Heat and Noise
The ENVY 14 remains impressively cool under normal load. While gaming and performing other demanding tasks, the notebook’s surface gets slightly warmer but not hot. The bottom of the chassis under the cooling exhaust vents gets warmer, so it’s probably not a good idea to use it on your lap while gaming.
Noise is the ENVY 14’s second downfall next to the lackluster screen. Even while just surfing the Internet the fans rarely turn off and make an annoying whine; it only gets louder while gaming.
During our standard battery rundown test (Windows 7 Balanced power profile, 70% screen brightness, wireless active and refreshing a web page every 60 seconds), the ENVY 14 achieved 4.5 hours of life on its large 8-cell battery which is less than expected. The previous-generation ENVY 14 lasted just over five hours.
The ENVY 14 is available with a “Slim Fit” extended life polymer battery which attaches seamlessly to the bottom of the notebook. Our test unit did not come with one however we expect it to add at least two hours to the run time. Naturally, it increases the weight and thickness of the notebook.
Battery life test results (higher scores mean better battery life):
The HP ENVY 14 impresses in a number of areas including build quality, design, and performance but underwhelms in two key areas. The first is the screen; given the premium price we expected a better quality screen but instead were greeted with a low-detail panel no different than ones found on budget notebooks. Second is the fan noise; it’s unacceptable. Even at idle the fan rarely shuts off and has an audible whine. A more minor complaint is the 4.5-hour battery life, which is decent but less than what we expected from the large eight-cell battery. Two other nuances worth mentioning are the so-so speakers despite the Beats Audio badging and the finicky clickpad, which does not work as well as a traditional touchpad.
At the end of the day the ENVY 14 is certainly recommendable – its design and quality are unparalleled amongst immediate competitors; additionally its performance is above average, especially for gaming. Its backlit keyboard is excellent and it comes with a two-year warranty standard. We think the pros outweigh the cons but as always, weigh them for yourself.
- Great looking design
- Solid build quality
- Excellent backlit keyboard
- Lackluster screen
- Finicky touchpad
- Loud fans