HP ENVY Notebooks

The first generation of HP ENVY notebooks were unfortunately let down by comparisons to the superior Apple MacBook Pro laptops which they shared a large amount of styling with and unfortunately shared the rather steep pricing. This coupled to some glaring omissions, like the lack of an internal optical drive and feeble connectivity of the 13” model, led to an uninspired attempt at entering the premium market.

Fortunately HP have decided to give these models are significant overhaul, and they now showcase HP’s “MUSE” design ethos, which stands for Materials, Usability, Sensory appeal, and Experiences. The new 14" and 17" ENVY models couple this premium design philosophy with features like slot loading optical drives and backlit keyboards to hopefully deliver on style and substance this time around.

Gallery: HP ENVY 14

The HP ENVY 14 features a 14.5” 1600x900 display that they claim is 59% brighter than any other notebook in its class. It features a 1.1” thick aluminum chassis weighing in at 5.25lbs. Performance is provided by Intel Arrandale Core i3 and i5 processors with an option to use a quad-core Clarksfield i7 processor—pretty amazing in this size of notebook. Graphics are the standard integrated Intel HD Graphics of the i3/i5 CPU, or an optional ATI Mobility Radeon 5650 (standard on the quad-core i7 model). This is supported by up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM.

Fortunately, a slot loading DVD writer is incorporated into the chassis, while mass storage consists of a 250, 320, 500 or 640GB HDD or a 160 or 256GB SSD. Connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports with one doubling up as an eSATA port, HDMI, SD/MMC card reader, headphone and microphone ports (the latter doubles as a second headphone port), and gigabit Ethernet. WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n comes as standard with optional 3G/GPS connectivity. A 1280x720 webcam is provided with dual integrated microphones.

The ENVY 14 is available with Windows 7 Premium, Professional or Ultimate 64 bit stating June 27 at HP Direct starting at $1000—$200 cheaper than a 13” Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro and $800 cheaper than a Core i5 15” MacBook Pro!

Gallery: HP ENVY 17

The HP ENVY 17 features a 17.3” a 1600x900 display (a 1080p option is available) in a 7.51lb chassis. Intel Core i5 and quad-core i7 CPUs are available with ATI Mobility Radeon 5850 graphics making these real powerhouse notebooks. The ENVY 17 supports up to 8GB DDR3 RAM. The larger chassis provides two storage bays allowing the user to choose from a combination of 320, 500, 750GB and 1TB HDDs and a 160GB SSD. A DVD writer or Blu-Ray drive is available.

Connectivity includes two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 (finally!) port with an eSATA port sharing one of the USB 2.0 ports. VGA, HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort provide video output while a 5-in-1 card reader, headphone and microphone (which doubles as a second headphone port) round out the connectivity. Ethernet and WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n provide networking. A 1280x800 webcam is provided with dual integrated microphones.

The ENVY 17 is available with Windows 7 Premium, Professional or Ultimate 64 bit from 19th May at HP Direct starting at $1400, which is $900 cheaper than the 17” MacBook Pro. What remains to be seen is how well the ENVY notebooks do in terms of battery life; Apple's MacBook Pro sets a high bar there, and it will take a lot for a Windows 7 notebook to match the 6+ hours Apple typically achieves.

HP Pavilion Notebooks
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  • Belard - Friday, May 7, 2010 - link

    "That's fanboy language."... Huh? I said I liked AMD, I like the pricing on the product, I didn't say I wanted to marry them. AMD is a company, blah blah. I also buy Intel's SSD drives because (A) the perfomance (B) reliability and (C) price ratio is better than anything else on the market.

    The rest of your post about the 6-core CPU, battery life, etc... Gee, didn't I pretty much say that?

    The last line of my post was "After these past 10 years, AMD has never been aggressive with their mobile CPUs power usage." - its a fact, their CPUs aren't great for the mobile market. A fanboy would buy AMD Mobile just because its an AMD.

