HP Envy 17

  • Category: Notebook Computers
Last Updated
September 20, 2010

Editor's Rating
4 Out of 5

  • Sturdy aluminum body
  • Beautiful 17-inch HD LED display
  • Stellar performance
  • USB 3.0 & DisplayPort/HDMI ports

  • System gets very hot
  • Lack of multimedia buttons
  • Lots of bloatware pre-installed

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One of HP's more sleek laptops include the Envy 17, which is a beautiful 17-inch laptop computer with a robust body that's considered a desktop replacement. It has a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 CPU with a massive 8GB of memory with fantastic performance, even with gaming.

The HP Envy 17 laptop has been designed to be sturdy thanks to its laser-etched aluminum body and looks extremely sleek and stylish. It does weight 7.51 pounds, which is quite heavy, so consider this a desktop replacement unit and not something you'd want to be carrying around. It measures 16.4 x 10.8 x 1.5-inches (wdh), so again, it's quite large. The etched swirl designs on the body adds to the coolness factor of the unit.

This laptop has a 17.3-inch full HD LED backlit display that has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080, which qualifies it as full 1080p high-definition. The screen is glossy and edge-to-edge and looks extremely good, especially at wide viewing angles. The brightness of the display is extremely high, making it a great display to watch movies and play games.

The keyboard is well-designed and offers a good comfortable experience. The keys are a chiclet style similar to the Apple Macbook. There is also a full numeric number pad to the right of the QWERTY keyboard. We were puzzled by the lack of any multimedia buttons as this laptop offers much in the multimedia department. The keyboard is also backlit, which makes using it under low-light conditions very easy.

The audio speakers are also something of note on the HP Envy 17. They provide excellent audio output, including both volume level and overall quality. This is something of a rarity among laptops, but since this is a larger laptop, there's a much better sound system inside.

The specifications of the HP Envy 17 include an Intel Core i7 720QM Quad-Core CPU clocked at 1.6GHz and TurboBoost up to 2.8GHz, 8GB of DDR3 system memory, a 640GB hard drive (7200 RPM), ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 graphics processor with 1GB of dedicated memory, Blu-ray optical drive with SuperMulti DVD+/- drive and dual-layer support, integrated Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), and Bluetooth. It also has an HP TrueVision HD webcam and integrated microphone. It comes with Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit), but you can also opt for models with Home Premium and Professional editions. The included battery is a 6-cell lithium ion battery that provides a rated 2.5 hours of battery life.

The right side of the unit is where the optical drive resides as well as the power connector, a 5-in-1 memory card reader, and two USB 2.0 ports. The left side has a USB/eSATA combo port, one USB 3.0 port, microphone/headphone ports, and three video outputs (VGA, HDMI, mini-DisplayPort). This allows you to potentially connect three external monitors.

Performance with the usual computing tasks is excellent as expected. Performing more hardware-intensive tasks, like video encoding or heavy editing in Adobe Photoshop, were smooth and run without a hitch thanks to the beefy hardware components inside. Graphics quality for 3D gaming is quite good on "medium" or "normal" graphics settings in today's 3D games. High definition DVD playback works extremely well with the Envy 17 and showed no performance issues, even when playing Blu-ray content. When performing more hardware-intensive tasks, like gaming, does heat up the laptop quite a bit and the internal fan runs extremely loud. When using it, it probably isn't a good idea to use it while on your lap, so make sure it's set in a well-ventilated area to allow for adequate cooling.

HP unfortunately installs quite a bit of bloatware and trialware onto their computers and the Envy 17 is no exception. Some of what is installed includes Microsoft Office Starter 2010, Norton Internet Security 2010 (60-day trial),Corel PaintShop Photo, Corel VideoStudio Pro, Cyberline DVD 7, Roxio PhotoShow, Adobe Premier Elements 8, and many links to ads and services. It also comes with HP's MediaSmart software to provide an "entertainment portal".

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