HP Envy 6 ultrabook is a 15 inch mainstream notebook that offers a great looking package with powerful performance without burning a hole in your pocket. When Intel launched the ultrabook set out to reinvent the laptop as we know it, in order to address the new challenges posed by the ever increasing popularity of ultra-mobile devices in the consumer sector but also in the professional. Customers demand devices that are easy to carry and with a high degree of autonomy but which at the same time affording a computing capacity sufficient not only for leisure but also for work commitments, so as to always be productive also on-the-go. The first models of ultrabook premium solutions were, however, with exclusive designs and materials, but also with a higher price to the psychological threshold of 1000 € which circumscribed the spread within a small niche market. To achieve, or at least try to approach the ambitious goal of Intel’s ultrabook in turn 40% of all laptops sold was needed a breakthrough that approached the general public to the new category of products. This turning point represented by mainstream ultrabook , including our HP Envy 6 occupies a prominent place as we said, because it comes from a careful analysis of market demands, especially the European one, which dominate the 15.6-inch notebook , with strong multimedia abilities and costs under 1000 euro.
Able to propose a device that combines on the one hand build quality, materials, and performance measures contained and other good multimedia capabilities – all on the presence of a dedicated video card – and more affordable prices, is therefore a challenge tutt ‘nothing but simple and yet it is a crucial result to be achieved for the success of the ultrabook. HP Envy 6 brilliantly over this obstacle because it has a reasonable price compared to the offers (899 euro is the list price, but it can already be easily found online at a street price between the 827 and the 854 euro and promotional offers coming down even to 699 euro), is one of the first ultrabook with a diagonal of 15.6 inches instead of those 11 or 13 inch models which we have used first-generation and offers multimedia functionality without compromise , especially thanks to the excellent audio system again signed by Beats Audio and the presence of a dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon HD. The sample of Envy 6 in the test model 1070el , and has a rather interesting hardware configuration that includes an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge Ultra Low Voltage 1.7 GHz, 4 GB of DDR3 RAM, a hard drive with 5400 RPM and 500 GB capacity with a small supporting mSATA SSD with cache functions as mentioned above and a dedicated video card AMD Radeon HD 7670M with 2 GB of DDR3 memory. Also note that this configuration that sees the Intel flanked by a graphics card AMD Radeon wrongly considered impossible until now, for an injury due to the fact that being "ultrabook" a registered trademark of Intel laptops with AMD graphics were excluded a priori. HP has instead explained that he had chosen the card company’s Sunnyvale after careful consideration that has seen as opposed to other solutions which revealed that this was the model with the best performance at the same temperature profile.
As said, HP Envy 6 belongs to a band of more affordable price compared to other ultrabook on the market such as Envy Spectre or Spectre XT, just to stay at home Hewlett Packard, and hence also the packaging and the kit are simpler . We start from the box, cardboard, essential lines that resembles that of Pavilion notebook. The sides of the box are decorated exclusively by the HP logo, which stands at the center of a black background, while the corners are stickers Intel and Beats Audio.
Design – As usual, Hewlett-Packard, all of its laptops have common aesthetic identity, which derives from a specific design theme. The original approach called MUSE (Materials, Usability, Seduction of the senses and experience in use) merged recently in concept Mosaic which gives prominence to the colors, but the feeling that we have the feeling that this ultrabook Envy 6 is already prefigures the next evolutions of the HP design.
