A red underside appears to glow below the smart black aluminium lid and keyboard surround. This finish does attract fingerprints, though.
The Scrabble-tile-style keyboard allows for comfortable typing, but the arrow keys are too small. The wristrest remains cool in use, although we found it difficult to click without moving the cursor using the buttonless multitouch trackpad.
Sound is delivered by a pair of speakers and what HP refers to as a subwoofer - it’s really just a small loudspeaker. An onscreen panel with various controls includes a graphic equaliser and sliders for space and focus. The sound quality is decent, but lacks bass.
The display’s thirteen six six by seven six eight resolution is disappointing. The glossy finish is also reflective, and viewing angles are poor.
The HP’s assortment of HDMI, gigabit ethernet, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0 and an SD card reader is generous for an Ultrabook. No optical drive is fitted.
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is preinstalled, and the laptop’s overall build quality is reasonable. HP has instead cut costs on the CPU. Its 1.7GHz Core i5-3317U is an Ivy Bridge chip, but the slowest there is.
In common with most budget and ultraportable laptops, there’s no discrete graphics processor; the Envy relies on the Intel HD Graphics integrated to its Core i5 chip. This is adequate for playing HD video and low-level gaming.
HP quotes an eight-hour battery life. We recorded just over seven hours.
The Envy has little to offer beyond its stylish looks. It’s not terribly fast, won’t play games particularly well, and it has a poor screen. But if you simply want a lightweight 15.6in laptop with strong battery life, the HP should appeal. We award three stars.