch model with a Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and a discrete Nvidia graphics processor will be available directly from HP later this month for $1349. Other 23-inch models, starting with an Intel Core i3 processor and 4GB of memory, will be available from various retailers at a starting price of $999.
The 23-inch Beats SE with a Core i5 processor and 8GB of DDR3/1600 memory will be available on HP’s website in November for $1249. Other Beats configurations, starting with Core i3 processors, will be available from retailers later this fall for $1099 and up. Prices for the 27-inch models, meanwhile, will start at $1399 for a machine outfitted with a Core i5 processor, 12GB of DDR3/1600 memory, and Beats audio processing.HP Envy Phoenix 810 Gaming PC
HP wants to grab a piece of the booming gaming-PC market with its Phoenix Envy 810.
Games are one of the few apps driving PC sales these days, and HP has no intention of missing out. While the Envy Phoenix line represents little threat to such benchmark-crushing super-rigs as Origin’s Genesis Z87 or Maingear’s Shift Super Stock, it carries price tags that are a fraction of what those monuments to conspicuous consumption command.
HP’s new Envy Phoenix 810 will be available on October 16 with a Core i7 Extreme processor, your choice of Nvidia or AMD discrete graphics, and Beats audio processing for a starting price of $1299. The machine will also feature liquid cooling, a windowed case, and room inside the chassis for up to three additional hard drives.Pavilion and Envy displays
HP’s accountants are doing their level best to amortize the cost of the brand names the company acquired from Rahul Sood back in 2006. While the latest computers—and the new Envy 23 IPS display—carry little of that old Voodoo PC magic, I’m sure it beats simply writing off all that goodwill.
In any event, HP promises to deliver a very inexpensive, high-quality display this November with its $249 Envy 23 IPS monitor. The display has native resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, two HDMI inputs, and one VGA input. It lacks speakers, but it does offer Beats audio processing via a headphone output.
HP kept the Pavilion 23tm Touch Monitor’s price tag low by using optical touch technology.
HP will also deliver a very economical means of adding touchscreen capabilities to an existing stand-alone PC with the Pavilion 23tm Touch Monitor. The 23-inch display achieves its $349 price point by virtue of using optical touch sensors instead of pricier capacitive technology. Six cameras arranged around the bezel are capable of detecting a maximum of five touch points, and a thin border between the bezel and the active area of the display allows for finger swipes from the edge of the display.
Buckle up. It’s going to be an interesting ride.Meet AMD’s Radeon RX 470
Glance at the RX 470’s stats and you’re sure to raise an eyebrow.
The RX 470’s clock speeds top out at 1,206MHz, with 4GB of onboard GDDR5 memory traveling over a 256-bit bus. That’s pretty darn close to the RX 480’s 1,266MHz max clock speed, and the same amount of base RAM. Under the hood, the RX 470 has only four fewer compute units than the RX 480; 256 fewer stream processors; 16 fewer texture units; and the same amount of ROPs.
That said, there are definitely some key additional tweaks. The RX 470’s base clock speed of 926MHz is far below the RX 480’s 1,120MHz; its memory is slightly slower at 6.6Gbps effective versus 7.0Gbps on the RX 480; and the RX 470 has a 120 watt TDP, 30W less than the RX 480’s. There’s also surprisingly no reference 8GB memory option for the Radeon RX 470, though AMD says it “encourages [hardware partners] to differentiate” if they see a market for 8GB versions. But for the most part, AMD’s new card sticks pretty close to the RX 480’s central design. Maybe that’s why the card’s priced just $20 lower than a 4GB RX 480.
One key difference between the RX 480 and RX 470: While we’re still mostly waiting for custom Radeon RX 480 cards to hit the streets—Sapphire’s Nitro+ model ($220 for 4GB on Amazon) being a notable exception—there will be no reference models of the RX 470 available at launch. All of the RX 470s on release will be custom models from AMD hardware partners. It’s the mirror opposite of the RX 480 situation—and it adds a whiff of “apples-to-oranges” in comparisons between the two cards. The clock speeds and cooling solutions in custom models can vary wildly.
XFX’s Radeon RX 470.
