Serious MacBook Envy: HP Launches Redesigned Envy 15 and 17

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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

Add a comment
  • Kimbo Says:

    Umm, the 15" MacBook pro is over 6 lbs, though you wont find that on their web site. This is another case of "people say", Apple notebooks have never been light, but thay are thin.
    This Envy 15 is way heavier than the previous version which is 5.1lbs, but has a potentially beter balance between perf and heat. The previous Envy 15 gets hot when run flat out. Still the Envy 15 I have has an i7-830 in it which is way better than the Mac ever shipped. I paid $1600ish for a PC with 1080p, i7-830, ATI5830, 8Gb Ram. At the time Apple had just released a 1080p screen for the 15" MacBook, and one with 1080p, i7-730, and 8Gb Ram would have been $3200. It would also only have had an nVidia 320 in it, not even close to competing.
    Apple, they are great if you have money that you want to burn, and like OSX.

  • LN Says:

    thanks for mentioning that it weighs about 6.3lbs on HP website they list its weight starting from 5.79lbs, which is just a bit heavier than macbook pro.

  • POTUS Exec Says:

    A MacBook Pro clone? REALLY?!! Enough already! At the risk of my words sounding like PR hype, I still have to be totally honest. I really-really like this HP laptop. Here's the whole story why. Simply, the HP Envy 17 is mostly the best of two worlds: genuine work and real fun. Being the fortunate recipient of this magnificent monster of a PC for my birthday, it has resolved all of my serious work related and down-time computer fun issues. Someone noticed me doing my homework on 17-inch PCs. Hewlett-Packard rightly should pump fists in the air for staying loyal to the Envy series' creation and continued production.

    The HP Envy 17 is the portable desktop workhorse I've been waiting for, and at a truly fair price. In fact, it comes with the quality of built-in upgradable options that will give me my monies worth of real use over time. I recommend getting 6 to 8 gigabytes of memory for fast processing and the newer software that's coming in 2012 and beyond. Thankfully, I was given the 8 GB I need for my heavy small business work, and weekend high-def games. The quality is durable, stylish and clean. The overall computing engine and user functions make the Envy 17 a genuinely enviable choice if you're considering a strong, feature-rich, and truly affordable PC in these shaky economic times. I hope HP continues its loyalty and widely promotes this great product.

    Inevitably, there will be the comparisons to other laptop computers, both Windows and Mac. No matter how hard anyone may want to churn the Apple hype, feature-for-feature, the HP Envy 17 stomps MacBook Pros and anything similar to them. That's fact over hype. It's not a Mac killer or competitor. Having used a MacBookPro, I believe it out-classes them. Envy 17 is really a PC game changer, period!

    Compare the actual specs, along with the many potential ways the HP Envy 17 can be used right out of the box and over time. I work in the federal government sector. Among my friends that now drool at my new birthday machine are a fine artist, gamer, architect, two musicians, an office administrator, a video hog, and one public official. If you're like me and need to get some serious heavy-duty work done, and then have some outrageous entertainment fun, this very portable laptop PC is the one.

    Moreover, the price is fair and affordable for its class, quality, features and user-friendly assets. Dollar-for-dollar, you get more than what you pay. For me, it was a birthday gift. Thankfully, I received my top PC wish for 2011-2012 and beyond: the HP Envy 17. I didn't mention that it has a wrap-around Beats Audio system, and a bass-pounding sub-woofer on the bottom. OMG!!! My Hip-Hop classics, Jazz and Classical music now have a new life, even without headphones.

    Again, please do your homework, take a little time to compare the specs with other hot brands. You're likely to spend your money wisely on an HP Envy 17. In stressful financial times (to use for night college, self-employment, personal finances, secure online shopping, bill paying, home entertainment, or better job searching), this will surely be your best computer investment over at least the next five years. Maybe you'll receive yours as an unexpected gift too.

  • dpgj Says:

    Serious Macbook rip off... on the cheap end.

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