HP Envy 15 review

Full review: MacBook Pro rival with Core i7 processor

Image 1 of 3 HP Envy 15 front
HP Envy 15 front
Image 2 of 3 HP Envy 15 main
HP Envy 15 main
Image 3 of 3 HP Envy 15 lid
HP Envy 15 lid

It looks like the MacBook Pro, but performance doesn't quite match its rival

When HP refreshed its Envy range earlier this year, we were struck its design. The generous might suggest HP has borrowed a leaf from Apple’s design book – the cynical might not be so kind, with the resemblance between this notebook and the MacBook Pro pretty obvious.

Machined from magnesium, the Envy 15 is well built and attractive, although the patterned lid might put some off.

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Performance is exceptional thanks to the Intel Core i7 processor employed. Combined with 4GB of memory, this notebook’s forte is multitasking heavy loads, ideal for any photo, film and music editors out there. The powerful ATi graphics card also ensures that everything from HD movie editing to the latest games will run smoothly – making this a very versatile option and ideal for all the family.

The keyboard is also extremely impressive, and you’ll be quickly typing at full speed on the large, firm board. The touchpad is easy to brush while typing, however, causing erratic cursor behavior, but a button to disable it has been included and solves the problem.

With a resolution of 1366 x 768, the Envy 15’s screen isn’t Full HD, and the panel is also disappointingly dim to use. Fortunately – despite the shiny screen coating – reflections are well repressed.

HP Envy 15: Battery

The remarkable thing is how HP has crammed this muscle into such a thin chassis, which is only 28mm thick. The quad-core power really sucks the life out of the battery, however, and the 149 minutes squeezed is unfortunate, but to be expected. Nevertheless, the 2.4kg the machine weighs is admirably light.

One other negative impact of the power available is that the chassis gets very hot after a short period of time, making the Envy 15 almost painful to touch after a while, and we’d recommend using a notebook stand with a cooling fan.

HP Envy 15: Connections

While the notebook features the latest networking technology in the form of the 802.11n Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet, you’ll have to make do with a bundled external optical drive, and the 320GB hard drive isn’t the largest around. There are also 3 USB ports, as well as an eSATA interface and an HDMI out.

HP has gone for the MacBook Pro jugular with the Envy 15, and has produced a very smart machine. The poor battery life and serious heat generated by the components might not suite everyone, however.

Available now from Laptops Direct

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SPECIFICATIONS

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium
Screen (size and res): 15.6-inch (1366 x 768)
Processor (inc speed): Intel 1.6GHz Core i7 720QM

Graphics: ATi Mobility Radeon HD 4830
Memory: 4GB Storage (inc DVD): 320GB and external DVD optical drive
Battery tested: 149 minutes
Battery claimed: 360
Connections: 3 x USB, eSATA, HDMI, SD Card Slot, N WiFi, Gigabit Ethernet
Dimensions/weight: 380x244x27mn/2.4kg

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