The extra cash gets you some attractive niceties though. XFX’s card adds a 50MHz overclock to the RX 470 boost speed, topping out at 1,256MHz. (XFX says another model with a slower overclock will retail for $210.) It’s a true on-the-card overclock, too, with no need to download additional software to enable it. The company’s also lifted the card’s memory speeds up to 7.0Gbps effective, bringing it in line with the RX 480.
The XFX Radeon RX 470’s fans are held in by brackets. You can pop them out without tools. It’s pretty cool!
Ooooh, purdy. Ignore the dust.
As a Polaris-based card, you’ll also get features like Frame Rate Target Control, H.265 encoding and decoding, the in-driver Radeon WattMan overclocking tool, CrossFire support, and dedicated asynchronous shader hardware that can improve performance in next-gen, “close to the metal” DirectX 12 and Vulkan gaming APIs.
Got it? Good. On to the fun stuff.Test 2: Hitman
Hitman’s Glacier engine heavily favors AMD hardware. It’s no surprise; Hitman’s a flagship AMD Gaming Evolved title, complete with a DirectX 12 mode that was patched in after the game’s launch.
Important note: Hitman automatically caps the game’s Texture Quality, Shadow Maps, and Shadow Resolution at medium on cards with 2GB of onboard memory, meaning the EVGA GTX 950 and 960 as well as the VisionTek R9 380 were tested at lower graphical settings. I’ve still included them in the graphs below for two reasons: 1) Because they’re the sort of cards the Radeon RX 470 is directly replacing, and 2) so you can see the comparative DX11 vs. DX12 performance on those cards.
The overclocked XFX Radeon RX 470 clears 60fps easily in Hitman, and comes damn close at 1440p, essentially tying the results of Nvidia’s $250 GTX 1060. The Radeon RX 480 pulls ahead by 7 to 10 percent—not a huge difference, but a considerable one, and the gap is large enough to allow the pricier card to hit 60fps average at 1440p. Once again, the RX 480’s little extra oomph helps it hit new tiers of experience that aren’t quite possible with the XFX Radeon RX 470. That matters—though the RX 470 comes damned close.
Last-gen’s $150 to $250 cards don’t. They can’t even run the game at its highest graphical settings. All cards with 2GB of memory suffer from severe performance dips the second DirectX 12 is activated. As I said, the RX 470 and RX 480 are a huge leap over what came before.
Next page: Rise of the Tomb RaiderTest 3: Rise of the Tomb Raider
We only tested the game’s DirectX 11 mode, as we haven’t had a chance to reevaluate the game’s DirectX 12 enhancements now that several patches have been released to fix its once-wonky implementation.
The RX 470 easily clears 60fps at 1080p, though it still lags by a significant 11 percent behind the stock RX 480. The performance gap makes a bigger difference at 1440p, where slipping to 44fps with Ultra settings enabled can affect gameplay smoothness. The gulf is even wider between the Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 and the XFX Radeon RX 470, which carry the exact same MSRP.
The $250 GTX 1060 blows away all comparable Radeon cards in this GeForce-leaning game, though.Test 4: Far Cry Primal
Far Cry Primal is yet another Ubisoft game, but it’s powered by a different engine than The Division—the latest version of the long-running and well-respected Dunia engine. We benchmark the game with the free 4K HD Texture Pack installed—not that it matters at the resolutions being tested here.
Once again, the XFX Radeon RX 470 offers tremendous performance. Once again, a roughly 10 percent performance difference draws the RX 470 further away from the uncompromising 1080p performance that the RX 480 offers. Once again, the Sapphire Nitro+ 480 widens the gap that much further despite costing the same price as the XFX Radeon RX 470.
Next page: Ashes of the SingularityTest 4: Ashes of the Singularity
We omitted the EVGA GTX 950 and 960 from the 1440p results because they run below 30 frames per second across the board at that resolution.
As ever with AMD cards, the Radeon RX 470 sees a nice frame rate boost by flipping the DX12 switch, especially at High settings. That won’t matter if you’re running Windows 7 or 8, but it’s a tremendous benefit for Radeon owners on Windows 10, allowing AMD’s cards to pull even with the GTX 1060’s superb DX11 performance.
