HP’s flagship notebook brings power in style.
While playing 3D movies on Bluray, the active shutter glasses did an admirable job. Obviously you can’t match this with the quality playback of high-end 3D TVs, but it’s pretty damn good. The downside is that the active shutter glasses are intensely ugly, HP didn’t even try to make them look less bad cool. Games, while looking decent, suffered due to 3D cutting down on frame rates pretty harshly. The TriDef 3D software is excellent in that it has built-in 3D profiles for normal games. SO when running StarCraft II in 3D, I did get an average of 21fps at High settings, but with Medium settings I was getting 52fps under 3D!
The exhaust fan is placed on the top left side of the Envy 17, which kicks into high gear while playing games. The sound isn’t annoying, but like all laptops with such an exhaust vent, you’d best put on your headphones. Surprisingly the Envy got less hot at the top aluminum side, and more on the bottom plastic panel. This isn’t an issue really, because I doubt anyone would play games on their 17″ notebooks on their laps. Let’s not forget the fact that it’s totally unfeasible.
Battery wise I wasn’t looking for anything miraculous, but I was pleasantly surprised to find around 4 hours of battery with light usage (net surfing, listening to mp3s and YouTube videos), whereas playing games gave me under 2 hours. For a laptop of this much size and power, that’s pretty good.
So what I took away from the HP Envy 17 3D is a wonderful package of high-end components packed inside a beautifully crafted chassis. It may not be as smartly engineered as a MacBook Pro, but neither does it look as boring. The 3D screen is great for movies, although I personally wouldn’t recommend it for gaming in 3D. Simply because the supplied GPU isn’t powerful enough to handle games at 1080p at full settings and in 3D. The onboard speakers are pretty good, and some of the best ones in a notebook of its class. The backlit keys are a nice welcome, and the overall appeal of this notebook is undeniable. It’s not perfect though, apart form the slightly weak graphics card the mouse pad doesn’t register all of the multi-touch gestures all the time. Apple seems to be the only one’s who have perfected this. But getting back to the Envy 17, if you’re in the market for an all round high-end notebook which doesn’t look boring or way too funky, then the HP Envy 17 3D is one of your best choices.