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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  • erple2 - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Curiously, the price that HP is offering for the high end SSD options on the Envy 15 is incredibly inexpensive. Going from the default drive (320 gig) to the 160gig SSD plus 250 gig harddrive is a stunningly inexpensive 320 dollars. That's less than you can get the X18 g2 Intel SSD's alone for anywhere (which is what's in the Envy 15). Newegg (at the time of this writing) sells them for 450 dollars (when they're in stock). So I'm not that disappointed in that option. Plus, the Envy is all about "top of the line consumer" brand for HP.

    Doing a little bit more math, adding a small, "value" SSD for the OS partition will cost an additional 100 dollars (approximately). So for an extra 220 dollars, you'd get a substantially larger (and faster!) top of the line SSD. I'll spend the 220 for more convenience and faster performance.

    The problem I see with the "tiny OS SSD" is that the OS is only one small part of the whole pie. Sure I can boot into the OS in no time at all, but if all of my very disk intensive apps are on a slower spindle drive, then what do I care? I want an SSD to be large enough to handle all of my applications, and a separate drive to handle the data. Which, with the current Envy 15, it does extremely well for a (IMO) very reasonable price.

    Personally, I think they've made a great move with that upgrade option. Particularly given how much other manufacturers charge for inferior SSD's.
  • jasperjones - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    Really looking forward to this one. Also, I hope they will work well with Linux (lots of people were having trouble with the Envy 15)
  • NJoy - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Hummm, AMD is staying suspiciously quiet about these new CPUs. I don't t remember them being officially released, they just started popping up everywhere
  • Araemo - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    AMD's website is.. completely lacking in specifics. And in the article you talk about how it's nice to see a lot of models using it... but what is it? If it's just a fancy way of branding "ATI video cards", then it's really boring, if nice to see laptops with real video cards. If it's something more specific like nVidia's optimus or hybrid crossfire, that would be nice to know too.
  • caseyschwab - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    AMD Vision is just a way of AMD letting the customer get an idea of how the laptop will perform. IE: vision premium will perform better than vision, while vision ultimate will perform better than premium. It is just referring to the performance level of the cpu/gpu.
  • spe1491 - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Is HP doing away with their expansion port for docking stations? I don't see it on any of these models, but if you look on their website it's still there on their current offerings.
  • sebmel - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Those saying these are MBP copies are mistaken. I took a look at the photos expecting that and they aren't not even close to the Apple design ethos:

    The excessive markings:
    printing on the lid and hand rests
    HP logo on lid and screen, and Envy logo, and that red thing on the front

    Irregular form:
    irregular angles sides to top causing ports to bulge with sharp edges (flat top to large radius curve to small radius to small radius on body to large radius to small radius to gap to flat)
    bottom plate inset with big fit gaps

    Irregular use of materials:
    plastic bottom
    aluminium body sides and magnesium top
    magnesium lid in what appear to be two pieces

    Irregular colour of body:
    magnesium top
    aluminium sides
    magnesium hand rests
    aluminium hinges
    plastic bottom

    I could go on but I think I've made the point. There is no way that would leave Ive's studio knowing his passion for simplicity:

    A MacBook is:
    one metal
    one colour
    one circular radius
    flat plates

    It is an exercise in the repetition of the minimum number of constituents. The radius of the corners is the same as the radius for the corners of the trackpad is the same as the radius at the corners of the keyboard.

    Just the T printed on the HP trackpad would have Ive up at night fretting. HPs own logo would cause him angst. The LED in the trackpad? Where a finger could cover it? No, too busy.

    Now, I'm not putting the HP down... make your own choice... I'm giving the HP designers more credit than others here. I think they know enough about design to understand that this is not built from MBP design cues.
  • Belard - Friday, May 7, 2010 - link

    With what you said in regards to angles, and how the USB ports and other are in conflict with the rest of the angled body... I completely agree. Its a bit on the SLOPPY end, like they took the motherboard from another computer and stuck it in this body design (which is what most likely happened).

    having the bottom curve into a smaller base, is a visual trick to make the notebook look thinner. Many companies do this... not a bad thing, but it looks stupid with the 90 degree angled ports.

    Usually when this is done on Thinkpads, the flat-sides for ports are inset. On the latest T410, there are a few ports that go past the angled bottom, but no sharp edges or as bad looking as HP. They did this so the notebook gets its 4 USB ports, Display Port, VGA, eSATA. If Lenovo threw out the analog modem port, they could stick a USB & firewire in its place and at least have one side "perfect".
    Hey, lately Lenovo has been reducing the stickers on the bottom of the notebook and hiding the Windows Sticker inside the battery compartment (which also protects it) as well as others. Its always rather ugly to see a computer with 4-6 ugly stickers on the bottom or sides.

    Keep in mind, its not impossible to copy the MacBookPro... that would be a legal problem. But I can see the elements where they copied the MBPro. The lowered keyboard, back-lit keys, etc.

    BTW, top end Dell Precision notebooks look very much like ThinkPads, they even stick on a blue tracking-stick in the middle of the keyboard. The keyboard layout itself is old-style ThinkPad.
  • ExodusC - Saturday, May 8, 2010 - link

    Am I the only one that thinks the sharper angles of the Envy makes it look way better than a Macbook Pro?

    For example, I own a Nexus One smartphone, but I think the industrial design of the Motorola Droid looks way better.

    Then again, this is a moot point. If you're going to argue over what "looks cool," maybe a MBP is for you.

    I don't care what my notebook looks like, as long as it doesn't look like a complete piece of junk.
  • Foxi - Saturday, May 8, 2010 - link

    "They will inevitably fall a little short on performance and battery life (judging by other AMD-equipped laptops)..."

    Anad, you are ridiclous. Again.

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