To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

HP Envy 4 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £700
inc VAT

Stylish, compact and well-priced, if a little slow


14 in 1,366×768 display, 1.8kg, 1.7 GHz Intel Core i5-3317U, 6.00GB RAM, 500GB disk, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

HP’s Envy 4 is a compact Ultrabook with a 14in screen. It retains the same black brushed metal and red rubberised plastic styling, as the rest of the Envy range, giving it a luxurious look and feel.

Open the lid and the monochrome colour scheme continues underneath, with black keyboard tray and metal-effect touchpad. Silver edging around the touchpad cheapens the look a little, but it’s otherwise very easy on the eye. There’s no backlight for the keyboard, but the full size Chiclet-style keys are comfortable to type on thanks to sensible spacing and springy actions that bounce back quickly. HP has re-assigned the function keys to proprietary shortcuts, but they can be disabled through the BIOS so you can use Windows shortcuts more easily.

HP Envy 4

The touchpad was accurate and responsive too, recognising multi-touch gestures and comfortably navigating the Windows desktop. A double-tap to the top left corner disables it, in case you prefer using a mouse.

The 14in chassis is well matched with a 1,366×768 display, even if it’s a fairly standard TN panel. HP has prioritised colour vibrancy rather than reflection reduction by using a glossy screen finish – it certainly makes images look bright and colourful, but in a bright room or direct sunlight it can be difficult to see what’s on-screen. There’s a reasonable amount of tilt, but poor viewing angles leave little room to manoeuvre. Brightness was only average, making it difficult to spot details in some of our darker test photos.

HP Envy 4

Sound quality was slightly more impressive. Beats Audio might appeal to a certain demographic, although it’s barely any different to applying an equalizer pre-set in the audio driver, but HP has also paid more attention to its speakers than other Ultrabook manufacturers. A small low frequency speaker produces better bass than the competition, although it’s still lacking compared to a desktop speaker system or pair of headphones.

Pages: 1 2

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Processor Intel Core i5-3317U
Processor clock speed 1.7 GHz
Memory 6.00GB
Memory slots 2
Memory slots free 0
Maximum memory 8GB
Size 19x340x235mm
Weight 1.8kg
Sound IDT HD Audio
Pointing device touchpad


Viewable size 14 in
Native resolution 1,366×768
Graphics Processor Intel HD 4000
Graphics/video ports HDMI
Graphics Memory 384MB


Total storage capacity 500GB
Optical drive type none

Ports and Expansion

USB ports 3
Bluetooth yes
Wired network ports 1x 10/100/1000
Wireless networking support 802.11n
PC Card slots none
Supported memory cards SDHC, MMC, Memory Stick Pro/Duo
Other ports 3.5mm audio output


Carrying case No
Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Operating system restore option restore partition
Software included Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition
Optional extras none

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £700