Serious MacBook Envy: HP Launches Redesigned Envy 15 and 17

There's no denying that the redesigned Envy 15 and 17 look a lot like the MacBook Pro. And we're not complaining. For the first time in three years, HP has done a major overhaul of its premium notebook line. The No. 1 PC maker ditched the darker colors and stamped metal look on previous Envys in favor of a lighter aluminum color on the inside that it says will appeal to a wider audience. The lid is black, so the aesthetic isn't completely Appleseque.

Something else that's not Applesque? The price. The Envy 15 will start at $1,099, compared to $1,799 for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. And the Envy 17 will start at $1,249, a full $1,250 less than the 17-inch Pro. But while the MBPros feature Core i7 CPUs in their base configurations, the Envy's start with Core i5 processors. Both Envys will be available starting December 7. Read on for more details, and check out our hands-on video and full gallery.Another feature that make these Envys stand out from the MacBook Pro is a physical volume dial on the right side. It's been some time since we've seen anything like it on a notebook. The metal dial has a nice weight to it, and pressing down on it brings up the Beats Audio control panel. Both the Envy 15 and the Envy 17 will have six speakers: Four in the front edge, and two above the keyboard, plus a subwoofer on the bottom. 

The keyboard is now in a recessed well that's bordered by a red stripe. HP says it improved the backlighting--each button gets its own LED--so it's brighter and there's less light leakage from around the keys. The major difference between the Envy 15 and the Envy 17 is that the latter will have a full-size number pad.

While we really like the look and feel of these machines, they're significantly heavier than their Mac counterparts. The Envy 15 weighs 6.3 pounds versus 5.6 pounds for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. And the new Envy 17 weighs nearly a pound more than the 17-inch Pro (7.5 vs. 6.6 pounds).

Both notebooks will be available with an optional Radiance Full HD display, and the Envy 17 will have an optional 3D panel. Both systems will start with an Intel Core i5 processor and discrete AMD graphics. The Envy 17 will also come with two DisplayPort connections, as well as HDMI, which means consumers will be able to take full advantage of AMD's Eyefinity technology for powering three displays simultaneously. Despite all this power, the Envy 15 will last up to 9 hours on charge, and the Envy 17 will last up to 9.5 hours, according to HP. 

See the detailed specs below, plus a gallery and hands-on video.

ENVY 15 Starting Configuration ($1,099)

  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Processor/RAM: Intel Core i5-2430M/6GB
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon
  • Hard drive size/speed: 500GB/7,200 rpm
  • Display size/resolution: 15.6 inches
  • Size: 14.9 x 9.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Weight: 6.3 pounds

ENVY 17 Starting Configuration ($1,249)

  • Operating system: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Processor/RAM: Intel Core i5-2430M/6GB
  • Hard Drive size/speed: 750GB/7,200-rpm
  • Display size/resolution: 17.3 Radiance/1920 x 1080
  • Graphics card: AMD Radeon
  • Size: 16.4 x 10.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 pounds
LAPTOP Reviews Editor