129 of 133 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
This computer is well designed, fast, and easy to use - an excellent choice for most people for use at home or school. It is an Ultrabook, which means it is Windows-based computer that is thin, reasonably light, and has an Intel chipset inside. The designation is owned by Intel so only Intel-based computers can be called Ultrabooks. The other large maker of chips, AMD, calls it's equivalent "Sleekbooks" and this model computer also comes in an AMD variation for a bit less money (and a bit less performance).
This runs Windows 7 x64, which is an excellent operating system. I know there are major debates about operating systems, but I think we are fortunate to have several excellent ones from which to choose. Windows is my preference in my household and is on our 5 other computers. I won't go further into this because the operating system is largely independent of the computer hardware. If you don't have a strong preference, Windows will work great for you; if you do and you're reading this I need not say more.
The computer is good looking and feels solid. It is black brushed aluminum on the top and around the keyboard and a nice red on the bottom. It is thin (my calipers say a little over three-quarters of an inch), light (mine weighed 3 lbs., 15 ounces), and feels solid, being made largely of metal. The screen is a true 14" from corner to corner, is glossy (not my preference) and opens easily without any latch. Along the edges are ports for networking, storage, headphones, video (HDMI) and power. It shows fingerprints readily.
The computer starts up quickly. On first-use there are questions about timezone and user/computer naming, but after that each startup is less than 20 seconds from the computer being off (not sleep or hibernate, but off). This is because this computer has a small solid state drive that is very fast and which contains much of the operating system and other components needed to start the computer. Combined with a generous 500GB conventional hard drive, this computer has a great mix of speed and capacity and I think HP clearly delivered on its promise in this regard.
The desktop has just a handful of items on it: shortcuts to HP Marketplace, HP Support Assistant, MS Office 2010 trial, HP Myroom, WildTangent Games, and eBay. I simply dragged these to the trash and my desktop was clean. I don't see much that is actually installed on the computer outside of HP's utilities. The exception is Norton Desktop, which is a virus/security program. I deleted this program (type "add or remove" remove at the start menu, hit return, find Norton, then click uninstall) because it is not my preference and I don't want to pay periodic license fees for updates. I then installed Microsoft Security Essentials, which is free and can be found by searching the web. All said it was an easy process to get this running.
The screen is bright and clear. I'm not a fan of glossy screens as they show reflections more than matt screens do, but they do have the advantage of appearing brighter. For text and such, there is a decent viewing range for the screen, but on videos, there is a fairly narrow range for optimal viewing. It is easy to find and doesn't impact its use for a single viewer, but it isn't something ideal for many folks to crowd around to see something. Those viewing it from off-axis will see some reduction in color fidelity and an overall darker picture. As a 14 inch laptop, I think this is fine as it isn't made for group use and a single user will be more than happy with the screen. I ran some 1080p video on the computer (although the screen is 1366 x 768) and it handled it easily and looked great. 14 inches is a good size; 15 inch is too large to carry around and 12 is too small. 13 or 14 inches is the sweet spot, in my opinion.
This comes with Beats Audio, which just means the sound system meets some standard put out by the "Beats Audio" people. This includes slightly better speakers and a "subwoofer" to improve bass response. I think it does sound very good compared to other laptops I've had, although I'm not going to give up my headphones or home stereo. Don't expect great sound, but is more than passable and certainly fine for casual videos and such. On other laptops I'd find watching movie impossible without external speakers, but this is fine and speech is clear. For music you can certainly hear an improvement with bass response, but it isn't very deep and the highs are still a bit tinny, as one typically finds on a laptop. Volume is more than adequate. Overall a plus, just don't expect miracles here.
The trackpad and keyboard are fine. The keyboard is the flat island keys that are considered stylish nowadays. I prefer more sculpted keys, but as I type this review on the laptop, I don't find it slows me down and simply takes some getting-used-to. The trackpad is an integerated unit with the buttons in the lower left and right. This makes for a larger pad to support gestures, such a two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, and rotation. The gestures all seem to work well although it is the scrolling that I use the most. It gives up the discrete left/right buttons, so it takes some getting practice to know you are clicking in the right place, but again it just getting-use-to.
