HP Envy M6 review
15.6 in 1,366x768 display, 2.4kg, 2.3GHz AMD A10-4600M, 6.00GB RAM, 1,000GB disk, Windows 8
AMD’s mobile processors aren’t traditionally known for their high performance, but they’re well suited to great value mid-range systems such as HP’s Envy M6-1205SA. This laptop has dedicated graphics, a 15.6in display, a good battery and great connectivity. It’s also well priced.
The 2.3GHz A10-4600M processor isn’t the fastest mobile chip that AMD makes, but it’s ideal for everyday desktop tasks. It runs web browsers, word processors and image editors comfortably, and it can increase its clock speed to 3.2GHz when the processor’s operating within certain thermal limits. Its 6GB of RAM is ample for multitasking, and its 1TB hard disk is easily big enough for a large media collection.
The A10-4600M has a Radeon HD 7660G graphics processor built in to it, which performs well enough on its own, but here it’s combined with the dedicated HD 7670M GPU in Hybrid Crossfire for even better performance. In our Dirt Showdown test, it managed a smooth 29.2fps at 1,280x720 with graphics options set to High. We could even increase the resolution to the screen’s native 1,366x768 and get 26.9fps, but switching the graphics settings to Ultra proved too much of a challenge and the Envy M6-1205SA produced a jerky 16fps average frame rate. This shows that many modern games should be playable at a resolution of 1,280x720 if you’re realistic with detail settings and anti-aliasing.
Because the dedicated graphics card is able to shut down when the Envy M6-1205SA is running on battery power, the Envy M6-1205SA was able to produce a fantastic result in our light-use battery benchmarks. At just under nine hours, you should be able to go an entire working day without hunting for a power socket, as long as you stick to light tasks. This is a fantastic result for an AMD-powered laptop.
In general use, the M6-1205SA is something of a mixed bag. Although it uses the Envy name, which has traditionally been reserved for HP’s premium laptops, it doesn’t feel as high-end as many other Envy laptops. The lid and wrist rest are brushed metal, but the main chassis is plastic. The screen bends and flexes under minimal pressure, as does the keyboard tray, and the glossy display bezel is a magnet for dust and fingerprints. However, once you actually start using the laptop, things get much better.