Facebook Pages

HP Envy 17 3D Review and Ratings

Desktop-replacement laptops usually come in one of three sizes: big, bigger, or biggest. Beyond that, power and performance, and more recently 3D capability, have been their differentiating factors. Rarely have we seen a laptop with a 17-inch screen that weighs as little as 7.5 pounds—that is, until the original HP Envy 17 visited our labs. It’s sleek, like an Apple MacBook Pro; powerful, like an Alienware gaming laptop; and relatively affordable, like the Asus Republic of Gamers G73Jh. We liked it—a lot. How could HP make it better?
Well, we're not quite sure yet. We retested the Envy 17 in its recently released 3D-ready configuration, which starts at $1,599. (That's a $300 premium over the non-3D version's entry model.) This revised version of the Envy 17 doesn’t break any price barriers at either the high end or the low end. But considering what you're getting, the Envy 17 3D doesn't offer much more than its almost identical 2D counterpart, which was our new favorite choice for power users who refuse to make sacrifices in the name of price or portability.


The Envy 17 3D is slim enough that you might not think, at first, it qualifies as a true desktop-replacement machine. At just 1.25 inches thick and 7.5 pounds, this is an impressively sleek laptop. The laser-etched lid and the chassis, both in bronze-colored aluminum, scream durability, resist showing fingerprints, and hint at high-end components lurking underneath.
The uncluttered keyboard deck is also aluminum, following the dark bronze motif. As with the lid, it has a dotted texture that comes from an etching method that we’ve seen only on Envy notebooks. The top-most portion of the deck, between the screen hinge and the keyboard, gets exceedingly hot, however, even during mild usage. Using an infrared thermometer, we measured 122.6 degrees on the left side of the keyboard while the system ran our Company of Heroes gaming trial.
HP Envy 17 3D full with glasses
Here you can see the display, the deck, and the bundled active-filter 3D glasses.
The backlit Chiclet keyboard and dedicated number pad are very comfortable and satisfying to type on. The well-spaced, flat-top keys should please anyone with slender-to-medium-size fingers. (The keys might be a little small for those with larger fingers, however.) The keys are hard plastic with good vertical travel and a nice tactile response. Also, we like that the media-playback and display functions have been swapped with the conventional "Function" functions. (Not at all confusing, we know!) Translating: What this means is that instead of having to hit, for example, the key combination Fn+F7 to reduce the volume, now you only have to hit the F7 key to reduce the volume. If you ever need to trigger the F7 key in the traditional way as a system function, you then would use a key combination.
HP envy 17 function keys
The function-key row. The media functions are primary here, and the typical "Function" functions are secondary, which gives you almost-dedicated media buttons without requiring extra buttons on the keyboard deck.
The huge touch pad (it measures almost 5 inches diagonally) offered unmatched precision with the cursor. The pad has its mouse buttons integrated into it, so the touch pad is actually one big button with lines painted on it to indicate its button areas. We liked the large surface area and its smooth feel, which did not produce any drag.
The touch pad also lets you perform certain multifinger commands, such as using two fingers to scroll. This worked okay, but not great. The pad doesn’t offer "inertia scrolling," of the kind that Apple provides on its MacBooks and other products. (With inertia scrolling, the screen speeds by the faster you flick your fingers.) Also, we sometimes had trouble getting our two fingers to register on a Web page, so the page would not scroll when it should have. You can rotate images using two fingers, and this worked well on our tests, as did the pinch-zoom functionality. The Synaptics touch-pad applet that HP bundled with the system indicated that we could enable three-finger gestures, which we tried, but those didn't work. Overall, we'd classify the multitouch experience as finicky.
The full-HD display was gorgeous for playing back Blu-ray movies, and the viewing angles were, simply, the best we’ve ever seen in a laptop. In fact, we could see the whole image no matter how far off-center the viewing angle. If you can see the front of the screen, you can see what’s playing on it, with no loss of color. Glare was very noticeable on this glossy display, but that’s to be expected from a media-centric machine.


