CNET First Look
HP Envy 15 (Winter 2012)HP's Envy line has always been a reliable premium PC laptop line, and this new redesign adds some useful features, such as a volume wheel, while keeping the high-end sheen.
I'm Dan Ackerman and we're here taking a look at the brand new version of HP's Envy 15. Now if you've seen HP's Envy laptops over the last couple of years you'd know they're one of the few really reliable sort of high end brands that's maybe an alternative to something like the Macbook Pro. This is the first time they really reworked the look since the original Envy series and this new one looks very different indeed instead of that kind of all over gunmetal gray look... Now this thing is black on the lid and on the screen bezel here and kinda silvery over here with a slightly sunken keyboard and one really unique visual feature... A bit of a red outline kind of on the inside of the sunken keyboard. Very hard to see, very subtle but kind of a cool kind of retro modernism. Beyond that... the Envy is still a really good high end laptop. You got Intel Core i5 or Core i7 processors if you want upgrade, AMD graphics. I've got the upgraded screen right here with a 1080p screen... You can also get a lower res screen the system starts at about $1,099 with the screen upgrade which I recommend for a 15 inch or larger laptop... That adds about a 150 bucks to it. What really makes this new version of the Envy stand out compared to... some other premium Windows laptops is this little guy right here. This is a physical volume control wheel. Something you almost never see. Usually the volume is either a little touch button up here or it's an alternate function key button, but here we have a wheel, you liberally flick the wheel, volume goes up, volume goes down, never a miscommunication. There's even a separate mute button, you tap this button right here, that mutes the audio and of course if you hit the volume button on the very top that brings up the beach audio menu because like most HP laptops this guy has that special beach audio software in there. That's supposed to give you a better audio quality from any laptop you'll never gonna get something that sounds as good as a pair of standard old speakers... but these certainly rank way up there. It's got pretty much everything else. We're looking for from a premium Windows laptop... a backup keyboard, big clip pad, edge to edge glass over the display. My one knock is that with the... with the lid open like this... if you just glance at this, it's virtually indistinguishable from a Macbook Pro, it's like not even trying anymore to look differently... but a lot of people like that look and they want it but they have to use a Windows machine and that's why we've got stuff like this. I'm Dan Ackerman and that is the brand new redesigned HP Envy 15.