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Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

HP Envy 15 review: Taking on the Macbook Pro

What the Envy 15 actually does is go after buyers who would probably have been considering buying Apple’s Macbook Pro

The pandemic has breathed new life into the laptop market, and companies like HP want to capitalize on that. But the HP Envy 15 isn’t a laptop meant for school, or gamers, or business users. In India, it’s for users who want a laptop for any of those use cases but want just a little more. It’s not quite a gaming machine but it’ll handle many games, it’s not quite an ultrabook but feels like one, and it’s not quite a creator’s laptop but has a display that fits the bill still.

But all that is only true because this is a Windows laptop. What the Envy 15 actually does is go after buyers who would probably have been considering buying Apple’s Macbook Pro. It starts at Rs. 1,19,999 for the Intel i5 10th gen variant, going up to Rs. 1,69,999 for the 10th gen i7 version with an AMD GPU inside. The cheaper versions have Nvidia’s GTX 1650Ti (4GB) and 1660Ti (6GB) graphics.

HP doesn’t really position this as a gaming laptop, but with those specs, it would actually fit the bill for many casual gamers. Games like Shadow of Tomb Raider run fine on the Envy 15 and if you just want a device that can be used for gaming from time to time, this definitely is worth considering. If you just want something that will be snappy with regular web browsing and spreadsheets, it does that too.

The Envy 15 isn’t a particularly light laptop, but the design is sleek and minimalistic. The metallic exterior doesn’t scream for attention and will fit into most boardrooms. Some might say the design is too simple, and the Macbook Pro is definitely sleeker and more refined with its sharp lines. They weigh pretty much the same though.

As mentioned before, the Envy 15 meets the needs for most users. But its keyboard and touchpad disappoint as compared to the Macbook Pro, particularly the touchpad. Typing on the keyboard isn’t as satisfying, because while the key spacing is fine, it lacks the feedback that keys on really good typing keyboards have.

That’s more a personal problem though. The keyboard has some good things, like a fingerprint sensor instead of where one of the CTRL keys are, and a dedicated button to turn the camera off, and most importantly, you won’t need to spend time getting used to it. The touchpad, on the other hand, is too small to be used comfortably. It works on Windows Precision drivers, so it supports all the gestures you need, but the size is often a nuisance.

The touchpad aside, the Envy 15 doesn’t have many drawbacks per se. It doesn’t have the 10 plus hour battery life that ultrabooks do, but laptops with this kind of hardware aren’t expected to either. However, on regular usage, the Macbook Pro does last an hour or so longer than the i7 GTX 1660 version of the Envy 15.

In sum, the Envy 15 is a decent laptop for those who are considering their options in this price range. It’ll save you some money and fits most use cases. If you want the best HP can offer, the top model for this one has an OLED (optical light-emitting diode) display, which delivers even better colors.

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