October 1, 2013
- Stylish exterior
- Comfortable keyboard
- Good-looking 1080p display
- Below average battery life
- Gaming graphics performance is lacking
The HP Envy Touchsmart 15 is a stylish 15-inch notebook with a beautiful display, a comfortable keyboard and good overall performance. It does have its downfalls as it suffers from below-average battery life and mediocre graphics performance.
The design of the Touchsmart 15 is one of its strong suits. It has a wedged unibody aluminum body that looks very premium. The black keyboard is surrounded by a silver deck, which sets up a good contrast. It measures 15.0 x 9.9 x 1.2-inches (wdh) and weighs 5.6-pounds, which is on the slightly heavier side.
HP gives you an island-style keyboard, which is extremely comfortable and the keys offer a firm click with each key press. HP does offer a backlit keyboard for an additional $30, which we strongly recommend upgrading. The touchpad was adequately sized and seemed responsive enough to our liking. Multitouch gestures were easy to perform as well.
The 15-inch display BrightView LED display has a native resolution of 1920 x 1080-pixels. Viewing angles were good but the backlight could have been brighter. That aside, the color quality was extremely good and colors looked vivid. The touch screen aspect of the display also worked well, but we did notice an occasional delay when the computer was under heavy load.
For ports, HP gives you four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI-out, Ethernet, a headphone/microphone combo port, and a multi-format card reader. There is also a fingerprint reader built-in so you can use your fingerprint to login to your computer as well as for entering stored passwords for websites. Wireless connectivity includes both 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Our review unit was configured with an Intel Core i7-4700MQ (2.4Ghz) CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive, a 24GB solid-state cache drive and Nvidia GeForce GT 740M graphics. In a PCMark 7 benchmark, the Touchsmart 15 earned a score of 5,357, which beats the category average by almost 2,000 points. Real-world performance was great and boot up times were speedy thanks to the SSD drive (about 17 seconds average).
Graphics performance was only average at best. Playing today's 3D games will require you to dial down the graphics settings in order to get a playable experience. Non-gamer users will be pleased with streaming HD media playback and other similar non-gaming tasks.
Battery life came in at around 5-hours, which is about 30-minutes shorter than the category average.