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Review: HP Envy 15

Core i7 in a 5 Pound Package


While it was initially touted as having a 15.6” LCD panel with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), the version of the Envy 15 we tested, unfortunately, was limited to a resolution of 1366 x 768. That’s about the minimum.

Not surprisingly – but to our never-ending despair –, we noted that the panel is a glossy one. HP has chosen not to mount the panel flush with the bezel (as on the MacBook Pro). It’s less attractive, but it seems it also limits reflections, which is a good thing in this case.

The LCD panel uses TN technology, as do nearly all laptops on the market. The result is narrow viewing angles, with colors that quickly darken when seen from below and lighten viewed from above. The response time is fairly good, and will be amply sufficient for office, photo, and video applications.

The black level is poor, at 0.47 cd/m² for a bridgtness of 93.4 cd/m². The resulting contrast ratio is abysmal, at only 199:1. For a high-end model, that’s very disappointing. The maximum brightness is 143 cd/m², which is barely enough for outdoor use with a glossy display like this one. An light sensor adapts the panel backlighting to suit the ambient light.

The default color adjustment was very poor. We noted an average color difference (DeltaE) of 9.7, with the classic colorimetric shift towards blue.

The keyboard is wide and complete, with spaced, Chiclet-style keys. It’s very comfortable to use, with a nice feel and moderate typing noise. But the lack of backlighting is a big drawback for use in low-light conditions, especially given the arrangement of the multimedia keys. They’re set to the left of the keyboard, which may look good, but it’s not at all convenient to use. Your fingers naturally reach for certain important keys (Ctrl, Shift, Tab, etc.) at the far left of the keyboard, and the lack of a clear separation from the function keys is very disorienting.

The touchpad is truly excellent. It’s very wide (3.94" x 2.44"), comfortable to use, precise and is very easy to slide your fingers across it. It has a matte surface and is multi-point and clickable over more than half its surface area. It would be nice to find this level of touchpad quality on other laptops.

Power supply and cooling ventTouchpad: wide and comfortable

Brushed Aluminum lid
Speaker, eSATA/USB combo, 2 USB, HDMI, RJ45

Processor power

Windows 7 Index: 5.9. Detail: Processor 7.0 - RAM 7.1 - Graphics 6.8 - Game Graphics 6.8 - Main hard disk 5.9.