HP ENVY 4 Ultrabook Review
What we now have here today is the shiny new HP ENVY 4 Ultrabook sporting a third gen Intel Core-i5 dual-core processor and naturally those Beats Audio speakers. It packs plenty of power under the hood and all folded up will only be about 0.78″ thick, but is that this enough to earn your dollars? Head down past the break and we’ll discover.
This will not be HP’s ultra high end, however the ENVY series has always been one in all their better offerings. Back in May we got our first glace at this Ultrabook, after which late last month we were ready to unbox it and dig in a chunk deeper. To get you started out with full specs, details, and the unboxing you need to start here.
This aluminum wrapped machine hit the shelves last month for roughly $800 and today we are going to offer you a more in-depth look, in addition to our review and impressions at the laptop. It certainly isn’t HP’s nicest wrapped device however the aluminum has an outstanding feel. For some reason the top on top have been replaced with plastic, and the aluminum doesn’t extend to your complete fringe of the casing. This provides opening and shutting it a slightly cheap feel, as the plastic is indeed very cheap. Otherwise the complete body is easily built, and appears like it too.
The top has that midnight black brushed aluminum look and the sole change is the neat and small HP logo at the bottom corner. As you curve round the sides to the ports however, you’ll quickly notice the aluminum design ends for a soft-touch red matte texture instead. This makes it easy to carry, but causes a local which can separate someday if it takes an excessive amount of abuse. The complete sides and bottom are bright “Beats Audio red” and is soft to touch. This makes it easy to carry, and comfy to hold.
All in the complete ENVY 4-1030us (that we have got here) is available in under 4 lbs (3.86 to be exact) and only 0.78″ thick. We have seen thicker, but for $800 the package is very sleek and decent. We’ll discuss ports more below so for now the star of the show is the TrueVision HD front camera for Skype and video chat, and naturally Beats Audio.
HP’s integrated dual-stereo surround sound Beats Audio speakers, and they’re actually quite decent. Obviously you will not be getting the bass you want, but for music, videos, or even gaming i discovered them sufficient. Even near full volume the distortion levels are minimal, and I’d give them a superb thumbs up for the worth, although they still have that tin-can sound. Ultrabooks and laptops the speakers can always improve, but these didn’t leave me wanting an excessive amount of more.
As far because the hardware specs of the device, while you didn’t catch the whole breakdown in my video above here they’re again. You will get a transparent and vivid 14-inch Brightview LED 1366 x 768 display, 1.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (3317U), 4GB of DDR3 RAM, a 500GB HD (no SSD here) 3 USB ports, Ethernet, HDMI, SD slot for storage, then integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. There is not any dedicated GPU here, but Intel’s HD graphics were enough for the casual game here. You will not be playing Battlefield 3, but then you definately shouldn’t expect to.
The 14-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display is quite decent, but obviously we’d always like an improved resolution. Just like the Retina Display Macbook Pro as an example – but on the other hand here’s only $800. The screen remains HD and playing YouTube videos was a breeze. I even used the HDMI-out at the side to stream some Olympics to my HDTV since NBC failed us on their coverage, and it worked wonderfully.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Now here’s one area that I wasn’t to comfortable with the ENVY 4. The keys, while backlit, and chicklet style had a slightly cheap feel to them. Being a 14 inch device I wasn’t expecting it to feel very compact and occasional on space, but i discovered myself struggling to get comfortable – but in an effort to are available in due time. The keys while still feeling cheap have a superb firm click during use, but certain areas at the keyboard felt weaker than others. The back-light option has a straightforward on/off setting, but that was all. Having the ability to manually control this will be nice but for $800 we’ll gladly just accept the truth we’ve got it.
My biggest concern however was the trackpad. i do know HP’s been doing this circular diamond-cut like design for ages, but i locate it extremely frustrating. You’ll find the lines all aim for the heart from the picture above, but i locate the sort of feedback to be rather difficult. It makes operation feel rather choppy and the “smooth” feel i wished was certainly missing. The sensitivity was another minor issue. Nothing you cannot get used to, but even after changing it in settings I still found myself having to copy my taps. Overall I’d take a number of points off here, but nothing major as this is often all subjective and depends upon user preference.
As mentioned above, the ENVY 4 Ultrabook has 3 USB ports (two left, one right), Ethernet, HDMI, and whole size SD slot for storage. Then off to the proper side is your power port, 3rd USB, headphone and microphone ports. All of them felt great and weren’t too tight, as I’ve had that issue with newer laptops long ago. Here is a check out the ports:
This device runs an Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit, which we must always all know plenty about by now so I’ll follow the outcomes. Performance was rather decent, although I quickly replaced IE but that’s just me. Working with a third Gen Ivy Bridge Core i5 dual-core processor and 4GB of DDR3 RAM performance was great, but I’d like to see 6GB for the worth point. We don’t have any SSD so hard disk drive results weren’t impressive, but that was expected.
All this equals a slightly powerful mid-range Ultrabook eager about an awesome price. It has about a compromises here and there, but this would still be the device for you. As usual here at SlashGear we’ve ran some Geekbench benchmark tests. You will find those results below and compare with previous Laptop Reviews.
|Integer||Processor integer performance||5321|
|Floating Point||Processor floating point performance||9500|
|Stream||Memory bandwidth performance||5192|
|Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)|
|Intel Core i5-3317U|
|GenuineIntel Family 6 Model 58 Stepping 9|
|32.0 KB||32.0 KB|
|256 KB||3.00 MB|
|4.00 GB DDR3 SDRAM 799MHz||99.9 MHz|
All in all it is a rather great machine. It’s lightweight, portable, thin, powerful, sounds great, and has a bright and vivid screen. Oh and did we mention affordable. For everything you get that is certainly an inexpensive Ultrabook, I just wish it had USB 3.0 and possible slightly better build quality. If you have ever used a Macbook for a protracted time period you’ll surely notice the build quality differences. In comparison to most others within the budget however, this ENVY 4 Ultrabook is impressive, and should leave many within the dust. Using the ENVY 4 for browsing and some videos on NFL.com I barely managed 5 hours of battery life, in order that is an additional thing worth mentioning.
This isn’t quite as impressive because the Acer Aspire S5 we recently reviewed, but then it is also less expensive too. For the mid-range price and great “Ultrabook” specs this would definitely make anyone happy for only $800. Overall the The Envy 4 in all fairness named, and a few others on this range will “envy” it. Featuring a premium design and tasty use of the colour red certainly makes it an Ultrabook worth trying out. Benefit from the pictures and a few of our other HP reviews below.