Posted by: kurtsh | December 29, 2010

NEWS: HP Envy: Thinner, lighter, faster, brighter than a MacBook Air… now only $999!

Wanna be the envy of your next staff meeting? 

[photo taken from Gizmodo’s review of the HP 13” Envy]

If you’re one of those folks that wants a laptop that’s stylishly thin, light, but want all the power of a supportable & manageable Windows 7 laptop with faster system performance & a brighter screen at a cheaper price… look no further than the HP Envy 13”.

Gizmodo did a very thorough evaluation back when the laptop was priced at $1800.  ( It sports system specs as follows:

  • 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor SL9600
  • ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 Graphics
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 4-cell battery (swappable)
  • Beats audio
  • 250GB hard disk drive
  • External Supermulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW optical drive with double layer support
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.

The following notable results came up in Gizmodo’s review and in virtually every case, the HP Envy came up the victor… except for the original price ($1800), but with the recent price reduction down to $999, that’s clearly been rectified:

  • Size wise, the HP Envy is .2 inches shorter and thinner than the MacBook Air.
  • Display wise, the HP Envy has a gorgeous 1600×900 LED screen that called the “HP Radiance” that apparently blows anything else in this ultraportable category away.  The 410 nit display (a metric for screen brightness) has an 82% color spectrum (gamut) compared to other displays which traditionally are 40%-60%, including the MacBook Air which makes it, per Gizmodo, more “vivid and crisp”.
  • Processor wise, the HP Envy does numerically have a slightly lower frequency CPU sporting an 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor versus the MacBook Air’s 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, however Gizmodo reported that there was no performance hit in application execution comparisons.  The real performance difference is noticeable when they looked at the two systems in the next category…
  • Graphics wise, the Envy’s GPU (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330) outperformed the MacBook Air’s (Nvidia GeForce 9400M) by 40% in standard 3DMark testing; it also outperformed it by over a 30% better gaming frame rate attaining a full 30fps using Crysis as a benchmark versus the MacBook Air which maxed at 22fps.
  • Battery wise, the HP Envy’s 3.5 hr 4-cell battery is adhoc swappable unlike the MacBook Air’s which is screwed into the chassis; for power users, the HP Envy also has a 10-hour 6-cell battery available as a separate accessory.
    (And despite Apple’s claims of 5-hr battery life, the MacBook Air was found to only realistically deliver about 3.5 hrs of usage, per Anandtech’s evaluation)
  • Price wise, the HP Envy is $999 compared to the MacBook Air’s $1200 price tag.

I’ve got an ancient production laptop right now and I fully intend on buying one once I reorganize some finances.  Along with the HP Slate 500 which is delivering in 5 days.  Dammit.  Too much good hardware to procure.


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