HP Envy 15-1050nr – Small, Sexy, Powerfull!

Sum and Substance:
Thumbs Up:

Extremely powerful for a 15 inch laptop, good for high end gamming, 1080p screen for watching HD movies.

Thumbs Down:

Has some issues with Blu-ray playback, expensive

The Whiz Kid Speaks:

HP Envy 15-1050nr is powered by Intel Core i7 720QM / 1.6 GHz, a quad core processor with 1333 MHz of data bus speed. It has 6 MB L2 cache. The Envy has 6 (3×2) GB DDR3 SD RAM which is expandable to 16 GB. The notebook has 500 GB 7200 RPM hard disk. Optical drive include is DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM – External which has 8x write speed for DVD and comes with LightScribe Technology. The 2 in 1 card reader can read SD memory card and MultiMedia card. The 15.6 inch TFT LCD screen has a full HD resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. Graphic card included is ATI Radeon HD 4830 of 1 GB memory.

Data link protocol specifications are Gigabit Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a, Bluetooth, Ethernet. Networking standard specifications are IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11a. Wireless capabilities are IEEE 802.11b, Bluetooth, IEEE 802.11g.

Interfaces include 1 x Network – Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T – RJ-45, 1 x Audio – Headphones/microphone – Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm, 1 x eSATA / Hi-Speed USB – Hi-Speed USB / eSATA, 1 x Display / video – HDMI, 2 x Hi-Speed USB – 4 pin USB Type A.

The laptop is powered by 6-cell Lithium ion battery which has a rated battery life of 7.3 hours. There is also a 9-cell lithium ion battery included. Bundled OS is Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium. Bundled software includes Norton Internet Security 2009 (60 days trial), Corel Paint Shop Pro X or later, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail, Adobe Reader and Skype.

HP gives a 1 year labor and parts warranty for the Envy 15. The device is 15 inches wide, 9.6 inches deep, 1 inch high and weighs 5.1 lbs.

Razzle Dazzle:

The build quality and design of the 15-1050nr is great, without the optical drive, the device is really thin and hence easy to carry around. HP has designed this notebook as a status symbol for you. Just like its 13 inch version, this notebook too has a aluminum exterior with a magnesium base. The gray lid is made of gunmetal and it contrasts well with the semi-random imprinted dots on the wrist rest.

Inside Dope:

This is the elder sibling to the HP’s 13-inch Envy which we reviewed ago. This 15 inch model gives you better viewing as compared to the smaller screen and along with that, there is high end hardware but in there that makes this notebook compete with giants like Alienware m15x. The latter is really bulky at 10 pounds but HP gives us a lightweight and slim device with the 15-1050nr. The optical drive has been sacrificed to keep the notebook thin, but HP makes up for it by giving you an external DVD drive. Blu-ray drive option is available if you buy directly from HP.

HP used the brand name Envy for its Voodoo line products but now Voodoo is dead and Envy is now a pure HP product. Compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro, the Envy 15 is quite slim and sexy. There is a secondary battery bundled in, and it attaches to the base making the whole unit a bit thicker and bulky.

We didn’t have much to complain about the keyboard, it sinks in to the device and hence makes it easier to type with the elevated wrist rest. Above this, there is a power button and a series of quick launch buttons for launching applications like HP’s MediaSmart software and Web browser.

Microsoft Internet Explorer, which is the default Web browser on the notebook, comes with the horrendous HP Smart Web Printing sidebar which takes a lot of real estate on the screen. You can turn this off, if you know how to do it but we hate HP for forcing this software on to us.

We had some problems with HP’s MediaSmart software that plays and organizes photo, music and video files. The software is superfluous because we usually use iTunes or Windows Media Player for these features but we decided to try it anyways. We couldn’t play a Blu-ray disc on the external drive through the MediaSmart application, this is disappointing since the 13 incher did the job quite well. We then played the movie on a third party software, PowerDVD, and it ran fine this time.

Both the 15 and 13 inch models of the Envy line have Beats Audio technology which is found in the popular Beats by Dre headphones. The good quality of the video is marred by the poor speaker output. They refuse to get loud after a certain level and hence not good for watching movies. However, the headphone signal is really strong and nice, when we tried the set of Beats by Dre headphones, the quality was excellent and the volume level was so high that we had to turn it down by 50 percent.

The display of the screen is 15.6 inches big and gives a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels which is perfect if you watch a lot of HD movies. The resolution is also as good as a 17 inch notebook and we were delighted with the video quality that the notebook had to offer. However, we missed the sharp-looking edge-to-edge glass which we were fond of in the Envy 13.

The optical drive hasn’t been included to keep the notebook slim; the connection options are similar to a typical 13 inch notebook. You get single video output and three USB ports.

Envy 15 is powered by one of the most powerfull processors available in the market right now – the 1.6GHz Intel Core i7 720QM. It gave us blazing fast speeds just like the Pavilion dv7-3085dx which is HP’s own Core i7 notebook. This processor was only second to the Core i7 920XM CPU in the $3000 Alienware m15x, a notebook made exclusively for gamming.

Nivida 200M-series GPU are common in such notebooks but HP instead gives us 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830 in the Envy 15. It performs well in high and mid range gamming, ewe got 68.4 fps at 1440×900 pixels for Unreal Tournament III. For comparison, we will take the Alienware m15x (which is a dedicated gamming laptop), it has a single Nvidia GeForce GTX 260Mm, and gave us 128 fps in the same test.

The most disappointing feature for this notebook has to be its poor battery life. This notebook had juice for only 1 hour and 57 minutes in our challenging battery life tests. Our tests are grueling but such small battery life is certainly unforgivable. HP bundles another slice of battery which, as mentioned earlier, can be put beneath the notebook. The secondary battery gave us 2 hours and 23 minutes of juice. Make sure you have always have a plug nearby you if you are thinking about buying the 15 incher Envy.

HP gives a one year labor and parts warranty for the Envy 15 inch. For $289 more, you get a three year mail-in plan but considering its $2000 price tag, we expected longer warranty from the manufacturer. There is a dedicated team called “Envy product experts” for HPs Envy line of notebooks. HP says e-mails to the tech team are replied to within one hour and online support is also available.

Nitty Gritty:

We laud HP for putting in such powerful hardware and still managing to keep the device compact. We didn’t have much issues with the Envy 15, the price might be the only think that will hold you back. But if you have deep pockets and are looking for a high end gaming laptop or a fast machine, get the HP Envy 15-1050nr now!

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