The Bottom Line
Jan 6 2011 - HP's Envy 17-2280NR is certainly getting a bit old in the style department but it still offers some solid value when it comes to features and price. While it has a list price of $1500, it is fairly common to find it selling for around $1300 or less. With this, it features a high performance and large capacity storage setup, solid graphics system, Blu-ray and full 1080p resolution support. HP even does an unusual turn by providing a standard and high capacity battery pack with the system. There are a number of big issues with the laptop though including some serious heat issues when the graphics subsystem is used for extended periods of time such that it can impact performance from throttling. The integrated button trackpad still has some accuracy issues and the extended capacity battery adds a fair amount of bulk to the system.
- Well Priced For Features
- RAID 0 Setup For Storage Offers High Performance And Large Capacity
- Comes With Two Batteries For Size Or Running Times
- Laptop Runs Very Hot When Graphics Heavily Used And Can Lead To Performance Issues
- High Capacity Battery Adds Additional Width To Hinge Area
- Integrated Button Trackpad Still Needs Some Work
- Intel Core i7-2670QM Quad Core Mobile Processor
- 6GB-PC3-10600 DDR3 Memory
- Dual 500GB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drives
- Blu-ray Reader and Dual-Layer DVD Burner Combo Drive
- 17.3" WUXGA (1920x1080) LED Backlit Display With 2.0 Megapixel Webcam
- AMD Radeon HD 6850M Dedicated Graphics With 1GB Memory
- Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11a/g/n Wireless, Bluetooth
- One USB 3.0, Three USB 2.0, eSATA (Shared), HDMI, VGA, 5-in-1 Card Reader
- 16.4" x 10.8" x 1.3" @ 7.7 lbs.
- Windows 7 Home Premium, Office Starter, Photoshop/Premiere Elements 9, Power DVD
Review - HP Envy 17-2280NR
Jan 6 2011 - HP's Envy laptops have been around for some time now and HP has made a few changes in their latest Envy 17-2280NR to boost its performance for those willing to spend a bit more on a laptop. The first of these is a move up to an Intel Core i7-2670QM quad core processor. This offers a large benefit to applications such as desktop video that can take advantage of the extra processor cores compared to the Core i5 dual core models. They match this up with 6GB of DDR3 memory to offer a smooth overall experience in Windows. It would have been nice to see HP include 8GB at this $1500 price point but this is what many of the companies are doing.
The storage system for the Envy 17-2280NR is a bit different from many other 17-inch laptops. It uses two 500GB hard drives in a RAID 0 array to offer a full terabyte of storage as well as extra performance. Combine this with 7200rpm spin rate for the drives and this offers some very fast performance in addition to lots of storage space for applications, data and media files. Solid state drives still offer a bit more performance but the tradeoff for the extra space is more than worth it. In addition to these two drives, the laptop also features a Blu-ray compatible drive that allows for watching the high definition movie format. The drive also has the ability to playback and record CD or DVD media. If the storage space isn't enough, HP also includes a single USB 3.0 port and an eSATA port shared with one of the USB 2.0 for use with external storage devices.
The display of the Envy 17-2280NR uses the 17.3-inch BrightView panel that offers a very high 1920x1080 resolution with some good brightness and contrast levels. This is especially nice as it allows the laptop to fully few Blu-ray movies at the 1080p high definition resolution. The graphics are driven by a higher end AMD Radeon HD 6850M graphics processor. This offers a strong level of performance that should allow for gaming up to the full LCD panel resolution in some games but with more modest resolution with higher detail levels in more modern games. It certainly will help boost performance for those using non-gaming applications that can benefit from acceleration such as Photoshop CS. One issue that cropped up when using the graphics for gaming was some excessive heat on the bottom of the laptop. This can be of concern as extended use without proper airflow may cause performance issues.
The overall design of the HP Envy has remained unchanged over the past few years. It still looks very much like the Apple MacBook Pro with its aluminum exterior and black chiclet keyboard design. It even has the buttonless trackpad design which has improved over the years but still is less than stellar as it will occasionally mistake right and left clicks. Where it does differ is the bottom of the case is plastic rather than aluminum. Now, most people won't see the bottom as it sits on a table most of the time but it disrupts the overall look.
HP actually provides the Envy 17-2280NR with two different battery packs that can be used with the laptop. The first is a smaller six cell battery pack that is flush with the laptop frame and features a 62WHr capacity rating. The second is a larger nine cell battery pack that adds a good amount of width at the hinge from it sticking out but it provides 93 WHr capacity rating. With the larger battery pack in DVD playback tests, the laptop was able to run for just under four and a half hours before going into standby mode. This is very long but still falls short of what the Apple MacBook Pro 17 can achieve with its internal battery that doesn't stick out of the case but does cost nearly twice as much. If you use the smaller capacity battery, you can expect roughly three hours of running time with DVDs.