"Fantastic laptop"on by yourmomaaa
Pros Build quality
Easy access to upgrades
Window 7 OS
Cons Customer suppose is not the best
Touchpad is not as good a MBP but decent with tweaking
Battery is decent but not amazing (fixable with slice battery)
Summary I have a MBP 13 and 2010 MBP 15. I would choose my Envy 14 over both of those not only because of the price tag but also because of its amazing specs.
Pros I'll keep this simple and straight as others have alluded to the same concepts.
My Envy 14 has an i7-720QM. I'm cutting AVCHD on it. Incredibly fast system, rock solid build . . dig in and have fun.
Cons The only cons for me are lack of Blu-Ray and 1394. I had to buy a new digi I/O to accommodate my work flow. My old one used a 1394 interface.
Summary If you like to tweek and you aren't worried about voiding a warranty, do yourself a favor. Make full system recovery discs using HP's built in software in case you screw up though. A simple search for Envy 14 will bring you to a forum to open this beast up to it's to it's full potential. In my case, I used a clean Win 7 x64 install and please, if you do this, install latest chipset drivers first and latest bios as well. The Envy 14 is just spectacular if a proper install is executed properly. Don't worry, all the "function" keys will work correctly without installing any HP software. And I do mean every single one of them. Only the necessary hardware drivers are needed.
HDMI out is killer for my purposes of using an extra monitor. The "funky" on screen volume issue no longer exists. The 14.5" display is an utter beauty. Keyboard is perfect for my fingers, couldn't ask for better action currently on the market. Sure, this machine weighs a little over 5 pounds, but at least you won't put your finger through the lid, it's practically a flex free enclosure. Track pad? . works perfect for me. I just need basic functions. I'll worry about gestures when that concept comes full circle. Audio is about as good as it can get with the size speakers used in laptops. With a couple minor tweaks, it runs a bit warm but quiet enough for the workload it's pushing. And with no HP software loaded except a some necessary drivers, the boot time (minus typing my password) is :44 seconds. Shuts down in :08 seconds and all other sleep hibernate modes work perfectly. The Envy 14, for my needs, is an extremely fast and well built machine. Kudos to HP for a solid axe.
Pros Build quality
Summary I couldn't be happier with my envy. Admittedly, the track pad took some getting used to, but with a few tweaks of the settings, and a third party program called touch freeze, I have no problems with smooth scrolling or my pointer bouncing around the screen. A quick double tap at the top left corner of the pad turns it off. I agree that you shouldn't have to tweak something out of the box, but it was at least very simple and took no longer than 5 minutes....
Lots of reviews mentioned flex in the key board. I noticed flex around the "P" key, but it is certainly not noticeable unless your looking for it (I didn't notice it until someone mentioned it in a forum, and I checked to see if it was there). Is it an issue? At all? No.
Back lit keyboard works great, it does what it's supposed to. Keys are well separated, typing is very natural- on par the MBP
Speakers are maybe a little better than what comes with most laptops, but plugged into good IEM's or a good stereo setup, this thing shines. The bass especially is very clean and rich. I'm a bit of an audiophile, and I noticed difference immediately.
Switchable graphics work pretty well. Biggest difference between ATI and Nvidia's switchable graphics is that when you unplug from power (or vice versa) , a message pops up asking if you want to switch to a low power graphics scheme- where you have to click yes. Nvidia does it automatically. Note that there is no switchable graphics support for the i7
I am running an i5-520m with 6gb of ram (and the ati 5650 which is your only option with this model). Graphics are seamless and great, I've been playing Need for speed shift in full quality with no lagging and no problems. The screen is extremely bright. I often go to turn down the brightness when I'm running on battery only to realize that it's already as low as it goes. I do a lot of digital photography, and the brightness is much appreciated when working with dark pictures and little contrast.
Processing power is excellent, I can edit in raw, process hdr shots, transcode etc. in seconds.
I recommend upon receiving your laptop taking advantage of a factory restore option in the boot up menu. Essentially is wipes the computer, and only puts back the drivers and essential software. In the end, it saves a lot of time from removing bloat ware and other junk from slowing down your new computer.
Pros Solid case material (aluminum)
Excellent Radiance Screen
Best box and packing materials I have ever seen.
Cons Poor quality drivers and support
Over priced compared even to other non-Envy HP models
Poor build quality for a any notebook:
Keyboard flex, trackpad alignment issues
Poorly thought out trackpad
Loud fan whine, with limited adjustment in BIOS
Summary I literally researched this purchase for months and considered premium laptops from Dell,Sony and of course the MacBook Pro.Forgot to mention: my Ethernet port died today. I am an IT professional and can typically fix this sort of thing unless it is a real physical problem that requires part replacement. When out of more sensible ideas, I finally called the abysmal HP support team. And after spending 30 minutes pleading with the technician that I had done everything possible to fix this, he finally agreed to "escalate" my case. Still no contact hours after my last call, I am told I can expect a response in "1-2 business days".
After reading preliminary reviews and being gradually indoctinated by the HP "Design Team" videos. I really believed that this was the holy grail of PC based laptops- everything good about the MacBook Pro, native Windows support, a gaming GPU and a reasonable price. Too good to be true? Yes.
