HP And Dr. Dre Breathe Life Into Digital Music With Beats Limited Edition Envy 15

In our review of the HP Envy 13 we mentioned the audio enhancements developed in a collaboration between HP and Beats by Dr. Dre. Though the on-board speakers aren't great, when you listen to audio with headphones or via external speakers, the difference is amazing. Thanks to enhancements in the hardware and the inclusion of the Beats Audio software, HP Envy owners will get a pretty amazing sound system.

Dr. Dre and Interscope records approached HP with one goal in mind: to bring the full listening experience back to music. As we mentioned in our audio taste test, many of the most popular digital music players don't offer great audio quality, but convenience and popularity often guide purchasing choices. A good set of headphones can make a difference, even on so-so players. Dre's first efforts resulted in the Beats headphones, but he wasn't content to stop there. Next up: computers; and the Envy line of notebooks is the lucky beneficiary of this enhanced audio experience.

Today HP announced a special bonus for dedicated music lovers: a Beats limited edition Envy 15 for $2,300 via HP Direct. The Beats model features a piano black acrylic finish over the magnesium chassis and the Beats logo on the lid. It will also include a set of Beats by Dr. Dre over-ear headphones and free Traktor LE software by Native Instruments for the digital DJ in you. The Beats edition will ship October 22nd.

Computers increasingly serve as media center and sound system in many homes. Dr. Dre and Interscope approached several computer manufacturers, and HP was the first to take them up on the challenge of working to craft the best audio experience possible working from the ground up. Laptop engineers and music artists aren't the most natural bedfellows, but in the end both HP and Interscope deemed the effort worth it.

Yesterday I had a chance to talk with some of the people behind the collaboration and to hear the difference Beats Audio software makes both with a set of Beats headphones and a set of external speakers. I was very impressed by the richness of sound the Envy produced -- we're not just talking a glorified bass boost here. We're talking a leap in the depth of the soundscape.

These enhancements aren't just for audiophiles, either. After all, popular music is meant for the masses. The artists and producers who work to craft the final tracks aren't aiming their efforts at the small segment of the market still chasing after the warmth of vinyl, they want everyone to hear music as they intended it. That's the heart of this collaboration.

All HP Envy models have Beats Audio included, but only the Beats limited edition notebook includes the headphones and DJ software. If you're serious about music and long for a professional-quality mobile audio experience, this slick laptop may be worth a second look.