To prepare for the Windows 8 onslaught, laptop manufacturers are trying all sorts of inventive touchscreen notebook designs. Some screens flip, some spin, some twist, and some can actually be detached from their keyboards so you can have a tablet for the road. However, the craziest new laptop design may be the simplest of all: simply graft a touchscreen onto an existing clamshell.

The $799.99 HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is one such touchscreen notebook, and it also just so happens to be the very first one in our labs. With a fairly standard set of ultrabook specs, a relatively thick, weighty chassis, and a 1366 x 768 screen, the 14-inch laptop doesn’t really stand out in any other way, however. Does the touchscreen make it a better Windows 8 laptop than with keyboard and touchpad alone? Is the Envy 4 a good laptop, period? Read on.