HP Envy 17 3D
The TriDef software makes it easy to see exactly what you can do in 3D.
The big differentiator with the Envy 17 3D, of course, is its namesake 3D functionality. Unfortunately, on our tests, this feature did not measure up to the price premium that it exacts. For its 3D solution, HP opted for AMD's HD3D technology, working in concert with an application called TriDef. (The other major 3D-on-PC technology we often see is Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision. Click to see our look at a GeForce 3D Vision kit.) Using TriDef, you can view popular types of 2D content, such as PC-game titles, Google Earth, movies, and photos, in 3D. The 3D setup uses a set of wireless active-shutter glasses paired with AMD's 3D-capable 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 graphics chipset. (One pair of glasses comes bundled with the Envy 17 3D.)
We liked having the option of giving our humdrum 2D media some depth, a feature lacking on 3D-capable laptops that use Nvidia's GeForce 3D Vision, such as the Acer Aspire 5745DG. (Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision-based 3D requires third-party software to convert 2D to 3D.) We also like that the active-shutter glasses that HP provides cost only $99 for extra pairs, compared with Nvidia’s $149 ones. However, we were sorely disappointed to find that the battery in the glasses had died after sitting idle for a week or so, and there is no way to recharge it. Unlike Nvidia's glasses, these don't have an on/off switch, so even though they're rated for 180 hours of use, you're not likely to see that kind of runtime with them unless you remove the battery, since they don't shut off on their own. Furthermore, the battery is a coin-cell lithium-ion battery, which is much harder to find than a standard AA or AAA and costlier to replace. We would have much preferred a built-in, rechargeable battery, much like we see on other active-shutter glasses, or at the very least, an on/off switch to preserve battery life. For what it's worth, we did check with HP on this issue, and a representative said, "If 3D content is being played, the IR transmitter in the bezel of the screen should communicate and activate the active-shutter glasses." Unfortunately, the glasses were unable to detect when 3D content was not being played, and HP had no further comment on this issue other than to say the company would look into it.
Even more of an issue than the battery bumble is the 3D imaging itself. Whether watching the included 3D Blu-ray disc of Alice in Wonderland or playing Sid Meier's Civilization V, we constantly saw uncorrectable cross-talk in the 3D imaging. (That's the misalignment of the two interlaced images; just cross your eyes, and you'll get the idea.) We also noted that in 3D, the viewing angle of the screen became very narrow. You must watch 3D media directly in front of the display to keep the image from flickering heavily. This consistently left us with a headache and the desire to use the gorgeous HD screen in 2D only, sans the 3D effect and uncomfortable glasses. While that may not happen to you, at least two of our staffers experienced headaches while watching 2D converted to 3D on this system.
HP Envy 17 3D
If you click on the round 3D button, you can toggle 3D on and off while watching a movie.
As noted, you can also see movies and games that were not originally designed for 3D in a rendered pseudo-3D using TriDef. Using the TriDef software to do this was easy. Standard-definition DVDs are presented in 3D by default, but there’s a toggle button that appears on the screen, so you can easily turn 3D off and just watch in 2D. Games require minimal setup (selecting the .EXE file and selecting the game off of a list). Unfortunately, the minimal setup was matched by minimal gee-whiz. In general, we did see depth, where the image appears to extend backward, but images did not extend, or pop out, toward us, lacking the traditional 3D effect you get when watching a 3D movie in a theater. To be fair, laptop 3D capabilities in general aren't built to have that real pop-out effect, however. 
To test the 3D and TriDef software, we played a regular (2D) version of Far Cry 2. After playing for about 20 minutes, we felt dizzy and disoriented. Although this suggests a substantial level of immersion, the prolonged discomfort and difficulty with depth perception even after we stopped playing left us wary.
We then popped in an ordinary DVD of The Matrix. We didn't feel dizzy after watching, but we did feel a headache from the noticeable crosstalk. One viewer felt a headache within seconds of starting playback. Another watched for a minute or two before the eye-strain kicked in. Otherwise, we were underwhelmed by the 3D rendering. While close-up images of people generally looked good (backgrounds looked clearly at a distance behind them), long, intricate shots that should have emphasized the 3D properties looked flat. For example, a shot straight down a spiral staircase (and another aerial shot looking down in the rain), which seemed well-suited for an exciting 3D effect, looked disappointingly 2D, as though the TriDef software figured there was no more work to be done on that scene.
Overall, the 3D was effective only enough to mess with our vision and leave us with a nasty headache. The added depth was noticeable, but it wasn't pleasurable or wow-inducing. We had, at any given time during testing, two or three people looking at this system, wearing the glasses in turn, and gathering opinions about the 3D. While all of our experiences varied somewhat, none of us came away with a positive impression of it.
There's also the question of natively 3D content. You have the option of purchasing made-for-3D movies online from Yabazam.com, but the selection was extremely lacking. The 36 available titles, none of which you have likely ever heard (or would want to watch), were exorbitantly expensive. Rio de Janeiro's Carnival 2009 and Red Crab: Australia's Christmas Island, which cost $14.99 each, seemed to be the most professional and interesting (not to mention expensive) choices.
Despite how media looked on the 3D display, it sounded great. Listening to music and movies was very a good experience on the Envy 17, thanks to the Beats Audio system. (Beats is high-end audio software that claims to reproduce the "original sonic integrity" and is presented in conjunction with the recording artist Dr. Dre, exclusively for HP notebooks.) The volume was very strong, and the speakers were far more powerful than what you typically get from a notebook. Our only audio quibble: While we heard more bass than we usually do from laptop speakers, this system was still a little lacking in that department.
HP Envy 17 beats
HP includes Beats audio technology, which produced good (but not great) sound quality.
The port selection on the Envy 17 is generous. Along the left side, you’ll find a VGA port, a mini-DisplayPort, and an HDMI port—all options for outputting to an external monitor. You can use all three at once, too, thanks to ATI’s Eyefinity multi-display technology, which lets you connect to as many as three external displays side by side. (It's a feature of the onboard ATI Radeon graphics chipset.) Also on the left edge is an eSATA/USB combo port for connecting an external hard drive, plus one USB 3.0 port, a headphone/mic combo jack (for use with a headset when making VoIP calls), and one more standard headphone jack. That's plenty of connectivity by itself, but on the right, you’ll find two USB 2.0 ports, a five-format memory-card slot, a power jack, and a Kensington cable-lock slot. We were also happy to see a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, which is rare among notebooks. (Nearly all Blu-ray drives we've seen in laptops up until now have used clunkier tray-loading mechanisms.)
HP envy 17 left
On the left, you'll find a VGA port, an Ethernet jack, a mini-DisplayPort, an HDMI port, an eSATA/USB combo, one USB 3.0 port, a headset/mic jack, and a stand-alone headphone jack.
Another pleasant extra is the HP TrueVision HD Webcam, which produced excellent imaging for video chats. On our end, skin tones from the embedded camera looked a bit red, but the person on the other end said the picture was crystal-clear (we were connected via Ethernet), and she didn’t think we looked red at all. The Webcam captures photos at a maximum of 1,280x1,024 resolution. The images looked pretty good, even when blown up to the full screen size. We did notice some noise and motion blur in the video capture, but not enough to really complain about. It handled low light surprising well; we could see the subject’s face just fine using only the light from the screen.
HP envy 17 right
The right side looks sleek, with two USB 2.0 ports, a five-format memory card slot, a slot-loading Blu-ray drive, the power jack, and a Kensington lock slot.
Wireless-connectivity options are a bit limited on this laptop, with just Bluetooth and 802.11n radios included, but given the size of this notebook, support for mobile broadband or WiMAX probably would have been overkill. We don’t expect to see a lot of 17-inch notebooks making daily commutes.


