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HP Envy 17t evaluation: Purchase it for the massive 4K

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The HP Envy 17t is one other reminder that massive laptops are again, and never only for gaming. Apple now sells a 16-inch MacBook Professional, without end changing the 15-inch fashions in its lineup. Dell has come out with a brand new XPS 17 for the primary time since 2011. Even LG’s Gram laptop computer line features a shockingly mild 17-inch model.

The Envy 17t isn’t a brand new product—HP’s been promoting it for years—however the surge in related fashions partly stems from developments in show expertise that enable for bigger screens in smaller our bodies. It’s additionally an acknowledgement of the workhorse function into which PCs have comfortably settled. Even in a world of big-screen telephones, more and more succesful tablets, and ever-lighter ultraportable notebooks, jumbo laptops nonetheless fill a singular function for getting issues performed.

That’s definitely true of the Envy 17t. Simply remember that outfitting your self with a 4K show this huge comes with some massive downsides, particularly in the event you don’t need to spend extra for higher efficiency.

This evaluation is a part of our ongoing roundup of the perfect laptops. Go there for info on competing merchandise and the way we examined them.

HP Envy 17t: Tech specs

Our HP Envy 17t evaluation unit carries a listing worth of $1,590 from HP.com and has the next specs:

  • Show: 17-inch, 3840×2160 IPS non-touch show
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU
  • Reminiscence: 16 GB DDR4-3200 RAM
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX330 GPU with 2 GB VRAM
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe stable state drive
  • Left-side ports: USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 sleep-and-charge port, HDMI, headphone jack, USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 port
  • Proper-side ports: Two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, SD card slot
  • Webcam: 720p, with software-based privateness shutter
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 assist
  • Dimensions: 15.71 x 10.2 x 0.76 inches
  • Weight: 6.02 kilos (6.88 kilos with energy brick)

HP’s web site has some further configurations, ranging in worth from $1,050 to $1,980. An Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU is obtainable, and you may improve the MX330 graphics card to 4GB of VRAM. Reminiscence is configurable right down to 8GB or as much as 32GB, and you may go for both a 1TB SSD or a combo 256GB SSD with a 1TB laborious drive. You too can get a 1080p show, with or and not using a touchscreen, however there’s no choice for 4K with a contact panel.

Jared Newman / IDG

The HP Envy 17t’s port choice contains the uncommon full-sized SD card slot.

Regardless of the scale, this isn’t a laptop computer for severe gaming or heavy-duty media manufacturing. The GeForce MX330 graphics card exists primarily to assist the 4K show, whereas the Intel Ice Lake CPU matches what you’ll discover in high-end ultrathin laptops, similar to Lenovo’s C940 Yoga 14 or HP’s Spectre x360 13t. For those who want an actual powerhouse, hunt down a laptop computer with Intel’s H-Sequence processors and higher discrete GPUs, similar to Dell’s new XPS 17 or Lenovo’s C940 Yoga 15.

The port choice is fairly good, although. HP takes benefit of the additional area {that a} 17-inch display affords to offer a full-sized SD card slot—a rarity on laptops nowadays—and an HDMI port that may output 4K at 60 frames per second to suitable screens or televisions. One may solely nitpick the dearth of Thunderbolt 3 or a quicker USB-C port, because the one on board has a most 10Gbps switch velocity.

One different notable perk: The Envy 17t has room for a tough disk drive, although you’ll should pry off the laptop computer’s rubber toes and cope with some hex screws to entry the internals.

Design and show

Like different laptops within the Envy lineup, HP’s Envy 17t is available in a light-gray aluminum chassis, with sharp-edged sides and a barely raised palm relaxation. It additionally has the identical the diamond-shaped sample on its Bang & Olufsen speaker grille, which, mixed with HP’s extra-large keycap lettering, provides the Envy 17t a pointy, distinct look.

