As the Envy 14 Beats Edition is a jazzed up version of the standard Envy 14, let's take a look at what you get for the extra £400.
The notebook is built for those looking for a premium sound from their machine, and the Envy 14 Beats Edition delivers nicely. Two front-mounted premium speakers provide excellent sound quality, and are controlled by an intuitive piece of Beats software that helps you tweak the audio to your exact specification.
Once you've got the settings just right, it's simply a case of hitting the [Shift] and [b] key to activate the Beats software and effect. Without Beats, sound quality is good enough, but when it's activated, music tracks take on a fullness and depth we've rarely heard from notebook speakers.
The effect is even more pronounced when using headphones. The HP Envy 14 Beats Edition comes with a pair of Beats Solo travel headphones that retail for about £150. They're very comfortable to wear, and fold at the hinges, which make them great for tucking into a bag or pocket.
As mentioned above, HP has located the notebook's sound card right next to the headphone jack, and this reduces the amount of audio degradation you experience compared to if, say, the card was located on the other side of the chassis.
The combination of headphones and Beats software is excellent, and especially suits bass heavy tunes – as you might expect with the Dr Dre heritage. We were especially impressed by how loud the laptop goes while showing next to no bass distortion, which is a real achievement.
The Envy 14 Beats Edition features a black rubber finish to the chassis, which looks and feels great. Not only is it easy to grip, but the material is nigh on impossible to scratch, and so easy to keep clean.
The Envy 14 Beats Edition's chiclet-style keyboard is large and spacious. The travel is decent, the action relatively firm, and those after a notebook for regular typing will find a lot to like here. There's no dedicated numberpad, however, which might put off those who regularly input data.
The keyboard is backlit, and the subdued red light that shines up through the board both enhances usability in low light conditions and looks great, giving the laptop a pleasingly sinister appearance.
A spacious touchpad is included below the keypad, but proves a frustrating affair. It's irritatingly easy to brush while typing, which means that when you're writing your text will often jump all over the shop.
Along the right side of the Envy 14 Beats Edition's chassis sit a USB/eSATA port, an HDMI interface, Gigabit Ethernet and Firewire mini. Down the left side you'll find a further two USB ports and the slot-loading optical drive.
It's worth noting that there's no VGA out, which might put off those looking to hook up TVs or monitors that don't feature an HDMI port.
The black screen lid doesn't feature the rubber finish of the chassis, but has got the large Beats logo spread up the back. Some might light this, but we think that it would be overkill, ruining the understated design of the notebook.
The 14.5-inch display within features a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution. It's sharp and detailed enough to enjoy films and photos on, but a shiny screen coating makes the Envy 14 Beats edition an irritating laptop to use in very bright light.