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Laptops

New HP Envy laptops go big for back-to-school

Along with 14- and 15-inch models, the revamped Envy line highlights a rare new 17-inch laptop.

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A new design and a few new features are coming to HP's high-end Envy line, although the starting prices for these three laptops feel decidedly mainstream.

The Envy 14 and Envy 15 are midsize laptops with all-aluminum bodies. The look isn't radically different from previous Envy systems, aside from a redesigned hinge that lifts the rear of the 14- and 15-inch models up slightly when fully opened. The addition of Bang & Olufsen audio technology is also new, and that partnership was just announced earlier this year.

The three new HP Envy laptops. Sarah Tew/CNET

The key selling point maybe the extreme configuration flexibility, and you can order the 15-inch model with Intel or AMD processors, touch or non-touch displays, and even a discrete Nvidia GPU (up to the GeForce 950M). The 15-inch Envy also offers an optical drive, which is becoming increasingly rare, even in midsize laptops.

The larger 17-inch model is the flagship of the 2015 Envy line, and it combines an aluminum base with a carbon fiber keyboard tray for a sophisticated two-tone look. Intel and AMD processors and optional Nvidia GPUs are also available, and the system includes an optical drive.

The curved hinge on the new Envy. Sarah Tew/CNET

More importantly, the larger 17-inch chassis can support two hard drives, so you can configure up to 4TB of storage space. The Envy 17 also offers an optional IPS screen, which means better off-axis viewing angles. The displays on the Envy 14 and Envy 15 demo units we saw looked washed out from side angles, so the better screen option is key.

Both the 15- and 17-inch models include number pads next to the keyboards, and the Intel versions also include fingerprint readers.

The carbon fiber keyboard tray on the 17-inch Envy. Sarah Tew/CNET

Due to the many configuration options available, prices can range widely, but most of the configurations HP told us about will run between $629 and $999 when these systems are available in late July in the US. HP doesn't have international price and date details yet, but we'll add those when available.

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