HP Unveils Latest Spring 2010 Laptopsby Balraj Sandhu and Jarred Walton on May 5, 2010 5:28 PM EST
HP ENVY Notebooks
The first generation of HP ENVY notebooks were unfortunately let down by comparisons to the superior Apple MacBook Pro laptops which they shared a large amount of styling with and unfortunately shared the rather steep pricing. This coupled to some glaring omissions, like the lack of an internal optical drive and feeble connectivity of the 13” model, led to an uninspired attempt at entering the premium market.
Fortunately HP have decided to give these models are significant overhaul, and they now showcase HP’s “MUSE” design ethos, which stands for Materials, Usability, Sensory appeal, and Experiences. The new 14" and 17" ENVY models couple this premium design philosophy with features like slot loading optical drives and backlit keyboards to hopefully deliver on style and substance this time around.
The HP ENVY 14 features a 14.5” 1600x900 display that they claim is 59% brighter than any other notebook in its class. It features a 1.1” thick aluminum chassis weighing in at 5.25lbs. Performance is provided by Intel Arrandale Core i3 and i5 processors with an option to use a quad-core Clarksfield i7 processor—pretty amazing in this size of notebook. Graphics are the standard integrated Intel HD Graphics of the i3/i5 CPU, or an optional ATI Mobility Radeon 5650 (standard on the quad-core i7 model). This is supported by up to 8GB of DDR3 RAM.
Fortunately, a slot loading DVD writer is incorporated into the chassis, while mass storage consists of a 250, 320, 500 or 640GB HDD or a 160 or 256GB SSD. Connectivity includes three USB 2.0 ports with one doubling up as an eSATA port, HDMI, SD/MMC card reader, headphone and microphone ports (the latter doubles as a second headphone port), and gigabit Ethernet. WLAN 802.11a/b/g/n comes as standard with optional 3G/GPS connectivity. A 1280x720 webcam is provided with dual integrated microphones.
The ENVY 14 is available with Windows 7 Premium, Professional or Ultimate 64 bit stating June 27 at HP Direct starting at $1000—$200 cheaper than a 13” Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro and $800 cheaper than a Core i5 15” MacBook Pro!
The HP ENVY 17 features a 17.3” a 1600x900 display (a 1080p option is available) in a 7.51lb chassis. Intel Core i5 and quad-core i7 CPUs are available with ATI Mobility Radeon 5850 graphics making these real powerhouse notebooks. The ENVY 17 supports up to 8GB DDR3 RAM. The larger chassis provides two storage bays allowing the user to choose from a combination of 320, 500, 750GB and 1TB HDDs and a 160GB SSD. A DVD writer or Blu-Ray drive is available.
Connectivity includes two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 (finally!) port with an eSATA port sharing one of the USB 2.0 ports. VGA, HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort provide video output while a 5-in-1 card reader, headphone and microphone (which doubles as a second headphone port) round out the connectivity. Ethernet and WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n provide networking. A 1280x800 webcam is provided with dual integrated microphones.
The ENVY 17 is available with Windows 7 Premium, Professional or Ultimate 64 bit from 19th May at HP Direct starting at $1400, which is $900 cheaper than the 17” MacBook Pro. What remains to be seen is how well the ENVY notebooks do in terms of battery life; Apple's MacBook Pro sets a high bar there, and it will take a lot for a Windows 7 notebook to match the 6+ hours Apple typically achieves.