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Buying a premium laptop in 2022 means you're not exactly limited in choice. There are tons of fantastic laptops on the market right now, and among them, you'll find great devices like the HP Envy x360 13 and the MacBook Air. These are both 13-inch laptops meant to be very portable while delivering a premium experience, which naturally begs the question of which one you should choose.
We're here to help with that, and we'll be looking at the primary differences between the HP Envy x360 13 and the MacBook Air in areas like performance, display, and more. Of course, some things will probably stand out right away, like the fact that one laptop runs Windows and the other runs macOS. But let's take a closer look.
HP Envy x360 13 (2022) vs MacBook Air (2022): Pricing and availability
Each of these laptops is available on their respective manufacturer's websites. You can also get them at third-party retailers like Amazon or Best Buy, but going straight to the source allows you to configure your perfect build.
To begin, the HP Envy x360 (2022) starts at $899.99, and that's for a 13.3-inch model with an Intel Core i5-1230U, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. You can go further, though, by choosing up to 16GB of RAM, more storage, or a different display. If you stretch for the 15.6-inch model, which starts with an Intel Core i5-1240P CPU, 8GB of RAM, an FHD display, and 256GB of storage, you also can opt for one with an AMD chip. It only comes in two colors — Natural Silver and a Space Blue coming later — but you can only get certain finishes depending on your chosen configuration.
The MacBook Air (2022) doesn't come in nearly as many configurations. It starts at $1,199 with Apple's new M2 chip (although you can save money with an M1 model), a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage. It also comes in four colors: Space Gray, Silver, Starlight, and Midnight.
HP Envy x360 13 (2022) vs MacBook Air (2022): Specs
|HP Envy x360 13.3 (2022)||MacBook Air (M2, 2022)|
|Weight||2.95lbs (1.34kg)||2.7lbs (1.22 kg)|
Operating system: Windows or macOS?
The first big difference between these two laptops, as you might guess, is the operating system, which alone might decide for you. Odds are if you've owned a laptop in the past, you already have a preference for either Windows or macOS, and that's what you'll want to stick with. Both operating systems should let you get work done in whatever way you prefer, but there are some noteworthy differences.
Windows is the most popular operating system in the world, and that means it's the most widely supported OS, too. If there's any app for PCs that you can think of, there's a very strong chance that it's available for Windows and, many times, exclusively for Windows. Windows 11 is also more streamlined and beginner-friendly than previous versions of Windows, which is a welcome change. If you like tinkering, Windows is also a bit more open, and there are plenty of tools that let you change settings, even if you're not supposed to.
On the other hand, macOS is still considered the more user-friendly operating system by many people, as Windows can sometimes be a little too convoluted. macOS also has a very specific focus: creators. If you're into content creation, particularly video editing, macOS is the place to be, especially thanks to tools like Apple's Final Cut Pro, which is often considered the best video editing software. And because it's such a popular platform for creators, a lot of third-party software also supports macOS, sometimes with better support than you would get on Windows.
Performance: Apple Silicon is fast and efficient
Comparing almost any Windows laptop to a MacBook these days only shows that Apple Silicon is quite an engineering feat. The MacBook Air is powered by the latest Apple M2 chip, and just as its predecessor was, this is a very fast processor that delivers fantastic performance in a very efficient package.
