HP Envy 4 starts at around $650. The configuration we tested costs $950.
- Sleek and slim design
- Good performance
- Fast storage sub-system
- Discrete graphics
- Beats Audio
- Good price performance
- USB 3.0
- Average screen
- Average build quality
- Not-so-good battery life
The HP Envy 4 proves to be a great Ultrabook. It has everything once can wish for such a price. Beginning with design, the Envy 4 inherits the aesthetics from some of the higher-end models which obviously give it a very exquisite look. The complete brushed aluminum finish makes it one of the best looking notebooks in its price segment. However, the material quality is not that good. Especially, the top part of the lid had a very weak sheet of metal which squeaks and bends even with a slight push. Apart from the top panel, rest of the body is very solid. I especially liked the color and finish of the bottom part. It not only feels good but it also looks good and is durable too.
Coming to the feature set of the Envy 4, one cannot really complain. It has a fairly fast quad-core Intel Core i5 CPU along with 8GB of DDR3 memory and AMD Radeon HD 7670M discrete graphics chip. For its price and dimensions, it’s pretty impressive for Envy 4 to have a dedicated GPU. Moreover, it also comes with a 32GB mSATA SSD drive which is used for caching purposes along with the 5400 RPM 500GB HDD. These two make a reasonable fast storage sub-system which makes the ultrabook fairly responsive. Two USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader and Ethernet port also add to the value to the Envy 4.
Conversely, the weak spots of the Envy 4 include its display and battery. The ultrabook is fitted with a 14-inch TN panel with a resolution of 1366×768. Not only the resolution is inadequate but the color reproduction and viewing angles are not that great either. Furthermore, the 4-cell Lithium ion battery of Envy 4 is not what one would expect for ultrabooks these days. It hardly lasts for more than 4 hours with heavy usage.
In terms of performance, the Envy 4 is more than adequate for all the browsing, word processing, image processing and media content consumptions. Additionally, it’s also good for casual gaming as it handles most of the modern games at fairly good frame rates.
All in all, the HP Envy 4 is a mix of good and bad but the former one outweighs the latter which makes it a good purchase.