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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
Screen: My last laptop was a late 2011 macbook pro. Other reviews are saying that the screen is bad and some are saying it's good. Compared to the screen on the macbook it's worse. The screen isn't terrible but it isn't going to win any awards.

Keyboard: The keyboard layout is similar to the mac. The keys light up but don't change intensity. The backspace key doesn't quite fit right. Depending on the angle you type at you may notice it when typing.

Processing: I don't know why other reviews say this laptop is only for light workloads. This i5 processor in this laptop is fully capable of heavy workloads. It can run super pi 1 mb faster than an AMD FX-8320 desktop processor. On more realistic tests its about the same as the mobile AMD A10 processors. Power usage however is much lower for the i5 compared to either processor.

Graphics: The integrated graphics in the Ivy-Bridge processors is amazing. Its no graphics card but for the efficiency its perfect.

Sound: The beats audio isn't meant to blow you away. The main benefit is the sound card driver for beats audio is not the speakers itself. With beats audio the sound quality with headphones is great!

Build/Design: This laptop is built really well. HP did a great job on the design. It's small and lightweight while not feeling cheap or sacrificing on battery. (Actually battery life is around 5-6 hours depending on usage and after removing all of HP's bloatware) The black aluminum looks really cool as long as it's clean. This thing attracts shows smudges and lint more than anything I've ever seen.

To help the washed out look of the screen try the following:
1. Right click on the desktop
2. Select "Graphics Properties"
3. Display/Color Enhancement
4. Use the sliders to change:
a. Brightness - 10
b. Contrast - 45
c. Gamma - 0.8
d. Saturation - 5
5. Apply

This does reduce overall brightness but you will get much darker blacks and a wider range of color differences. Gradients appear much better and text is much more clear.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2012
The fit/finish of the laptop is amazing. Very solid, reminds me of my Macbook Pro. Has all the ports I was looking for including gigabit Ethernet. (Excluded on the XPS 13 and why I choose HP) Boot times are the fastest I've seen in any laptop thanks to Windows 8 and the hybrid SSD drive. 10 seconds and your ready to launch applications.

So why only 3 stars? The Screen.... After you get over the lovely fit/finish and start the laptop your greeted to a screen with noticeable back-light bleed. Blacks appear grey and the viewing angle is extremely limited. This screen belongs on a $350 Black Friday special not an "Envy". If you can keep your angle just right the screen looks decent but having used far better screens on laptops 3-4 years older I was very disappointed. It's also worth noting the only thing inspired by the "Beats" logo is the paint. Expect below average sound from the built in speakers.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I've searched for a couple of months, to find another slim and light laptop with equivalent power and options as this model, and nothing has equaled or surpassed this Envy 4 1130us. In short, it's the best value machine at this price point.
Just look up the Win 7 version of this model, here on Amazon (Envy 4 1030us), and you'll find that it is an identical machine, only with 2 gigs less ram, and it sells for $100+ more.
So let's get to the important facts about this machine.

POWER & SPEED.
The combination of the Intel i5's power and the SSD and 500 gig hard drive RAID array, along with the much improved Windows 8 mass storage controllers, makes this machine blistering fast. Bear in mind that just like any other brand or model of new laptop, it has to be tweaked to perform as it should (tweaking will have to be covered later or this review will be a mile long).
I repair and tweak computers, day in day out and this is the fastest one I've had my hands on, except a Windows 7, $1,300 Dell XPS laptop that had an Intel i7 and a big SSD. I don't have it next to me to compare, but that would be the only machine that may have equaled or surpassed this one for performance.
SCREEN.
The screen is fine. Those who are complaining about it are expecting more than you can get at this price point. If you'd like the image to be even crisper and sharper, there are a few adjustments that can be made. (I may add those details as a PS at the end)
CONSTRUCTION.
Those who complained about poor construction, must have received defective models. The construction of this model is nothing less than superb. The only complaint is that fingerprints stick to it and it means that you'll have to wipe it down everyday, with a damp cotton cloth. The brushed aluminum build is fantastic and makes for a very solid machine.
KEYBOARD.
Everybody has an opinion as to what constitutes the perfect keyboard, so all I can say is that it is clearly a superior keyboard and that having the backlit feature is huge, for those folks who are not real typists, and need to see the keys to be able to type properly.
TOUCHPAD.
If you understand that this touchpad is set to work as if it were part of a touchscreen, thus scrolling up becomes down and vice versa, then you'll quickly get used to it and will soon agree that it is one of the very best on the market.
WINDOWS 8,
For those who don't already know it, Win 8 can be made to look and function just like 7, by downloading Start Menu 8 from iobit, then disabling all the charms bars and hot corners. It's only natural that I/you/we would want it to work like 7, as this model doesn't have a touchscreen, so why in the world would we want to use Win 8's new touchscreen interface (often known as Metro apps). Other than some graphics differences, it's so identical to Win 7 after the tweak mentioned above, that to the untrained eye, you wouldn't even know that it wasn't a Win 7 machine.
BATTERY LIFE.
It's simply amazing. Right now, I'm at 84% remaining battery power and the time estimate is at 5 hours and 14 minutes. I could turn down the brightness, to squeeze out some more, but it is already good for 6 hours plus, set the way it is (don't forget that this machine is well tweaked, so brand new out of the box, the battery life won't be quite as good).
HEAT.
It can produce a minor amount of heat at the back where the air exhausts. Laying the sides on each one of my legs, is 100% comfortable on battery. If you have it plugged in and it's charging, it will get warmer and may be a wee bit uncomfortable.
This laptop must NOT be used on material like cloth, a bed, a towel, etc, that can block the air intake from the bottom. If you need to use it in such a location, prop it up a bit with something.
WIFI.
I have never seen a laptop with better reception, nor one that can download as fast. If I go to a given website to download a file with any of my other computers, they download at approx. half the speed than this one does. I haven't investigated why this is, but suffice to say that it is better than what is normally included in a laptop.

