written by: Finn Orfano•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 5/19/2011
The HP Envy 13 is a very stylish notebook which comes with great hardware specs and Windows 7 Home Premium. It has a superb display, comfortable keyboard and and excellent graphics.
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HP Envy 13 Review
The HP Envy 13 is one of the most elegantly styled notebooks you can find in the market. It runs on Windows 7, which is Microsoft's greatest success yet as an OS and sports some really good hardware specs. It has a superb design and excellent build quality, much better than the boxy laptops we usually visualize as Windows laptops. In this review, we will check out the HP Envy 13 and see what makes it tick.
HP Envy 13 Specifications
Dimensions: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
Weight: 3.8 pounds
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo Processor SL9600 at 2.13 GHz, 6MB L2 cache
RAM: 3 GB DDR3 SDRAM
Hard Drive: 250 GB SATA HDD, 5400 RPM
Display: 13.3 inch LED backlit display, 1366 x 768 pixels Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 512 MB, Intel GMA X4500 MHD
Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium
Optical Drive: External BD ROM / DVD RW Blu-Ray ROM
The highlight of the HP Envy 13 is its design, which is significantly different from all the previous HP notebooks. It is really stylish and slim, with dimensions of 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches and comparatively light weight at just 3.8 pounds. The body is composed of aluminium and magnesium alloy and the build quality is superb. The design is clean and minimal and reminds you of the Macbook Pro. The chassis is very sturdy and there is little to no flex on the display lid.
However, opening up the HP Envy 13 is a complicated task, so upgrading the RAM or HDD will need some experience with laptop hardware and a lot of patience. Overall, it is one of the best designs I've seen in Windows based laptops. It should provide a decent alternative to the Macbook Pro.
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Display and Speakers
The HP Envy 13 comes with a 13.3 inch LED backlit display which has a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The display quality is stunning with excellent brightness and contrast. The colors are vibrant and the picture quality is ideal for multimedia consumption. The viewing angles are also quite good, both horizontal and vertical. The display also looks quite good in well lighted rooms.
The HP Envy 13 comes with a set of built in stereo speakers. The sound quality over the speakers is quite good and have decent volume. They are better than standard laptop speakers but for watching movies or listening to music, I would still recommend a set of good headphones.
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Keyboard and Touchpad
The HP Envy 13 comes with a full chiclet or island style keyboard. It is much better than standard notebook keyboards and provides good key spacing and support. The keys have a nice feel and offer good feedback. It is easily one of the best notebook keyboards I've encountered.
Exactly below the keyboard, you will find a Synaptics touchpad with integrated touchpad buttons. The touchpad is powered by Synaptics and is one of the best I've used in a notebook. The surface is smooth and the touchpad is very responsive. You can click, scroll and navigate with ease using this touchpad. It is much better than the small sized touchpads which many laptops have.
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Hardware and OS
When it comes to hardware, the HP Envy 13 is loaded with some of the best components available. It is powered by a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor SL9600 which is clocked at 2.13 GHz and has 6 MB L2 cache. It also comes with 3 GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1066 MHz, a 250 GB SATA HDD at 5400 RPM. The graphics department is handled by a switching graphics solution which switches between the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 512 MB and the Intel GMA X4500 MHD integrated graphics to achieve a balance between power and battery life. Using the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 allows you to play games and play HD video but consumes battery juice rapidly, while the Intel GMA X4500 conserves battery power but leads to reduced graphics performance. You can switch between the two whenever you want.
The HP Envy 13 comes loaded with Windows 7 Home Premium. Windows 7 is one of the best OSes available currently. The Envy 13 can handle basic stuff like document editing, web browsing, watching videos, playing music etc., easily. It can also play recent games at lowered settings.
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Ports, Connectivity and Battery
The HP Envy 13 comes with the standard array of expansion ports: 2 USB ports, HDMI out, headphone jack, mic, 2 in 1 card slot, Ethernet etc. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It comes with an external BD ROM / DVD RW drive.
It is powered by a 4 cell 41 Wh Li-Po battery which lasts for about 7 hours with moderate usage and integrated graphics. If you use the discrete ATI Mobility Radeon graphics, the battery life dips fast.
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The HP Envy 13 is one of the most stylish notebooks I've seen. It is packed with great hardware and comes with Windows 7 Home Premium. The hardware configuration is customizable, it starts at $1199 for the minimum configuration and stretches all the way upto $1999 for the best configuration. The configuration mentioned in the review costs about $1899. It is one of the best alternatives to the Macbook Pro. I would definitely recommend it.