The style is indeed very contemporary , full flat type, characterized by clean lines and very clean. The fine materials and attention to the ergonomics of use, however, mark a clear continuity with the philosophy MUSE. The body has a cover and a piano keyboard in both aluminum alloy with brushed finish and a dark, almost black, very simple and elegant, which further enhances the clean lines of the notebook. The bottom is instead glass fiber, a material which combines strength and low weight with a pleasant appearance, however, with a rubberized coating of extreme practicality because it hides fingerprints and dirt, wear and protects against impact and improves the grip . The difference in materials is highlighted in terms of color by choosing a vibrant red tint to the bottom panel and keyboard tray and display lid echo the color of the cover. The use of color that might seem a little ‘unconventional, is instead measured accurately: when 6 is Envy sitting on a table, dell’appariscente red color one can see only the calls on the sides, when they closed the laptop s’impugna to carry it, you can decide which side show, the most simple and elegant cover or the bottom stronger and fun. All sides of the chassis are then embellished with details that demonstrate a degree of refinement and good precision in the assembly , such as chrome rings that surround the rubber feet on which the ultrabook, the "b" of BeatsAudio red on speaker bar , the HP logo round that breaks the uniformity of the cover, or logo Hewlett Packard extended that occupies the center of the back of the laptop. The shell has a thickness of 19.8 mm and a weight of just over 2 Kg, measures therefore decidedly lower than those of normal mainstream notebook and totally aligned with the directives for the Intel ultrabook, despite the size of 15.6 inch screen. The base is solid, with no significant falls and appears to be well cared for, handled by two depressions that host respectively the keyboard and touchpad. The first is type chiclet to elements isolated and extends almost the entire width of the handset, thereby ensuring a layout and a size of the keys that allow to write in a convenient and precise. Very large is also made by Synaptics touchpad with support for multitouch gestures and so ready to upgrade to Windows 8. The cover features an HP TrueVision HD webcam and HD display with BrightView glossy finish that, while it improves the color rendering, on the other hand makes it more difficult to read in ambient lighting conditions unfavorable. Despite its compact size and HP still managed to integrate a variety of interesting doors, as we will see in detail later, and that includes plug on ultrabook less common, such as the RJ-45 port for connecting to wired networks.
Ports – Everyone loves the ultra-thin notebooks, but reduce the thickness of the frame imposes some technical challenges that can not always be overcome in a convincing way. For this reason, the ultrabook design more extreme must give up some interfaces, especially those bulky as the standard video output and RJ45 Ethernet LAN, and compensate for these shortcomings with the addition of adapters or ports in micro or mini format. Luckily, this is not the case of the HP Envy 6, despite the thickness of less than 2cm sure though all ports expansion that we commonly found on mainstream notebook. Rear side: The display, rotating, goes to cover the rear side of the base which is then completely emptied of ports and connectors of various kinds. Even here, however, HP has not given up a touch of style, occupying the space available in width with the Hewlett Packard written in full, with an appearance very successful. Left: On the left side there is a RJ-45 connector with edge folding, so it can be integrated in a lean side like dell’Envy 6, a digital video output HDMI , two USB 3.0 ports , a card reader multiformat memory and two status LEDs, white light. Right: On the right we find the plug of the power supply, which also features LED status, rather absent on the external, self-powered USB 2.0 port, audio jacks for headphones and microphone and Kensington security attack type. Front: The tapered shape of the chassis ends with a thin edge which of course does not offer any room for any interfaces.
Processor, RAM – Intel has established a set of strict parameters that a notebook must meet in order to be awarded the ultrabook. Some of these criteria relate to the hardware platform that we must include processors ensure high efficiency and exceptional performance. HP Envy 6 is no exception: the presence of the Intel Core i5, although the LV type, supported by dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon HD provides tremendous flexibility of use, making it suitable for different usage scenarios, from media playback to productivity, until use in the field of gaming, at least as regards the casual gamer. The U.S. company has therefore chosen for its sixth Envy 1070el an Intel Core i5-3317U , a type of low voltage dual core specifically developed by the Californian chipmaker for use in ultra-portable in which mobility and autonomy are aspects outweigh performance as well. The CPU is based on ‘ Ivy Bridge architecture generation and has a clock rate of 1.7 GHz, but can reach up to 2.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost, which increases the operating frequency dynamically depending on workload. I remind you that the Turbo Boost technology can be assimilated to an overclock of the processor cores, but remaining within the thermal profile defined by the TDP. So if you use only one core, then it is likely that the rate reaches the peak maximum of 2.6GHz, while if the processor is fully loaded (including the integrated graphics!) Then you will not be able to go beyond the nominal maximum frequency of 1.7GHz . More than an overclock in the strict sense, then Turbo Boost is to focus the resources of the processor on a certain area for it to finish before their missions. In this technology TB is at the center of philosophy "Hurry Up and Go Idle" that aims to maximize energy efficiency and performance as well.
