Rated 3 out of 5Â by John3000 Envy TouchSmart 17t Quad
I ordered a customized Envy TSmart 17t Quad laptop over the Labor Day weekend, 2013, and received it in mid-September 2013. I was looking for a powerful laptop with a 17 inch screen. After going through the various customizations, I decided upon the configuration below.
â¢ Windows 8 Pro 64
â¢ System Recovery DVD with Windows 8 Pro 64
â¢ 4th generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4700MQ Processor
â¢ Included 2 Year Warranty
â¢ NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M Graphics with 2048MB of dedicated video memory
â¢ 17.3-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
â¢ 12GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
â¢ 1TB 5400RPM Hybrid Hard Drive
â¢ NO mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
â¢ $40 OFF Microsoft(R) Office Home and Business 2013
â¢ No additional security software
â¢ 6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery
â¢ Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
â¢ Backlit Keyboard
â¢ Webcam and Microphone
â¢ 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R)
I'm an IT person and have owned and used HP equipment for decades, and my basement looks like an HP museum. I still have working HP gear from the mid-1980's, and I've always considered HP gear to be top notch.
I've now had my laptop for two months, and below are my thoughts.
My laptop boots up quickly and has handled any task I've thrown at it. As an IT person I have a lot of "stuff" running in the background (MS SQL EXPRESS DBMS, WAMP server), but with this laptop I don't notice they are running - it has power to spare.
Battery Life Is Good
Depending upon how I'm using the laptop, I get between 3 hours and 5.5 hours on a charge. The longest it has lasted is 5 hours 35 minutes, but considering the size and power of this laptop, I'm pretty impressed. I've never timed how long it takes to recharge the battery, but it has always been fully charged before I've needed to run it on battery.
Most of the time my laptop runs nice and cool for hours straight. That's the operation about 97% of the time - cool as can be. However, if doing video editing with hardware acceleration enabled or playing games or hosting a webinar or engaging in collaborative digital whiteboard activities for a few hours, it will get very hot - hot like asphalt in desert New Mexico in July, and then it will lock up and you have to power it off and let it cool before continuing. As I'm an IT guy I make sure the laptop is on a flat surface with lots of air circulation around it. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes it really gets hot, and if you plan on doing any of the things I mentioned a few sentences back you should consider getting auxiliary cooling.
17.3-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920x1080)
The display is beautiful! Nice rich colors, good contrast! The screen surface is quite reflective, so I'm not sure where they got "anti-glare". The touch screen works great! I love it! It has been almost 30 years since I bought my first HP TouchScreen PC (the HP 150) and wow, have PCs and touch screens improved since then. The laptop's touch screen is so fine in resolution that even with my big fat fingers I can select files or directories in File Explorer with just a finger-tip touch! Dragging and dropping files with the touch screen is Great! All my friends said "If you will be using Windows 8, be sure to get a touch screen display" and I can certainly understand why. Windows 8 (and 8.1) are really built for a touch display, and you really handicap yourself if you forgo the touch display. Once you have it and use it for a week or two, you will understand why "touch" is so important in Windows 8 (and 8.1).
Windows 8.1 Runs Well On It
I reviewed the option of plain old Windows 8 vs. Windows 8 Pro and decided I needed to go the Windows 8 Pro route. Windows 8 takes some getting used to, and if I had to put a quarter in a jar every time I cursed Windows 8 the first week I used it, well, I'd have filled up multiple jars. After about a week I was used to it, and now it seems fairly natural. When 8.1 came out, I upgraded. I like Windows 8.1 Pro MUCH more than 8.0, but I miss the "Windows Experience Index". If you don't find Windows 8.1 installed, get the upgrade!
12 GB RAM
With "stuff" running in the background, some professional level video editing, sound editing, and photo editing software installed, I'm glad I have 12 GB. So far peak memory usage (that I've seen) was about 10.5 GB, so 12 GB was probably a good choice.
1 TB 5400 RPM Hybrid Hard Drive
It is hard to say much about the performance of the Hybrid Hard Drive other than my laptop seems to boot faster than similar laptops, copies files to/from the hybrid hard drive over GigE wired faster than laptops that have an ordinary 5400 RPM drive, and just plain seems to run more like a 7200 RPM drive than a 5400. The performance is best when there is a flurry of hard drive activity that dissipates quickly, as when copying more than a couple of GB the performance decreases to what appears to be very slightly better than a normal 5400 RPM drive. Thus, I think the Hybrid drive was worthwhile, but if you are moving large amounts of data, be realistic in your expectations.
