HP Envy 17 review, guide and deals

Envy 17 Overview

HP Envy 17Since Apple discontinued the 17-inch Apple MacBook Pro, there have not been many premium choices in the desktop-replacement category. The latest model of the HP Envy 17 takes advantage of this and brings a 17.3-inch Full HD display along with third-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 models. The GPU can be chosen between an AMD 7690M XT or an AMD 7850M and RAM can be configured between 6GB to 16GB. There are two drive bays in the Envy 17 which enables the laptop to be configured with up to 2TB of hard disk space. There are also SSD and hybrid options available. There is a Beats Audio system on the Envy 17 with 6 speakers and a subwoofer. The Envy 17 has a weight of 7.4 pounds.

Full review of the Envy 17 and key features below...

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Envy 17 review

After taking a first look at the Envy 17, it is immediately clear that this laptop was made for media use. It is not very portable due to its size and its weight, but it was not made for that. The design consists of an aluminium alloy body with a slick finish. The display is excellent with a high resolution and great viewing angles. The built-in DVD drive can be upgraded to handle Blu-ray disks as well. There is a discrete AMD GPU in the Envy 17 which is activated when the laptop is on AC power. Otherwise, the built-in Intel HD 4000 is activated in order to save battery life. The customizability options of the Envy 17 are numerous. There are options for adding hard disks as well as SSDs and the top option includes two 1TB HDDs along with a 128GB SSD. Such memory options are non-existent in smaller laptops and hence this is one place the Envy 17 really stands out. The RAM can be configured between 6GB to 16GB and the graphic card may be a AMD 7690M XT or a AMD 7850M. Both these graphic cards are fast performers with the 7850M being one of the fastest cards available in mainstream laptops. The backlit keyboard is very spacious and so is the track pad. The laptop does tend to get quite hot when put under load. The battery life of the Envy 17 was better than expected given its focus on performance. The Beats Audio system was very impressive and offered much better sound than most laptops. Given the features of the Envy 17, it makes an excellent desktop replacement laptop and people needing a new desktop should seriously consider the Envy 17 as it is the closest that is available to a full-fledged desktop experience. The added portability is another plus point in favour of the Envy 17. Compared to the similar HP DV7, the Envy 17 offers a more premium finish for a slightly higher price. So, if your wallet is a little light, you should look at the DV7. Otherwise, the DV7 is an excellent premium machine.

The Good
The Bad
  • Excellent display
  • Great speaker system
  • Fast performance
  • Multiple configuration options
  • Quite heavy and thick
  • Tends to get quite hot under load
  • No Blu-ray burner available
  • GPU switching causes screen flicker

Envy 17 Main features:

  • 17.3-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels
  • Intel Core i5 and Core i7 models available
  • AMD Radeon 7690M XT / AMD Radeon 7850M GPU with Intel HD 4000 for switching
  • 6-16GB of available RAM
  • Up to 2TB Hard Disks or Hybrid drives with up to 2TB HDDs and 128GB SSDs
  • Built-in DVD / Blu-ray drive
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Beats Audio with 6 speakers + 1 subwoofer
  • Weight : 7.4 pounds


Other Laptops to consider

  • HP DV7
  • Alienware M17X
  • Sony VAIO F

If you are considering buying an Envy 17 then these laptops are worth looking at as possible alternatives to the Envy 17.