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Surface Laptop 3 15-inch too pricey? HP Envy x360 is a great alternative.

Surface Laptop 3
Surface Laptop 3

As rumored, Microsoft not only unveiled a new, larger Surface Laptop 3, it also comes with AMD Ryzen for the very first time. The 15-inch Surface Laptop 3 is a big deal, and with a starting price of $1,199, it's not that expensive. At least, not for a Surface. But it's still more than $1,000 which is a lot of money. If you long for it but wish it was less expensive, there's already a great alternative on sale that you can find for under $700.

Say hello to the HP Envy x360 15-inch.

Lots of similarities to Surface Laptop 3

Many things are like a Surface, though none can ever truly be the same. Microsoft does a grand job of helping inspire its hardware partners, however, and HP is one of the best in the business.

Like the Surface Laptop 3, HP went with Ryzen power for the Envy.

The HP Envy x360 ticks many of the same boxes Surface Laptop 3 does, and in some cases offers something more, in other areas falling a little behind. But as a total package it's very close to what you can expect in the Surface Laptop 3, for a lot less of your hard-earned cash.

Like the Surface Laptop 3 it's a 15-incher, with touch, and inside you get AMD Ryzen mobile with its superb Vega integrated GPU.

You get similar storage and RAM, too, support for inking and, like the Surface Laptop 3, it's all wrapped up in a beautifully designed and crafted all-metal chassis. The display has skinny bezels, and overall, it's a laptop you'd be proud to own.

Just like Surface Laptop 3.

Each has its own advantages

Surface Laptop 3

Surface Laptop 3

What about the differences? Well, the Envy x360 only has a 1080p display, and its Ryzen is not quite as you find in Microsoft's AMD laptop. The "Surface Edition" Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 are slight improvements on the rest of the existing Ryzen mobile lineup, most notably for the additional GPU core. In the Envy x360, you get Vega 8, which has eight cores, with its Ryzen 5 or Vega 10 with a Ryzen 7. The Surface Laptop 3 has Vega 9, with that additional GPU core, or Vega 11. Same deal.

Surface has the performance edge, but HP has a proper convertible.

So performance will be better but not a ridiculous leap. Likewise, you can get up to 32GB of RAM in the Surface Laptop 3, while the Envy x360 is limited to 8GB, and sadly, the latest model doesn't allow for this to be upgraded like its predecessor. The solid-state drive (SSD) is fair game, though, to upgrade yourself, something you'll need Microsoft to help you with on the Surface Laptop 3.

While the performance edge goes Microsoft's way, the Envy x360 has one party trick the Surface Laptop 3 does not. It's a proper convertible, so you can fold the display right round, making it easier to consume media or in particular, use a pen. The Surface Laptop 3 sits as a traditional laptop does, lacking the flexibility of a convertible and making the pen use more awkward.

The Envy is a true bargain

HP Envy x360

HP Envy x360

As good as each of these is in their own right and as similar as they may be, there's a big ace up the sleeve of the Envy x360. Currently, you can get one with the Ryzen 5 for under $700, saving in excess of $400 over the cheapest 15-inch Surface Laptop 3, also with a Ryzen 5.

Sure, they're not identical, and each has its pros and cons. But if the price of the Surface Laptop 3 15-inch is what's mainly putting you off, the 15-inch HP Envy x360 is about the closest alternative. And it happens to cost about a Surface Go less.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

1 Comment
  • The Envy has a 16:9 screen? That's a big turn off for me.