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Your Windows 8 experience.
Make it better with HP.
Name: Galvin
Age: 32
HWZ ID: Westguy
Product Tested:
HP ENVY 4 TouchSmart Ultrabook™
read other reviews by:
- Justin
- Wilson
Overview

The ENVY TouchSmart is one of the latest touch screen laptops from HP. The main feature that makes this laptop stand out is the inclusion of a touchscreen which gels really well with the latest operating system from Microsoft, Windows 8.

This new laptop is one of the mainstream models in HP’s Windows 8 line-up. It is a decently priced ultrabook with an added benefit of a touchscreen so that you can experience the full spectrum of Windows 8’s touch gestures.

HP has been pretty consistent with their design language the past few years and this is no exception. It closely resembles the HP Pavilion dv6 which I have been using since 2011. The dark brushed aluminium covers the lid of the ultrabook as well as the chassis around the keyboard and gives it a premium look and feel. I absolutely love the soft touch rubber which covers the base of the laptop which is a joy to touch and provides a good grip.

As an ultrabook, it weighs just 2.1kg and is pretty slim at just 23mm; which is not bad at all considering that it incorporates a touch screen. One of the superior selling points of this notebook would be the integrated Beats Audio sound system. It is one of the best sounding speakers found on a notebook. The sound can easily fill up my bedroom without any distortion. The touchpad has a sleek one piece design similar to the ones found on the Macbook. However, the left and right clicks are a little too stiff for my liking. The Chiclet style island keyboard provides enough depth and response when typing.



Speed

With Microsoft Windows 8, this ultrabook boots up to Windows in a matter of seconds compared to the previous generations. Its quick boot up is aided by a 32GB SSD cache and is supported by a 500GB HDD. Now Windows 8 has been designed from the ground up to integrate touch gestures in it, and it takes time to get used to. However, once you get warmed up to it, you’ll soon realise that it is easily the best operating system to come out from Microsoft. Many users have criticised Microsoft for removing the start button, and I’ll admit I was one of them initially. But after spending a few days on Windows 8, I was breezing through my personal computing experience. If you have been using a Windows Phone, you will love customizing the tiles on your start screen as Microsoft understands that every individual is different.



Cloud Connectivity

Now for the past few years, cloud computing has been revolutionising the computing industry; and with Microsoft SkyDrive, this will take cloud connectivity to another level. You can store any file on SkyDrive and it can be made available on all of your devices. This is really useful for me as I use a plethora of devices like an Android phone for office, an iPhone for personal use, a laptop and Android tablet at home, and an iPad in the car. What SkyDrive does for me is to synchronise my files on all my devices. If I take a photo on my iPhone and upload it to SkyDrive, it is almost instantly available for viewing on my laptop. If you don’t have a SkyDrive account, you can sign up for one at https://skydrive.live.com/. The SkyDrive app is also available on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows Store for free.



Safety

One of the cool new features in Windows 8 is the Picture Password. Instead of signing into your PC using the traditional user name and password, you can now sign in by choosing a picture and drawing shapes on it! I find this really secure as the combinations of drawing your own shapes are infinite. I really had fun with this, although I had to make sure my friends were not peeking over my shoulder.



For Work & Play

There are many apps for both work and play available in the Windows Store. I managed to try out some of the News apps such as The Straits Times and Pulse News which worked very well in the Windows 8 environment. Games never looked and played better on a Windows 8 PC. Popular games such as Angry Bird and Cut the Rope worked very well on the gorgeous 14” screen of the HP ENVY. Even one of the hottest Facebook games, Candy Crush Saga could be ‘swiped’ with precision.



Conclusion

One of the biggest reasons to use Windows 8 is the touch screen tile interface and its user-centric swipe actions which were designed with touch screen in mind; and the HP ENVY certainly fits that requirement.

It is sleek and it looks and feels like a premium product. With a 3rd generation Intel Core i5 processor and SSD/HDD combo, it is able to provide you with hours of work and play on its excellent battery life.

Pros:

  • Generous battery life
  • Sleek looks
  • Great audio on the Beats Audio Sound System
  • Awesome Windows 8 touch screen experience

Cons:

  • You have to go through 13 screws to access the insides if you wish to upgrade some parts such as the RAM or HDD
  • Limited viewing angles on the display

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