HP Envy 6 review

The HP Envy 6 is bigger and heavier than most Ultrabooks

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For

  • Fairly thin
  • Reasonably light
  • Screen is bright and clear
  • Fast enough
  • Lack of bloatware

Against

  • Poor battery life
  • Terrible trackpad
  • Fingerprint/grease magnet
  • SSD only for fast boot
  • Low screen resolution

When we think of Ultrabooks, we tend to think of something like the Asus Zenbook UX32A, the Acer Aspire S5 or, of course, the Apple MacBook Air - all with small screen sizes, super-thin chassis and speedy SSD performance.

The thing is, that's not what they have to be, and so we get the HP Envy 6, a 15.6-inch, 2kg big slab of Ultrabook. Of course, 2kg is actually pretty light for a 15-inch laptop, and the HP Envy 6 is pretty thin, too.

HP Envy 6 review

Physically, you'd probably say it has more in common with the MacBook Pro with Retina display than the MacBook Air, but coming in at a price of £680 in the UK or $899.99 in the US, it's obvious that we're talking about Ultrabook innards.

Looks-wise, the HP Envy 6 has a distinctly Envy appearance, with a serious black finish on top and a kind of wine red underneath. It's a handsome machine, though it would look even nicer without the Beats logo (sported because it packs in Beats-branded speakers, complete with subwoofer), light-up power button and various Intel/Windows/HP stickers (though these are at least monochrome, so don't stand out too badly).

HP Envy 6 review

The only problem is that the brushed aluminium-look surfaces pick up fingerprints and dust to a ridiculous degree. It'll drive the more obsessive compulsive owners mad, and it's a shame because, as we said, it's a looker of a laptop otherwise.

The 15.6-inch screen might be a good chunk larger than your average Ultrabook display, but that hasn't extended to the resolution, which is 1366 x 768. You won't be watching any videos at native 1080p, then.

HP Envy 6 review

Compounding that is the total lack of an optical drive – Blu-ray or otherwise. This isn't exactly unusual for an Ultrabook, but it might surprise those looking for a 15-inch computer to be a media centre.

With a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor and 4GB RAM, it's fairly standard as far as specifications go, with one notable exception: a 500GB, 5400RPM hard drive. Not one of those fancy SSDs, but a good old-fashioned HDD.

HP Envy 6 review

No doubt this will raise eyebrows (and the weight of the machine) when compared to other Ultrabooks, but you'll have to pay a lot more if you want this volume of storage in SSD form, in something like the Dell XPS 14.

There is a version of the HP Envy 6 available with an AMD A6-4455M processor, making it a Sleekbook rather than an Ultrabook, and bringing the price down to around £550/$699.99.