Thoughts on the HP Envy 17

Posted: June 11, 2011 in Hardware

At the beginning of this year, it was pretty clear that I needed new computing hardware for some much needed oomph.  My company laptop, though not bad, was just falling short of what I was up to. So, a month-long search followed and I finally settled on the HP Envy 17” beast. Make no mistake, it is not the Dad’s computer type machine and I had to forego a bonus, along with a few limbs 🙂

Engadget ran a nice review of the Envy 17 (here).

Here are few of the characteristics that had me drawn:

  • Quad Core I7 @ TB 2.9 GHz – This is not the new Sandy Bridge stuff; but at the beginning of the year, I did not want to wait. Things seem settled now; but initial Sandy Bridge shipments had recalls; so I am at peace with my decision. This processor with the rest of the hardware is a beast. I have thrown everything I had at it; yet does not slow down.
  • 8 GB RAM for heavy development & media.
  • 160 GB SSD + 700 GB regular hard-drive @ 7200 RPM. Here is a number – a well-optimized Windows 7 Ultimate on the SSD does a cold-boot in about 5 seconds, gotta love that!
  • Slot loading CD/DVD drive for sleekness.
  • Massive 17” super crisp display with 1920×1080 full-HD resolution. This was one of core features I was after. Being my development machine, the extra real estate comes in so handy; and just about any media looks stunning.
  • Full metal MacBook style uni-body look. I think the etched metal & the glowing HP logo look cool on the cover. The laptop simply looks exquisite!
  • Array for ports to support all your accessories.
  • Despite few complaints from other owners, I personally like the keyboard. It is well laid out and the backlit keys have just the right sensory feel.
  • The Beats music setup means that the even without any speakers, the computer plays most music with high fidelity & some thump.

Now, despite all this awesomeness, this baby is not for everyone and has a unique audience that loves it despite what others say. Here are few downsides to consider:

  • The laptop itself is rather sleek & not bad for carrying; but the HP power adapter is a brick and your shoulders will not be happy if you have the whole thing around all day. Dell power cords do work; but show intermittent flicker; so not sure if any long-term damage would occur.
  • All the power comes at a little price – what did you think? 🙂 I was very cautious about the heat issues out of the I7; but it is not that bad. The left side of the keyboard does get a little warm compared to the right; but again nothing painful. It is the bottom left of the laptop that gets quite warm with heavy use; and I am not a PC gamer at all. So, while definitely not just a desktop replacement, this baby is not meant for your lap & works best on an even surface.
  • The HP touchpad is better than much of its competition with large glass-like touch surface without the physical left & right buttons. And it does work; but the sensitivity of the multi-touch functions is nowhere close compared to a MacBook. And this is not HP’s fault but that of Synaptics who makes the driver.

That’s about all I had. I personally love how fast & sleek this machine is. I do not have a separate monitor at home & the resolution really helps in making it a wonderful all-round development/main pc.  At the end, you just have to know what you are getting into. Hope this was of interest.

Adios!

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