When it arrived the box was incredible. Heavy sleek black cardboard, layer upon layer of black plastic, black Styrofoam, and a pseudo suede "laptop condom" surrounding the prize. Well, prize it wasn't.
From the get go, the keyboard flexed like an old mattress, which was made even more noticeable by the back-lighting- which does more to emphasize the bottom and edges of the keys than the actual text written on them.
The trackpad, which promised to be a thorough rip-off of the revolutionary MBP design, failed to deliver. Being that there are no separate buttons, you effectively "click" the bottom portion of the trackpad instead. This confuses the unit and causes the mouse arrow to randomly skip around to the bottom of the screen when it should instead click. There is also no clear delineation between right and left clicks here either, making for a hit or miss experience.
I expected excellent performance from this "premium" laptop and ensured this by ordering a quad core i-7 CPU. Again, I was disappointed. From reading the forums I found that the ATI Radeon 5650 GPU is for some bizarre reason, under-clocked by 100Mhz from the reference models. This is true of every the lower level DM series HP laptops, which have the same GPU, clocked 100Mhz higher. Why HP would intentionally hinder the performance of their "premium" laptop brand (and no, battery life is not a reasonable excuse here), I can't fathom. I will admit I partially bought this to run Star Craft II at decent settings, but found that I had to dial down the quality and level of the effects just to get the game to run without periodically flashing the "Reduce your graphics settings or close programs to improve performance". What? I thought this was supposed to be a mega quad core premium powerhouse? I can't only, (no, nothing else running in the background), run Star Craft with a decent settings level and not have choppy, laggy performance issues? Disappointed.
Aside from design issues, quality control was very poor.
My unit had gaps between the separate pieces of aluminum and bits of what I assume are adhesive spilled out from in between. The trackpad itself was so poorly aligned that if looking straight down, one could see directly into the inner workings of the laptop. Then there is the keyboard flex...
I have read on the forums that there are "ninja" fixes for some of these issues. Some involving disassembly of the laptop and application of double-sided tape, some involving hacked drivers and "overlocking" of the GPU, and while I'm sure that some of those may work, they may void your warranty. To me, all of that is unacceptable. The bottom line is that you shouldn't have to do that for any new laptop, much less a "premium" one.
I do have to give HP credit for following up on a survey I took where I essentially laid out the same complaints. They had a real person email me and offer his help. After exchanging a few emails he called me and offered either replacement, a full return refund or a 10% refund to my credit card to account for my issues. I asked him point blank if I could swap this model for another Envy 14 and expect to have one without these manufacturing and quality control faults as I head read (even in HP's own owner forums), that my issues were very common- he said very sincerely, "No". So I am looking into replacement now, either with another HP (only if I absolutely have to at this point), an Alienware (except I'm not 15 and use this for work), or going granola with the MacBook Pro.
The lesson: Avoid this model until they resolve the performance and build quality issues. For now, if you want a laptop with the build quality and performance of a MacBook Pro... buy a MacBook Pro.
You win this time Apple....THIS TIME!!!!
Updated on Aug 18, 2010
When I received my laptop and showed it off to my colleague, (who at the same time had ordered a Dell), he told me, "The specs sound great, but I can already see it has one major problem". Legitimately concerned, I asked him what this huge problem might be. He pointed to the HP logo.
Pros -Excellent dual-fan cooling
-AMAZING SCREEN, great brightness (though not as high as HP claims)
-Love the keyboard, and the backlight
-Fast. I love my SSD
-Overall quality (it feels "premium")
-I like the trackpad (more detail in summary)
Cons -The 5650 has a locked voltage, and is clocked by default at 450/800. This is lower than other laptops with the same GPU: 3820tg, and HPs DV6T. There may be a workaround in the future, but the card can play WoW and steam games as it is.
Summary -I love this laptop. The battery life isn't Timeline or MBP good, but ~5h is more than sufficient for me. The build quality and materials used give it an amazing feel. The quality is the best you can get in a PC, and second only to MBPs (pretty close though). There is some keyboard flex around "P," if that is an issue for you, but it is absolutely not noticeable while typing (only when looking for it).
-The touchpad, when used with two fingers (thumb resting on button, index moving the mouse), can be difficult. The thumb interferes with the tracking. Some have had success by tweaking settings. However, I use the mouse with tap-to-click enabled and love it. I use a google code that tweaks the two finger scrolling and it is incredibly smooth. With the code I am also able to set up tapping combinations for a smoother browsing experience. Code can be found in the "NBR Envy 14 owner's lounge"
-I'm very pleased with the audio thus far, although the onboard speakers are nothing to brag about. They are average or slightly above average for a laptop of this size. However, when using the audio out with nice IEMs or headphones the Envy shows a noticeable improvement compared to other laptops.
-The video card is clocked to 450/800 by default. It can be overclocked slightly, but a limit is reached at 585/1000 if you are lucky enough to get there on the low voltage. Hopefully there will be a workaround later. It would be great to unlock this card's potential given the awesome cooling system in this laptop.
-I should note that some people have reported build quality issues on the initial batch, but that number seems to be less than 20% of orders. It seems HP has improved their QC since the Envy 17 fiasco.
The Envy 14 is a fantastic choice if you are in the market for a portable, well built laptop that can game decently. The "premium" features such as the excellent screen, backlit keyboard, and aluminum chasis made this my laptop of choice over the 3820tg.