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HP's upscale Envy 13 reviewed

HP's upscale Envy 13 looks and feels like an expensive status symbol, with performance and features that impress us--but its high price makes it a tough sell over the similar-looking MacBook Pro.

Even a cursory glance will tell you the HP Envy 13 is a very nicely made premium 13-inch laptop. It's a solid slab of aluminum and magnesium, etched with interesting visual details, and filled with capable components, such as a dual-core low-voltage Intel CPU and discrete ATI graphics.

It's also clearly a shot across the bow of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, even if Hewlett-Packard leaves that challenge unstated. The edge-to-edge glass over the display and oversize multitouch touch pad all add to a Mac-like look and feel. Unfortunately, the Envy 13 is priced more comparably with ultrathin systems such as the Dell Adamo or even Apple's MacBook Air, starting at $1,699 (our test unit was $1,799, or $2,149 if you include the external Blu-ray drive and secondary battery).

With a better display (1,600x900-pixel resolution), newer CPU, and more options--the Envy 13 certainly makes a compelling case against the $1,199 13-inch MacBook Pro, but the $500-and-up price difference makes it a tough sell. That said, if price is no object, this is a great mix of power and portability, and sure to attract envious (no pun intended) stares in coffee shops and airport lounges.

Read the full review of the HP Envy 13.