16 March 2016

REVIEW: HP Envy 15

Green-eyed monster.

Tablets with built-in keyboards, huge screen phones that run Microsoft Office, and smartwatches that you can dictate text to... all are pretty flash and snazzy, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty, most of us would prefer a solid laptop. To test one that is high on specs, but low on weight, we check out the HP Envy 15.

Encased in silky smooth metal, the Envy 15 laptop from HP is a Windows 10-running powerhouse of processing. The 15.6 inch diagonal LCD screen is resplendent in 1920 x 1080p and is bright and crisp, while also being refreshingly thin. The main body of the laptop houses a full-sized back-lit keyboard (so numerical keypad on the right) and a very smooth and responsive capacitive track pad, the HP ImagePad. We love how the track pad gives the appearance of being recessed, while actually being completely flush with the surroundings.

The edges of the HP Envy 15 present the user with a plethora of connections. On the left you get three (3! Yay!) USB 3.0 ports, a full-sized HDMI out port, the power adaptor port, a standard headphone port, a SD card slot (which actually takes the whole of the card inside it, so no worrying that you're going to snap the card while shifting the laptop about), and an Ethernet port that partially closes to keep it small. Meanwhile, on t'other side, there's a single USB 2.0 port and the security lock connection. So you're covered in terms of 'stuff-what-needs-plugging-in-innit'.

The Envy 15 is just 23mm thick, so not the thinnest overall laptop we've ever looked at, but definitely the sleekest relative to power. On that note, the Envy's pre-installed Windows 10 (which is always nice to get straight out of the box) is powered by 8GB of RAM and a AMD A10-8700P quad-core processor. This thing is fast; from the sub-ten second start up from cold, to handling heavy-load processing like online games and video streaming, it is the absolute business. While testing the HP Envy 15 we had a bit of fun throwing as much as we could at it, to see if performance was ever severely effected... and it truly wasn't. Streaming Netflix while rendering a 4K video while editing photos was achievable on more than one occasion, and it made us miss laptops.

Sounds weird, but although we all use laptops each day to write the content for the site (and other fun things), recently we've been reviewing products that the market thinks will take over the mantle from laptops, such as Windows tablets or smartphones that you can use a computer. These products, while being (mostly) very good, tend to just make it when tackling heavy loads of work; a laptop like the HP Envy 15 nails it every time and then some.

In terms of use, on a full charge (which will take a two hours depending on what you're doing on it at the same time) the Envy 15 gave us around seven hours of casual use; basically the kind of use that created this article, so Word running along with checking emails and flipping through Twitter. Up your task load - such as the aforementioned heavy-load stuff – and it dropped to about four hours, but that's still a pretty decent life.

Also, while you're busy working away, the HP Envy 15 can provide you with some great tunes. The speaker system is of Bang & Olufsen design, incorporating two well-spaced stereo speakers and a separate sub-woofer. We've yet to find a laptop that could ever replace your dedicated Bluetooth speaker, but the sound quality from this machine is certainly note-worthy. Highs and lows are nice and crisp, and for the first time ever we felt bass from a laptop. Type while playing some dub-step and your fingers will be gently massaged. Oh, and you know... it looks pretty swish to have a Bang & Olufsen logo on your laptop, bro.

So this is a really great laptop with some stand-out features. Be it for work or play (and, ideally, both) the HP Envy 15 could be your go-to machine for many years to come.


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