Customer Reviews: HP Envy 17-j160nr 17.3-Inch TouchSmart Laptop with Beats Audio and Leap Motion
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on June 1, 2014
For the most part the fingerprint keeps tracks of my passwords. I seem to have trouble logging in to a secondary Facebook or email since it keeps stopping my typing and asking for me to use my fingerprint. the touchscreen works like a charm and no problems there! I actually prefer using touch since its faster and easier than the pad. there are a lot of times my internet gets cut off on this laptop even though all other devices stay logged in and continue working. ( I have used all different browsers). leap motion is fun but still not hard to get used to. not much use for leap motion. the sound on this is completely beautiful. clear and crisp. overall feel is nice. and battery last enough. side note* I dislike windows 8 its quiet confusing and I much prefer windows 7 but overall ill live
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on May 12, 2014
Very nice laptop-looks real expensive! Only problem is, that it evidently has a lot of ailments, from what I see reading reviews. Mine has already encountered problems and has to be returned at my expense for repairs. At about six weeks, the wireless card stopped working. Wonder what will be next? Love it, but right now, I'm back to using tablet.
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I bought this from Amazon Warehouse, as an out of the box deal. I got it for my mother, who is a very poor typist but has to do a lot of data input in programs like Quickbooks for her small business.

I'm guessing the first cavemen to discover fire looked a lot like the little group of people who stood around this computer when it came out of the box. Like most laptops these days it starts up with very little user know-how, which was perfect for my mother. Pretty soon she was touching the screen like a pro, with almost as much flair as Tom Cruise in Minority Report. I'm kidding, but it is no joke to say that the touch screen is just amazing. I'm not sure why it looks so much more impressive on a giant laptop than an Ipad (which I took her to test at an Apple store), but it does.

Windows 8 is certainly different, but she says she wasn't hugely familiar with her old version and is one of the few people who yearns for the system she started on, either Millenium or Vista, I think. It will be a learning experience, but for her the screen makes up for it. She's the type of computer user who can't seem to control the mouse with any reliable accuracy, so the screen is going to shave hours off tedious tasks like employee payroll.

The computer seems amazingly fast, but she's only running one big program on it, with no big graphics/music/game software planned for the future. I suppose it's memory and power are overkill for simple tasks like accounting and email, but since she kept her last computer for 8 years it seemed like a good idea.

She's only had it for 3 weeks, so the fact that there are no problems with it isn't unusual.

In short, the touchscreen, speed, and size of the unit make it perfect for somebody with poor typing skills, 3.5 reading glasses, and basic accounting needs.
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on August 14, 2014
This is an excellent laptop, especially for the price.


The laptop itself looks somewhat sleek and better than the version HP trotted out a couple of years ago. The screen is obviously big, and it is pretty bright. The preloaded setting is set to be on bright when plugged in, and somewhat dim in power saving mode when it's on battery power, but that is adjustable.

The speakers are ok, nothing spectacular, but again, this is a laptop so probably shouldn't be expecting Bose quality. They do allright, but I feel like the volume has to be put pretty high. I know Beats has deep rooted ties to HP, so they will tout it, but this is no different than any other speaker you are going to find on most laptops. The only good thing is that, the speakers are on top now, as opposed to the HP with Beats I had before, where the speakers were on the bottom part of the laptop and the sound was muffled by the desk. However, Beats does provide some vast array of settings, so you can change things around to your preference a bit more than other speakers.

The fingerprint reader is very good. It signs you in quick, without having to put in a password. I'm the only one that uses my computer, so I don't know how it'll work with multiple users. I used one in the past that let you store multiple fingerprints for users, so I'm assuming this will work the same. However, it doesn't seem to support the latest Chrome settings, so if you want to store it for online passwords, you would have to download a specific version, which would be a a couple of updates outdated, because the fingerprint scanner system isn't updated nearly as quickly as browsers. So besides signing in, or maybe using the apps on the computer, it's not going to be of much help. But it is still useful.

I love the number pad, and the chicklet style keyboard. It feels pretty good to type on, and the keys are separated with enough space to avoid double pressing keys. The backlit keyboard is excellent and very bright. It's not quite set up like the Apple one, where the letter shines through only. The keys aren't deep enough, so light will seep out the side, unless you are looking at it directly downward. But it serves it's purpose well and will definitely help you see the keyboard at night. The screen itself is somewhat glossy, especially with dark images. I can pretty much use this as a mirror if I pull up a black page on the screen, but you won't really notice it as much unless you are looking for it specifically. I like having a large screen as well, especially for movies and shows.

