First, I’m going to quickly backtrack for those that don’t quite know the story with these latest, slim-line ENVY laptops. For the ENVY 4 and ENVY 6, you have the option of getting an Ultrabook version (with Intel chips) or a Sleekbook version (that offers other components including HDDs and AMD CPUs, for instance). They are both spry, capable machines – and, if you wanted to, you could trick out a unit with discrete AMD graphics. All-in-all, they are good performers within tiny packages – in my humble opinion.
[They reviewed an Ultrabook version – that is Intel 3rd-gen Core CPU and Intel HD 4000 on-board graphics.]
“…The HP Envy 4 is different. It appearsto be bigger and thicker than other 14-inch Ultrabooks (it's not), but it has a design that's, thankfully, all its own. This attractive ultraportable features a flat, plateau-like brushed aluminum cover and a sexy red undercarriage. Plus, it's a solid performer with excellent speakers.”
“In PCWorld's WorldBench 7 benchmark tests, the HP Envy 4 scores 126 out of 100. This means that the Envy 4 is 26 percent faster than our testing model, which has a second-generation Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a discrete Nvidia graphics card. A score of 126 is a good one for the Ultrabook category….most of the Ivy Bridge Ultrabooks we've looked at so far have scored in the range of 95 to 110.”
It led them to say that, “The HP Envy 4 is aptly named--this Ultrabook's premium design and subtle pop of color makes it the envy of ultraportables everywhere.”
As for the ENVY 6 that’s out in the marketplace right now, It’s got a big screen and can promise some good performance on a budget at the baseline (starting at $599). What got me thinking that this could also be a good option for the kid is its relative lack of heft – in addition to the reasonable entry-point price. It is 19.8mm thin, weighs under four pounds…and will last up to nine hours according to tests for the 15.6-inch version. That means besides being light, you probably won’t need to lug around your charger for a good chunk of the day. I should know how freeing that is from firsthand experience. Back during CES in January, I had a Folio13 and not once during the day would I have to plug in to recharge my batteries. That’s a lot less to lug around (and less bag clutter) to sweat.
I’m also a big fan of the two-tone finish. It’s got a brushed metal chassis on one side and the subtle color pop with a soft-touch finish on the bottom. That gives it a nice bit of traction when you need to grab onto this guy.
Of course, you can always add a little extra oompf . For example, upgrade the RAM, toss in an AMD A10-4655M processor…or how about going for ATI Radeon HD7620G discrete graphics?
Getting my hands on a machine with that sort of upgraded horsepower recently, I felt compelled to conduct a couple tests. What we found after running TheNextBenchmark gauntlet – with graphics at medium settings (and 1280 by 720 resolution) – is that you could get a good experience at, on average, over 30 frames per second in games. Translation: It’ll work well for your multimedia needs without walloping a wallet. In fact, spec-ed out at baseline, this is a good machine to get for the kids.
(The way I thought of it recently, when demoing during a Take Your Children to Work Day, is that this could function as a solid portable entertainment / school work machine).
And, in case you don’t believe me – or if you haven’t already seen the video – this is a quick demo to show you an ENVY 6 in action with discrete graphics….so that the kid has something to do. Y’know, after they finish their homework.
You have any thoughts on the matter? I’d love to hear what you have to say.