My prior computers have included ThinkPads and I tended to use just the trackpoint feature of those (a pointing device built into the keyboard), which meant I didn't need to use the trackpad. Trackpads require moving one's fingers and hands about and taking your hands off the keyboard, which is less than ideal, while the trackpoint kept your hands in place. But if you want a trackpoint, you are limited to Lenovo (such as Lenovo ThinkPad T420 4177RVU 14-Inch LED Notebook - Core i5 i5-2450M 2.5GHz 320GB HDD 4GB DDR3 - Matte Black). The keyboard is backlit; by hitting a key it lights up the numbers and around the islands. It seems a bit brighter than necessary and I'd prefer some way to tone it down, but otherwise it works fine. The button to turn on the backlighting is also illuminated and is bright enough to be a little distracting when the keyboard is not backlit.
This computer, like many coming out now, does not have an integrated CD/DVD drive. Most software and media are delivered over the internet, so this isn't usually a problem, but it isn't great if you have media already on DVDs/CD. My copy of MS Office was on a DVD so I had to use my network to install the software. On my desktop computer I shared the DVD drive, which I then accessed over the network from this HP laptop, then clicked "setup". I then installed the software as usual. Easy to do if you have a network and know what you are doing, but I think it isn't something most would be able to do. Your alternative is to borrow/buy an external DVD or ask someone to do this for you. It is a fine tradeoff as I don't expect to need an optical drive again for many months (I use it maybe three time a year) and it doesn't make sense to carry that around when it is used so rarely.
The ports on this device are fine. Two USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 will let me hook up external storage, Skype headphones, and other peripherals. USB 3.0 is 10 times faster than USB 2.0, although in practice other hardware limits the speed. My USB 3.0 external disk drive, for example, will transfer large files about 3 or 4 times faster than my USB 2.0 drive, limited by the speed of the external drive. USB 3.0 has been around for a few years and there are many affordable peripherals for it, most all of which come with their own cable. A 1000 GB external (1 TB) USB 3.0 drive can be had for under $100 on Amazon.Western Digital My Passport 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive - WDBBEP0010BBK-NESN (Black),Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex 1 TB USB 3.0 Ultra-Portable External Hard Drive in Black STAA1000101 USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0, which is more than adequate for things like mice and transfer of smaller files.
Other ports are standard, HDMI for hooking up to a TV/monitor, headphones, and wired network. As far as wireless features go, it has Bluetooth, which can be used for mice, keyboards, and audio, as well as a wireless network card that supports the latest standards. I don't feel I'm lacking anything in the port department. If this were my work computer, I'd miss having a VGA connector as many presentation systems still rely on that for connectivity, but that would be out of place on this consumer laptop.
The laptop is plenty fast. The processor is an i5, which is the mainstream chip from Intel. Lower is the i3 and higher is the i7. The GHZ rating (1.7) means less nowadays with multiple cores and speed boosting technology, so I won't try to compare based on that. All I can say it that it does what it needs to do without any perceivable lag. It runs HD video, multiple programs up at once, streaming video, and more without making me wait. Speed is less and less important in many cases as that technology has outpaced the needs of most of us. I am happy with the performance.
I am writing this with the computer on my lap, which covers up some of the main vent on the bottom. As a result it is getting a little warm and the fan has just come on. HP advertises "coolsense" technology to keep laptop cool, but I suppose there are limits to this. It isn't hot, but certainly not cool, so this might be a little oversell.
The webcam is perhaps the only disappointment. It is fine, but not HD quality as far as I can tell (although HP calls it a TrueVision HD webcam) . The lowlight performance makes the picture grainy. In office lighting it is fine, but not great. I can't find the spec on this; taking a picture with the included "youcam" software results in a picture that is 640 x 480. I also tried Skyping myself and my image from my desktop (shown on the Envy) was much better than that taken by the Envy and shown on my desktop. My desktop has a Logitech Pro 9000 PC Internet Camera Webcam with 8.0-Megapixel Video Resolution and Carl Zeiss Lens Optics. So this is a bit of a letdown, but I don't use this often so it works for me. I will continue to look for setting for this since HP calls it HD and, and if I find them, I'll update this review. In any case, it should work great out of the box, and it doesn't.
