16feb hp envy hero

First Look: HP Envy

Looking for a good standard laptop that’s easy to use and works well in a variety of situations? The HP Envy might be what you’re after.

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Many laptops are designed with either high specs for high-end users or for taking-on-the-go with the flexibility of a touchscreen. But not everyone needs – or wants – these types of features. Some people just need an easy-to-use laptop for browsing the internet, watching videos and the odd late-night gaming session – this is what the HP Envy does … and it does it well.

The Envy’s hinge design is interesting; its screen is almost cantilevered. The bottom of the screen sticks out below the laptop’s body when the screen is open, and can be used as a “foot”. While this helped its stability on flat surfaces, it struggled on uneven surfaces, such as on a lap, where it rocked a bit and wasn’t comfortable.

The screen has good colour depth and is bright enough for indoor use with minimal glare. But outside it was difficult to use, even at maximum brightness. The screen is a good size at 13.3 inches. Larger versions are available.

Multitasking on the Envy is easy; I streamed videos and surfed the web simultaneously with no discernible drop in performance. The only time it was slow was when it started up after being in sleep mode. I felt like making it a cup of coffee to help wake it up, but once awake it was fast and responsive.

The Envy’s keyboard is one of its best features. Its backlit keys are excellent for typing in low light and at night. While compact, I found the keyboard easy to work on. The only part of the keyboard I didn’t like was the touchpad button. If I right-clicked just to the right of centre of the button, it wouldn’t register as a right click. Instead I had to press towards the button’s outer edge for it to work.

The Envy has a fingerprint scanner, a common feature on modern laptops. It enables a quick login – instead of a password, just swipe your finger over the scanner. It was good at recognising my fingerprint, only once needing more than two swipes, and most times it unlocked on the first attempt.

The Envy’s battery performance was good, but I was most impressed with how long the battery lasted in sleep mode. I used it for about 3 hours and then left it in sleep mode for more than 24 hours, during which it used hardly any power, then it gave me another 3 hours of use.

Overall, the Envy was good to use. It’s light, so is easy to carry but it does have some problems. It takes both hands to open and the power plug is a bit stiff to plug in. But the most annoying was its USB and HDMI ports. They stick out from the laptop’s body slightly and have sharp edges, which resulted in me getting scratched.


Why does the HP Envy impress me? Because without flair and fuss it did everything I expected from a standard laptop. It’s an easy-to-use laptop that works well in the home, school or office. Apart from its scratchy ports, the Envy was a breeze to use.

Essential Specs

Price: $1999
Processor: Intel i3 Processor 2.3GHz
Screen: 13.3-inch 1080p
Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.3cm x 32.7 x 22.6 Weight: 1.36kg

First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.

by Erin Bennett