Heat and Noise
Heat output during normal usage-low or idle CPU activity, integrated graphics enabled-the ENVY 14 stayed reasonably cool to the touch. With its metal cladding any significant increase in temperature means more heat transmitted into your legs or palms. While gaming we found system temperatures bearable, but not the most comfortable with the system on your lap. The palmrest and lower chassis warmed up considerably, which was fine for light-usage but crept very close to uncomfortable for longer gaming sessions. This type of experience isn’t uncommon for smaller gaming notebooks; we found the same thing happening on the Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 with a similar setup.
Fan noise was moderate compared to similarly-sized notebooks, but average when compared to systems with similar hardware. At idle with the processor in Balanced mode and the graphics set to integrated graphics, the ENVY 14 had its fan running continuously at a slow speed at whisper levels. It was noticeable in a very quiet room, but blended in when you had more background noise. With the processor and dedicated graphics stressed the noise levels went up, but not higher than what we heard from the Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 with a similar configuration.
Small gaming notebooks live a hard life when it comes to battery life. Most include fast processors, fast graphics, and with weight being a concern don’t include a large battery. HP included a 56Wh 8-cell battery with the ENVY 14. The notebook also comes equipped with hybrid graphics to switch between Intel GMA HD integrated graphics under normal use and the faster ATI Radeon HD 5650 dedicated graphics during gaming. In our tests with the screen brightness reduced to 70%, wireless active and refreshing a webpage every 60 seconds, and Windows in the Balanced model, the ENVY 14 stayed on for 5 hours and 15 minutes. For comparison the Lenovo IdeaPad Y460 stayed on for 4 hours and 52 minutes in the same test. HP also offers an external slice battery that attaches to the bottom of the notebook as an optional extra if you need even more battery life.
The HP ENVY 14 is a very fun wolf in sheep’s clothing notebook. From the outside it looks like just your average notebook, taking design queues from the unibody MacBook, but on the inside its packed with a very capable processor and high-end ATI dedicated graphics. At the time of writing this review the ENVY 14 comes standard with the Intel Core i3 370M dual-core processor with the quad-core Intel Core i7 840M as the highest option. The ENVY 14 is powered by a hybrid graphics engine, including the Intel GMA HD integrated graphics for everyday usage and an ATI Radeon HD 5650 for gaming. Battery life isn’t the best compared to 13.3-14-inch “productivity” notebooks, but we did manage to get five hours out of the ENVY 14 in our battery test. This is plenty of time for enjoying a movie on an average flight, surfing the web through a few classes, or taking notes in a long meeting. Overall we were very impressed by the HP ENVY 14 and highly recommend checking it out if you are in the market for a 14-inch notebook and want a bit more than a run-of-the-mill performance that you might get from an Apple MacBook Pro.
- Excellent Performance, optional quad-core CPU
- Very good looks
- Superb build quality
- Gets hot under pressure
- Twitchy touchpad