As computers get thin, like this one, we give up some things, like the optical drive. We also typically give up the ability to easily upgrade the computer. There is no door for the hard drive, battery, or memory. Upgrading/replacing is therefore more involved than in the past, so consider getting what you need rather than planning on upgrading. A hard drive of 500GB on a laptop is typically more than enough for consumer use and 4 GB is also decent, although I'd consider a 6 or 8. As for the battery, I'll see what happens several years down the road when I need to deal with that. As far as battery life goes, I haven't had it long enough to assess. I've only had it out for three or four hours at a time and it reports to be about half-empty, so the 7 hour manufacturer estimate is not unreasonable.
Overall a top-notch laptop with some excellent design decisions. This is a great default choice where to start looking and then one could assess if to go down to save some money or up to get more performance, although I don't see any need for more performance than this for most folks. The bigger question is if to save a few dollars with the AMD version or another Ultrabook with an i3. I think most would be happy with this HP Envy 14 inch Ultrabook.
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2012
The HP Envy 4-1030us Ultrabook is a fantastic machine! I ordered this because of the look, the thin and light design, and the amazing features. And it didn't disappoint!
- This laptop looks amazing! I love the black and red scheme and the bottom really is fun to touch (and not too hot thanks to HP Cool Sense).
- The keyboard and touch pad are fun to use! Typing is an absolute breeze and the gestures on the touch pad are incredibly intuitive and efficient. The back-lit keyboard can be turned on and off easily.
- The battery life is phenomenal.
- The screen looks great and is the perfect size for mobile performance. The screen resolution looks good at this size.
- Incredibly fast start-up and shutdown times. General responsiveness is great.
- The built in audio is about as good as it gets. External audio still sounds better (it always does), but the speakers do go a long way.
- The CPU does well at balancing performance and battery life. (Don't let the 1.7Ghz fool you, it boosts on its own up to 2.4 - 2.6, and Intel's latest Ivy Bridge processors pack more punch than older models.)
- The RAM is a little low for me, I would have liked to see 6GB or even 8. But 4GB does get the job done for me now, and the RAM should be fairly upgradeable (to a max of 16GB) for users who aren't afraid to open up their machine. The 4GB is a single DIMM which is nice for upgrading.
- The webcam is neither wonderful nor terrible. The microphones are better than the video in my opinion.
- There is no optical drive. I rarely use one anyway, and I already own an external DVD drive so it wasn't much of a problem. If you don't have an external drive, I strongly suggest purchasing one along with this ultrabook. They are fairly inexpensive.
- Mine arrived with a noticeable crack on the front of the red base.
- The left and right click buttons on the touch pad make an annoying sound when clicked. This is common for laptops, but for this slick, thin machine it's somewhat off-putting. I imagine I will grow accustomed to it soon. Frankly, you won't need to use those very often anyway, mainly for right-clicking.
- Bloatware! Of course this is also common and somewhat hard to avoid. Several programs are easily uninstalled, but HP software should be treated with a bit more care. After a bit of time removing start up programs and advertisement-shortcuts, the computer feels a lot less bloated.
I wanted a new laptop to replace my outdated one. In particular, I needed portability, looks, battery life, and performance, and I didn't want to give up features. This ultrabook was the perfect compromise. At just 0.78 inches thin and just under 4 pounds, it is incredibly portable. I love the mix of sleek, unique, and professional - I feel comfortable bringing this to any situation home, work, or school. The battery seems to last forever depending on what I'm doing, even on full brightness. The performance is greater than I could have ever hoped, and the features (like Beats audio and dual-array microphones) are nice.
If you're looking for an affordable ultrabook with a unique, sleek design and excellent performance, this is the one!
