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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!
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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.
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on July 26, 2012
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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.
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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.
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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.
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on December 29, 2012
There are lots of good info in these reviews. It will work great for my purposes. It is such a pain to drag my Dell 17" Studio laptop around with me. (poor foresight on my part :)Plus, there are structural weird things with my old PC that make it fidgety. This was a sturdy enough entry for an ultrabook. HP seems to have a good build with these. I will add memory- but generally as it comes out of the box this computer is a star for what most business ultrabook buyers will need. I missed the last one Amazon had in stock, so no having it in 2 days (darn) Ebestpurchase though had prepared for shipment well (on Sunday when I purchased it) it left Monday and was across the country arriving Friday w/ standard shipping. If I had to pick a complaint, it would be that the click pad requires more pressure than it should. Though, as another reviewer put, use the entire top for 1 click. Certainly something I can get used to. Myself, the rest of our devices are PC/ windows 7 and I wanted the same. The software that we mostly use is not usable in Android or MAC as we are configured now. A full Windows tablet would have been another option, but a felt that if I went that route- it would be some trade offs that I didn't want to make- though Windows 8 is the way to go for touch. We'll see where we are at in another 2-3 years!
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on September 15, 2012
I was looking for a small, lightweight computer to use when I travel for work, and for working from home/internet surfing. This computer is definitely fit the bill for a competitive price, and so far I am very happy with it. I only have a couple of minor complaints:

- The power button, as another reviewer complained, is very "soft," and it is hard to know how much pressure to use.
- The power cord fits the computer awkwardly - it sticks straight out from the computer about an inch.
- The keyboard has taken some getting used to, but I can type on it fairly well now.
- There is no demarcation between left-click and right-click, so sometimes I end up doing the opposite of what I want to do.
- The brushed aluminum finish, although attractive and solid-feeling, does attract fingerprints. This doesn't bother me, but might bother others.

Overall, though, this computer is decently fast, lightweight, and attractive. The Beats audio did not factor in to my purchase, but I do think they are noticeably better than most other laptop speakers. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a portable computer with decent battery life for Office, internet surfing, etc.
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on August 15, 2013
I bought this computer in August 2012 on Amazon. I have nothing but good things to say! The backlit keyboard is probably one of my favorite features, along with the HDMI port. The image this computer gives on my 1080i Samsung 60 inches is perfect. I have even watched 3D movies using this port. The computer boots up in less than 10 seconds with absolutely no troubleshooting issues ever. This computer is pretty delicate, so be careful when taking it places or leaving it on the floor. You DON'T want to step on it or hit it against anything because the screen is thin - which gives it susceptibility to break. I take it to class everyday, I have no problems with it at all. The ONE AND ONLY complaint I have is the battery life. It's about 3.5 hours, which doesn't last me very long; and I dislike the charger because of its bulkiness. Overall, it's a great computer. I am extremely satistified with this purchase.
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on October 3, 2012
This laptop is very nice: slim, lightweight, excellent crisp screen, comparatively long battery life, and has USB ports on both right and left sides which to me is important since I always use a mouse and frequently use other USB add ons. It has a backlit keyboard, is fast, and runs Windows 7 very smoothly. The audio is supposedly top but every time I use Skype the other party complains they can't hear well so maybe the microphone is not that good - I have to turn up the volume very high. The computer turns on and off very quickly, something I really like since my old computer took about 5 minutes to turn on and another five minutes to turn off. I am happy with the Envy and its ultra portability, although this model was my second choice. I wanted a Folio but could not find one in NYC! I do not understand HP - they make it difficult to find what you want, whether it be the Folio or this computer which was somewhat difficult to find online. But all in all, I am happy with the purchase, which is a major improvement over my older less capable laptop.
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on December 9, 2012
I really like this laptop. It is dependable, versital and easy to carry from meeting to meeting. I enjoy the lighted keyboard, slim design and overall fit and sturdiness of the computer. HP software was helpful at first but I ha e removed most of the bloatware in recent weeks to make room for apps and new software. The battery life has been pretty good and the charger does a good job of making quick recharges when I' on the road. The tilt on the display is good for my use and I believe the display works fine.

I dislike the display quality because it tends to fade out in brighter lights. The whole machine is an fingerprintmagnet but I have gotten used to wiping the laptop down at the end of the day. It only takes a minute and I feel better about taking care of the issue.

The seller did a very good job of delivery/packing and overall it was a smooth transaction.
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