Notebooks Guide

HP Envy 15 (2012) review

HP Envy 15 - 15 Inches of Envy

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Overall rating 8/10
Design:
8.5
Features:
8.5
Performance:
8
Value:
7.5
Mobility:
7.5
THE GOOD
Beats Audio jog dial
All aluminum exterior
Full HD screen
Good audio quality
Removable battery
THE BAD
Quite heavy
Expensive


Performance and Benchmarking

Performance and Benchmarking

Make no mistake. The HP Envy 15 while sold as a pretty package, with all the fancy trimmings and sexy aluminum body, you shouldn’t forget that it does come with a quad-core, Intel Core i7-2670QM (2.2GHz) and an AMD Radeon HD 6750M (1GB) discrete graphics under the hood. This means that the HP Envy 15 is equipped to tackle almost any workload you throw at it, be it games, or multimedia editing, making it an ideal all-rounder notebook for the family with entertainment frills to boot. While of course it isn’t strictly a FPS-crunching machine, gaming on the HP Envy 15 is still possible, though not on the highest image quality settings on the the top-brass games.

For comparison’s sake, we’ve also included scores from the Samsung Series 7 Chronos, which has similar hardware components, the Samsung RF 511, and the Toshiba Satellite P755 which sports a slightly slower processor configuration. While all of these 15-inch multimedia notebooks are each good in their own way, being a multimedia machine means you can’t be just good at one aspect, but be capable in multiple discipline. This is where the HP Envy 15 tends to stand out from what we've shown you so far, and after the specs breakdown we'll show you if it has great performance to complement it.

Notebooks Compared
Specifications/Notebook HP Envy 15 Samsung Series 7 Chronos Toshiba Satellite P755 Samsung RF 511
Processor  Intel Core i7-2670QM (2.2GHz)  Intel Core i7-2675QM (2.2GHz)  Intel Core i7-2630QM (2.0GHz) Intel Core i7-2630QM (2.0GHz)
Chipset  Intel HM65 Express  Intel HM65 Express  Intel HM65  Intel HM65
Memory  8GB  8GB  8GB DDR3  4GB DDR3
HDD  1TB  750GB with 8GB ExpressCache  640GB  500GB
Video  AMD Radeon HD 7690M  AMD Radeon HD 6750M  NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M  NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M
Battery 72WHr 80Wh  48Wh  48Wh
Dimensions  380 x 244 x 2.83mm  362.1 x 238.5 x 23.9mm  380.5 x 254.0 x 30.0 - 37.6mm  378 x 254 x 31 - 36mm
Weight 2.63kg  2.32kg  2.6kg  2.6kg

 

PCMark 7

PCMark 7, like its Vantage predecessor, is a benchmark that basically runs a variety of tests to see how well the machine copes with various real world tasks, like managing documents, rendering content on the internet browser, media encoding and many more. When it comes to all these simple (but important) day-to-day tasks, the HP Envy 15 is definitely able to keep up thanks to its fairly competent hardware. In terms of all-round performance, it didn’t exactly leave its opponents behind by a huge margin, but it still managed to secure the top spot in this roundup of multimedia machines.

It’ll be worth your while to note that a large part of the PC Mark 7 benchmark tests depend heavily on the type of processor the machine has. The HP Envy 15 runs a quad-core Core i7-2670QM (2.2GHz), while the Samsung Chronos is running a very similar quad-core Core i7-2675QM (2.2GHz). Now the difference between the two processors is in the (very) slightly higher maximum integrated GPU speed that the latter has. As you can see from the chart below, this introduces hardly any obvious benefits so you can rest easy knowing that the Envy 15 has one of the best processors available for notebooks.

The exceptional computational scores that the Envy 15 has is likely due to a variety of factors. To test computational scores, PCMark 7 forces the machine to encode video in a few ways. It could be possible that the discrete graphics drivers used across the various machines differ slightly in implementation and that caused the different in the scores. However from the overall score, you can see that while it does give the Envy 15 an edge, it’s only by a small margin.

 

3DMark 11

We’ve included two of the three available benchmark options in 3DMark 11 to showcase how each test machine performs in varying resolutions and image quality settings (Entry and Performance). The higher the settings, the more graphical processing power and memory the machine requires to continue pumping out polygons for your gaming pleasure. Again the top two performing machines are the HP Envy 15 and the Samsung Series 7 Chronos, with the difference between the two being ever so slight. What you can take away from this comparison however, is that when it comes to general gaming needs, the Envy 15 can definitely handle it. All you have to do is just prepare yourself for the fact that intensive gaming at really high resolutions isn’t possible on this otherwise capable machine. 

 

Far Cry 2

From earlier 3DMark 11 test, we could tell that the Samsung Series 7 Chronos has a very slight advantage over the HP Envy 15. But what about real world applications that matter, such as running an actual game like Far Cry 2? As it turns out, the mid-tier NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M that the Samsung RF 511 and Toshiba Satellite P755 are running, is actually superior, but only as far as running the Far Cry 2 game is concerned. This being a notebook review, we wouldn’t want to drag you into an AMD vs. NVIDIA argument, so let’s not get into how one brand of graphic card is better than the other.

What you can safely take away from this segment of the review is that the HP Envy 15 and its AMD graphics module can very safely run graphics intensive games, but only when you keep the resolution to a modest 1024 x 768 pixels, and with minimal graphical options. Anything higher than that, and we won’t be able to guarantee you the same butter smooth frame rates recorded here for comparison. In this case, even though the HP Envy 15 can take advantage of its full HD screen, it doesn't have the horsepower to run games at that resolution. So what can you do with the high resolution screen? Work on large excel sheets effortlessly and enjoy full HD movies of course!