Thanks to the adoption of a lithographic process to 22 nm Tri-Gate 3D and other devices then this processor has a TDP of only 17 W , which also include the integrated graphics and memory controller. The CPU also has an L3 cache of 3 MB.
Alongside the processor are as always the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) Intel HM77 Panther Point , which is responsible for the management of all ports of I / O and audio, while the memory controller is integrated in the CPU and supports up to two slots So-DIMM RAM DDR3 1333 or 1600 MHz, for a total of 32 GB, although the HP Envy 6 can be equipped with a maximum of 8 GB of RAM . The software AIDA64 Extreme Edition provides some additional data right on the type of memory installed.
Audio, Video – Thanks to the adoption of a lithographic process to 22 nm Tri-Gate 3D and other devices then this processor has a TDP of only 17 W , which also include the integrated graphics and memory controller. The CPU also has an L3 cache of 3 MB. Alongside the processor are as always the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) Intel HM77 Panther Point , which is responsible for the management of all ports of I / O and audio, while the memory controller is integrated in the CPU and supports up to two slots So-DIMM RAM DDR3 1333 or 1600 MHz, for a total of 32 GB, although the HP Envy 6 can be equipped with a maximum of 8 GB of RAM . The software AIDA64 Extreme Edition provides some additional data right on the type of memory installed. The two main speakers are instead turned upwards and slightly inclined towards the user sitting in front of the notebook, so as to emit in its direction and without any obstacles along the route. In this way, the audio is clear and loud and not be bothered by annoying reflections or refractions that would worsen the overall quality. Looking at the HP Triple Bass subwoofer and satellites within the frame, we can see also that were installed using special pins that serve to dampen any vibrations transmitted from the frame of the laptop. Beats also worked on the software component of the audio system through the application of the same name that offers more options than the simple audio panel of the operating system, allowing for experts to exercise more granular control on the various audio parameters. There is such a band graphic equalizer that allows you to create custom profiles along with the three specific presets for playback of voice, music and movies, and the ability to control the functions of the microphone coupled to the camera, enabling for example a suppression background noise and acoustic echo within an angle of 30 degree from the webcam. The graphics instead is run by a hybrid solution composed by ‘ IGP Intel HD 4000 integrated in the processor and dedicated graphics card AMD Radeon HD 7670M. The first represents an evolution of the graphics processor in this Sandy Bridge CPU. The new version is made at 22 nm and has been completely redesigned to introduce support for DirectX 11, hardware tessellation to, and functions DirectCompute. The graphics processor also now has 16 unified pipelines instead of the previous 12, with a clock rate of 350 MHz but can climb dynamically up to 1.3 GHz, with Turbo Boost always, just as for the processor, and finally was incorporated even a dedicated third level cache, while only the first was exploited LLC (Last Level Cache) CPU. The IPC (Instructions Clock) as a result are now on the whole higher than the previous generation with an overall improvement in performance of around 60%, as can be detected, for example in 3DMark Vantage. Also from the point of view media, the situation is clearly improved. The video decoder Multi Format Codec Engine (MFX) has been improved and now allows video decoding multiple 4K, including support for codec MPEG2, VC1, WMV9 and H264. Even the QuickSync technology , now in version 2 and allows you to take advantage of hardware acceleration also in the video coding, has been optimized to deliver superior performance. For the dedicated video card, HP said it had opted for an AMD Radeon HD 7670M after a careful consumption and performance compared to competing solutions, and in fact the Nvidia GPU in the same range of benefits of the 7670M has TDP of 30W and over against the TDP of about 20W GPU AMD. The card AMD Radeon HD 7670M belongs to the mainstream and can rely on unified pipeline 480 and a frequency of 600 MHz for the core and the shader unit, while the memories, which may be of type DDR3 or GDDR5 manufacturer’s choice, have a clock rate of 900 MHz, then the bus is 128 bits. The GPU is compatible with DirectX 11 and Shader Model 5.0 and integrates technology UVD3, to decode in hardware the most popular formats such as HD MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, Flash, Multi -View Codec (MVC) and MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, XviD).