All the features have been mentioned, so there's no reason to go over them again.
It's a simple mathematical equation. Does this machine give you more than similar ones at this price point? YES!
Is it super fast? Darn right it is!
Is the battery life good? It's superb!
How good is the Wifi? Beyond your expectations!
Is it well built? It's fantastic!
Is it a good looking machine? It's as handsome a laptop as I have ever seen!
Would it satisfy any normal user? Absolutely!
________________________________________________

Here are the settings that make for a sharper image on this laptop.
I found them somewhere on the internet and noted them down, then both my friend and I used them on our Ultrabooks (we both have the same machine) and we both feel that the results are excellent.
You may or may not agree and if they don't suit you, you can reset them back to their default settings.

Right click on the desktop and select "Graphics Properties".
In the subsequent window, select "Advanced Mode" then hit OK.
In the next windows, select "Color Enhancement", then set the Brightness to -20. the Contrast to 51 and the Gamma to 0.9 and leave the other two untouched.
You will find that the brightness is slightly diminished, but that the image is much more "real".
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
This is a very elegant and very useful for those who don't need a computer that performs heavy tasks and uses heavy programs. Windows 8 is complicated but it's matter of time for you to get used to it. This windows is really fast, actually when you turn it on it takes only 10-11 seconds to get ready for start using the computer. I agree with the other customer that says that there's no problem with the screen; despite it is a glossy screen the colors are so vivid and you can see it perfectly from any angle, it's quality is great not cheap as others said. The price was worth it, I would recommend it highly for students and people who needs it for light tasks. It's weigh is ridiculously light and I like the soft color red base it has. The beats audio is impressive for an audio system of a computer, it also has the option of configurate the audio for a best hearing experience. There's a concern I have is the response of the touch pad because not always senses when you click to open something or when clicking a button but you will get used to click a little more harder for it to response. In the other features I am more than happy with this computer. Also I don't like very much that it catches fingerprints very fast but this doesn't affect the real functionality of a computer.
To conclude, this computer has a great outer design, great beats audio, really light weigh and it's incredibly fast at everything. It has a few flaws but it doesn't affect the computer's performance. I recommend it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 27, 2012
Everything is good except the screen. I'll not comment on other features because all of them function so far so good.

I have a HP G7 which screen has resolution 1600x900. So comparing with this (1366 x 768) I feel the Ultrabook is not better or even worse than the G7 regarding the screen. This Ultrabook is beautiful but the screen is disappointing. Currently $750 ultrabook is not as cheap as the others with better config but at the same price level.

The previous reviewer said the screen looks bleeding (too much red). It is true but the color can be calibrated (Personalize->Display->Calibrate Color). The color should have been calibrated properly when come out of factory. As he said the view angle is bad. I believe HP chose the cheapest screen on the market.

Update:

Comparing to other same kind of ultrabooks this design is attractive. Very good look&feel on real product.

What I disagree with the previous reviewer is that the beats audio is impressive. It is loud and has deep base although it is not a professional audio system which you cannot expect on a laptop.

The keyboard and touch panel are quite good - quiet and responsive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
This is a nice laptop. Not the cheapest, but quite decent for the price. The processor is fast enough, as is the memory and disk. The slowest component is the display card. This laptop is not really suited for gameplay.

I suggest waiting until you find a sale going on, as you may be able to find it $100-200 cheaper then the normal amazon price.

There is a but...
Which is that the laptop memory does not entirely function as advertised. The documentation states it can be upgraded to 16Gb. This is not true. It can be upgraded to a maximum of 12 Gb and then only if you get a special combination of SODIMM modules.

Also, HP has a nice PDF out which gives step-by-step instructions on how to upgrade the memory. DO *NOT* FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS!! The instructions start with you taking apart the display, then open the back, then take the keyboard out, then the battery. Doing this is extremely tricky work and is likely to damage the laptop if even a single mistake is made and it is utter nonsense.

For upgrading the memory all you need to do is take out the screws on the back and carefuly pry it off. The memory modules are then clearly visible and easily accessible.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2013
I have purchased this item with two aspects under consideration, portability & performance.
And of course, the price. $699 - $100 Amazon Gift Card Special Offer = $599
I use Amazon quite frequently for my needs so $100 Gift card is as liquidable asset as cash to me.

