HP added a new laptop to its HP envy series- HP Envy 15 late December, 2011. It’s actually the 2nd generation HP Envy-15 (the 1st generation being launched in 2009 & after that 2nd generation 14inches & 17inches were launched).
It’s a laptop with 15.6” screen that weighs around 2.63kg and is 28mm thick. Quite new features are present in it when compared to 1st generation Envy, like lot of ports and an internal optical drive (previous Envy was port deprived). It’s actually a wonderful gaming rig.
- Intel Core i-7 Quad Core CPU (2.2GHz & 3.1GHz with turbo boost, 6M L2 cache)
- 1080p Radiance display
- 8GB DDR3 RAM
- Backlit Keyboard
- Synaptics Touchpad
- 750 GB HDD (7200rpm)
The Core i-7 processor with four cores and eight threads gives a very delightful multi-tasking experience. And with 6M cache the operation is much faster. The HP true vision webcam is pretty good for chatting apps, its works very well with Skype. There’s a LED under every key as far as the backlit keyboard goes. The lighting is very nice and even with these LEDs. There are three levels of backlight: low, medium & high. The layout of keys on the keyboard is pretty spacious & there are many dedicated buttons like brightness control, media controls, optical drive eject, etc. The keyboard layout is strikingly similar to Apple’s Mac Book Pro.
Then there’s a button-less Synaptics track-pad (a HP classic) with a rough texture which makes it a delight to use. Multi-touch gesture works pretty well with this track-pad. Physically it may not have any buttons, but pressing on the lower right side of track-pad performs the right-click action and doing it on left side does the left-click action.
On the left side there’s Ethernet port, power port, HDMI port, Display port, USB 2.0 slot and SD card slot. With the powerful AMD GPU at work you can connect both HDMI & Display port at the same time. The optical drive is slot load rather than the conventional tray load, with 8x DVD burner located on right side. On same side there are two USB 3.0 ports two headphones jack & a mic jack.
Opening the lid might take a little effort as the hinges are bit stiff & the screen goes pretty far back. The body is made up of aluminum with magnesium alloy frame-typical high end Envy stuff.
The screen is 15.6” in size with 1920×1080 pixels display. It’s pretty bright with very good contrast. In terms of color gamma, it’s actually one of the best and even comparable to Apple’s display which is considered to be the best. Viewing angle is not a problem with it as one gets same experience of contrast and colors from all angles.
HP Envy 15 has dedicated graphics with AMD Raedon HD7690M 1GB graphics. This 7000 series of AMD mobile GPU’s isn’t actually much more enhanced, it can be regarded as marketing change to just introduce new series in the market. HD7690 is actually comparable to 6770 of AMD series. You can play F.E.A.R. 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, at highest possible settings & without any problems. This is actually something that you don’t get to see occasionally from a laptop. This is actually a good portable gaming machine.
The Intel HD 3000 integrated graphics is more than adequate for video playback and playing DVD’s. And the graphics is switchable between AMD Raedon to integrated Intel HD.
HPs use Beats audio & this rig also comes with an amazing 5.1 Beats audio system. There are six speakers and one sub-woofer at the bottom. No wonder that the audio is loud. On the right hand side, next to keyboard, there’s a dedicated Beats audio analog control button which brings up the Beats audio control panel. From this control panel you can switch to variety of audio settings for movies, sports etc. & set your EQ according to your need.
There’s a 4750mAh eight cell battery. Its battery life is amazing giving a backup of almost 5.5hours while using it on Intel HD integrated graphics.
- With an option to manually switch between integrated graphics & dedicated graphics, one can handle their apps more effectively.
- The fan is not too loud and the machine remains cool i.e. there’s not excessive heating of the rig even if the processor is running at 100% its capacity.
- Beats audio system is awesome. It’s adequately loud & clear.
- The all metal body is good but the looks could have been better.
- Despite the big touch pad, multi-touch gestures are still finicky.
This HP product is not officially launched in India, but in US its available at around $1200.