The start up time is pretty good, especially when you can use the fingerprint reader to bypass typing in your password.

I haven't used the touchscreen much, but the times that I have used it, I found it to be useful. I'm still adjusting to having a touchscreen computer I guess, so it's just not natural for me to use it, like I do on my phone. But it is very responsive and accurate. And I haven't really seen smudges on the screen either.

The webcam is pretty good, standard stuff. I haven't used it extensively, but from the few times I have, I thought it worked good. Although a lot of computers have this feature now, so it's nothing amazing.

The hardware capabilities are listed on the site, so I'm guessing most people can just use the numbers to determine if it's good for them or not. My minimum was an 8GB RAM, and this one has that, since I thought the 4GB one was going to get outdated soon. It's fine now, but with more HD apps available, I wanted one that could handle the higher loads. The memory to me wasn't as big of a deal, because the most memory eating documents (songs, movies, etc) I have would be stored on an external hard drive anyway. This one does have some good memory from my research before buying, but I didn't consider it a major priority at the time of purchase. A TB of memory is pretty substantial, especially if you download games or a boatload of movies.

I liked having Intel processors, because I've thought they been more reliable than AMD in the past, although I haven't had problems with my old laptop which had an AMD processor. But if given a choice, I've heard Intel has been more reliable, so it was nice to see that. It's not their most up to date processor, but at this price range I figured I would have to give in on some demands.

This laptop has ample ports, especially usb connections galore, so connecting devices shouldn't be a problem. It also has a bluetooth feature that I haven't tried out yet.

I think having a number pad is a necessity for a computer. It makes life so much easier because I'm just used to using number pads than looking at a row of numbers and going back and forth. It seems like a small thing in the grand scheme, but makes life much easier.


Major con is Windows 8. Probably one of the stupidest operating systems out there. It's completely counter intuitive. It took me 20 mins to figure out that imported videos were going straight to cloud, instead of my documents like it did in the past. So every time I uploaded something, I would check, videos, pics, documents, and see absolutely nothing. The side swipe feature (to bring up a side icon row) is also horrible, because it mistakenly will put you on the home page when you are just trying to click on some webpage online. I believe one person in the reviews mentioned that she couldn't put Chrome or Firefox on her computer. I found this to be weird, and I believe what she said is to be somewhat true. You actually can't seem to download the chrome browser or the firefox browser from the windows store. You have to download it the old way through a browser (IE) and then install it. I just thought it was weird, they would block this from happening. It seems like an extra step, for no reason. If my review would include the operating system issues, I would take one more star off the review atleast, but I knew going in that Windows is horrible, but I don't have much choice in this price range, that also offers a better operating system.

I know I said I like the keyboard, but one thing I wished they would do is make the keys a bit more bigger. There is wasted space on both sides of the keyboard, which they could have utilized to make the keys a bit larger. There are a few keys that are definitely smaller than what I've been used to. The backspace and delete key are almost microscopic. The up and down key is small as well. Think of it as three keys side by side, with the one in the middle split in half to form the up and down keys, surrounded by the side keys.

There is a good amount of bloatware that is preloaded onto the computer, so it'll take some time to get rid of them. An insane amount of games, and a decent amount of apps are already installed, so it took some time to get rid of them. And the whole deleting process is tricky as well, because on the remove programs list, there are only a select number that show up, so you have to learn which sublet each program belongs to, then find it, click it, and then find the individual programs to delete.

Battery life isn't great. It says about 4.5 hours, but I get about 3.5 right now. And judging from experience, that's going to keep going down. I haven't tried out extensive gaming or anything, mostly light work, browsing, video playback/streaming. One thing I do miss about the battery is that, HP used to have batteries that had elevated floor. This meant the laptop was raised naturally by the battery, which increased airflow at the bottom and kept the computer cooler. This one does't have that type of battery, which is a shame. However, it does have a cool sense program that will monitor the temperature of your computer and take some actions to cool it down.

I'm not sure why they got rid of the left and right click buttons. It's integrated into the keypad now, where you just press down on the bottom end of it (the keypad itself is slightly elevated from the bottom frame of the computer) and hope you press on the left or right side. I'm not sure what they were trying to do by getting rid of it. I'm assuming it's to cut down on production cost by eliminating two cut outs on the frame.

