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HP ENVY 17 Spring 2011 Gaming Laptop PC

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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HP ENVY 17 Gaming Laptop Computer Review
Image Courtesy HP

The Bottom Line

Apr 20 2011 - The HP ENVY 17 has been updated for 2011 to include 2nd Generation Intel Core i processors and a new AMD Radeon HD 6850M graphics card. Starting at $1,250, the base configuration offers a Core i5 processor and 6GB of memory for decent performance in a variety of scenarios. The graphics card performs well especially for the base price, and overall the HP ENVY 17 is a solid buy.

Pros

  • Good Build Quality
  • Price
  • Support for Two Hard Drives
  • Decent Graphics Card

Cons

  • Lack of a Quad-Core Processor for $1,250
  • Touchpad Isn't the Best For Gaming

Description

  • Intel 2nd Generation Core i5-2410M Dual Core Processor
  • 17.3-Inch HD+ BrightView Infinity LED Display (1600x900)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6850M 1GB GDDR5 Graphics Card
  • 6GB DDR3 Memory
  • 750GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
  • SuperMulti 8x DVD Drive
  • HP TrueVision HD Webcam
  • 6 Cell Battery
  • 3 USB (2 USB 2.0 and 1 SuperSpeed USB 3.0), HDMI, RJ-45
  • 16.38" x 10.83" x 1.25" @ 7.25 Pounds

Review - HP ENVY 17 2011 Laptop

HP, well known for business and consumer laptops, has updated the ENVY 17 for 2011. This higher-end laptop is at the top of HP's consumer product line and offers a variety of features that make it a worthy contender for gamers on the go.

The major update to the ENVY 17 comes with the inclusion of Intel 2nd Generation Core i processors. The base HP ENVY 17 starts at $1,250 and features an Intel Core i5-2410M chip. The dual-core processor clocks in at 2.3GHz but can hit 2.9GHz with Turbo Boost. Unfortunately, this is a more economical chip with only 3MB of L3 cache. If you need the performance power of a quad-core processor, the ENVY 17 can be customized to include the Intel Core i7-2820QM with 8MB of cache for improved performance under load.

Since this is a 17.3-inch laptop, one must ask how the display fares against competitors. The standard screen is more than adequate with a maximum resolution of 1600x900, but a full 1080p display is available for $150 more. If you're doing serious gaming, you'll probably want to upgrade to the full HD screen as the higher resolution on a 17.3-inch display is a definite asset.

Next, you're probably wondering about the overall design and build quality. Since the ENVY 17 is in the upper tier of HP's consumer notebook line, it does have a more sophisticated feel with an aluminum body that made the previous generation ENVY 17 a hit among consumers. The laptop has a laser-etched design, though, that might be off-putting to some. If you're a gamer looking for an aggressive notebook with lots of lights, this notebook isn't for you. But it does have a streamlined elegance that is somewhat similar to a MacBook Pro. Also similar to a MacBook Pro is the ENVY 17's lack of touchpad buttons. It takes some getting used to the universal touchpad, and it's not the best for intensive gaming scenarios, so keep a mouse handy.

What's nice about the HP ENVY 17 is the fact that it can go from moderate gaming to the workplace with ease. This multifunctional notebook is perfect for those who use a laptop in a variety of scenarios. It is quite versatile with support for up to three external displays, as well as a nice dedicated graphics card. The AMD Radeon HD 6850M is standard in the base $1,250 configuration and offers 1GB of GDDR5 with the same chip as the Mobility HD 5850. The AMD HD 6850M features 800 stream processing units and is a decent value for a notebook in this price range.

One downside to the base configuration is the slow 5400RPM hard drive. While it's spacious at 750GB, the lack of speed is a bottleneck. Unfortunately, the available options aren't very budget-friendly. The system supports dual hard drives, which is a positive attribute, but the only available option on HP's website for a 7200RPM drive includes an SSD and the price skyrockets by $630. It would be nice to see a bit more options that spanned a wider price range rather than such a steep price jump.

In conclusion, the HP ENVY 17 is a top-notch laptop if you seek versatility. It can go from spreadsheets to gaming easily. However, it does not offer the same level of performance in-game compared to that of a desktop replacement gaming notebook equipped with a high-end graphics card, such as the GTX 485M. For under $1,300, though, the HP ENVY 17 is a decent value overall.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
HP Envy 17 - Simply The Best, Member POTUSexec

Simply, the HP Envy 17 is mostly the best of two worlds: genuine work and real fun. Being the fortunate recipient of this magnificent monster of a PC for my birthday, it has resolved all of my serious work related and down-time computer fun issues. Someone noticed me doing my homework about 17-inch PCs. Hewlett-Packard rightly should pump their fists in the air for staying loyal to the creation and continued production of their Envy PC series. ------ The HP Envy 17 is the portable desktop workhorse I've been waiting for, and at a truly fair price. In fact, it comes with the quality of built-in upgradable options that will give me my monies worth of real use over time. ------ I recommend getting 6 to 8 gigabytes of memory for fast processing and the newer software that's coming. Thankfully, I was given the 8 GB I need for my heavy small business work, and weekend high-def games. The quality is durable, stylish and clean. The overall computing engine and user functions make the Envy 17 a genuinely enviable choice if you're considering a strong, feature-rich, and truly affordable PC in these shaky economic times. I hope HP continues its loyalty and widely promotes this great product. ------ Inevitably, there will be the comparisons to other laptop computers, both Windows and Mac. No matter how hard anyone may want to churn the Apple hype, feature-for-feature, the HP Envy 17 stomps MacBook Pros and anything similar to them. That's fact over hype. It's not a Mac killer or competitor. Envy 17 is really a PC game changer, period! ------ Compare the actual specs, along with the many potential ways the HP Envy 17 can be used right out of the box and over time. Among my friends that now drool at my new birthday machine are a fine artist, gamer, architect, two musicians, an office administrator, a video hog, and one public official. If you're like me and need to get some serious heavy-duty work done, and then have some outrageous entertainment fun, this very portable laptop PC is the one. ------ Moreover, the price is fair and affordable for its class, quality, features and user-friendly assets. Dollar-for-dollar, you get more than what you pay. For me, it was a birthday gift. ------ Thankfully, I received my top PC wish for 2011-2012 and beyond: the HP Envy 17. By they way I didn't mention that it has a wrap-around Beats Audio system, and a bass-pounding sub-woofer on the bottom. OMG!!! All my Hip-Hop classics, Jazz and Classical music now have a new life, even without headphones. ------ Again, please do your homework, take a little time to compare the specs with other hot brands. You're likely to spend your money wisely on an HP Envy 17. ------ In stressful financial times (to use for night college, self-employment, personal finances, secure online shopping, bill paying, home entertainment, or better job searching), this will surely be your best computer investment over at least the next five years. ------ Maybe you'll receive yours an unexpected gift too.

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