5 Ways The HP Envy Is Better Than The MacBook Pro

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Almost every review of the HP Envy 13 I read (including our own) compared the notebook to the 13-inch MacBook Pro. This isn't surprising, as HP is clearly aiming to capture Apple's luxury design, craveability, and price tag. The Envy 13 has its flaws (particularly the touchpad), and consumers are less likely to overlook them given that the system is considerably more expensive than Apple's offering. Still, there are some aspects of this notebook that are better than the competition:

envy vs macbook

  1. Performance. The 13-inch MacBook Pro's 2.26-GHz processor scored an impressive 3,207 on PCMark Vantage (running Vista in BootCamp) but the Envy beats that score by 840 points, outpacing even the average PC desktop replacement. Creative professionals who edit video, images, or complex publishing projects will feel the difference here, but it's imporant to note that the MacBook we tested came with 2GB of RAM, and the Envy 13 had 3GB.
  2. Battery Options. The 4-cell battery that comes with the Envy 13 isn't very exciting by itself. However, unlike the 13-inch MacBook Pro, the battery on the Envy is user-replaceable. We also like that HP provides an optional extended battery slice, which is designed to meld seamlessly with the design and provide longer life. (Over 10 hours -- the results are in.)
  3. Audio. Both systems have underwhelming integrated speakers. Where the Envy 13 sets itself apart is its enhanced sound output. HP partnered with Monster/Beats by Dr. Dre to engineer better sound when listening to music through headphones or external speakers. The result is a fuller, richer audio experience that will please audiophiles.
  4. Display. Not only does the Envy have a higher resolution than the MacBook Pro (1600 x 900 vs. 1280 x 800), it also has a brighter screen. This notebook boasts 410-nit brightness and can display 82 percent of the color gamut -- twice as much brightness and color depth as you get with typical displays. Though it's hard to show with photographs, we took these to give you some idea of the difference between them (the Envy is on the left, MacBook on the right).

    HP Envy screen vs MacBook Pro screen

    HP Envy screen vs MacBook Pro screen

  5. Graphics. The MacBook Pro has pretty powerful integrated graphics, but the Envy has the edge with switchable graphics. The discrete ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 GPU delivered a score of 3,087 on 3DMark06 -- the MacBook Pro Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics card scored 2,174. And with the ability to switch between graphics-enhancing discrete and power-saving integrated, the Envy is more versatile as well.

These advantages don't necessarily make up for the Envy 13's shortcomings, but they do show that HP is a more than worthy contender on the high end. Check out our review of the HP Envy 13 and of the Apple MacBook Pro to make your own comparisons.

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  • Paul S. Says:

    @JimmyTango -- Adobe CS4 runs great on linux with wine and PlayOnLinux. As far as I know, the only software that you can't really make work on linux without a virtual machine is stuff programmed in the .NET framework that relies on a small set of unimplemented libraries (WPF & WWF) or the ASP.NET 4.5 Async Pipeline...

  • Paul S. Says:

    What does it mean to say that the macbook's battery is not "user replaceable"? I mean, with the right screwdrivers, even the mac-iest of mac users can replace it. Apple's insistence to the contrary strikes me more as a manifestation of the peculiar neurosis that afflicts Apple executives, something to do with a pathological desire to control what people do with their own property. But for a third-party website to repeat the canard without even putting scare quotes around 'not user-replaceable' is just bad journalism...

  • Rob Says:

    Also Brightness doesn't set to well in the early morning or the late night.Im sure I wouldn't wanna wear sunglasses while looking at my laptop..... What your comparing is more of an opinion then facts. you just have too many opinions and not enough facts. Its all one-sided which is really really not how it truly is.

    Do your homework....Not "half"-assing your research this time.

  • Rob Says:

    To hell with the blue-ray player, that really makes no difference. The Mac-book Pro and Hp Envy are for 2 different types of people. Your comparing Milk and Water. Fortunately, Apple had 2 sense of humors,if you will, when creating the Macbook Pro. It leans towards the consumer side more than the business but for the price and the programs for business, its pretty-much even.

    As far as Specs are concerned between the 2, it seems you already have a steady favorite, which is obviously the Hp Envy. You cant compare the 2 simply because you have the Hp Envy 13in and the mac-book pro 13in. hmm...are we comparing screen sizes only? or specs?

    what you failed to mention is the battery life of the Macbook. Lets not be passive about this...9 HOURS AFTER 1000 CHARGES!!! (the screen dimmed about 25% and your good). I own a Macbook, I've owned HP (not the Envy) and by far Apple has been the most expensive, but in the end you get what you paid for, which is quality and performance. Hp is a downgrade for me...as far as screen size specs... I was PC, now Im a MAC! lol.

    @Will You wont be disappointed at the Mac-book... You'll probably be more disappointed at the decision you made about the money you wasted because some sales punk thats making commission. Now your stuck, unless the store you bought it from doesn't have the already opened Policy. Guess you'll have to wipe your chin and walk away from this one, bud. Just, Be glad your a Mac now..lol.. i had too..

  • Kyle Says:

    Something to keep in mind as well is that you cannot get a blue-ray disc player in the MBP, but HP offers it in the envy series.

  • Adam Says:

    For me build quality is a deciding factor. I'm lucky if I get 2 years out of a HP machine (I have had several). I have two Apple products however that are going on five years. Comparing the two, the Envy still fells some what cheap despite the aluminum enclosure. The MBP however feels sturdy and exudes a feeling of quality.

    Spec wise, yes the Envy wins. However I can't help but think of the story of the tortoise and the hare...