Unsure Feature:

Leap Motion is useless. I knew that going in. There aren't really any programs that take advantage of it right now for it to be any use. I bought the laptop knowing that, only because I'm assuming that in a year or so, there will be more programs or main stream apps that take advantage of it. In theory, it's actually very useful, and creative. It's taking touch screen to another dimension almost, but without the programs, it's just a fancy carriage without the horse. I guess I was sort of hedging my bet that this may become useful in the future (I plan on using this computer for atleast 2-3 years if not more) so this seemed like something that will grow in terms of usability. But right now, it's absolutely useless unless you are easily entertained by moving lights and motions.

The computer does weigh a good amount. It shouldn't be a surprise, but not exactly the nimblest thing to carry around. But at around 7-8 pounds, it's not too bad. You are probably better off buy a backpack computer bag than a shoulder strap one to evenly distribute the weight though. My older one weight about 8 lbs, and I found it much easier with the backpack to carry around.


All in all, I think this is a very good laptop, but with some minor flaws. The major flaw is Windows 8, but that's hard to fix, and not the laptop's fault. I think the screen size and quality, along with such features as the keypad, fingerprint scanner, backlit keyboard, high memory, good ram, very good processor, and touch screen outweigh the negatives. I wish they used a bit more space for the keyboard, or had a right and left click buttons, but I can't really complain too much. Obviously it's not perfect, hence the 4 stars. If anyone has questions, can ask, I buy a lot of things based on reviews here and other sites, so I'd be happy to share more of my experiences with this laptop if someone has any specific questions.
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on April 9, 2014
An acceptable system for the casual, everyday ;user. I would not recommend for gamers or power users needing fast processing for large files or graphics. As a retired tech I'm not bothered greatly by the often slow mouse response and graphical sluggish refresh rate.

I highly recommend the backlit keyboard... one of the main reasons for choosing this model. I don't use the leap motion feature, nor do I spend more than 2% of the time in the Start environment... prefer Desktop mode. Having a touch screen is another feature I personally don't make much use of at this time. I still appreciate that the features are there if I decide to utilize them in the future.
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on August 8, 2014
So far, the laptop works fine; not super speedy, but adequate; a large hard drive, enough RAM (although I'll probably beef it up), and has all the "bells and whistles." I agree Windows 8.1 is poorly conceived ( the worst version of Windows eeeever), however, that's Microsoft's problem, not HP's, and has nothing to do with the laptop; so it doesn't impact my review. (Word of advice: downloaded free software that emulates Windows 7; it solves most of the frustration.) The touchpad is sensitive although it lacks distinct zones for button functions, but I use a mouse anyway. The screen is sharp; not the sharpest I've seen, but appropriate for the price and easy to view. The keyboard is fine, but has a few "cons" like a tiny Delete key and the defaults for the F-keys are computer functions like brightness, sound, etc. You have to press the "fn" key to get F1, F2, etc. Convenient for a casual user, but I am a serious business user; so I'm searching for a way to change the defaults. Leap motion is a gimmick to sell computers and has little practical value; it entertained my 7 year old grandson for about 1/2 hour. There's no useful software that takes advantage of it, but you can play a couple of games. The fingerprint reader is excellent. My overall impression is it is an excellent value for the price and I am pleased.
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on October 28, 2014
I love this computer; it's way bigger than I expected it to be but very powerful and efficient. The port for the charger cable was loose/broken when it arrived, but upon contacting HP support they sent me a box to ship it to them in, they fixed it, and sent it back lickity-split. Great customer service and a great product.
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on March 16, 2014
This is a beautiful laptop, but I'm returning it because the Leap Motion doesn't work. I contacted LP customer support and they told me to recalibrate which didn't work. I don't think I should have to jump through hoops to make it work.
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on May 18, 2014
The HP Envy 17-j160nr is an amazing and great choice. It's fast, has no problems, has beautiful screen and picture. Works like a charm! I highly recommend it to anyone! Easy to use, user friendly.
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on December 18, 2015
I have had this computer for over a year. It didn't work correctly when I got it straight from HP and even though it's been back to repair repeatedly it still doesn't work. It's in the shop now. This is an ongoing replacement issue from an original computer from 2008. The original computer cost me $1800 so we're not talking the a cheap model. The longest a replacement has worked is 6 months and that was after it had been sent back for a repair that took three months when it was brand new. In fact every replacement they have sent me has to have work done on it when brand new to get it up and running. The one that lasted 6 months had one row of pixels burnt out in the screen. When I sent it for repair they repaired it then it didn't work and they replaced it with the one I have now that took 6 months to receive and has broken for over a year. Do not buy HP ever!! There customer service has been nothing but lies and bullying.
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