Checks all the boxes for a premium tag : HP Envy 14 review
We tried out HP's new Envy 14 laptop that promises a premium experience but with a hefty price tag. The HP laptop fared well on most of the aspects and is likely to be a top choice for many at its price. Here is why.
P Envy 14 is the latest laptop by HP that is gaining attention. The company launched it as part of its "premium computing" category recently in India, at Rs 1,04,999. With this, it sits just below HP's best laptops under its Spectre series. However, the price tag can be a bit too much for those accustomed to HP Essential and Pavilion laptops.
Envy 14 tries to justify that with performance capabilities at par with most of the premium laptops. Also, it comes decked with bells and whistles, like a backlit keyboard, fingerprint scanner, Bang and Olufsen speakers, multiple connectivity options and a high screen-to-body ratio.
HP says that the Envy 14 has been custom built as a "personal creative studio" for creative personnel, which means that the laptop is efficient in running illustration software, music composition and notation software, video editing tools and other such use-cases.
The basic specifications back these claims. The Envy 14 comes with an 11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor clocked up to 4.2GHz, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, and a 14-inch WUXGA IPS display. Graphics are taken care of by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q and Intel Turbo Boost Technology. In all, a pretty neat package for performance.
Though the spec-sheet does not always reveal the complete story of a product, we tried the Envy 14 out for what it is, a work-oriented laptop meant to have an edge in graphics performance. After a couple of weeks with the laptop, here is what we feel about it.
The HP Envy 14 sports the classic HP look, donning its signature "Natural Silver" colour throughout. Despite its typical HP form, Envy 14 does not have to make an effort to look different. It easily sets itself apart from the regular HP laptops much use at work. It sports a straight, continuous build with neatly cut edges and a finish that we have not been able to see even in other premium laptops. Of course, you don't get the chamfered edges and the bold highlights all around as on the Spectre laptops, but you probably won't need them with the aesthetics on the Envy 14.
Due to the solid colour, the Envy 14 looks bigger in size than it is. It would probably fit within its frame if you were to compare it to a regular HP laptop. Another reason why it appears bigger is the large screen-to-body ratio of 88 per cent. The larger display gives you much more viewing space as compared to other laptops. It is even taller than most, with an aspect ratio of 16:10.
The screen is embodied within an all-black bezel, which is the only space where you will see a different colour on the Envy 14. This is, again, a noticeable distinction from many other laptops that sport a dual colour tone, usually on displays and keyboards. Maintaining continuity, the Envy 14 comes off as one single piece of elegant machinery.
There is a full-size backlit keyboard that occupies most of the space on the lower panel. It lies just under a considerably thick speaker grille. At the bottom, there is a large trackpad without any distinctions for left and right clicks.
The overall build of the Envy 14 is quite sturdy. You will notice this as soon as you lift the laptop in your hands. It weighs around 1.6 kg and can be carried around easily in your hands or bag. Once opened, the display can be tilted to more than 150-degree for ease of use. HP has also used a thicker rubber strip at the bottom of the Envy 14 for a raised stance when kept on a table.
HP Envy 14 review: Everyday work made easy
Fire up the Envy 14, and you will have a large, vibrant display to greet you. This is a 14-inch WUXGA IPS display, meaning it comes with a 1920 x 1200 pixels resolution. That and the slim bezel all around enable an excellent viewing experience on the Envy 14.
The display offers vivid colours (100% sRGB colour gamut), good contrast and a nice and bright screen (up to 400 nits) if need be. A big plus is the anti-glare used on the display that helps you to work easily on Envy 14 even under sunlight.
HP says that the 16:10 aspect ratio on the Envy 14 provides an 11 per cent greater viewing area than a traditional 16:9 laptop. You are bound to notice this in your use, as scrolling through a webpage on the Envy 14 becomes a little less tiresome.
Like the display, the keyboard on the Envy 14 is quite handy and more efficient than those on many others laptops. For one, it comes with two levels of backlighting to enable work in a dimly lit room. In addition, it comes with several useful shortcuts at the top. These include a mute mic button, a button to toggle the camera shutter, a power button as well as a button for HP Command Centre.
There is also a fingerprint scanner in the bottom row of the keyboard. It takes the place of the right CTRL, which is frankly a bit annoying since I am personally used to the right CTRL. As for functionality, the fingerprint reader works very efficiently and unlocks the laptop within a second, a handy replacement for passwords.
The trackpad gives you a large area to play around with the cursor. It is smooth and has a distinct, soft click across the board. It also supports multi-touch gestures for scrolling through windows and apps or performing browser-specific functions like back to the previous page or next page.
Other features that help with everyday productivity are the ample connectivity options on the Envy 14. Both Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are quick to connect, and the laptop features many ports for extra connectivity. These include one Thunderbolt 4 with USB Type-C, two USB Type-A ports, one HDMI 2.0, a microSD card slot and a headphone/microphone combo jack. The ports are equally distributed on either edge of the Envy 14, giving it a seemingly symmetric look.
The laptop runs Windows 10 Home 64 that is a standard choice for most laptop users. You can thus be ensured of a familiar operating system on the Envy 14. It is also likely to be upgradeable to Windows 11 soon.
HP Envy 14 review: Powerful performance
It is only when you test out what's under the hood that you appreciate the Envy 14 in its entirety. The laptop is capable of taking almost any task you can throw at it. Be it graphics software like Adobe Photoshop or games like Asphalt, or just everyday internet browsing. Envy 14 will have you working smoothly throughout.
This is despite the Intel Core i5 processor used on the laptop. The superior performance is achieved partly due to the 16 GB RAM on board and because of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti (Max-Q) graphics card, which helps with games and graphics software.
HP says that the Envy 14 is equipped with an IR thermal sensor, thin-blade fans and heat pipes to keep it cool through its use. However, in our use, we found the laptop to heat up rarely and instead just be a little warm at the bottom end, even during extensive usage.
You can also adjust these heat dissipation settings through the HP Command Centre. In addition, the cooling fans can be adjusted to offer maximum cooling or run quietly through the System Control settings.
There are, of course, other features to maximise your output. Creators will love the Bang & Olufsen speaker system embedded on the Envy 14. It delivers an excellent, loud and crisp sound that can only be heard on high-end gaming laptops. In addition, a Bang & Olufsen Audio Control app lets you set audio controls as per your requirement. There is also a noise cancellation option in the app for output and input devices.
HP Envy 14 is backed by a 63.3Wh Li-ion battery. We found the battery to be sufficient to last around 8 hours on a single charge in our use. Of course, a media viewing experience or a game you play on the laptop shortens this battery life by up to a few hours, but the laptop is quick to regain it through a 135W power adapter.
HP Envy 14 review: Should you buy or not?
There is no doubt that the Envy 14 has been made to stand out, with ample features that speak volumes of its premium-ness. It has a strong focus on core points like display, performance, battery life and portability. All this is further complemented by the premium speakers, backlit keyboard, fingerprint scanner, 720p webcam with camera shutter and more.
With that being noted, the price on the Envy 14 is not an easy to ignore figure, especially considering that it can easily fetch you a laptop with a Core i7 processor. As a result, the Envy 14 becomes a use-case choice for creators who want a device more focused on graphics output than overall performance.
In either case, the Envy 14 is sure to exceed your expectations when it is put to use. If you decide to go for it, know that you are in for a smooth, lag-free and powerful experience that few other laptops can promise to provide.