HP Envy 14 and 17 review: Hands-on with powerful laptops for jealous types

HP has given us a sneaky glimpse at the Envy 14 and 17 laptops. With some powerful components lurking inside and a glitzy design, HP has piqued our interest...

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

HP has given us a little preview of its brand-spanking new Envy 14 and 17 laptops. Lucky old us eh? Well, before you turn green with envy (arf!) we'll give you the skinny on these new beasties, just so you don't have to feel too left out.

Esentially the same machine in two different sizes, the Envy 17 offers a 17.3-inch LED 1600x900 display that was looking pretty colourful when we saw it, plus a choice of either Intel Core i5 or Core i7 CPUs, and a whopping 6GB of RAM to keep things chugging along at a merry old pace. Additionally there's an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 GPU thrown in, so some proper gaming should be very much on the cards.

A slot-loading optical drive is a new addition to the Envy series, something sorely missed in earlier models. The Envy 17 also supports USB 3.0, so you can entertain yourself watching data transfer over from USB 3.0-enabled external hard drives at a fair old lick. That's what the kids are doing for fun these days, right? Right?

These machines feature Beats audio, (yes, that's Beats of Beats by Dr. Dre) which should let this laptop sound alright, even when you're blasting tunes through the speakers. 

That's a backlit keyboard right there, perfect for spy-style low-light data entry... or something. The keyboard is looking sensibly laid out, though we have our concerns about those direction keys -- that's an odd and potentially uncomfortable layout in our humble opinion.

Nevertheless, we like the minimalist look HP has gone for with this interior, and the trackpad is mercifully large and responsive.

The Envy 17 sports this rasterised-style floral pattern, which as you can see in the images above also extends to the interior. We also like the glowing HP logo in the corner, which is so bright you could use it to wreck ships off the Dover coast.

Envy 14

The Envy 14 is essentially the same device in a smaller chassis, and sporting a 14.5-inch display. We'll be doing our level best to bring you a full review of these machines before they launch in August, but we can tell you the price right now; the Envy 14 will retail with a starting price of £999, while the larger Envy 17 will set you back £1,300.

Yowser. At those prices we're expecting something pretty special, but from what we've seen we reckon HP might be able to pull it out the bag. Stay tuned.