HP Envy 15 – Widescreen Envy

4/19/2012 9:42:54 AM

So what you do when you’re the biggest computer manufacturer in the world, with your competitors ripping at your heels waiting for you to trip? Do you quiver in fear, threaten to wild up your business and call it a day? You could do what HP did, which was get back in there, and continue to chum out products that people actually want to use. Products like new HP Eny 15.

To differentiate from the bottom-of-the-barrel type of notebook, HP opted to build the Envy 15 (mostly) out of aluminum, a ‘premium’ must-have this year. Two colors – black on the lid and bottom, silver in the middle – give the notebook a clean and classic look. But it’s when you open up the notebook that you will really see the effort HP’s design team has put into making the Envy 15 look as good as possible.

The Beats audio jog dial is a nice way of controlling volume


Design touches like the red lining along the keyboard, the large trackpad, and the omission of a numberpad (so that everything is symmetrical) all come together nicely to form a tight, sturdy package. The chiclet-style keyboard is also one of the best that we’ve come across recently. The keys aren’t too far apart or mushy, just slightly shallow, and you get individually lit LEDs under each key. The large clickable trackpad (clickpad) is also very well constructed, and clicking on it feels very comfortable, even though it requires you to exert a little bit more force than usual.

The final feature we want to highlight is integral (or even a major selling point) to the success of the HP Envy 15 – the Beats branding. HP’s partnership with Dr Dre’s Beats brand gives you a big jog dial on the right of the machine that only controls volume and when you click on it, the Beats branded volume control pops up. Gimmicky yes, but I wouldn’t want to adjust the very loud sound on the Envy 15 any other way.

On the other hand, let’s also try to forget about the Envy 15’s actual computing performance – because unfortunately, it’s really nothing to shout about. Especially so when you consider that retail units in Singapore are slightly watered down versions. PCMark 7 scores were just average for the components it has (Core i7, 2.2GHz, 8GB RAM), while 3DMark 11 scores were slightly below the competition sporting similar discrete graphics (Radeon HD 6750M).

Far Cry performance is on par with other notebooks sporting similar graphics, so no surprises here. Battery life performance is also pretty solid, with the HP Envy 15 lasting for about 3 hours and 15 minutes while playing a video loop.

When you put everything together, the HP Envy 15 is actually a pretty good multimedia machine for the family. It does what everyone needs it to do, and does it well without any issues. However, do take note that while HP clearly tries to emulate Apple Macbooks in terms of looks, it somehow doesn’t feel as solid as a Mac. And for the price, it’ll be tempting to simply fork out for an Ultrabook (faster and cheaper) instead if you don’t need all the extra processing power. Unless of course, you’re connoisseur of good sound, or simply want a 16.6-inch notebook to look good with Beats headphones.

At a glance

Display: 15.6-inch

Processor: Intel Core i7-2670QM 2.2 GHz

Memory: 8GB DDR3

Weight: 2.63kg

Price: $1,999                



Graphics: Radeon(TM) HD 6750M GDDRS

Storage: 1TB SATA

Communications: Intel 802,11a/b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R) with Wireless Display

Os: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Battery: 8-Cell Lithium ion Battery

Dimensions: 380x244x28.3mm




Verdict: 8.5

Physique: 9.0

Features: 8.5

User-Friendliness: 8.5

Performance: 8.0

Value: 8.0

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