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2012
Pretty good laptop. Nothing is perfect unless you want to spend thousands.. I've grown to like this laptop despite some things. It might seem like I have a lot of neutral and negative comments below but I am just trying to bring out as much as I can so people know what to expect when they do not get to see the laptop in person before purchasing. Above average build quality, on HP's behalf. I would highly recommend getting another stick of 4GB Samsung 1.35v ram for this laptop just so both channels are being used. My ram sticks are being shipped as well as a 7mm Crucial M4 SSD. Yes, this laptop needs a 7mm drive while most are 9.5mm thick. You have been warned. (And no I am not referring the the 2.5" aspect)
+ Very slim and light weight. Looks nice with the red undertone.
+ Illuminated keyboard and ability to turn on/off (lock) the trackpad.
+ Fast boot times and responsive usage, long as you are not trying to use it like a decked out desktop.
+ Gestures on trackpad, such as 2 finger scrolling and pinch zoom.
+ Screen is bright enough, despite other reviews.
+ Keyboard may take a little to get used to but has a nice feel. Matte plastic.
+ HP has really good customer support, not that I've had a problem with the laptop (yet).
+ USB 3.0 ports are always good. The 2.0 port is a charging port and still provided power when I put the laptop to sleep.
= Base of laptop. It has a rubberized feel which is nice. Provides good grip when being carried but it is also a dust magnet.
= For a very recent machine, it should have used a single headset/microphone 3.5mm plug instead of splitting it.
= Brushed metal top can be a fingerprint magnet but it is easy to just wipe clean. Nonetheless it looks nice.
= Am I supposed to notice a difference with these beats speakers? Because I don't...
= Trackpad can seem to be not so responsive at times. May be caused by sensitivity levels. Has a textured feel as well.
= Power adapter goes in horizontally straight from the right side. Would be nice if it was angled for less stress on the wire.
= Resolution is crappy. 1600x900 would be LOVELY but this will do.
= No battery level indicator
- Bad marketing on the battery life. Real world multimedia use, at full brightness, comes up to about 4-5 hours of usage.
- The battery is not easily removable, in case you decide to have a really long session with it plugged in the whole time.
- Should have a somewhat illuminated trackpad, at least around the edges, to go with the illuminated keyboard.
- The "FN" alternative to the F1-12 hotkeys are locked ON by default. May be useful but for a lot of people coming from original F key shortcuts, you will have to change the option in BIOS settings.
- Power button is really "soft". When you press down you will not feel a "click" as the laptop starts to boot.
- HP charges a lot for a factory restore DVD. You can make ONE factory DVD or USB but keep in mind that this laptop does not have a built in optical drive. You will have to buy an external DVD burner. If you choose to put it on a USB flash drive, you need 17GB minimum. USB drives come in size 16GB, then 32GB. You can see how ridiculous the scenario becomes. I recommend the external DVD drive.
- Marketing stickers on the palm rest area. C'mon. I've already bought the laptop...
- Bloatware. Bloatware everywhere.
- Many of the BIOS settings are locked.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
In the past month, I have purchased a Macbook Air 11", a Lenovo U310, and this HP Envy, so I've got some good "hands-on" time with all three, but I'll focus on the HP for this review. Aesthetically, I'd rank all three as equally attractive, however, in terms of solidness of design, the Macbook Air is the clear leader. The HP comes in second, with one caveat -- the brush-finish cover is an absolute fingerprint magnet, as is the surface surrounding the trackpad. You will need to wipe off the machine daily or it will look like it is owned by a recent winner of a potato chip eating contest. Performance for a 'typical' (if there is such a thing) user is good. The boot SSD provides rapid startup time and the processor and RAM are definitely adequate for most users (not talking video editing or high-end gaming here....). The display is clear and bright with good viewing angles. The Synaptic-driven trackpad is better than the Lenovo, but not as good as the MBA. The HP feels much more substantial than the Lenovo, with significantly less chassis and keyboard flex. But, again, the MBA is much more solid. HP plasters stickers all over the work surface -- the obligatory Windows and Intel stickers, plus four or five more for good measure. I was able to peel off all but the Intel label very easily. The Intel sticker has stronger adhesive, so I let it stay....for now. The biggest annoyance of the HP is the horrendous amount of redundant HP utilities and bloatware installed on this laptop. I don't want desktop links to eBay and all sorts of nonsense I have to delete. I'm more of a Mac guy than a Windows guy, so maybe I'm ignorant here, but I fail to see the need for the HP Connection Manager, the HP Power Manager, the HP Software Assistant, blah, blah, blah, when all of these functions already exist in Windows. I deleted most of the HP stuff, but it took at least 90 minutes to get rid of all the junk. Overall, though, I feel this HP is a solid design and has a competitive set of features for its price point. I think it's definitely worth considering.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
I received this ultrabook in the mail (one-day shipping, love my Prime membership) a few days ago and I've got to say that I'm pretty thrilled with it so far. The computer is pretty fast to start up, restart, and shut down. I did go through and delete the programs out of it that came preinstalled, which helped me clean up my desktop. I am really enjoying the 14" screen. I didn't want a big screen for my next PC, but I wasn't sure 14" was going to be enough. To me, it's perfect! It's very light and takes up little room - very easy to tote around.