    Fact, the notebook & netbook markets continues to grow and AMD is going to miss out and it will be mostly their fault. For a notebook, intel CPU is the way to go - and getting one with an ATi GPU is best of both worlds... oh, the Envy has such a set up.

    If intel is still paying OEMs to not use AMD, then they are breaking the agreement from earlier this year and open themselves to another lawsuit. May intel lose more money.
  • KorruptioN - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    That 14" Envy - the right side. Why would they put the Kensington lock port smack dab in the middle like that? What if you're using an external mouse? The (stiff) cable is going to end up right where you're supposed to use your mouse. Same goes for the wired ethernet.

    Furthermore, the power and HDD activity LEDs... why would HP put them there? I like to keep an eye on those LEDs from time to time.

    It all seems like an afterthought...
  • smartalco - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    They aren't even trying to hide the fact that they are trying to make a macbook. Silver body, black screen bezel, black chiclet keyboard, single surface trackpad/mouse. At my first quick glance, I actually thought the home page image was a macbook.
  • FATCamaro - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    I thought they were Macbook Pro's as well. It was hilarious to read the first few comments saying how they really liked the look without acknowledging that it was a copycat look.
  • caseyschwab - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    It may be your opinion that it is a "copycat look" but It is not mine. The macbook pros completely lack color and finish which IMO one of there biggest downfalls, aside from their exorbitant pricing. HP offers greater performance, better looks and a lower price tag to boot.
  • erple2 - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    It's got a metal case (good for heat dissipation, and looks much nicer than flimsy plastic), it's got chicklet island keys (like a very large number of keyboards today), and it has a black bezel (like a significant number of other laptops). I have both laptops (Envy 15 and early 2009 unibody MBP) so am speaking a little bit from experience.

    So does that them imply that all of the hundreds of other laptops that do that are copycats of the MBP? I don't know. The metal is very different than the MBP (and gives it a nice texture), the keys feel a little bit better than the Macbook Pro. The screen is much nicer than the MBP (higher resolution, and non-shiny). The trackpad is similar (I'll give you that), but if something works well, why not try to improve on it? The bezel is black, but so what? There were a lot of laptops before the MBP that had black bezels. E2E glass - I don't care about that - at least not with a matte screen. My Envy does not have e2e glass, so there's no comparison.

    I don't think that it's a clone, so much as simply a "metal case modern laptop".
  • Roland00 - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    During the first generation of the hp envy's several hp reps, and an official hp training were specifically comparing the hp envy to the macbook pros. The old envy 15 with the I7 option is faster than the 17 inch macbook pro, and the old envy 13 coupled with the LV processor with the second battery that latches onto the chasis gets better battery life than the macbook pro (for they are using two batteries) and it runs windows natively.
  • ExodusC - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Why would they try to hide the fact that they are making what is arguably a better notebook for the price? I would definitely purchase the Envy 14 over the 13 inch MBP. Moreso, I would think the Envy 14 will likely be a better buy than the 15 inch MBP.
  • GullLars - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    It bothers me a bit they only offer SSDs for the high end models, and then only x25-M 160GB.
    If i designed laptops, I'd insist any laptop released in 2010 with 15" screens or more would have 2 2,5" slots, and have 30-80GB SSDs optional as boot-drives for all models, with 40GB x25-V and 32GB Indilinx as recomended for lower end models, x25-M 80GB for middle range, and x25-M 80/160GB or SF-1200 50/100GB for higher end models, and the possibility for the buyer to specify other capacities for all models. After all, changing (or inserting) an SSD is not much work (can easily be done in the electronics store/etailer in a minute or two).
    I also have an issue with buying the laptops without OS (for a lower cost) not being an option for a lot of models.
  • MadMan007 - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    I'd like to see them ditch the optical drive on smaller models (14" and below,) possibly as an option, and include a second hard drive instead. An 80GB SSD with a mechanical hard drive of your choice would be fantastic.

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