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A robust desktop alternative from HP that prices lower than

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This huge man comes with a smattering of fantastic specs, together with a quad-core Intel i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 1TB of onerous drive house, a CD/DVD drive, a full-HD touchscreen, and even a fingerprint scanner. For $999, that is quite a bit. Actually, for a similar value, you may get HP’s Spectre 13 ultrabook, which has a weaker processor, half the RAM, and a fraction of the space for storing—however it’s oh-so-portable.

The 17-inch Envy is a fully rock-solid machine, however you will break fairly a sweat in the event you attempt to lug it round with you. Sure, it is heavy and constituted of an excessive amount of plastic. As an at-home laptop for the entire household, although? You’ll be able to’t go flawed.

An enormous-body laptop computer with all of the fixings

HP’s 17-inch Envy is the game utility car of laptops: It is huge, and boy is it comfy.

From a chook’s-eye-view, the Envy appears to be like like little greater than a giant hunk of plastic. HP selected to not gown this transportable desktop in a full metallic jacket. The duvet has a chintzy plastic really feel to it, though for $1,000, what’d you anticipate? The designers clearly cared extra about specs than appears to be like when making this Envy mannequin—nothing like the category and strong design you will discover on the HP Spectre 13, as an illustration.

Carry the quilt up and also you’re handled to a full-sized keyboard, which is a pleasure to kind on. Keys are completely sized and supply a satisfying quantity of journey, plus there is a quantity pad on the correct aspect. My solely grievance right here comes again to high quality: Each time I pressed a key, the bottom would barely collapse. I doubt I might break the keyboard from typing alone, however it’s not reassuring to see your laptop computer bend so simply.

Beneath the keyboard is an ample-sized touchpad with one caveat: It does not lie flush with the Envy’s base. You can stick a coin beneath the underside of the touchpad and pry it off—an odd design option to say the least. This will not mesh effectively together with your youngsters and their graham cracker crumbs.

HP included a fingerprint scanner on the Envy, and it truly works.

Regardless, this pad works very effectively. Whereas most firms attempt to make touchpads silky easy, HP opted to make use of a thinly ridged texture. The outcome is definitely fairly nice: Your finger can easily glide across the floor, however with added management due to the ridges. Sadly, I needed to apply an excessive amount of strain when triggering a mouse click on.

To the correct of the touchpad is a skinny black strip that appears like a light-weight. HP included a fingerprint scanner on the Envy, and it truly works. It is a cool addition to any laptop, however the software program it comes with is complicated—extra on that later.

Connectivity choices are plentiful on the Envy. Need USB 3.0 ports? This PC has 4 of ’em. You will additionally discover a full-sized HDMI output, an SD card reader, and a headphone jack.

The HP Envy’s touchpad is not flush with the bottom, which suggests meals crumbs can get beneath it.

One engaging addition to the Envy is a CD/DVD participant. Whereas the world appears to be shifting away from bodily media, there are nonetheless loads of customers who purchase CDs and DVDs. Sadly, this drive does not play Blu-rays, which means you’ll be able to’t take full benefit of this HP’s 1080p display.

The one factor separating the keyboard from the display is a Beats Audio speaker. Similar to the Spectre 13, the sound high quality on the Envy is certainly higher than most different laptops. Bass frequencies are simpler to listen to and it is loud sufficient to fill a small room. Whereas this Beats-branded speaker is not any substitute for a good 2.1 setup, it sounds ok for many customers’ wants.

Lastly, we now have the Envy’s 17-inch touchscreen. HP properly gave this huge show a 1080p decision—you’ll discover a scarcity of sharpness if it have been any decrease. Coupled with a reasonably vivid display, customers will get pleasure from this laptop computer’s visible output. Additionally, be happy to succeed in out and work together with the Envy’s show: Contact controls are correct and responsive.

If ultrabooks had emotions, they’d be envious.

The HP Envy TouchSmart 17 has a secret weapon: its quad-core Intel i7 processor. For $999.99, this laptop computer supplies extra energy than most customers want.

How highly effective is it? Let’s evaluate it to the HP Spectre 13, which encompasses a dual-core i5 processor and an an identical price ticket:

  • When changing a .MOV file to a .MP4 file, the Envy accomplished the duty in 65.31 seconds. The HP Spectre 13 took over 4 minutes.
  • When given an Excel spreadsheet with advanced formulation, the Envy computed them in simply over 4 seconds. It took the Spectre practically 6 seconds to do the identical.
  • When enjoying the sport Metro: 2033 on excessive settings, the Envy had a mean body price of 8.33 in comparison with the Spectre’s 6.59.

HP’s desktop alternative is proof that buyers pay extra for portability than energy. In virtually each check, it trounced the scores that ultrabooks achieved. With that mentioned, not all the things is best on the Envy.

