HP ENVY 14 Review

by Kevin O'Brien Reads (150,135)
Editor's Rating
9.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Software & Support
    • 8
    • Upgrade Capabilities
    • 9
    • Usability
    • 9
    • Design
    • 10
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Price/Value Rating
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Excellent Performance, optional quad-core CPU
    • Very good looks
    • Superb build quality
  • Cons

    • Gets hot under pressure
    • Twitchy touchpad

Quick Take

The HP ENVY 14 is a powerful 14.5-inch gaming notebook powered by an ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics card and Intel Core i5 processor.


The HP ENVY 14 is a slim gaming notebook powered by the ATI Radeon HD 5650 graphics card. The new 14.5-inch model is the successor to the older 13-inch ENVY, offering a similar size but way more power. Read on to see what we think of the new ENVY 14.

Our HP ENVY 14 Specifications:

  • 14.5″ LED-backlit HD+ 1600×900 Display
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Intel Core i5 450M processor (2.40GHz, 3MB cache)
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 with 1GB VRAM and Intel GMA HD Switchable Graphics
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM (2x 2GB)
  • 500GB 7200RPM hard drive (Seagate 7200.4)
  • Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6200AGN
  • Built-in Bluetooth v2.1+EDR
  • 8X slot-loading DVD burner
  • Two-year limited warranty
  • 8-cell Li-ion battery (14.8v, 3800mAh)
  • Weight: 5.57lbs
  • Dimensions: 14.01 x 9.33 x 1.11-inches
  • MSRP: $1,049


Build and Design
The HP ENVY 14, like the previous ENVY 13 and 15 before it, has a very MacBook-esque look and feel. The body is comprised of a slick machined metal shell, covering the top and bottom of the notebook. The screen cover and palmrest are both etched with a unique pattern to enhance the look as well as increase traction for your hand while you carry it around. On the inside the ENVY 14 has an all-glass display that enhances the look of the screen, keeps dust off the LCD, and gets rid of the common recessed screen border. The bottom is designed with both form and function, hiding any separate access panels or battery, in favor of a single spring loaded panel to improve its appearance. The battery is hidden under this cover, as well as screws to gain access to system components.

Build quality of the HP ENVY 14 is well above average. The metal chassis feels rock-solid, which the same could be said about the Apple MacBook Pro as well. The upper and lower shells tie the system together to prevent flex and make the system feel very rigid. The metal screen cover gives excellent protection to the LCD-with some help from the front all-glass surface-and limits screen distortion from impacts to both sides. The screen hinges keep the lid tightly shut when the notebook is closed and limit screen wobble when the display is open, although tension isn’t strong enough to warrant two hands for tilting the screen back. The palmrest and keyboard are very solid, showing no flex under strong pressure. Even areas above the slot-loading optical drive are flex-free thanks to the metal body.

Users looking to upgrade or tweak the HP ENVY 14 shouldn’t be alarmed by looking at the clean design of the bottom of the notebook. Under the latched metal cover HP stores the primary system battery and hard drive for easy access. To get at other system components, like the wireless card, CMOS battery, processor, system memory, or even both heatsinks, you just remove five screws and take off the remaining bottom panel.



Keyboard and Touchpad
The HP ENVY has a Chiclet-style keyboard with backlit illumination for typing in poorly lit areas. The keyboard was very comfortable to type on with a layout that was far from being cramped. Some notebooks these days seem to be moving towards fitting numberpads wherever possible, but the ENVY 14 stays away from that and leaves plenty of room to spare. The backlight feature worked very well in dark rooms, turning on and off at the push of a button. Under normal conditions the high-contrast keys were easy to read, with a black background and bright white lettering. Individual key actions were smooth, with very little sound given off while typing at a moderate speed. Typing pressure needed to activate each key was minimal and with minimal key wobble the design felt great to type on.

The ENVY 14 features a large Synaptics touchpad with integrated left and right buttons. The implementation seemed to reduce errors compared to previous all-in-one touchpads I have used in the past, but it still felt clunky compared to models with dedicated buttons. Resting your thumb on the touchpad surface ready to click sometimes interfered with the smooth movement of the cursor. We didn’t see drastic problems with accidentally zooming or scrolling, but it sometimes turned a graceful swipe into a stuttering movement. If you don’t rest your finger on the surface though, the touchpad was excellent. Sensitivity was great out of the box and movement on the X and Y-axis was equalized to prevent ovals while drawing circles on the touchpad surface. Clicking the touchpad took a slight bit of pressure, similar to touchpad buttons with a shallow throw, giving off a mild click when pressed with some feedback.


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