Unlike some of the other reviews, I haven't had any problems with the arrow keys or with the Trackpad. I really love that I can use two fingers to scroll through a page and I haven't encountered any problems with right clicking. I do like that the keyboard has a backlight - this is definitely something I thought I wanted since it seemed important to so many reviewers. But I've found that I rarely look at the keyboard anyway. Even so, I think it's a useful option to have, especially if someone else in my family needs to use it. I like the design of the keyboard, though I am still getting used to the placement of the "Home," "End," "Del," etc., keys.
This item comes with BeatsAudio. Personally, I think the sound is pretty good. This is definitely not the reason I chose this product, but I am still happy with it. 4gb memory is pretty good, but I would like to upgrade my memory to at least 8gb, I just need to figure out how to do that (any help is appreciated). There are 3 USB ports, 2-3.0 USB ports and 1-2.0 USB port. I think this is sufficient - I could still charge my phone or Kindle, be connected to a printer, and access a flash drive. If you need more, simply purchase a USB hub.
The ultrabook comes with an AC adapter whose cord is much longer than the last laptops or netbooks I've had. This is something that I love because of the placement of my furniture versus the outlets in my living room. I paid about $30 more for the PC than it is listed at now - but I did receive a $100 gift card for the purchase, which I see is not being advertised now. So I'd say I still won out. All in all, I am extremely happy with my purchase. It is big enough that I can do everything I need to comfortably, while still remining compact enough to pack around with me.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2012
Ok...I have been looking for an ultrabook for some time now. I am a college student majoring in IT and so I needed a windows laptop for my school( inspite of having a Retina display Macbook Pro). I have looked at various ultrabooks that have come to the market such as made by Asus(Zenbook) or by Sony, dell and various others but all were above $1000 with only 128 gb ssd hard drives. Then I heard about the Vizio ultrabooks and decided to buy the 15 incher Thin+Light version. I decided on that and bought it for $900 with 256 gb HD(SSD), but besides the HD screen and the solid Macbook like feel to it everything else sucked including the trackpad. I returned it and thatsth when I found the HP Envy 4-1030. I decide to get it and called up HP to find out about this and any back to school promotions.I ended up getting this from HP for $70 cheaper than here on Amazon(student pricing) and also ended up getting a 4gb X Box 360 free with it($199) value.Below are the main pros and cons of this ultrabook.
1) Although HP calls it an ultarbook it has a regular old 500 gb hard drive but its a hybrid hard drive with 32 gb SSD for fast boot times and hardware acceleraion. This was a big plus for me.
2)It came with very little bloatware which could be removed by a simple system restore which made it much faster.
3) The keyboard is having an island style layout with bacliit led which I find convinient since I am used to Apples island style keyboard on Macs. The trackpad is good and one can use gestures such as two finger scrolling, tripple tap and drag etc.
4)The speakers are Beats audio integrated with a subwoofer and I was surprised at the sound quality.It is loud and crystal clear compared to other laptops. This is a big plus as this is probably the best sound quality I have heard in a laptop.
