Hands-On with HP's Envy 13 and 15 Notebooks

norman

If the Voodoo Envy was HP's answer to Apple's Macbook Air, than the just-announced Envy 13 and 15 laptops are diect responses to Apple's Macbook Pro lineup. Sacrificing edgy styling and ridiculously-thin dimensions (seriously, who cares anymore?), the new Envys are built more for performance to meet the demands of the high-end market. These are definitely not underpowered thin-and-lights -- the 13.1-inch model packs a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB of DDR3 memory, and an ATI Radeon HD 4330 discrete graphics card. The 15.6-inch model is even more powerful. And both support an innovative battery slice add-on for prolonged use.

Envy 13

Full specs:

  • 12.59" x 8.46" x 0.8"
  • 13.1" LED Widescreen Display (1366x768)
  • 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor SL9400
  • 1066MHz FSP, 6MB L2 Cache
  • 3GB DDR3 System Memory
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 Graphics
  • 250GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • Brushed Aluminum with Metal Etching and HP Webcam
  • Intel WiFi Link 5100 AGN
  • 2-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader
  • Beats Audio
  • 2 USB ports, HDMI, RJ-45
  • Weight: 3.74 pounds

One thing we noticed was the exceptionally bright screen of the Envy 13. The WXGA LED-backlit display has an 82% color gamut and 410 nit brightness. When paired next to a Macbook Air with the same image on both, the HP's rendering looked more vibrant and full.

Battery Slice

The base of the Envy houses a 4-cell lithium-ion polymer battery, which is good for 7 hours of battery life. But included in the box is a thin battery slice, which extends the battery life to 18 hours (HP's estimates). The battery slice is surprisingly thin, adding less than half an inch of additional thickness when magnetically latched to the bottom of the laptop. Its beveled edges make it non-intrusive, and it has a small button on its base to indicate remaining juice.

The base of the Envy 13 -- note the small magnetic connector for the battery slice.

Size Comparisons

Envy 15

The 15.6-inch model is more than just a supersized version of the Envy 13. It has a different laser-etched design all around the magnesium alloy unibody, housing an Intel quad-core (which looks to be the not-yet officially announced Core i7 part). Other specs include an ATI 4830 graphics chip with 1GB of video memory, up to 16GB of system RAM, and two hard drive bays (no internal optical drive). The Envy 15 has its own battery slice, as well, which adds to it's relatively slim 1-inch thickness and 5.18 pound heft.

One thing we noticed was that the resolution of the Envy 15's screen is the same as that on the Envy 13 -- 1366x768. Hopefully, HP will offer a higher-resolution option.

The system properties window indicates that the Envy 15 is using an Intel Core processor, model Q820.

This label confirms that the CPU is indeed a 1.73GHz Clarksfield part, which Intel is rumored to officially announce at IDF.


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