HP ENVY 14 Review (2011 Update)

by Charles P. Jefferies Reads (91,178)
Editor's Rating
7.71

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 8
    • Usability
    • 7
    • Design
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Features
    • 8
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.71
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Great looking design
    • Solid build quality
    • Excellent backlit keyboard
  • Cons

    • Lackluster screen
    • Finicky touchpad
    • Loud fans

Quick Take

The ENVY 14 is a well-designed multimedia laptop with great performance and only a few flaws.


The ENVY is HP’s answer to the Apple MacBook. Our 14-inch model features a beautiful metal chassis and a backlit keyboard. Is it the perfect Apple alternative? Read our review to find out.

Our HP ENVY 14 review unit is configured with the following specifications:

  • 14.5-inch “edge to edge” glass 720p display (1366×768 resolution)
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i5-2410M dual-core processor (2.3GHz, up to 2.9GHz Turbo Boost, 3MB cache, 35W TDP)
  • Intel HM65 chipset
  • AMD Radeon HD 6330M graphics card w/ 1GB DDR3 dedicated video memory
  • Graphics automatically switchable to integrated Intel graphics
  • 6GB DDR3-1333 RAM (1x4GB + 1x 2GB; supports up to 8GB – 2x 4GB)
  • 750GB 7200RPM Western Digital hard drive (WD7500BPKT)
  • Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6230 wireless network adapter
  • Internal Bluetooth 3.0
  • Integrated Skype-certified 720p HD webcam
  • Built-in slot-load DVD burner (hp DVD RAM UJ897)
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • 8-cell Li-ion battery (14.8V, 3800mAh)
  • Weight: 5.69 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 14.01 x 9.33 x 1.16~1.18 inches
  • Starting price: $999
  • Price as configured: $1,079.99

The ENVY 14 is well-equipped and includes the above standard save for the fast 750GB 7200RPM hard drive, which is an $80 option over the standard 500GB drive. These are robust if not enthusiast-level specifications. As configured, the ENVY 14 can handle nearly any task including gaming thanks to its dedicated AMD Radeon graphics card. The one disappointment is the low-resolution 14.5-inch screen; the previous-generation ENVY 14 was available with an excellent high-gamut 1600×900 screen, which provided far more space to work with.

Build and Design
HP ENVY notebooks are all about design. The ENVY 14 bears a close resemblance to the Apple MacBook, which isn’t a bad thing though does not leave a whole lot of room for originality. Unlike traditional notebooks with an internal frame, the ENVY 14 relies on the metal that makes up its outer chassis like an exoskeleton for strength. The build quality is top notch overall and feels remarkably solid. All that metal has a downside, of course: a weight of nearly six pounds. A standard 14-inch notebook weighs about a pound less. Even the bottom of the chassis is made of a metal alloy.

The lid is affixed to the chassis via two strong hinges; the lid’s metal backing provides superb protection against bumps. The lid can be opened with one hand, which is convenient. Fit and finish is excellent; there are no rough or misaligned edges. I like the laser-etched pattern in the palm rest and lid; it looks great and makes it more visually interesting than a MacBook.

The ENVY 14 is eager to impress and certainly does; it is one of the most solid non-business notebooks to pass through our lab in some time.

Ports and Features
The ENVY 14 has an above-average amount of input/output ports for a 14-inch consumer notebook, including eSATA, HDMI, and mini DisplayPort. It lacks USB 3.0 and an ExpressCard slot. All picture descriptions are are listed from left to right.


Front: Speakers, media card reader


Rear: Cooling exhaust vent


Left: Slot-load optical drive, 2x USB 2.0, microphone/headphone combo jack, headphone jack


Right: USB 2.0, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort, Kensington Lock slot, Ethernet, cooling exhust vent, AC power


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