5) Decent battery life. This gives me around 5-6 hous battery life which is fairly decent atleast for ultrabooks.
6) great Price
7) comes ith hdmi port, SD card reader, 2 USB 3.0 ports, ethernet port, an audio and microphone jack
1) although Hp calls it an ultrabook it is somewhat thicker and heavier than other ultrabook like samsung siries nine or the zenbook
2)SMUDGES. This is a big downer for me. The minute you put your hands on it you are bound to leave very visible fingerprints and smudges thanks to the brushed metal finish and the black color of the laptop.
3) the trackpad is very good but has too much texture to it while you glide your fingers. some people may not like this.
4) The screen resolution sucks and coming of a Retina display Macbook its even more noticible.Its like comparing watermelons to grapes.
5) The power button is a little too soft and you might seem unsure to the extent to which you are supposed to press it. There is no click to it.
6) It has too many branding stickers on its body which I hate.
Overall its a great ultrabook at a fairly decent price.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2012
After about two months of use, I just had to write a review on how poorly the touch pad works. Another reviewer summed this up best: "About as schizophrenic, unresponsive and frustrating as it can be". If you count on being able to work in excel or spend a lot of time reading (scrolling through) sites, consider getting an external mouse. This is ridiculous that a machine as well built as this has a significant flaw.
Great machine, great features, horrible (and unpredictable) touch pad.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2012
So, I never write these, but to the people who think this might be a great deal but wary of the issues of it, I thought I'd address them.
I'm a second year medical student, getting ready for third year rotations. I needed something light, powerful, and portable without a crappy battery life. Our school laptop maxes out at 2 hours- this one, while on full performance usually comes out to about 4, with constant heavy lifting (videos playing, constant email notifications, heavy downloads, etc.) This worked great for me. I didn't need a high-res screen,so that didn't bother me (if you do, then this isn't the laptop for you). The trackpad concerns noted bothered me, but I've realized that it's actually rather incredible. You can customize gestures, which make everything simpler, and if some gestures don't work with the accompanying driver by Synaptic, add a free program called twofingerscroll, and you can customize it further.
That being said, I understand the frustrations on this trackpad if you're used to the old 2 button and trackpad mouse. That being said, this is a trackpad with basically one large button at the bottom (Macbook-esque) that can be modified to have the secondary Right click in the corner, scrolling, browser functions, and a host of other things, all on Windows 7.
onto other things, The thing boots up fast, and after removing some bloatware (some is important for functionality, like the power manager and the Assistant to get HP-specific updates), this thing is fast. I have the hard drive loaded half full, and used CCleaner to disable some of the startup programs, and it's working incredibly fast.
Love the backlit keyboard option. And the USB 2.0 slot on the right works great to just keep a nano-usb transmitter for an associated mouse.
Within the next week, I'll be upgrading to 16GB of RAM. If you do this be sure to upgrade to the newest BIOS, otherwise on the forums I read it wouldn't work. If anything negative occurs when I upgrade, I'll update this, otherwise assume it's fantastic.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2012
Just a short quick review for college students looking for a laptop.
-Visual: Overall a sturdy build with a good minimal look. Rubberized bottom with a metal finish inside and on top of the laptop.
-Can multitask fairly easy without any glitches or any stutter. Actually pretty speedy.
-Decent battery life. I get 4-5 hours surfing the net and playing some light games. It will survive through a few class periods.
-Can run games decently such as League of Legends(constant 50 fps high), HL2 series (smoothly), etc...
-Really good audio with Beatsaudio.
-Can handle movies and videos smoothly
-I wish I can attract many girls as this laptop can attract fingerprints because I would be drowning in girls.
-1366x768 screen resolution. Expecting something higher with a 14 inch screen.
-Bloatware (do a reformat the moment you get the desktop to remove all the programs)
-I may have a lemon but I know other people reported this. Down arrow key is WAY too sensitive. Grazing over the button can trigger the action.
-Decent plastic keyboard. Just wish with was one piece with the brushed metal.
