The Envy 4 ships with Beat audio which means some extra components are in there to improve the sound quality. It also has a Beats Audio control panel which offers a bunch of sound related options like equalizer. All in all, the sound quality is pretty good and on highest level, it is loud but sound gets distorted. The built-in speakers should offer as a good resort for occasional movies, music or video chat but it’s nothing extra ordinary.
Heat and noise are two major issues ultrabook designers have been constantly facing. Finding a good balance between noise, heat, performance and thickness is pretty difficult but Intel’s ultra-voltage processors have made this a little more easy. The Envy 4 (our unit) uses one such processor; the Ivy Bridge based Core i5-3317U. It’s a 22nm processor with max TDP of only 17W which translates into lower heat output resulting in less heat. Not only this particular unit but all the processor options available in Envy 4 have TDP of 17W. The other major component producing heat is the Radeon HD 7670M. However, HP has successfully controlled the heat dissipation in the Envy 4. It also has a fan to exhaust the hot air. The fan is always running but its speed depends on the temperature. During light workloads, one can’t even listen to the fan noise even in a quiet room but once you play some HD movie or turn on a game, the fan ramps up producing a notable amount of noise. However, it doesn’t let the ultrabook heat up. We didn’t notice any throttling due to heating in our testing time.
The HP Envy 4 has a 4-cell Lithium-ion 52Wh battery. It is not exactly user replaceable but a spare one can be found easily online and replacement is also not really an issue. During our testing, with causal usage consisting of web browsing, some music and a little bit of video playback, the battery lasted around four and a half hour. However with gaming, it drained in less than three hours. For most users with light workloads, it should easily last four hours which is fine but surely not up to current standards.