HP Envy 15 (2013)

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Reviewed by bitbank (Currently owns)

I ordered the custom (CTO) Envy 15 touchsmart with the following options: 8GB (2 DIMMs), 15.6" FHD (full HD) display, 1TB Hybrid HDD, backlit keyboard, Intel i7-4700MQ quad core CPU @2.4-3.4Ghz. I also own the HP Envy M6 which looks like last years version of this model. I installed a Samsung 840 250GB SSD before I even powered it up for the first time. It boots Win8 pro-x64 in about 7 seconds. Here's a simple breakdown:

The Good
1) The RAM/CPU is incredibly fast - runs 3x faster than my old i7 quad 2Ghz Sandy Bridge machine
2) Fingerprint reader works well with Windows 8
3) The built-in speakers sound reasonably good and don't distort at max volume. Low frequencies are under-represented (as one would expect in a laptop with 1" speakers).
4) Touchscreen is fast and very smooth
5) Trackpad is decent, but is a little rough and has a small imperfection (on mine) which feels like a piece of metal that didn't get sanded down

The Bad
1) The keyboard flexes in several places. The problem isn't bad enough to interfere with typing, but it makes it feel cheap.
2) The keyboard tray and palm rest are covered in metal, but it's thinner than on previous models.
3) The lid is made of plastic instead of metal like the previous models
4) The lid doesn't open beyond about 110 degrees. This is HP's new hinge design for the last couple of years.
5) The fan is loud and enabling "cool sense" doesn't seem to make it quiet down.
6) If you're doing some CPU intensive work (e.g. just about anything), you'll chew through the battery real fast. The claimed "9.5 hours" is really 2-5 depending on what you're doing.
7) There's no DVD and no VGA out. This is kind of odd for a 15.6" laptop. It looks like the display is a little thicker (touchscreen components?) and the body is a little thinner than older laptops, so this didn't allow room for a DVD.

For the price I paid ($883.99), I feel this was a reasonable deal for the kind of performance this laptop delivers. In the future, I would like to see HP focus more on quality + fit/finish. They seem to be headed in the wrong direction.

The Breakdown

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Design 6
  • Keyboard 3
  • Touchpad 7
  • Display 8
  • Performance 9
  • Heat / noise 2
  • Battery life 5
  • Software 5
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