Now, on to the fun part: performance. The Envy 17 3D—bolstered by its quad-core 1.6GHz Intel Core i7-Q720 CPU and 6GB of DDR3 memory—performed very well on our tests. On our PCMark Vantage test, which is a measure of overall system performance, the Envy 17 hovered around the average scores we've seen from desktop-replacement laptops, with scores of 5,865 on the 32-bit version of the test and 6,023 on the 64-bit version. Both were a marginal departure from the regular Envy 17, which has the same internal components and scored 5,849 and 6,324 on these tests. Perhaps more important, however, is that it held up well against one of its closest competitors, the $1,599 Acer Aspire 8943G-9429, which scored 5,358 on the 32-bit test and 6,076 on the 64-bit test.
To test the CPU specifically, we run several media-file-crunching tests, which comprise encoding a standard video clip in Windows Media Encoder (WME) and converting 11 standard MP3 files to AAC format in our iTunes Conversion Test. The system did well on both tests. It took 3 minutes and 53 seconds to complete the task in WME (43 seconds longer than the original Envy 17); the Acer Aspire 8943g finished in 4 minutes. On the iTunes Conversion Test, the Envy 17 3D completed the trial in 3:32, which is strong. Here, the Acer Aspire was slower, at 3:50.
One last CPU test we run is Cinebench 10, which taxes all of the cores (in this case, four) of the processor. Again, the Envy 17 3D beat out the competition, with scores of 5,205 on the 32-bit version of the test and 10,153 on the 64-bit version, which is just barely better than the regular Envy 17 on the 64-bit version (10,250) and a sizable score reduction on the 32-bit test (8,425). It held its own against the Acer system, which scored 8,326 on the 32-bit version of the test and 10,206 on the 64-bit version. Overall, these are very good scores. They indicate that you’ll be able to process large images, multitask, and do loads of productivity tasks without spending too long watching that little blue circle do somersaults.
Moving from the CPU to the GPU, we also run a series of graphics tests. The Envy 17's powerful ATI Mobility Radeon 5850 chipset, with its own gigabyte of dedicated memory, happily blasted through our 3DMark06 test, which measures DirectX 9 graphics performance. Here, the Envy 17 3D easily spanked the Acer, delivering scores of 11,974 at 1,024x768 resolution and 9,355 at its native resolution of 1,920x1,080. The Acer was far behind, with scores of 9,896 at 1,024x768 and 7,168 at its native resolution (1080p). Also, these are nearly identical to the 2D Envy 17’s scores.
HP envy 17 lid
The design is classic Envy, with the laser-etched dot pattern and glowing HP logo.
To get a better idea of how the Envy 17 would perform in a real-world gaming scenario, we put it through its paces with one of our standard test games, Company of Heroes. All the frame rates we saw were very playable. On our DirectX 9 run of the Company of Heroes test, it cranked out 85.7 frames per second (fps) at its native resolution. For DirectX 10, that score edged up to 93fps, which is still excellent. The Acer Aspire came nowhere close to these scores, and the numbers from the Envy 17 3D even beat out a $4,000 configuration of the MALIBAL Satori we tested, which managed only 91.3fps and 31fps at those settings.
Typical of a big, powerful notebook, the Envy 17 doesn't offer a whole lot in the way of battery life, On our DVD battery-rundown test, it conked out unceremoniously while playing our test DVD (The Matrix) just 58 minutes into the movie. That means you’ll want to travel with the power brick, which, unfortunately, is almost 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide. Note, also, that it gets very warm when the notebook is in heavy use.