The HP Envy x360 13 is powered by 12th-generation Intel Core processors, specifically coming from Intel's U9 series. That means these processors have a 9W TDP, which in turn means they don't use quite as much power, but they lose some performance in the process. Still, you get solid performance here, and both laptops are more than fast enough for your day-to-day tasks. Here's how they compare based on some of our tests:
|HP Envy x360 13 (2022) Intel Core i7-1250U||MacBook Air (M2, 2022) Apple M2|
|Geekbench 5||1,655 / 7,425||1,904 / 8,952|
|Cinebench R23||1,671 / 7,931||1,589 / 7,907|
|CrossMark||1,479 / 1,435 / 1,615 / 1,246||1,499 / 1,382 / 1,825 / 1,059|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme||3,090||6,790|
As you can see, the MacBook Air pulls significantly ahead in Geekbench 5, which tests the CPU. Cinebench and CrossMark are a bit more balanced. The truly massive difference is visible in graphics performance with the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme test. The MacBook Air pulls off a huge victory with more than double the score in GPU performance. While macOS isn't a very popular platform for gaming, other GPU-bound workloads like video editing can really benefit from this major difference. And, of course, it's important to note that the HP Envy x360 13 starts with a weaker Core i5 model compared to the processor we tested, so the MacBook Air will offer better performance at the base level, too.
With the MacBook Air, we never even managed to drain its battery during a normal workday.
But that's not the whole story. The big wow factor with Apple Silicon is efficiency, and that means you also get fantastic battery life. In our testing, the HP Envy x360 had pretty solid battery life, ranging from 6 to 8 hours with the keyboard backlight disabled. But with the MacBook Air, we never even managed to drain its battery during a normal workday. That's the power of the Apple Silicon, and if you care about mobility, you'll never have to worry about charging with the MacBook Air. The HP Envy x360's battery life can be good, but you'll still want to play it safe.
Rounding out performance, the MacBook Air is available with up to 24GB of unified memory, as opposed to the maximum 16GB of RAM on the HP Envy x360. You can get better performance for memory-intensive tasks on the MacBook Air, though the vast majority of users won't need more than 16GB. At the same time, the unified memory in the MacBook Air should be noticeably faster than typical RAM. As for storage, the HP Envy x360 has up to a 1TB SSD while the MacBook Air goes up to 2TB, but HP's laptop does give you more storage by default, with a 512GB SSD in the base model (compared to 256GB in the MacBook Air). Considering the lower price of the HP Envy x360, that's great to see.
Display and sound: The HP Envy x360 has an OLED option
HP gives you a few options when it comes to the display on the Envy x360 13. This is a 13.3-inch panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is great for productivity, and the base model is already decently sharp, with Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) resolution. You can upgrade to a Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) panel if you want it to be even sharper, but the best upgrade is the 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED panel at the top end. Not only is this the sharpest display option available, but being an OLED panel means you get true blacks and a very high contrast ratio because pixels are self-emissive. OLED displays are beautiful, and it's great to see them available in a more affordable laptop like this.
On the other hand, Apple only has one configuration available for the MacBook Air's display, but it's a great one right out of the gate. This is a 13.6-inch panel, and it comes in an aspect ratio slightly taller than 16:10. The resolution is 2560 x 1664, which means it's already an incredibly sharp display by default, and you don't really need any upgrade options. It's still an IPS panel, though, so it's not quite as stunning as the OLED technology in the top-tier HP model. It's worth keeping the difference in the base price in mind because you can upgrade the Envy x360 to a high-end display while still having a cheaper laptop than the MacBook Air.
HP has another advantage in that the Envy x360 is a convertible, which means the display supports touch and pen input by default. Apple doesn't even give you that option, so the Envy x360 is more intuitive if you like using touch.
Turning to the webcam, it's safe to say you'll do well with either of these. HP is using a 5MP sensor in the Envy x360, and it supports 1080p video, which results in pretty good image quality for video calls and meetings. Plus, because the sensor has a higher resolution, the Envy x360 camera can zoom into the frame and follow you around without sacrificing quality. The MacBook Air has a 1080p webcam without any fancy zoom or tracking features. Still, both cameras have good quality compared to most laptops out there.
The Envy x360 camera can zoom into the frame and follow you around without sacrificing quality.
As for sound, the MacBook Air is a bit more impressive thanks to the inclusion of a quad-speaker stereo setup, which should deliver a very immersive audio experience overall. Apple usually has some of the best speakers with its laptops, and it's no different here. The HP Envy x360 has a more standard speaker setup with dual speakers, which still works fine for the most part, but it won't get quite as loud or immersive as the MacBook Air.