  • Ryan Says:


    1. You didn't need to buy an additional Win7 license. There is a feature in Vmware Fusion to port your existing Win7 (all apps/files/etc as well) as an image on your MBP.
    2. All mice work with MBP.. why would you have to purchase an additional mouse?

    I run Fusion with my MBP and Win7 and I absolutely love it. I rarely use Win7 unless I am developing and it is smooth and seamless integration.

  • diego Says:

    Will- First of all mice are dirt cheap and why did you need an additional power cord? if you wanted to use windows in in a window (pun intended) you could use virtualbox which is free. (I use bootcamp). Don't worry you won't regret it. say goodbye to anti-virus (you don't need it) to the blue screen of death and ect. ect. ect......

    PS did I mention pop-ups on start-up? (don't turn it off often[ you don't need to]just close it.)

  • Will Says:

    I bought the MBP yesterday. I'm a little disappointed; I had to buy Windows 7 and Fusion to run both OS systems at the same time for work. Come to find out some of my programs only run in Windows. $279; ouch. Then I needed a different mouse and additional power cord. (I already had 4 HP’s so I had plenty of accessories for the pc stuff.) I think I would have paid less overall for the Envy. I do like the feel and performance of the MBP and I have a small learning curve with the Mac. I hope I don’t regret the purchase, if you’re a PC and thinking about Mac, consider all the additional items and find out if the software will work.

  • tyler Says:

    "Dr. Dre and Monster (hahaha) signed off on it, so you know it’s quality, right?"

    Exactly my thoughts considering that Mr.Dre has no history of audio engineering. he's a producer. big difference.

  • Jeff Says:

    "The result is a fuller, richer audio experience that will please audiophiles."

    Uuuh. I think "audiophile" means something drastically different to you than it does to audiophiles.

    I've seen what Realtek and Altec Lansing do to corrupt audio on the Toshiba laptops, and I imagine the HP outputs a similarly nightmarish bunch of sound distortion labeled, "enhancement." But hey, Dr. Dre and Monster (hahaha) signed off on it, so you know it's quality, right?

    Yeah, that was sarcasm at the end there.

  • Mike P Says:

    Aaron - We did just that with the new 13-inch MacBook that has similar specs to the 13-inch MBP. http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/apple-macbook-2009.aspx?page=1

  • Aaron Says:

    Another thing that should be noted is that the MBP 13 was using Vista on the windows side and not Windows 7. Laptop Mag should retest the MBP 13 w/ Win7 in Boot Camp to see how it compares to the Envy with the slower/integrated graphics.

  • Darth Stig Says:

    Yes Danny, the HP Envy 13 does indeed come in a lower res screen base configuration, that is where the $ go - the extra $500 gets you the higher res screen, slice battery. You also get extra RAM, But, lets compare the two base screens: HP E13 - 1366x768 res MBP13 - 1280x800. So, going by your 'niggle' and ignoring the higher res screen... we still have a winner: HP E13! I have looked at MBP for awhile now, but as pretty as they are, and as much as you can option in some good specs, there are better screens and graphics cards out there in the same price bracket - 1280x800 in a 13 incher? come on that is so 2007! What is it you pay for then, looks? The privilege of using OS X? If apple were really interested in converting the masses, instead of letting you put Windows on your MBP they'd allow installation of OS X on other systems, then state that you get better performance on OS X optimized hardware (ie OURS!). Saying you HAVE to buy our hardware to get a taste of how good our software is is like saying "wanna find out how good sugar tastes? Then try these brownies" Yes you gee the sweet taste, but how do you know it's sugar? C'm0n apple give us a legal taste of OS X - on anything!

  • JimmyTango Says:

    @Danny: Although this is true, I appreciate the comparison that mentions the higher res screen. The comparison SHOULD mention that the higher res screen is optional but with MBPs, upgrading the screen isn't even an option. I am looking at laptops right now, and the Envy 15 is VERY attractive with the larger battery, more RAM and high res screen in a smaller package. Plus the new Core i7 will be VERY fast. I love my screen real-estate and the only MBP with as much as I generally use is the 17-in, and that thing is a monster.

    Yes, in my opinion running OSX is an advantage but having used Windows 7 for quite a while now the gap is closing. Most of my work is just fine under Linux as well (it's just that damned Adobe CS4 I would need Win/OSX for).

  • Danny Says:

    I read somewhere that the 1600 x 900 display of Envy is not the default configuration. Meaning you pay more for the better display. The base display is similar to MBP. Maybe we should compare Envy with MBP with base configurations. That will give a better picture.

  • TinkerTenor Says:

    The biggest difference to me will always be the OS. A great battery doesn't change the fact that you are running a different OS, and are unable to use Mac OS X instead (legally and/or safely). Video editors who use Final Cut (most of them these days) have to use a MacBookPro anyway.

    And is it just me or does the "brighter" HP screen look tinted purplish pink?

  • Capt'n Corrupt Says:

    The replaceable battery and the slice is reason enough to choose the envy over the MBP. The option of an additional battery is key for mobility, and the slice ensures that you don't even have to *think* about battery life during the day; you simply need turn on and use the computer.

    The amazing screen, amazing performance, and amazing battery life, ensure that the user experience will be best in class, and worth the premium. Yeah, it's $500 more than the low end MBP, but it does most things exceptionally well.


  • Philip Pang Says:

    somehow, using MacBook Pro looks cooler !

  • Steve Says:

    For $500 dollars more, ENVY 13 is supposed to be better than MBP 13!!! We should compare the products with the same price range.

    Also, why can't HP make their own design?

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