But in fact, the dedicated video card is only used when you want to play because as we have just seen the transcoding operations are fully supported PGI integrated in Intel CPUs.
The two GPUs are then coordinated through the AMD PowerXpress . This works differently compared to the Nvidia Optimus solution. While this fact uses a database application that is constantly updated to determine when to intervene the dedicated graphics, PowerXpress determines it instead dynamically, based on the request of resources, even if the user is always given the option to intervene manually through commands in the panel dedicated to Switchable Graphics. In both cases, however, the switch is instantaneous and the user does not notice anything nor the operation is signaled in any way. As for the Nvidia GPU is a gadget available (optional) for Windows that shows the graphics accelerator in use, we do not know of a tool similar to the AMD counterpart. The difficulty of monitoring the effective operation of the dedicated GPU and the inability of programs and benchmarks to detect the exact state of the Mobile Radeon damage so often rise to some misunderstanding on the part of users, who happen with some frequency instead of reporting bugs that are not there. To verify the correct operation of its hybrid AMD therefore recommend to use third-party gadgets like GPU or GPU Monitor Observer that, if set properly, they are able to show actual use of the Radeon HD. We also recall that AMD PowerXpress only allows you to switch and not to combine the two video accelerators, which can be done instead of only when the notebook is equipped with a dedicated video card and a AMD APU from the same manufacturer. Now to the monitor, LCD Chimei N15B6 15.6-inch diagonal , 16:9 aspect ratio, LED backlit and features a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The panel is equipped with a good level of contrast ratio of 500:1 and a luminance in accordance with a maximum value of 220 nits. The screen has a glossy treatment that HP BrightView calls, which enhances the saturation and vividness of the colors at the expense of a lower readability in strong ambient light or direct sunlight. Despite the glossy treatment and the average characteristics of the LCD panel, however, we were amazed by its performance, worthy of the top-level screens.
The video-audio sector is finally completed by a webcam TrueVision HD , equipped with a new type of sensor that allows to obtain high image quality even in low light, and an integrated microphone.
Keyboard, Touchpad – The keyboard has a layout-grid , such as requiring the trends of the moment. The format 15.6-inch chassis allows manufacturers to choose between a standard keyboard, with keys really full size, or alternatively of a keyboard with numeric pad clutching a bit ‘Ctrl, Shift and Enter. HP has decided to focus on ergonomics and maximum comfort typing opting for a full size keyboard with keys of the same dimensions as the keyboard of a desktop PC , but without a numeric keypad.
Even in this case the designers HP were found to reckon with the thickness of the ultrathin frame but are still managed to ensure a good key travel and therefore a good feedback to the pressure, which is not an aspect of secondary importance for those who writes long on the laptop. It is clear that in the design of input devices HP has been inspired by the extremely concrete eliminating all unnecessary to focus on what is really useful and important.
The same principle is at the basis of the decision to reverse the ordinary operation of the function keys. Normally on laptops these keys are associated with some key features such as controlling the brightness or volume, enabling wireless network interfaces or the selection of the screen, but to activate them you must use a keyboard combination that also includes the pressure Fn key. It is an impractical solution because most of the users use Quesi keys only for those features "secondary". HP has decided instead to make our life easier by creating the so-called "Action Keys" : are the old function keys but are directly associated to a specific functionality without adding simultaneously pressing the Fn key. It is not a novelty because HP takes this device for some time on his cars but it is certainly a simple and useful.
At the center of the palmrest we find the touchpad , a Synaptics ClickPad type multitouch , with the selection buttons nested under the sensitive surface. It is a type of touchpad has emerged for aesthetic reasons and because it allows pointing wider area, but despite the obvious improvements that has undergone over time continues to confuse people who are used to the mouse or the old touchpad with buttons for selecting physical. The touchpad can be disabled or re-enabled with a simple double tap in the upper left corner: an amber LED located next there then indicate their status. When using the input device proved to be sufficiently precise and responsive. In addition, thanks to the Synaptics control panel, you can also customize the multitouch gesture up to four fingers, enable the rejection of the palm of the hand to prevent the cursor from moving while we type and manage the main settings.
