HP Envy 14 Beats Edition review
14.1 in 1,366x768 display, 2.5kg, 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-720QM, 4.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
HP’s Envy range of laptops is undeniably stylish, thanks to their minimalist design and smooth lines. This special edition is the result of the company’s collaboration with hip-hop mogul Dr Dre, and we think it looks even better than the vanilla model; the all-black body is reminiscent of a previous generation MacBook, but with its own distinct design thanks to the metallic silver finish around the chassis edge.
Considering HP has gone to great lengths to secure Dr Dre as the face of the Beats range, we were amazed that the Envy’s speakers barely sounded any better than almost every other laptop. Quiet and slightly tinny, the barely discernable bass notes disappear altogether when deactivating Beats mode, which is nothing more than an equaliser pre-set, making us question why anyone would bother turning it off at all. It was loud enough that we could still hear it clearly from the other side of a small room, but we would definitely recommend using headphones for anything other than the odd YouTube video.
It might not be great for audio, but underneath the great-looking chassis the internal components are still able to perform when it counts. A first generation Intel Core i7-720QM processor runs at a relatively sedate 1.6GHz, but when in Turbo Boost mode it can increase to a much faster 2.8GHz. Anyone used to multi-tasking will appreciate 4GB of RAM and the 500GB hard disk should be big enough for a respectable multimedia collection.
Despite having a quad-core processor, the Envy still can’t match a new dual-core Sandy Bridge chip for flat-out power, as shown in our multimedia benchmarks. An overall score of 55 is still impressive, but considering the Envy’s price it’s a shame you aren’t getting cutting-edge technology. The other downside is battery life; with just three and a half hours in our light-use test, you won’t want to go too far without the mains adaptor.