The Bottom Line
Jan 28 2013 - HP's ENVY dv7-7250us continues the inevitable slide of a once premiere brand name. The system now reflects what the Pavilion dv7 models were last year. It is fine for someone looking for general performance for task such as desktop video work but it lacks the graphics capabilities of past revision by relying on the Intel graphics and a lower resolution display. At least pricing has come down and is still offers some better than average battery life but that might be little consolation for past owners of the ENVY series.
- Excellent Keyboard
- Above Average Battery Life
- Integrated Graphics
- Display Doesn't Support 1080p
- Too Much Extraneous Software Installed
- Intel Core i7-3630QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
- 1TB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
- 8x DVD+/-RW Dual Layer Burner
- 17.3" WSXGA (1600x900) Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- Intel HD Graphics 4000 Integrated Graphics
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11b/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- Three USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.8" x 1.4" @ 7 lbs.
- Windows 8, Office Starter, PowerDVD, Norton Internet Security
Review - HP ENVY dv7-7250us
Jan 28 2013 - The HP ENVY lineup was originally derived from the Voodoo lineup of high performance laptops that the company purchased. It gradually morphed into a MacBook Pro clone with its aluminum clad exterior but this latest version drops the performance branding even further. Now it pretty much resembles what the HP Pavilion dv7 looked like last year. Rather than being all aluminum it is now a mix of black with the silver aluminum trim but it is more the downgrading of features that is of greater concern.
The base performance of the HP Envy dv7-7250us is still quite good thanks to the Intel Core i7-3630QM quad core processor. This provides the system with plenty of general performance that can be used for even very demanding tasks such as desktop video editing. The processor is teamed up with 8GB of DDR3 memory which provides Windows 8 with a very smooth experience even with multiple large applications open.
Storage performance starts off pretty good with a large one terabyte hard drive. This provides plenty of storage space for applications, data and media files. The downside is that it offers less performance because it spins at the 5400rpm spin rate. This means loading programs or even booting up the system is a bit slower than those using 7200rpm drives like the older ENVY 17or those that have moved forward with a mix of solid state drives and hard drives. If you do need additional space, there are three USB 3.0 ports which is one more than most 17-inch laptops come equipped with. A standard dual layer DVD burner handles playback and recording of CD and DVD media.
Graphics are the biggest area where the HP ENVY dv7 falters compared to the past ENVY series. First, the 17.3-inch display reduces the resolution down to 1600x900. This is typical of many lower cost 17-inch laptops but it lacks the ability to handle 1080p high definition video streams. The color and brightness levels are also lower as this is essentially the same panel used on the past Pavilion dv7 models. The biggest disappointment though is the graphics processor. Rather than using a dedicated graphics processor, the ENVY dv7-7250us uses the Intel HD Graphics 4000 that is build into the Core i7 processor. This means that it lacks any significant 3D acceleration to even really be considered for casual PC gaming or have ability to accelerate applications such as Photoshop. Now, it does have the ability to accelerate media encoding when using Quick Sync compatible applications.
Power for the HP ENVY dv7 is supplied by a six cell battery pack with a 62WHr capacity rating. This is above average for the market segment especially for its price point. This provided just under four and a half hours of running time in my digital video playback testing. This is certainly quite good considering the level of performance that can be achieved with its quad core processor. It is clearly longer than its competition that typically use 48WHr batteries but it falls short of what the Dell Inspiron 17 can achieve with its lower power components if you don't require as fast of a processor.
The keyboard and trackpad design of the HP ENVY dv7 use the same isolated keyboard layout they have used for years now. It offers an excellent level of accuracy and speed and is one of the better keyboards available on the market. The trackpad is a nice size but still uses integrated buttons which can be annoying at times when trying to register between right and left clicks. It supports the multitouch gestures of Windows 8 with accuracy for the most part.
Price between $850 and $900, the HP ENVY dv7-7250us is certainly more affordable than the past ENVY 17 models but it also sacrifices much of the graphics performance. At this price point, there are a few competitors of note. The Acer Aspire V3-771G offers many of the same features but comes with dedicated NVIDIA graphics at a slightly high cost and lower battery life. The Sony VAIO SVE1712 features AMD dedicated graphics with a 1080p display but sacrifices storage capacity and some RAM. Finally, Toshiba's Satellite S875 comes with AMD graphics and a Blu-ray drive but costs about one hundred dollars more.