HP loads the system with plenty of useful software goodies and not much bloatware. The Synaptics applet mentioned earlier, for example, lets you tweak different presets for the touch pad. There’s also HP’s Beats Audio control panel, and full versions of Corel PaintShop Pro X3 and VideoStudio Pro X3 for photo and video editing. You also get Roxio’s CinemaNow 2.0 (for DVD playback) and CyberLink's DVD Suite, which lets you play, burn, and create DVDs. Oddly, our system didn’t come with the near-ubiquitous trial version of Microsoft Office, though you can get a copy of Microsoft Office 2010 Starter Edition included at no extra cost. As for the warranty, HP backs the Envy 17 with an impressive two-year limited plan on the hardware—twice as long as the industry standard.
The HP Envy 17 3D isn’t the fastest or most powerful notebook to grace a LAN party or an artist’s studio; it’s not a workstation or a gaming rig. It’s an entertainment notebook that does an excellent job of entertaining. Music playback was very good, Blu-ray movies looked terrific, and high-end gaming is more than possible on this notebook. Plus, you get so many extras—the slot-loading Blu-ray, triple-display functionality, the HD Webcam, solid software, and more—for a very reasonable $1,599. But all of this, except for the 3D, can be found on the regular Envy 17 for $300 less. Add to that the uncomfortably high temperature the unit can reach after relatively little use, and we suggest either holding out for a more polished 3D desktop-replacement machine or choosing the ordinary Envy 17.

Credits: computer shopper
Share this article :


Speak up your mind

Tell us what you're thinking... !

Support : Creating Website | Johny Template | Mas Template
Copyright © 2011. Olaw2jr - All Rights Reserved
Template Created by Creating Website Inspired by Sportapolis Shape5.com
Proudly powered by Blogger