Ultrabook Supertest (Part 6) - HP Envy 6

10/16/2012 9:09:49 AM

Power, usability and a very attractive proposition

HP was one of the key players in the early Ultrabook invasion with its Folio 13 machine doing well in the business market and the awesome-looking Envy 14 Spectre wowing consumers. And now the tech giant is back for another crack with the HP Envy 6.

Description: HP Envy 6

HP Envy 6

Unlike HP’s initial forays into the new market, the Envy 6 ($1,049 inc. VAT) comes with a price-tag to make it a much more attractive prospect for the masses. It’s almost half the price of the original Spectre, and that’s with a spec filled with 2012’s best innovations.

For a start, there’s a dual-core third-generation i5 CPU complete with Intel HD Graphics 4000 and 4GB of RAM. This engine room resulted in incredibly impressive benchmark results, with Intel’s new platform resulting in scores that blow the whole of the original Ultrabook gang out of the water.

And these results are reflected in everyday usability with the Envy 6 performing amicably with the array of tasks that we put laptops through in our testing lab. HD video, even at 1080p, isn’t an issue for the Envy 6, nor is high- resolution image editing, multitasking or even basic gaming.

The Envy 6 isn’t the machine for you if you want seamless gaming with the latest titles, but for the casual gamer, it may just suffice. HD movie editing is possible, although we wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than a quick clip that you want to upload onto your social networks.

Everyday excellence

Where you should be using the Envy 6 is for regular day-to-day use in areas such as document editing, web browsing, social networking, movie streaming and listening to your music collection. In fact, sound is one of the Envy 6’s strong points courtesy of its Beats Audio infused audio control panel. The 15.6-inch, 1,366 x 768, display is also good for media playback with decent viewing angles, although the contrast ratio could be a little stronger.

Description: Kaboom! In our tests, HP’s Envy 6 registered scores that blow the whole of the original Ultrabook gang out of the water

Kaboom! In our tests, HP’s Envy 6 registered scores that blow the whole of the original Ultrabook gang out of the water

When it comes to the design, HP has once again subscribed to the theory that Ultrabooks should favour desirability ahead of portability. The Envy 6 is still svelte and light enough to slip into your bag for a day’s adventures but, at 20mm thick and weighing in at over 2kg, it’s definitely one of the bulkier Ultrabooks we’ve seen so far.

But it still looks great. The brushed black metallic finish that adorns the lid and keyboard panel is nice and the soft rubberised red material used for the edges and the bottom not only look smart, but make the Envy 6 comfortable to hold - there’s not much chance of it slipping out of your hand on route to your bag.

On the sides you’ll find three USB ports (two of which are 3.0) an RJ45 port for wired internet and HDMI for hooking up to a big screen TV. There’s a HD webcam on board and the Envy 6 also packs HP’s Coolsense tech, helping your system to keep to the optimum temperature. Battery life is okay - it managed almost five hours in our intensity test.

All of this, combined with 500GB of hard disk space, and a further 32GB of super speedy flash storage, make the HP Envy 6 an incredibly attractive proposition.


Price: $1,049


What’s it best for

Web, mail & photos

HD, movies & TV

Light & portable

Key features


OS: Windows 7 Home Premium

Processor: Intel Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz

Memory: 4GB

Storage: 500GB /128GB SSD

Screen size: 15.6-inch

Screen resolution: 1,366 x 768

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000

Weight: 2.1kg


Value: 3/5

Features: 4/5

Performance: 3/5

Total: 3/5


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