However in contrast to different Envy laptops, the Envy 17t is extraordinarily heavy and ponderous, weighing over six kilos and not using a charger. The bezels arounds its show, whereas slender, aren’t as slim as these of Dell’s new XPS 17. This laptop computer is supposed for sitting in your desk, not for toting round—some extent bolstered by the drop-hinge that props up the laptop computer’s physique when it’s folded open. On a flat floor, this design improves airflow and makes typing comfier, however in your lap the 2 rubber stoppers would dig into your legs.

Jared Newman / IDG

The HP Envy 17t’s drop hinge is nice for desks, however not so good for laps.

Nonetheless, the 4K show itself appears nice, and maybe due to the MX330 GPU inside, the Envy 17t exhibited not one of the uneven animations or janky scrolling that plague some 4K laptops with built-in graphics. Whereas the display doesn’t assist Dolby Imaginative and prescient HDR, we measured a peak brightness of 387 nits, which is admirable for a laptop computer of this measurement.

Keyboard and trackpad

Right here’s one unambiguous benefit of a 17-inch laptop computer: The keyboard makes no main sacrifices in measurement, and it simply suits in a quantity pad. The keys are on the bouncy aspect, however in no way wobbly—placing strain on simply the nook of any key causes the entire thing to depress. The keyboard additionally affords loads of journey and provides off a barely satisfying click on. There’s hardly any flex within the laptop computer’s physique when typed on. The one notable omission is a proper Management key—HP put its fingerprint reader the place the important thing would usually be—however it’s a stellar keyboard total.

Jared Newman / IDG

Loads of room for a quantity pad right here, although a fingerprint reader sits the place proper Management would usually be.

The trackpad falls a lot shorter of perfection. Whereas it’s extra spacious than what you’d discover on smaller laptops, and continues to be considerably clickable on the very high edge, the responsiveness could possibly be smoother—finger actions typically felt jerky fairly than fluid. On the upside, the Envy 17t does assist Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad drivers, so it helps customary Home windows 10 multitouch gestures and doesn’t have any accuracy points, as we’ve skilled on some earlier HP laptops.

Audio, webcam, safety

HP continues to companion with Danish audio model Bang & Olufsen on its high-end laptop computer audio system, and the outcomes are predictably respectable. Whereas the sound system doesn’t match the vocal heat or wealthy bass tones of Lenovo’s C940 Yoga 14—nonetheless the gold customary amongst high-end Home windows PCs—they do get nearly as loud, and supply a brightness that you just don’t often discover on laptops.

In the meantime, HP continues to not companion with any notable digital camera manufacturers on its webcam, which affords 720p imagery akin to that of most different notebooks. HP does embrace a privateness shutter that covers the lens, however it’s operated by means of software program through a operate row key, so you’ll be able to’t flip the shutter when the pc is off.

Jared Newman / IDG

The HP Envy 17t makes use of a operate row key (left) to shut the digital camera shutter (proper).

The fingerprint reader can also be a little bit of a letdown. Occupying a slot on the keyboard, it’s bigger than the pinky-nail-sized readers on many different laptops, and I had points getting it to work reliably. Even after re-registering my finger, unlocking the laptop computer often took a number of tries with barely completely different finger positions.

Efficiency

The HP Envy 17t definitely appears like a beefy workhorse laptop computer, however benchmarks reveal the reality: Besides within the graphics division, the Envy 17t performs equally to smaller laptops that weigh half as a lot—not shocking given the Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU inside. However its battery life is way worse.

HP’s software program compounds the matter, with a function-row key mentioning a number of “Thermal Profiles” that may tweak system temperatures by throttling the CPU up or down. Our benchmark graphs are primarily based on the default “HP Really useful” profile, which strikes a steadiness between efficiency and temperature. Selecting the “Efficiency” setting led to larger scores in some assessments, which I’ll observe within the textual content.

Jared Newman / IDG

The Envy 17t’s efficiency varies relying on which Thermal Profile you decide.

