Pros High build quality; easy to work with
Cons track pad is okay, but could be better
SummaryI've been working with this laptop for a few weeks now. I was going between the Envy 14 and a Macbook Pro due to an unexpected need to purchase (my previous laptop died). This has been a great computer so far. I do a good amount of typing as a grad student, and the keyboard is a pleasure to work with. Everything is very straight forward. I'm cheap, so it's nice to know that I could get a $900 computer (w/ student discount) that is similar to a much more expensive machine.
Updated on Aug 4, 2011
Pros Great screen, Solid look and feel, very usable touchpad (this is coming from someone who hates touchpads), good battery life (especially with the slice add on), really good internal wifi (seriously the range is crazy).
Cons Keyboard is a bit flimsy (compared to the rest of the machine, it's far more robust than any I have used on a laptop before), average video, fan can be a bit loud (but I have had no overheating issues so at least it dose the job).
Summary I have owned an HP Envy 14 for almost a year now and it is by far the best laptop I have ever owned. The metal case, back lit keybaord, and gorgeous screen all make this feel like the premium machine it is. The only issue I had was with the slice battery addition that HP offers to extend (actually, it more than doubles) the battery life (which I can get up to 10 hours of basic productivity on, and 5-6 hours of HD movie playback). When I talked to a customer service rep they set me up with a new one right away.
Some reviewers (who don't seem to have ever used this product, much less owned one) are just bashing HP for "copying" Apple. I ask: what is being copied? Metal case? Nope, been done long before Apple. Large touchpad? How is that even an "invention" that can be copied? So they made it bigger, it's easier to use... I don't see innovation at work here just common sense. IMO HP has really innovated with this machine, the high resolution radiance screen is crisper and brighter than any I have seen on a laptop and the thin slice battery that goes on the bottom is brilliant. I used to have an XPS laptop and I hated how the 9 cell battery stuck out at a weird angle at the bottom.
Now, is this product perfect? No. But is it an excellent buy for it's own reasons? Absolutely. The macbook comparisons only bring the trolls out of the works. Products should be reviewed more based on their own merit.
Pros Absolutely perfect keyboard, very solid and easy to type on with no flex. The touchpad works beautifully. Slot load disc drive is another welcome feature.
Cons Graphics card is a little lower end then what could have probably been included. Not SSD drive option.
Summary I absolutely love my Envy. I upgraded to the i7-2630 and installed a 120GB SSD. Those combined with the graphics card handle most games without any problems at all, and converting video file formats is speedy as well. The keyboard is the best you will find in an Windows laptop. The key spacing makes it extremely easy to type on, and the backlight helps a ton at night. I almost any other keyboard, there is flex which makes the system feel cheap; not on the Envy 14. The touchpad is almost perfect. Not sure what the reviewer was using, but two-finger scrolling is extremely smooth and fluid. The only drawback is clicking. It's easy to move the cursor when your actually trying to click something.
Overall, and absolutely gorgeous machine that is well-built and extremely quick.
Pros Appealing to the eye and very sturdy
Great speakers for a laptop
Very nice keyboard and backlit
Loads Commonly used programs almost instantly (8gb of RAM and i7)
Screen is bright and colorful
Blazingly fast with SSD
Got a free Xbox with .edu email addres
Cons I wish the usage of the function keys were reversed especially the f5 (i.e, use the Fn key and f5 to turn on keyboard and use f5 only to refresh) I feel like this my biggest issue (though not terrible) because I'm so used to pressing f5 to refresh and I
Summary I bought this laptop so that I could have a nice, portable computer for grad school. The specs that I absolutely wanted were: backlit keyboard, Intel Sandy Bridge, decent graphics card and ssd. Aesthetics, an optical drive and a high resolution screen are also important to me, but less so. When I was looking for a laptop, I was considering this HP, the Samsung 9 series, the Macbook Pro and the ASUS Bamboo.My Cons got cut off somehow so about the Fn keys. I don't use turn on the backlit keyboard as much as I refresh webpages (and I developed the habit from past computers) so I would rather use one key (F5) to refresh webpages and press Fn+F5 to turn on the backlit keyboard.
Though the ASUS was the cheapest out of the bunch and probably the best deal in terms of pricing and specs, I thought it felt flimsy and the touchpad was extremely difficult for me to use. The Samsung 9 is a very beautiful laptop and definitely the most portable, but the speakers were a bit more quiet than I would have liked. It is also very expensive for the specs and I felt like I needed more HD space than 128GB and a dedicated graphics card.
So I looked at building my ideal macbook pro and envy online at the mac and hp websites respectively. In short, for around the same specs, the MBP was just around $800 more expensive. (Not including the XBox! lolz) I was also very fortunate to get my 256GB SSD for free from a friend and I wouldn't have been able to install it with MBPs unibody style and to have the MBP upgraded to have a 256GB SSD, it would have cost $650 (normally $500 or less).
The speakers are really amazing! Sure, they aren't as good as that one Dell (15z I think) and they won't play music loud enough for a party--but I feel laptops aren't meant to replace stereo speakers and subwoofers anyways. I did play a Breaking Bad (tv show with a lot of action) episode off my laptop at a hotel party with a few friends and the sound quality was crisp and loud. I can play music off it and my entire apartment will be filled with what I call "3-D" sound--the sound has depth to it.
I do wish the laptop were lighter--it's not terribly heavy, but it adds a lot of weight to my backpack so carrying it all day all over campus 5 days a week seems very daunting.
Though not as nice as my favorite keyboard of all time (dell studio 15), the keyboard is very nice to the touch. My old Dell had a velvety rubber cover so they keyboard was extremely quiet and smooth. The keys feel crisp as opposed to squishy, but are pretty quiet still. Also, I like the minimalist font HP uses on their keyboards; it's stylish and simple. Century gothic perhaps?
With the ssd, I believe my laptop would be worth around $1700. The equivalent MBP would have been about $2600, though with a much nicer screen resolution. I don't have that kind of money and I'm glad I could save it by purchasing the Envy instead. I've so far had almost 0 issues with it and I've been moving it around quite a bit now. There was one instance of a BSD, but an upgrade for the graphics card driver fixed that. I use a mouse and I scroll either using the scroll bar or the arrow keys, so I don't really have any complaints about the trackpad.
Overall, I'm really pleased with my Envy 14. It has been very near my ideal laptop for Grad School and I feel confident that it will last me throughout my grad program!
Updated on Sep 17, 2011
Pros Nice Design, Fast, Nice Audio Quality
Cons Overheats like a Mac, build quality like a Fisher-Price, Screen could be better
Summary While this would be an excellent competitor to the Macbook Pro/Dell XPS/Samsung Series 7/All other high-end media laptops, the typical HP build quality holds it back. It also overheats so much I could cook an egg on it.