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Review: HP ENVY TouchSmart 15 Notebook PC

The HP ENVY TouchSmart is the latest notebook from HP that has a touchscreen in order to open up the capabilities of Windows 8. HP have gone all out with Beats Audio and a whopping 1TB drive, so how good is it?

The ENVY is a good looking notebook PC that looks the part. Its brushed metal unibody style with a one piece touchpad, a full keyboard nicely offset by a discrete Beats red coloured surround and the touchscreen give it the looks and the features that people are now demanding from their notebook PCs. HP are starting to make some good looking laptops.

Below the screen is the Beats Audio speakers with a small Beats logo to the right. The audio is exactly what Beats Audio is famous for, deep rich sound. It's not earth shatteringly loud, but maintains the clarity at a high volume. I've had Spotify running on this instead of my desktop as the speakers are that good.

The build quality is quite good but there's some areas that aren't as polished as they could be. The lid has a bit of flex in it and the body under the keyboard also moves when certain keys are pressed.

There's no DVD drive in the ENVY, but the 1TB drive, 2.4GHz i7 Intel processor and 8GB of RAM makes it quite grunty. With the lack of a DVD drive, I would like to have seen an SSD also in there for the OS and main applications. My own HP is set up this way and it's the best of both worlds.

It has a reasonable battery life. With the 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 740, gaming is no problem for this notebook, but it switches between the GeForce and the onboard Intel HD4600 graphics

The 1366 x 768 15.6" screen is clear, bright and has a good viewing angle, but it would have been great to see a 1080 screen installed for watching movies.


  •  A powerhouse with some nice design touches
  • Great speakers
  • Cavernous storage
  • Touchscreen makes Windows 8 more usable


  • No SSD
  • Doesn't feel as sturdy as some competitors
  • Not a 1080 screen

The HP ENVY TouchSmart is a great notebook PC that performs as well as it looks and will lead more people into the world of Windows 8.

Using the touchscreen is still not that intuitive in Windows 8 and in my view not a must-have. I'm looking forward to the HP ENVY Leap Motion coming out soon, as there's great possibilities for using Leap Motion to control Windows better than a touchscreen.

Score 3.5 / 5