Design: One is a convertible, and the other is a standard clamshell
We can't talk about the design of these laptops without mentioning the obvious: The HP Envy x360 is a convertible laptop, which means you can use it as a tablet and in a variety of different modes. It has a hinge that can rotate 360 degrees, so you can use it in tent mode, stand mode, or just as a tablet, thanks to the included touch and pen support. Not everyone needs it, but convertibles offer a versatility that's very nice to have, and the MacBook Air just doesn't have that.
And HP managed to do it while still keeping the Envy x360 surprisingly lightweight, with a starting weight of 2.95 pounds. Sure, the MacBook Air is still lighter, weighing 2.7 pounds, but it's fair to say these two laptops are equally portable. The MacBook Air is much thinner, however, measuring just 11.4mm compared to the 16mm of the Envy x360, so Apple has definitely nailed portability. Still, HP isn't that far off, and when you consider this is a convertible, those differences make a lot more sense.
In terms of looks, these are both premium-feeling aluminum laptops, though credit has to be given to Apple for offering a wider range of color options, which is something that's sorely missing in the laptop market. The MacBook Air comes in four colors, and while they're all fairly subdued, they're at least noticeably different. The HP Envy x360 13 is only available in plain Natural Silver, though a Space Blue model is planned for later. Even if it was available, though, you just don't get as many options.
The four color options on the MacBook Air
Ports: The MacBook Air doesn't give you a lot of options
Finally, let's talk ports, which is another area where the HP Envy x360 is a bit more compelling. It comes with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader, which makes for a fairly complete setup for a premium laptop of this size. It does lack a traditional display output, but that's very typical for 13-inch laptops.
On the other hand, the MacBook Air comes with two Thunderbolt/USB4 ports with 40Gbps of bandwidth, and that's about it. It does have a MagSafe charging port, so both of those USB-C ports are free, but this is still a somewhat limiting setup if you have peripherals that connect via USB Type-A. It's also worth mentioning that the Thunderbolt 4 ports on the HP Envy x360 let you connect two external displays, but the MacBook Air is limited to just one (though you can work around this with special drivers like DisplayLink).
As for wireless connectivity, the two laptops are similar, as you might have expected. The HP Envy x360 does support the newer Wi-Fi 6E standard with access to the 6GHz band, while the MacBook Air doesn't. Both devices also support Bluetooth 5.
HP Envy x360 13 (2022) vs MacBook Air (2022): Final thoughts
As with anything, choosing between these two laptops is ultimately up to your preference, and you'll have a good time regardless. But that's not to say there aren't good reasons to pick one over the other.
If you want to work on the go, the MacBook Air is definitely the best option.
The MacBook Air is clearly the best laptop if you want the most performance, particularly in the GPU, and it's also much more efficient. Battery life on the MacBook Air is on another level, so if you want to work on the go, it's definitely the best option. The slightly lighter body and thinner chassis also help with portability, so this is definitely great for people who move around a lot.
On the other hand, the HP Envy x360 has the potential to have a nicer display thanks to the OLED panel option, and it has the versatility of a convertible, which you just can't get with the MacBook Air. Plus, it has more ports for your peripherals, and while it's not quite as light, this is still a very portable laptop.
Perhaps most importantly, the HP Envy x360 is much cheaper to start with. You can upgrade to an Intel Core i7 processor and the OLED display and still not touch the entry price point of the MacBook Air. Plus, you'll still have more storage in the base model. And the MacBook Air upgrades are very expensive, so for most people, the HP Envy x360 becomes even better value from there. Still, the MacBook Air has benefits that you can't find anywhere else, so maybe it's worth it if you have a bigger budget.
Regardless of your preference, you can buy either of these laptops using the links below. If you're looking for laptops with a bit more power, maybe check out the best HP laptops and the best Macs you can buy today. Both of these companies have a lot more on offer for a wide range of audiences.