Next page: Steam VR and synthetic benchmarksTest 5: SteamVR
What black magic is this?! The XFX Radeon RX 470 actually just squeaks into the SteamVR performance test’s “VR capable” range with a 6.0 average fidelity score. XFX’s overclocks are enough to get the card over the hump. We still wouldn’t recommend using an RX 470 for virtual reality, but it’s nice to know you can in a pinch.Test 6: 3DMark
We also tested the RX 470 and its rivals using 3DMark’s highly respected DX11 Fire Strike synthetic benchmark, which runs at 1080p, as well as its brand-new Time Spy benchmark, which tests DirectX 12 performance at 2560×1440 resolution.
Yeah, the 470 falls exactly where you’d expect it to based on the prior resultsTest 7: Power use
We test power under load by plugging the entire system into a Watts Up meter, running the intensive Division benchmark at 4K resolution, and noting the peak power draw. Idle power is measured after sitting on the Windows desktop for three minutes with no extra programs or processes running.
The Radeon RX 470’s lower clock speeds and TDP pay off here. Polaris becomes much more power hungry the more you push it. While the RX 470 tends to offer just 7 to 11 percent less performance than the RX 480, it uses nearly 40 watts less power overall at peak draw—a 14.5 percent reduction.
It’s still not as efficient as the Pascal GPU inside Nvidia’s GTX 1060, but it’s a major leap forward for Radeon cards. With the Radeon R300-series, we could only hit this level of performance with cards that pushed our system power usage in excess of 400W.Test 8: Heat
The tested cards represent a mix of reference and custom coolers, making this somewhat of an apple-to-oranges comparison. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see how the custom-cooled XFX Radeon RX 470 and Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480 stand up to the reference RX 480 and GTX 1060.
The XFX Radeon RX 470 tops out at 75 degrees Celsius, staying relatively quiet all the while. That’s a big improvement over the RX 480’s reference blower, and comparable to cooling solutions slapped onto other graphics cards in this price range.
Next page: Bottom lineBottom line
There’s no question the Radeon 470 is a great graphics card—at least in a vacuum. While it doesn’t quite hit a locked 60fps average at 1080p with all the bells and whistles cranked to 11, it comes damned close, and dropping the settings to High easily allows you to clear that gold-standard frame rate. Likewise, the RX 470 can generally hit 40-plus frames per second at 1440p at High or Ultra settings, making it a decent 1440p gaming option (especially if you have a FreeSync monitor to smooth out framerate hitches). It’s only a few frames behind a GTX 970 in most games. Heck, it even squeaks into the VR-capable category, albeit only by the thinnest of margins, thanks to the solid-for-Polaris out-of-the-box overclocks of this XFX model. That utterly blows away what the last-gen crop of $150 to $200 graphics cards were capable of!
But the world doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And in the real world, the 4GB RX 480 is a major spoiler for the RX 470 given the price of both cards and just how damned good the RX 480 truly is.
The elephant in the room: The $200, 4GB Radeon RX 480.
The 8GB Radeon RX 480, which again offers performance darn near identical to the $200 4GB version except in specific circumstances, offers 8 to 12 percent more performance than the RX 470. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s good for at least an extra 5 frames per second in most scenarios, and occasionally far more. It’s enough to push you right up or past the 60fps gold standard in today’s games at Ultra settings—something that the RX 470 can’t consistently do. It’s a crucial “smoothness of experience” threshold.
Why would you spend the same amount of money on an inferior-performing card that can’t quite deliver the same uncompromising 1080p experience? And a reference-clocked version of the RX 470 wouldn’t even hit the same heights as this amped-up XFX card.
The XFX Radeon RX 470 is a gorgeous, well-built card.
There could be a potential twist in the future, though.
Okay, I’m taking off my tinfoil hat now.
In a vacuum, the Radeon RX 470 delivers a damned fine 1080p gaming experience that’s a huge leap forward from the previous crop of similarly priced cards. You’ll be able to hit 60fps at high or ultra graphics settings even in cutting-edge games. XFX’s custom variant is superbly designed, runs cool and quiet, and offers a longer warranty than before. If one winds up in your stocking this Christmas, you’ll be happy!
Many desk lights and lamps light up your space well but leave you with horrible glare on your computer screen. The Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ not only contains the light to just your work area but cuts out the glare. All you have to do is attach it to your monitor and you’re all set. How well does it live up to its promises? I recently had the opportunity to find out.
