HP Envy 15 review:

HP Envy 15

For everyday use, the HP Envy 15's stock components are more than fine, and HD media playback, video and photo editing, and even moderate gaming should be no problem. The AMD Radeon 7690M GPU ran Street Fighter IV at full 1080p resolution at 41.9 frames per second, so most current games will play acceptably, although you may have to turn down the resolution of graphics options to more mainstream settings.

Juice box
HP Envy 15 (Winter 2012) Average watts per hour
Off (60 percent) 0.52
Sleep (10 percent) 0.86
Idle (25 percent) 11.74
Load (5 percent) 49.77
Raw kWh 51
Annual energy cost $5.79

Midsize 14-, 15-, and 16-inch laptops are in a tough middle ground when it comes to battery life. They are expected to have big, long-lasting batteries, but also to use more powerful, and less energy efficient, components. The Envy 15 ran for 4 hours and 15 minutes on our video playback battery drain test, which is about an hour better than the previously mentioned Lenovo Y570, but more than 90 minutes less than a 15-inch MacBook Pro. Four hours seems more than reasonable for a high-powered 15-inch laptop--Apple always has a way of skewing the curve on battery life.

HP includes a two-year parts-and-labor warranty with the Envy 15, which is a nice place to start, as even high-end laptops often include only a single year of service. There are, of course, many upgrade options available, from $199 for two years of in-home service and accidental damage protection, to $247 for three years of the same, plus LoJack service. Less positive, if you want a physical OS recovery DVD; that's an extra $19.

HP's first major design upgrade to the Envy line is certainly different than the previous models, but perhaps a little too MacBook-Pro-like at times. The addition of a physical volume control wheel line, however, is a great extra, and cements the Envy as the go-to premium upscale multimedia laptop line for Windows users.

Benchmark testing by Julie Rivera

Multimedia multitasking test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Adobe Photoshop CS5 image-processing test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Apple iTunes encoding test (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

Video playback battery drain test (in minutes)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test laptops.

System configurations
HP Envy 15t-3000
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.4GHz Intel Core i5-2430M; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 7690M + 64MB Intel HD 3000; 500GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

Samsung Series 7 700Z5A-S03
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.2GHz Intel i7-2675QM; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6750M / 1GB (Dedicated) Intel HD 3000; 750GB Hitachi 7,200rpm

Sony Vaio VPCF215FX/BI
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.0GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM; 6GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 540M; 640GB Toshiba 7,200rpm

Lenovo Ideapad Y570
Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) w/ SP1; 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-2410M; 4,096MB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 555M/64MB (Dedicated) Intel GMA HD; 500GB Seagate 5,400rpm

Apple Macbook Pro 15-inch (Fall 2011)
OS X 10.7.2 Lion; 2.2GHz Intel Core i7; 4GB DDR3 SDRAM 1,333MHz; 512MB AMD Radeon HD 6850M / 384MB (Shared) Intel HD 3000; 500GB Toshiba 5,400rpm

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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