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HP Envy 13

>> Saturday, October 24, 2009

HP Envy 13 is crafted from aluminum and magnesium bonded materials, while the MacBook Pro does it from a thick slab of aluminum. Its metals are anodized several layers deep, so the Envy 13 is not only sleek, but durable, scratch resistant, and lightweight as well. Apple and HP aren't the only ultraportable manufacturers that use metals, though. The ASUS UL30A-A1 and Acer Aspire Timeline AS3810T (6415) have also experimented with aluminum metals in their frames, though only in the top cover HP Envy 13 uses metals throughout the entire chassis, which drives up costs. The designs are limitless as well.

HP Envy 13 sports a brownish tint and can be permanently etched with lasers in different patterns just like HP's current Pavilion line designs. The luxurious theme extends to its interior. Its 13.1 inch widescreen is one of the brightest in the industry, rated at 400 Nits (cd/m2), and covered in glass, too, which gives it the same clean look as that of the MacBook Pro 13 inch. Its 1.600 by 900 resolution is the highest and most eye popping thus far on a 13 inch screen, outclassing that of the MacBook Pro 13 inch (1.280 by 800), Acer 3935 (1.280 by 800), and ASUS UL30A-A1 (1.366 by 768).

It matches the resolution of the Dell Studio 14z great for multimedia tasks, but not so much for reading text, as higher resolutions tend to make fonts look tinier on a small screen. The full size keyboard is styled in the same way as that of the MacBook Pro 13 inch tiled, with plenty of spacing between each key. The Envy 13 lacks a back-lit option, though, which is inexcusable for a luxury line. In comparison, the MacBook Pro 13 inch and Studio 14z include illuminated keyboards for dark-lit rooms. The embedded mouse buttons also take their styling cues from Apple's design, as they're disguised by one huge touchpad.

They're slightly too resistant for my tastes, but otherwise responded well to various clicking commands. The touchpad, like the one found in the MacBook Pro, supports two finger gestures, which often times got in the way of navigating. You can turn these gestures off in the system's Control Panel. In terms of features, the Envy 13 takes a minimalist approach and that isn't always a good thing. This laptop is not intended for legacy users, since it doesn't come with an internal optical drive, a VGA port, or an Ethernet jack.

I think ridding these features from the system is acceptable, plus all of them are included in this configuration as external USB attachments. Unfortunately, though, you have only two USB ports to choose from. Unlike the Studio 14z, the Envy 13 includes a media card reader, which is still a vital feature for digital camera owners. An ExpressCard slot is not available, though, which would've been handy for adding an ExpressCard docking solution or 3G wireless, since both of these aren't sold as options and there are only two USB ports available. Taking the place of VGA Out is an HDMI port, which is the video out standard most laptops are leaning toward. In contrast, the Studio 14z includes both DisplayPort and HDMI technologies. The 250GB hard drive is a 1.8 inch spindle, but spins at 5400rpm.


christmas gifts November 7, 2009 at 11:41 AM  

: It's been extremely hard to find a laptop that is extremely light and thin (this thing is less than 8/10ths of an inch thick) that has long battery life (this one is lasting me about 11 hours with the battery slice) and that also carries in it top of the line DDR3 RAM, Dedicated Graphics, and a Screen Resolution that makes graphic designers drool over this 13incher (1600x900). This machine is built rugged and solid with a sophisticated look and luxury feel.

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