Let’s begin with PCMark 8, which measures efficiency whereas simulating a wide range of workplace duties. We don’t have a whole lot of 17-inch laptops to match with, so we’ve blended some 15-inch laptops into our charts, together with a 13-inch laptop computer with the identical CPU.

Any PCMark rating over 2,000 is suitable. The Envy 17t’s rating of 3132 is sweet, although on the decrease finish of its cohort. It even falls behind final yr’s model of the LG Gram 17, which weighs solely three kilos. (We’ve got not reviewed the newest Gram with a Tenth-generation Intel processor.)

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

Amongst Core i7 CPUs, PCMark scores are extra related than they’re completely different.

Related outcomes emerged in Cinebench, which assessments the CPU with a fast burst of heavy efficiency calls for. The Envy 17t’s single-threaded rating of 188 is stable, however its multi-threaded rating of 579 is nicely behind a variety of different laptops. Switching on HP’s “Efficiency” mode bumped the rating to 684, which continues to be on the decrease finish.

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

At default thermal profile settings, the HP Envy 17t’s multi-thread Cinebench scores falter, although single-threaded efficiency is ok.

Switching between HP’s thermal profiles yielded probably the most dramatic ends in our HandBrake benchmark, which assessments a heavy workload over time by encoding a big video profile. Out of the field, the Envy 17t completed the job in a dismal 71 minutes, matching the sort of heavily-throttled efficiency you’d see in a a lot smaller laptop computer such because the Envy 13. Turning on HP’s “Efficiency” mode resulted in a a lot larger rating of three,146 seconds, or 52 minutes, however it’s nonetheless no comparability towards a laptop computer with Intel’s Tenth-generation H-Sequence CPUs, such because the Dell XPS 15 in our chart.

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

These Handbrake scores don’t look good, however switching to the Envy 17t’s “Efficiency” setting would put it forward of many of the laptops right here.

Graphics efficiency is a vibrant spot: The Envy 17t’s MX330 GPU’s Sky Diver rating of 10,401 squarely beats laptops with built-in graphics. Whereas ostensibly not a gaming laptop computer, it may squeeze out 60 frames per second at 1080p with medium graphics settings in some 3D video games, together with Fortnite and Deep Rock Galactic.

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

Nvidia’s MX330 GPU helps make the HP Envy 17t satisfactory for 3D gaming (however not at 4K decision, after all)

The actual letdown right here is battery life. The HP Envy 17t’s 55Whr battery is tiny for a laptop computer of this measurement, and it’s no match for a 17-inch show at 4K decision. Whereas looping a video file offline at roughly 255 nits’ brightness, the Envy 17t lasted solely 7 hours and 11 minutes. HPs personal Spectre x360 15t from 2019 lasted 45 p.c longer in the identical check, most likely partially as a result of its battery capability is 36 p.c bigger.

Melissa Riofrio/IDG

Small battery, plus giant 4K show, equals unhealthy battery life.

All of this places the HP Envy 17t in an uncommon place. At $1,590 as reviewed, it’s extra inexpensive than Dell’s XPS 17, which prices $2,000 with comparable show decision, reminiscence, and storage. It undercuts Apple’s MacBook Professional by about $800.

However these are additionally extra highly effective machines with H-Sequence Intel processors, supporting the sorts of heavy workloads you may need to accomplish on such a big display. For those who don’t want all that computing muscle, the HP Envy 17t may need some attraction, however provided that you’re unwilling to bend on the notion of a 4K, 17-inch display.

With a bit extra flexibility, the choices open up. LG’s Gram 17 is an intriguing different with related efficiency and a lot better battery life at half the burden. It has a lower-resolution 2560×1600 panel, however chances are high you received’t discover the distinction. Smaller laptops like HP’s Spectre x350 15t are price contemplating as nicely, particularly in the event you can join a 4K monitor.

With the Envy 17t, you’re sacrificing a whole lot of portability only for the sake of that display. Whereas 17-inch laptops are making a comeback, an especially heavy laptop computer with out heavy-duty efficiency to match is a distinct segment inside a distinct segment.

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