HP ENVY 15 NOTEBOOK PC: As Good As It Gets

Hewlett-Packard’s Envy has always been a reliable high-end PC laptop line. Its latest 15-incher is a great movie machine as well.

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Published: July 5, 2012 3:21:02 am

Hewlett-Packard’s Envy has always been a reliable high-end PC laptop line. Its latest 15-incher is a great movie machine as well.

Ultrabooks may be taking the spotlight nowadays thanks to their compact size and powerful performance,but consumers’ appetite for mainstream laptops has not waned all that much. Lots of folks aren’t yet ready to give up their slightly larger screens with optical drives and discrete graphics. Reason is simple: high-end PC laptops come with a greater range of features and performance.

Recently,Hewlett-Packard introduced its redesigned Envy 15 notebook PC,extending a brand that some say borrows heavily from the design of the Apple MacBook Pro. I would not like to comment on this,but what I would like to emphasise is that the HP machine is attractive,uncluttered,well-made and is powered by the California-based tech company’s own innovations. This includes HP CoolSense technology,which uses advanced hardware and intelligent software to automatically adjust performance and internal fan settings for a noticeably cooler PC,and HP ImagePad,which uses image sensor technology for precise multi-finger touch navigation. And with an estimated street price of R79,990,this HP piece of hardware and software is directly taking aim at other high-end 15-inchers like MacBook Pro,Dell XPS 15z and Samsung Series 7 Chronos. But how does it stack up? Let us find out.

When I first got hands-on with the Envy 15,I was impressed with its upscale look and feel. Our 15-inch test unit came to us in an all-metal chassis with rounded edges in a classic black and silver finish,and accented by subtle red details. The chassis redesign is a surefire improvement over previous models both superficially and internally. The Envy 15 features the Radiance Backlit keyboard that provides illumination using individual LEDs dedicated to each keycap. The keyboard also includes an advanced proximity sensor to illuminate when it detects a user approaching the notebook and deactivate after the user leaves. There are six built-in speakers and two subwoofers,and Beats Audio—a technology developed by HP and Beats by Dr Dre.

In terms of the layout,there are a wide selection of ports,including three USB ports,HDMI,DisplayPort,an Ethernet jack,a memory card reader,Kensington lock slot,a microphone port and dual headphone jacks. A slot-loading DVD drive resides on the left side of the machine. Overall port placement makes each port easy-to-reach.

The device is powered by Intel Core i7-2670QM clocked at 2.2 GHz,and runs Windows 7 Home Premium 64. The Envy15 comes with 1 TB SATA (5400 rpm) hard disk drive. In terms of usability,the machine is first class. And speaking of the display,its 15.6-inch diagonal Radiance full high definition display offers higher resolution and wider viewing angles than traditional notebook displays.

In fact,the real showpiece for the Envy 15 is the screen. Arguably,the HP Envy Series has been popular with users due in large part to its use of the Radiance IPS (in-plane switching) panel. The display on the Envy 15 is the ‘wow factor’ that will catch the most attention. I surfed the internet,played several movies from my DVD collection and let me admit that the display on this computer can produce one of the cleanest,crispest and most vivid pictures found on a notebook this size. Colours and movie scenes really pop,too,owing in part to the actual screen lying plane with the edges of the display. Coupled with the full high definition 1080p resolution and a high 831:1 contrast ratio,the Envy 15 simply outsmarts other notebooks in terms of display quality,sharpness,and viewing angles.

Quite frankly,the Envy 15 is built for media consumption. The speakers are louder and clearer than any I have ever used on any other laptop or desktop. I was quite pleased with the volume on this machine. The Beats volume dial is shaped like a disc,which you can spin like a record by running your finger over the top surface. The quick access to this physical volume dial and virtual equaliser combined with an extra headphone-out port make this HP creation a perfect laptop for listening to and sharing music. During the test period,the Envy 15 managed heat well,even through heavy streaming sessions when I played my favourites like the American spy film Spy Game or Cast Away starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx executive. Or for that matter,when I surfed the internet for long periods while the music played in the background—the machine performed in a splendid manner.

HP’s Envy line has always been a reliable high-end PC laptop line,and the company’s new machine simply rocks in every aspect.

SPECS

Dimension: 1.11 x 14.96 x 9.60 inches (H x W x D)

Display size & type: 15.6-inch,LED Backlit widescreen

Resolution: 1366 x 768 HD (720p); 16:9 True Wide Aspect Ratio

Processor: Intel Core i7 2.3 GHz

Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Memory: DDR3 system memory with dual channel memory support—up to 16 GB max supported

Audio: Beats Audio,HP Triple Bass Reflex Subwoofer

Battery life: Upto 7.25 hours

Estimated street price: Rs 79,990

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