Portability:

I wanted to purchase something portable for my school.
And I thought 14'' ultrabook would be perfect in compromise between portability and screen size.
I've been to best buy and fry's to look at some ultrabooks and decided that below 13'' is way too small for regular use, and
15'' and above makes the size of the laptop a little too big to fit in my backpack.
Envy 4 was the perfect size for me to watch videos from time to time, play a bit of game, web surfing, and most importantly, perform a massive research with multiple windows open and use Microsoft Office.
I concluded that 14'' was the MINIMUM screen size while not losing any of those usabilities mentioned above.

Performance:

I did a LOT of research before purchasing this laptop. As I mentioned, I made visits to offline stores to make comparisons.
Interestingly, I found out that Amazon sells a lot of outdated products in this department. I guess Amazon does that to provide better deals than competitors. Let me list some specs below.

CPU: i5 - 3317u 1.7GHz turbo boost to 2.6 GHz
- Which is more than sufficient to handle day-to-day tasks. 1.7 GHz is the basic processing speed. Turbo boost gives it a push and needed.
Memory: 6GB DDR3
- Adequate memory size compare to the CPU. Personally, I don't think you will need more than 8GB for this CPU.
Graphics: Intergrated Intel 4000
- Integrated graphics came a long way and 4000 is enough if you aren't running professional programs and serious games.
Hard Drive: 500GB with 32 SSD accelerated cache.
- After a research, I found out that this SSD performs as a memory space for handling processes between CPU and Hard Drive. Because a regular hard drive would be too slow to pace with CPU and larger SSD's would bring the cost up.
Screen: 14'' 1366 x 768

Battery:
- It runs around 4 hrs on light use. (Web-surfing & Documents)
- Runs around 2.5 hrs on somewhat extensive use. (Above mentioned + Downloading + video streaming)

In real world, this ultrabook performs well for its price range. Again, at this price ($599 with Amazon Gift Card) some compromises had to be made.
I see many people here complain about the screen resolution (1366 x 768) and I ignored them thinking "how bad could it be?"
Well, it's not that bad. you will be able to read every word on an internet magazine and watch videos in color.
It's not a HD screen, so if you are used to watching HD screens like me and many other reviewers here, you will notice its resolution. But, if you are going to complain, spend an extra hundreds of dollars for a laptop with higher resolution.
I made a choice, i'll stick with it

Miscellaneous:

Upside:
- Wifi is really fast and bluetooth is very useful in connecting with my smartphone.
- some of HP's bloatware is actually useful. e.g. HP support assistant, audio controller, coolsense
- overall feel of the machine feels premium. (not talking about build quality)

Downside:
- Keyboard is NOT great for typing. (Need time to get used to)
- While backlit keyboard is nice, indicator light switch isn't. (stays on bright when backlit is off. Weird.)
- I hate hearing clunks and squeaks when I press my keyboard buttons. They should be perfect because they are NEW.
- Screen might now be bright enough for direct sunlight use. (But then I hate sitting out on a direct sunlight so..)
- USB slot is a little tight.
- mouse trackpad sometimes don't respond. I'm not certain if the fault is with the device or me so I might have to look into this a little more.

Here's a little suggestion for you guys.
If you want to take a look at a good competitor to this laptop, go take a look at Samsung NP510R5E @ Best Buy with in-store $599 price tag.
as I was shopping around, I found a great laptop which was a last contender with Envy 4.
What lost me was the 15.6'' screen but it has better specs, features for a better deal.
It has newer CPU that performs about 50% faster, same Graphics card (intel 4000) but has 40% faster clock speed, same size memory, and a bigger(15.6") screen with same resolution.
And it's only 0.1" thicker than Envy 4 so it's still very portable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
I have read all the other reviews and all I can say is I love this machine. It has plenty of power, runs all my applications with out a problem. I have no issue with the screen at all. Charge time is quick, and battery life is excellent. I love the finish on the casing but it collects fingerprints and dust like you would not believe. I would recommend this to any one looking for a good ultra book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2013
After reading the reviews on this item I was extremely skeptical this would be a good laptop. People complained about the screen, the computer feeling cheap and more. We have been long time HP buyers and we have had such a positive experience with HP standing behind their product. I did look and try out other brands and they all had issues and felt cheap compared to HP.

So Here is my take on this laptop.
Cons. No Dvd optical Drive
It is not touch screen. (I am finding windows 8 hard to navigate and if it were touch screen I would find it much easier.)
Pros. Small Light weight.
It starts up in less then 20 seconds. The SSD drive really makes a difference. It is super fast and moves from one program to the next in a snap.
The computer seems to be made of solid material of metal and plastic and has a very sturdy.
The Screen is sharp and bright. People complain about the screen but I find it very bright, color vibrant and clear. It does have a glare if you are looking at it from a side angle.
Power cord, many people complained about the power cord plug being in the way. Every HP laptop has had the same design and we have never thought it to be in the way.
The speakers are excellent for such a tiny machine.
Long battery life.
Why anyone would not love this is beyond me. I highly recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2013
Fantastic ultrabook, quite fast and good design.

I'd recommend it for people who don't mind (or like it) having an ultrabook with the bottom color completely red.
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