This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Quntis. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author who maintains editorial independence even when a post is sponsored.Overview of Features
The Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ isn’t your typical desk lamp. Instead, this light bar sits on top of your monitor and only lights up your work area, such as the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. You can adjust it to the color temperature that best suits your needs, ranging from 3,000K to 6,500K. Thanks to a color rendering index (CRI) of 95, the colors on your screen look like they should.
Not only are you able to manually adjust the color temperature, but you can set it to auto-adjust based on the surrounding light. This gives you optimal light at any given point.
It’s designed to fit most monitors, including curved and irregular-shaped monitors. As long as the monitor is between 0.12-inch to 2.36-inch thick, it should fit. You can add in the included spacing bars for thinner monitors. The clip is spring-loaded to open wider to accommodate thicker monitors.
To keep the light bar from tipping forward, there’s a weighted clip on the back. You can adjust the tightness using the included hex keys if the hinge feels too loose or there’s any shaking.
Thanks to a 45-degree angle asymmetrical optical design, the light stays focused where you need it most. However, you can adjust it slightly if needed.
A cylindrical remote lets you turn the light on/off with just a tap or rotate it to adjust the temperature. This means you never have to touch the light bar itself for these simple changes.In the Box
The Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ comes neatly packaged and includes:
20-inch wide light bar
Remote with batteries
USB cable (USB-A to USB-C)
Two extra spacers (one is installed already)
The user manual isn’t the clearest. The steps for how to tighten the screws and adjust the size are much better on the Amazon product listing. However, you probably don’t really need the manual, as using the light is pretty straightforward.Getting Set Up
The first step is to check your monitor’s thickness. Mine is fairly thin, so I had to add in the larger spacer block to ensure the Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ fit snugly. If you have a thicker monitor, hold the light firmly in the center and pull the weighted part back to open the spring clip.
If the hinge feels loose, it’s easy to tighten the screws. Take the covers off the screws and use the correct hex key to tighten them, then replace the covers.
Then, just slide the light over the top of your monitor. The weight should perfectly balance the light so that it doesn’t tip forward. If you need to adjust the angle of the light bar itself, it’s a good idea to hold the weight to keep it from pulling against your monitor.
Next up, I had to connect the USB cable to my computer. It’s a surprisingly long cable, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble – even with desktop towers that sit under your desk.
Finally, I inserted the batteries into the remote. The battery compartment door is attached with magnets. All you have to do is press in on the indention to open it, then align it to put it back.
A quick tap on the top of the remote, and the light bar turned on instantly.Adjusting the Light
I couldn’t ask for an easier-to-adjust light. Instead of fiddling with the light bar itself, the Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ has the easiest-to-use remote ever. Tap once to turn on/off. Quick tap twice to turn on/off automatic photosensitive mode ot hold for three to five seconds to turn on the two-hour auto-off timer.
Adjust the color temperature by turning the top of the remote. It moves smoothly, so you don’t need to use any real pressure.
Want to adjust the brightness? Rotate the base of the remote (or the housing). It’s that simple.
I personally like that the remote doesn’t look like a standard remote. It’s less than 3-inches wide and looks like a black cylinder that matches most office décor with ease. It can tuck in under a monitor or off to the side for quick adjustments without looking out of place.The Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ in Use
Throughout my test, I couldn’t have been happier with how well this light bar performed. I usually prefer a warmer light, but even the brightest and coldest settings didn’t cause any glare on my screen. In fact, I could see my monitor easier with the light bar than I could with a standard overhead light or desk lamp.
I also noticed my eyes didn’t feel as tired as usual. This was a nice change of pace, and I was amazed that just changing my light source had such a noticeable effect.Final Thoughts
The Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ did exceed my expectations. At first, I was afraid it would be too heavy with the weight (almost 2.5 lbs.), but it didn’t bother my monitor at all and was easy to install. The remote is a joy to use and looks great sitting my desk. Overall, it’s a great light that can improve how you see your monitor and work space.
If you’d like to try the Quntis Monitor Light Bar PRO+ yourself, you can pick it up for $69.99.
Crystal Crowder has spent over 15 years working in the tech industry, first as an IT technician and then as a writer. She works to help teach others how to get the most from their devices, systems, and apps. She stays on top of the latest trends and is always finding solutions to common tech problems.
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