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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  • SandmanWN - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    Digging the dot-matrix-y paint job.
  • caseyschwab - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    I'm not going to lie...those are some of the nicest looking laptops that I've ever seen.
  • Belard - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    The Envy, top of their line - is more gaming than business - but otherwise, the A T-Series ThinkPad will slam it down. But the addition of a SLOT load drive is a good move. The keyboard is still standard island type (yuck) and a glossy screen - which also sucks for serious users.

    Geez, HP charges $120 to upgrade the 15" Envey from Win7 Home to Win7 Pro?!. Even if a ThinkPad comes with Win7 Home, they charge $30 to switch to Pro edition.. what a rip. $175 from the i5-430 to the i5-540 ugh!!

    I configured the Envy against the ThinkPad T510 with the same stats as much as possible. (PS: HP configure system is a PAIN in the rear!)

    Both have i5-540M CPU, Win7 Pro 64, 4GB DDR3. HP has better 3D gaming graphics, glossy screen. The Wireless is N, but no OPTIONS for more power Wireless or WAN!! Here are the wireless option for the THinkPad T =
    Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1000
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6200 (2x2 AGN) [add $20.00]
    Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 (3x3 AGN) [add $40.00]
    Intel Centrino Advanced-N + WiMAX 6250 [add $55.00]

    Integrated mobile broadband
    Integrated Mobile Broadband (Gobi 2000 3G with GPS) [add $150.00]

    Price finalized:
    HP = $1645
    Think = $1350 Upgrade to the ThinkPad W-510, a more powerful 3D graphics (still below the 5830), more memory options, i7-860 CPU for $1625 along with beefed up Wireless.
  • bsoft16384 - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    I love my ThinkPad T400, but the closest ThinkPad to the Envy 14" (the T410) doesn't really compare. The NVS3100m graphics in the new T410 are barely faster than my three-generation-old Radeon HD 3870 T400, and way slower than the Radeon 5650 that's going to be in the Envy 14"

    Then there's the fact that the Envy has a higher resolution screen (1600x900 instead of 1440x900), almost certainly better speakers (the T400's speakers are crappy and I've heard that the T410's aren't much better; the Envy supposedly has good speakers for a laptop), and the screen is almost certainly much better quality (it's hard to be any worse than the T410's screen).

    On the plus side the T410 has hotswap optical drives (and you can add a hard drive, though not a battery like you can on my older T400), a docking station, and is probably better built.

    Different laptops for different people. I love my T400 but I do wish I had something with more graphical pep. The Envy looks like a decent option.
  • Belard - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    At my office, we have a T400/61 (same thing), so I know that notebook well. I'll agree with your that the T400 for some odd reason has the poorest ThinkPad screen I have ever seen, the colors are muted, but otherwise sharp.

    I've compared side by side our many Thinkpads. T400s, T61 and T410. The T410 has a better screen than the T61, but its not quite as nice as the T400s. The T410's screen is brighter than my R61 (R500).

    When you talk about the Envy kicking the T410's butt in the graphics department... you are not comparing apples to apples (heh).

    The ENVY is a consumer -MacPro like notebook with a ATI 5830m Graphics... of course its going to murder any ThinkPad. Its a gaming GPU and I said that in my first post. For business use, the 5830 is not going to be used and would only drink more battery juice.

    When I got my Thinkpad, I had a choice between another notebook with a gaming card... I choose the ThinkPad for the matte screen... I hate glossy screens. I paid the same price for my slower ThinkPad than if I went with a consumer glossy-screen low-end gaming notebook. I have my desktop for gaming. And rarely do I think "hmmm... a gaming GPU would be handy". I use my notebook for work or internet.

    So the price difference is $300 less for a notebook with more details on WHATS inside and far more wireless options.
  • Sandstig - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    The Envy's are consumer notebooks. If you want to compare the ThinkPad T- and W-series to something from HP, check out the EliteBook 8440p, 8440w, 8540p and 8540w. Customizing a notebook to meet the specs of another system that's on sale, will generally end up with a price in favour of the pre-configured system.

    The ThinkPads will probably kick Envy down in terms of reliability, but if you're gonna game, a Mobility Radeon HD5850 is going to be a lot faster than a Quadro FX 880M.
  • Goty - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    I think AMD might actually catch up to Intel in terms of batter life with their new mobile CPUs. GloFo's 45nm process is quite mature now and the TDPs of these new chips are comparable to Intel's. Now, I know TDP is not great indicators of power consumption, but it certainly gives me hope.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - link

    Not from what I'm seeing... I'll have a review up in the near future, but M300 and M600 do better than the older CPUs, but still nowhere near the battery life that Intel gets. They can come close to Core 2 performance, but Core i3/i5 have now upped the ante. The M600 ends up about 10% slower in single core and 30% slower in multi-core compared to the i3-350M. AMD's HD 4200 still easily beats the Intel HD Graphics, but i3/i5 with a discrete GPU like the HD 4330 will still offer better battery life and performance. It's pretty bad when Intel can pair up a CPU with a discrete GPU and still use less power than AMD's CPUs with IGP.
  • Belard - Thursday, May 6, 2010 - link

    Hey, I like AMD in general myself. Sure their CPU's aren't as fast as the fastest i7 CPUs, but they are competitive. So spending $165 for an AMD quad-core that is about 10~20% slower than a $1000 i7... I'll pocket the extra $835 for other things. Myself and others enjoy our AMD systems, and I do own an intel quad as well as intel on my ThinkPad.... but when it comes to power usage, AMD is very very bad.

    Anandtech did a review with two Compaq notebooks, a low end intel vs an AMD.. The results are typical. AMD had a much more powerful system, but the intel had much better battery and no gaming abilities.

    The market is growing for low-power, performance systems and AMD needs to get its act together in that sector as well. Intel did a good move in making the ATOM... which is nothing more than a PIII CPU with some modernization and of course in a tiny package. AMD could take an OLD AMD-XP core, double the cores and use the smaller processes. But I don't know how well it can sip power.

    After these past 10 years, AMD has never been aggressive with their mobile CPUs power usage.
  • bennyg - Friday, May 7, 2010 - link

    "I like AMD" WTF? That's fanboy language. Intel and AMD are both legally constructed artificial "persons" whose only motivation above self-preservation is profit. It's naive to think any corporation would not act to abuse a monopoly position given the chance.

    Because they sell a slightly slower 6-core desktop CPU for a much cheaper and more reasonable price than Intel has no relevance at all to mobile CPUs where AMD gets comparatively terrible battery life even where they can match performance.

    That you can barely find a laptop with an AMD CPU in it, and certainly none at a level over mid-range performance, indicates either:
    a) AMD's mobile CPUs are unable to compete on anything other than uber-low-end price;
    b) Intel are still paying OEMs not to use them...

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