HP Envy 17 3D (late 2011)

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Reviewed by squishyhobo (Currently owns)

The usual HP things:
- Great tech specs that work just as they should for really cheap.
- The worst trackpad known to man (if you buy an HP laptop, you also have to buy a mouse.)
- Heat issues. This laptop won't burn your wrist or crash in regular use, but don't play Crysis while resting it on a pillow.

This laptop comes with several configurations of specs. I personally purchases a refurbished version for $1000 with an i7 2.2 Ghz, 2x640GB Hard Drive, and 6GB of RAM, and the HD Radeon 6850m. They are great specs, and they work just like they should.

One of the main things I was looking for in a laptop was a 1080p screen. If you have ever used a 1080p monitor before, you know how great it is to have so much screen real estate, and not having to give that up when you leave your office is really liberating. I'm not an expert on screens, but I have four other monitors and the built in one looks the best. This laptop has a vga, an hdmi, and a mini-display port so I have been using a 3 monitor set-up. I've found that I seldom use a 4th monitor but that I use a 3 almost constantly.

3d is definitely worth it. This laptop comes with Tridef 3d integration pre-installed. Tridef allows you to play any game created using Direct X in 3d, and it turns out that every game ever made uses direct X. 3d gaming is at first breathtaking, but that wears off. The real benefit is that it is incredibly immersive. I felt that gaming was just a better experience in 3d and not in the same way as setting your graphics higher, it really feels like you are wearing one of those virtual reality helmets from science fiction. Gaming is the only place you can find complete 3d support though. You can watch 3d dvds, but don't plan on streaming anything or watching 3d youtube videos because there is no support for it.

When you run a game in 3d, the monitor runs at 120 fps instead of the standard 60 fps. The glasses alternate between your left and right eye so that you still get 60 fps while also having a 3d experience without eye strain. This means that your graphics card is basically rendering the game for 2 1080p monitors. The Envy line has been updated to the HD Radeon 7850m instead of the 6850m recently but if you are buying used make sure you know what you are getting. The 6850m is still very good though, and although it won't run Crysis 2 on high in 3d, it will run Assasins Creed II, Mafia II and Skyrim in 3d.

The Breakdown

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  • 5
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  • 10
  • Design 10
  • Keyboard 10
  • Display 10
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 5
  • Battery life 6
  • Software 8
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