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M Graphics with 2048 MB of dedicated video memory
Wow! Nice, smooth video! Great frame rates with virtually every game I've tried! Even runs flight simulator with good frame rates! When performing video and/or photo editing and comparing performance with hardware acceleration on/off, the difference is very noticeable! It may not be video made for a gamer, but it meets and exceeds my needs.
Blu-ray Player and SuperMulti DVD Burner
I've played several Blu-ray discs in my laptop, and read a few Blu-ray discs that I've burned on my home systems. The laptop has read all the recordable Blu-ray and DVD media I've put in it without any problems (I'm using LG Blu-ray burners on my towers). The drive tray seems a bit more delicate than those of some other laptops, but with care I don't think it will be a problem.
I love it! I also love that you can turn it on/off with a simple keyboard command. When running on battery power I've usually turned it off, but not always. Yes, it does drain the battery faster, but if you need the light, you need the light. When operating on AC power I keep the backlight on all the time. When running on battery power I probably have it on only about 10% of the time. I am NOT a fan of the removal of the physical left mouse button and right mouse button. Almost all laptops have removed them now, and I find their removal incredibly annoying.
Webcam and Microphone
Both work great! I've received great comments about the webcam image quality (even in low light situations) and the built-in microphone sound quality. One thing I found rather surprising is how well the internal microphone works with the built-in Windows 8 speech recognition. I'm used to using a headset with Windows 7 so the laptop's built-in microphone's performance with speech recognition really surprised me.
802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth
I needed the Bluetooth because I wanted to use a wireless HP Bluetooth mouse with my laptop. I've heard some complaints about Bluetooth mice, but I haven't had any problems, and I use mine almost every time I boot up my laptop. I think the key thing is to turn on the Bluetooth HP mouse BEFORE booting up the laptop. The only time my Bluetooth mouse didn't work was when I powered it on AFTER booting the laptop. As for the normal wireless LAN feature, I don't use it much, but when I do use it, it works very well. I give the wired connection a real workout as I use it all the time. It is sometimes a bit picky about which RJ-45 connectors it will mate with, but it works well.
I like my HP ENVY TouchSmart 17t Quad laptop, but it isn't without faults. Were it not for two problems, I'd give it five of five stars, but because of those problems I have to make some subtractions.
1) When you are running software that requires significant CPU resources AND/OR advanced graphics resources, it will get hot and freeze. I'm a "power user" so if you aren't a power user you probably won't have a problem. I'm subtracting 0.5 star for this problem.
2) Beats Audio is a real problem if you do anything but listen to music through headphones on airplanes. Beats Audio has some really serious software problems, the biggest of which is YOU CAN'T TURN IT OFF WITHOUT HACKING THE SYSTEM REGISTRY!!! If you plan to do any audio or video editing on your HP ENVY TouchSmart 17t Quad laptop then you need to run regedit and disable Beats Audio through the registry, or better yet, set up two files - one to disable Beats Audio and one to enable Beats Audio. It isn't that Beats Audio is all bad - it isn't. It is a great feature if you are trying to listen to music on an airplane. The problem is you don't want it enabled if you are doing audio or video editing, and the software's control panel doesn't let you turn it off. This isn't a new issue, as when you look on the web for the registry hacks you will see that the problem has existed for years - it just hasn't gotten fixed. Beats Audio should have been fixed years ago, and because it has gone unfixed for so long, I'm subtracting 1.5 starts for this problem.
Final Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
HP: Fix Beats Audio and the score jumps to 4.5 out of 5 stars.
November 22, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5Â by Tim91 It's worth it
This laptop has great performance and it is cheaper than most other brand's computer that has the equivalent configuration. With the newest i7 processor and high quality screen, I feel excellent when I use it to surf the internet, watch video and playing games. I recommend this laptop and hope that HP can do heat dissipation better.
November 11, 2013
Rated 4 out of 5Â by Jakabuoch1 Amazing and ingenius.
HP comes first when it comes to customized innovation and design with emerging new technologies.
November 7, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5Â by chopperdude FAST
I love this laptop. Really fast, though I wish I would have splurged for the max processor. Immediately swapped out the HD for an SSD and had huge issues using the restore media I paid for. Ended up having to use a retail OS disk to get it up and running. HP should offer an SSD as an option, not just the SSD cache. other than those self induced issues, this thing is great. One other thing I wish it had was an eSATA port, but that's not a big issue. Full HD screen is great. I can't figure out how I ever got by without the backlit keyboard. BlueRay is nice. startup time with SSD is around 7 seconds. never bothered to boot using HD, so I don't know. Battery life leaves a little to be desired at around 2-2.5 hrs. You could probably tweak this with power options, but I haven't bothered. If you purchase this thing, I recommend you go for broke and get the video card, full hd screen, and max out the processor. Blue ray is a take it or leave it in my opinion.
October 28, 2013