Storage – HP Envy 1070el 6 is equipped with a special hybrid storage solution that sees a traditional hard drive Hitachi Travelstar Z5K500 type SATA II with a capacity of 500 GB, 8 MB buffer and speed of rotation of the plates equal to 5400 RPM, flanked by a Samsung PM830 SSD 32 GB mSATA , which acts as the flash cache to speed up the execution of the operating system and the main programs and that enables you to implement the Intel Rapid Start function to exit from standby in just 2 seconds. The solid-state drive then assumes the function which in the past had the Turbo Cache module while the storage of files using the conventional magnetic drive, although for more experienced users will not be difficult to change this setting. The Hitachi drives is of thin, with a thickness of only 7 mm and uses the new Advanced Format 4K, which combines with 8 sectors of 512 bytes to 4096 bytes into one in order to make the most of the surface of the discs, improving so the performance but especially the reliability over time. The Samsung PM830 is a solid state drive instead of mSATA interface type SATA III 6 Gb / s, whose main characteristic is to use only Samsung chip, both in terms of the modules to 27 nm Toggle DDR NAND-type Flash the controller itself, the S4LJ204X01-Y040, based on a three-core processor ARM Cortex A9.
Connectivity – Moving on to the network interfaces, the HP Envy 6 has connectivity WiFi 802.11 b / g / n with the Broadcom chip BCM4313GN and Bluetooth 4.0 module Broadcom 20702 on combo PCI Express minicard, and Gigabit Ethernet LAN , managed by Realtek RTL8168 / 8111. The Broadcom card has half-size and combines Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in a single solution. BCM4313GN Broadcom chip is a single-band, with support for security standards WPA and WPA2 (802.11i) and encryption of AES in hardware, combined with IEEE 802.1X and TKIP protocols. The chip also integrates a hardware engine type WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure). The contorller Realtek instead combines a MAC (Media Access Controller) triple-speed IEEE 802.3 compliant type receiver with a triple-speed Ethernet always, features, along with support functions such as Crossover Detection & Auto-Correction, polarity correction, equalization adaptive echo cancellation and cross-talk, timing recovery, and error correction, should ensure a fast and reliable transmission. To manage network interfaces there is a special tool called HP Connection Manager , which is activated by pressing the function key F12 and supports a comfortable airplane mode, which when set before takeoff, to use your laptop in flight.
Battery life – HP Envy 6 is equipped with a 4-cell battery with 60 Wh Lithium-Polymer , a capacity appropriate to the platform hardware supplied, which should ensure sufficient autonomy so long. To verify this we always used as the software BAPCO MobileMark 2007 set in the scenario Reader, so as to simulate a condition of constant idle, in order to detect what may be considered the maximum range. Recall also that in our tests we set always characterized by the maximum energy savings, but at the same time leave the luminance of the display to the highest value, in order to simulate more realistic conditions. In this way, we have seen an ‘ autonomy of well 459 minutes , equal to 7 hours and 39 minutes , a respectable result, very close to the canonical 8 hours set by Intel for its ultrabook and therefore able to ensure the coverage of a ‘entire working day or, if you prefer, the ability to play several movies. Like most of the Envy 6 ultrabook also has no battery removable , so having a high battery life is of paramount importance because it can not insert a second battery on the fly. However, remains the ability to open the bottom of the laptop to perform maintenance or battery replacement. In the detection of temperatures with the Stress Test of AIDA64 we recorded a threshold value of 67.1 ° C on the CPU , a sign that the cooling system of which we have spoken before doing an excellent job, as confirmed by the temperature of only 31 ° C hard drive, which confirms that the circulation of air inside is great and other critical components do not overheat. It is a very surprising result considering that the other ultrabook we tried it reached threshold temperatures of 80 degrees despite the low-voltage processors, and that the fan of our portable test often is idle and when running is extremely quiet. Moreover, even the Envy 6 has HP CoolSense technology , which automatically detects when the notebook is placed on a desk or on the knees of the user, thereby setting the fan speed, so as to achieve at all times the best possible compromise between performance, quietness and comfort of use. Enabling the CoolSense then you can earn a few more without compromising overall performance.
