Last year, HP claimed to “redefine the premium notebook PC” when the company unveiled the new HP Envy 13. This 13-inch notebook provides high-performance, power-efficient processors, ATI switchable graphics, lightweight aluminum and magnesium construction, and functions a bright screen with amazing colour depth for exceptional picture viewing and video playback. On paper, the Envy 13 promises to become everything you want in a laptop. Keep reading to learn if this premium notebook is worth its premium cost tag.
Build quality remains very good thanks to a solid chassis and durable components throughout. The etched-metal palmrest provides an fascinating combination of style and assistance. The magnesium palmrests do not flex like common plastic palmrests and the etched pattern is a subtle method to add a splash of creativity to some typically boring area of the notebook. I suspect the recessed etching may collect dust and dirt over time, but the etching is shallow enough you could probably clean it having a microfiber cloth.
The 13.3-inch “HP Radiance” display is roughly twice as bright as other notebook displays of the same dimension – 410 nit brightness – and this helps compensate for that glossy surface covering the screen. It also enables you to cleary see the display even under direct sunlight. This LED-backlit show offers 82 percent color gamut (versus the standard 45-60 percent on other notebooks), so photos have a lot more intense colour saturation and video “pops” off the display. Of course, if you are a photography enthusiast you should tone down the colors on this show since they will be a bit too rich compared to natural colors. Viewing angles are typical, though initially, the screen looks better because the intense colour depth masks the common signs of color shift and inversion at steep viewing angles.
Port selection is disappointing about the Envy 13. You get a SD card slot, two USB 2. ports, HDMI out and a combo audio jack. This really is simply depressing because most 11-inch notebooks offer a lot more. Frankly, provided the price tag on the notebook and the amount of unused space close to the edges, HP could a minimum of add one a lot more USB port in addition to FireWire or eSATA. On a a lot more positive note you will find three big heat vents on the sides and back, so at least overheating shouldn’t be a problem.
System performance with the Intel Core 2 Duo SL9600 processor is average and not particularly impressive considering the cost. The dual-core processor is more than able to handle multiple applications with minimal lag, but if you are going to pay nearly $2,000 for a notebook, you want serious overall performance. The SL9600 underperforms against the older Core 2 Duo P8400 used in last year’s 13-inch MacBook Pro. That said, the Envy 13 still provides noticeably faster application switching and file conversion than cheaper notebooks using the Intel CULV class processors.
System temperatures stayed within normal ranges with the dual-core processor. The hard drive cavity was noticeably warm, but the temperature wasn’t uncomfortable. Noise levels were about average for a personal computer of this dimension, however the fan runs at a constant low hum even when the notebook is running on battery energy. If you’d like absolute silence in your workspace then the Envy 13 might not be an attractive alternative. If you don’t mind subtle white noise inside your daily routine, then you might not even notice the fan when it is working on battery.
The Envy 13 is really a nice laptop, but couple of of our editors would rush to purchase one for its starting cost of $1,500. Here’s some advice for HP and other PC manufacturers: In order to make a MacBook subsitute, do not try to copy the MacBook. There are many PCs out there which are a lot more compelling than Macs when it comes to design, functions, and cost, so think outside the box – or, at least, outside the Apple.