I can see this laptop lasting me for the next 3-4 years if I do not abuse it. It is perfect enough to throw into my backpack and take it around without the weight effecting me. If you are looking for a travel laptop for writing,e-mail, and the casual gaming, this may be it for you.
Edit* 1 week later
After playing with this laptop a lot more, I am quite please with it. The trackpad I found is surprisingly good if you are going to use it for vertical or horizontal scrolling. It isn't glitchy and really responsive. Not on par with the Macbooks, but still good. People complained about the left/right click on the trackpad saying it was too difficult to press, I found it perfect. I just wish the button to toggle the backlit keyboard had an option to be turned off. It is constantly on and can be annoying at times.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
9 month update:
Just recently the computer fan has started to be pretty loud and cycle more than it used to do. I have used a can of air to blow through the grates on the bottom where I assume the fan is. It doesn't seem to have done much good. The unit seems to be running hotter than it did. I try to keep the bottom of the computer on something that will allow some "breathing" but it still seems to be running hot.
UPDATE AFTER 6 MONTHS OF USE:
I'm going to keep the star rating the same, just because I still think the mouse pad on the machine is kind of a pain (the locking function if you inadvertently tap it the wrong way as well as the scrolling function which kicks in a lot when I'm trying to type), but I do want to say that I like this machine more and more for its amazing speed. I am constantly astounded by how quickly it fires up and how fast it is in general. I also notice that the fan only rarely kicks on and the machine seems to run cooler than any other I have (like my older Toshiba, which is sitting right next to this one and seems to have a fan cycle every couple of minutes). I use a wireless mouse with the laptop which takes care of the ultra sensitive mouse pad, and is something that I should have been using instead of a laptop pad, just to spare wear and tear on my wrists.
I bought a Dell a little over a year ago, and it seems like a "horse-and-buggy" compared to this unit. This is my first HP product and I am definitely a convert to their technology. I highly recommend this unit.
Okay, I'll start this review with the same statement I always give when writing a review about anything more high-tech than a toaster (and those are getting tricky, too). While I love various software I have almost no interest in the actual hardware.
That said, I feel like I can offer a dunce's view of this laptop.
First: It is so dang CUTE!!! Really, really tiny. Even the box it came packed in, with packing material, was light. This is one dinky little computer. I didn't know that anything with the word "-book" appended meant it didn't have the full functionality of the larger laptop. This little guy doesn't have a cd drive, which is no problem as I was able to download all of my software like MS Office, Quickbooks and Dreamweaver. On my older laptops the combination of QB and DW really seems to slow down the functioning. So far I can't see any change in speed on the Envy.
Second: It is so dang FAST! And with great sound, too. I like to stream movies and this unit is the way to go. I didn't need my external speakers to hear a movie (better sound than my Toshiba or the truly terrible Dell Latitude). It is difficult for me to tell that the screen is smaller than my laptop. At 14 inches it seems just as large, but much, much more clear.
Third: Or maybe this should have been first, this unit was amazingly easy to set up. It sits on the table sleeping and is quick to come out of hibernation when I push the button. It doesn't take a whole lot of time starting up-- about 1/8th the time of my other laptops.
So why one less star? Well, I'd have given it a 4.5, but that wasn't an option. I found the mouse pad a bit annoying to use. It is a single rectangular button and is kind of stiff to push and click. I actually had to start using my second and third fingers because my index finger was getting a bit of keyboard fatigue. And I hadn't been surfing that long. Maybe it will become a bit less stiff over time, I don't know. Like so many people I don't like a lot of radical changes with thing that have a "muscle memory" component. I felt like I was thinking about the awkwardness of the mouse pad rather than the speediness of the computer. Also, I kept inadvertently engaging a scroll function because of the way I would click on the mouse. Instead of selecting an item (my intention) I would set the scroll function and go sliding off the page I was looking at.
Anyhow, in general I love this new computer. I am so happy to be carrying something that weighs less than 4 lbs and fits easily into a bag. It's fast, compact and easy to use. I'd recommend the unit even with my mouse issues.