Benchmarks – As our practice to evaluate the performance of the notebook we used different tools. 7zip and SuperPi will tell us what he is capable Core i5, while the various 3DMark will enable us to verify the performance of the graphics card. The system as a whole was finally evaluated through several generations of synthetic benchmark PCMark. Before you go through these tests, we remind you that the ‘ Windows Performance Index recorded a score of 5.0 due to the performance with the graphical interface of the OS from Redmond, while all other scenarios get around to score 6 points, with top scores of 6.3 and 6.9 for gaming on the computing power of the processor. SuperPi and 7Zip , the two tests that we use to evaluate the CPU respectively in single threading and multithreading, confirm the excellent performance of which is capable Ivy Bridge Core i5 chosen by HP. Compared to our database results show a substantial alignment with the Intel Core i5-2410M, a dual core Sandy Bridge generation immediately preceding. It is an exciting result whereas the latter is a standard voltage processor and has a clock rate of 2.3 GHz, 1.7 GHz CPU against dell’Envy. The transition to a 22nm manufacturing process, and more miniaturized, made it possible to obtain the same level of performance but with a significant reduction in fuel consumption, to the benefit of autonomy and thermal comfort. But it is not just the processor to offer excellent performance. Thanks to a series of smart choices and the presence of an SSD, though small and cache functions, it is the system as a whole to record performance, as evidenced by the scores achieved with synthetic benchmarks PCMark 05, PCMark 7 and PCMark Vantage. The credit is therefore to be ascribed to a platform very well balanced in every component and also has a dedicated video card like the AMD mid-range Radeon HD 7670M, which is scoring high marks in 3DMark 06, 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 , thus confirming that with this ultrabook is also possible to play with great satisfaction and very few waivers from the point of view of the overall visual quality.
Verdict – At the end of our journey we can only promote top marks ultrabook HP Envy 6. For the U.S. company is widely won a bet because it has managed to combine in one product aesthetics, build quality and portability with performance and comfort typical of mainstream computer display with wide diagonal and price below 900 €.
The ultra-thin design, which is the signature style of ultrabook has a visual impact even more amazing on a laptop with 15.6-inch format like this. A notebook closed you only see a thin sheet of polished aluminum with brushed metal finish that rests on a fire-engine red. The Mosaic concept that features the latest HP notebook lines is expressed nell’Envy 6 in a contrasting color to great effect : red and black are two colors that communicate together at the same time character and refinement plus the use of red for the bottom, so the hidden side of the laptop, allows you to have more discretion and restraint when necessary. Even the hardware platform is typical of ultrabook, based on low voltage chips from Intel and with the addition of a SSD to increase the reactivity of the system, but with a strong element of originality represented by the dedicated video card AMD Radeon HD 7670M with 2GB VRAM . However, it is a welcome confirmation of the power and sound quality of the Beats Audio system that includes two speakers and a subwoofer generous, as well as a software console. The American manufacturer has finally paid great attention to the profile of thermal and acoustic emissions on which in the past some models of its mainstream notebook results were a bit ‘lacking. The HP CoolSense technology, which was actually born in the wake of those episodes, reaches its perfection sull’Envy 6: hottest components are grouped at the back of the laptop, with the effect of having a frame always fresh areas in contact with the user, and with the help of a cooling system with high efficiency is possible to obtain threshold temperatures lower than 10 degrees with respect to other ultrabook and silent unprecedented. At an official price of 899 € and with a street price even lower (there are very attractive promotional offers with discounts of 100 or even 200 euro on the price list) is really hard to find a product as versatile and balanced . HP Envy 6 is a candidate to become the computer so the main house, suitable for both study and work as to play the role of the center of home entertainment for 3D gaming or movie playback in HD.