The onerous drive on this laptop computer is a 1TB mannequin clocked at 5400 RPM. In laymen’s phrases, it will possibly maintain a whole lot of stuff, however it’s extraordinarily sluggish. Launching an app on this laptop due to this fact takes a bit longer than it does on an ultrabook with a solid-state onerous drive. When the Envy lastly launches a program, it runs easily and shortly, however the time it takes to open that program might show irritating at occasions.

HP’s desktop alternative is proof that buyers pay extra for portability than energy.

For a giant laptop computer, it at the very least will get a decent quantity of battery life. I clocked simply over 6 hours whereas net searching with a 50% backlight brightness. Whereas virtually any present ultrabook can have an extended cost, I am unable to think about carrying the 17-inch Envy round and counting on its battery.

And what about WiFi efficiency? The Envy will get nice reception, and might connect with networks on the two.4GHz or 5GHz spectrum. I used to be in a position to obtain speeds better than 10Mbps whereas downloading video games from Steam—one thing not each laptop computer can obtain.

Need safety? HP’s acquired it.

The Envy comes with Home windows 8.1, which is straightforward to navigate when you get used to it. When you’re free to obtain packages as you see match, HP bundled a handful on this PC for you. Pleasure.

Most apps that come prepackaged on Home windows-based laptops are bloatware, or packages that you will by no means use. Sadly, most of the apps on this HP fall into that class.

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  • Slide 1 of 5

    The HP Envy TouchSmart 17’s Begin display

  • Slide 1 of 5

    WildTangent is a portal to purchase video games, though you are higher off downloading Steam.

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    The HP Envy TouchSmart 17 comes with 50GB of free storage on Field.

  • Slide 1 of 5

    HP Related Music is not any extra, though Beats Music ought to have been included as a substitute.

  • Slide 1 of 5

    SimplePass is HP’s fingerprint scanner software program, and though it is a bit complicated, it really works.

Take the WildTangent Video games app, for instance. WildTangent is basically a portal to purchase and obtain video video games… all of which I’ve by no means heard of. If you are going to play PC video games, you are going to use Steam, which has an unmatched choice. Sure, there are viable rivals to Steam, however WildTangent is not one in all them.

Just like the HP Spectre 13, the Envy comes with 50GB of free cloud storage courtesy of Field. Should you’re acquainted with how Dropbox works, you then’ll really feel proper at house with Field. 50GB is a considerable quantity of storage, so in the event you aren’t devoted to different cloud storage platforms, give Field a attempt.

With SimplePass, you’ll be able to log into Home windows by scanning your fingerprint as a substitute of inputting a password.

Additionally just like the Spectre, the Envy comes with HP Related Music pre-installed. This was HP’s proprietary music retailer, and its interface was horrible. Now whenever you launch the app, you get a message telling you to obtain Beats Music—in all probability attributable to HP’s partnership with Beats. Should you’re not acquainted with Beats Music, it is like Spotify: a subscription-based music-streaming service.

The largest software program contribution to the Envy is SimplePass, the app related to the fingerprint scanner. With SimplePass, you’ll be able to log into Home windows by scanning your fingerprint as a substitute of inputting a password; it additionally enables you to do the identical for web sites. In my time with the Envy, the scanner was correct and a worthwhile characteristic for security functions. The software program, although, is a bit complicated.

I used to be prepared to jot down off SimplePass for web site use, however then the difficulty turned clear: SimplePass solely appears to work with Web Explorer, which I by no means discovered clearly said anyplace. As soon as I figured this out, SimplePass turned way more interesting. By scanning your finger at any time, you’ll be able to deliver up an inventory of internet sites that you have logged into with the software program. This basically creates bookmarks for any web site requiring a password, and is one thing I might see myself utilizing. And sure, you’ll be able to have a number of fingerprints added to SimplePass.

Large physique, huge energy—huge all the things

Should you’re out there for a 17-inch laptop computer, you in all probability aren’t planning on carrying it round wherever you go. The HP Envy TouchSmart 17 is a perfect companion for these varieties of customers. All through testing, this $999.99 rig shocked me. I did not anticipate it to carry out in addition to it did with no solid-state drive, nor did I feel it will have a battery lifetime of 6 hours. For a grand, you are getting a whole lot of laptop—actually.

My solely complaints need to do with this HP’s overly plastic building and sluggish load occasions. When you cannot do a factor about its construct high quality, the load occasions do have a light-weight on the finish of the tunnel: As soon as packages lastly load, they run flawlessly.

The HP Envy TouchSmart 17 could be an superior laptop for the household—that’s, in the event you aren’t bought on the thought of an precise desktop PC. It is highly effective sufficient for your complete family, and it is simply transportable sufficient to deliver on holidays. This laptop is a real crowd pleaser, and for its comparatively low value, what extra might you ask for?

Meet the tester

Josh Fields

Workers Author

@reviewedtech

An fanatic of all issues tech, Josh is one in all Reviewed.com’s resident tv consultants. When he isn’t vivid TV screens in a darkish room, he is in all probability reviewing a laptop computer or discovering a brand new snack at 7-11.

See all of Josh Fields’s critiques

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