HP Envy TouchSmart 15 review

Well-judged blend of quality, price and features

HP Envy Touchsmart 15

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HP Envy TouchSmart 15

Recently, the Envy line has been a bit hit and miss, but the Envy TouchSmart 15-j004ea is definitely a hit with us.

It packs strong performance and great features at a price that's pretty reasonable: a 1080p screen, decent graphics card and latest-gen quad-core CPU are a great combination for under a grand. There are some slightly better value machines for power (Lenovo's IdeaPad Z500 Touch, for example), but you won't find quite this balance of specs for any less.

It's not perfect, of course – anything that impresses on price is probably going to have a downside - but it's a great choice for those who want a Full HD screen and the power to back it up without breaking the bank.

We liked

The Intel Core i7 CPU isn't the top of the line, but it's one of the more powerful we've seen in a sub-£1,000 laptop. It's more than capable of handling the likes of video editing and Photoshop. The graphics are also a high point. They're not super high-end, but they've got plenty to offer for games and graphical applications.

The specs in general are really solid, with 1TB of storage, a 1080p screen and four USB 3.0 ports. It all adds up to a package that seems thoroughly reasonable for the price, especially with the nice build quality and good keyboard.

We disliked

The viewing angles on the screen are really disappointing – they kind of undermine its use for some of the apps it should be ideal for. The trackpad's inconsistency was frustrating, too. The thing is, these aren't two minor points. These are vital for how you interact with your laptop, and while they're not deal-breakingly bad, it's a real shame that they're so iffy.

It's also a shame there's no SSD, though we understand why not, and it certainly isn't the lightest machine around. And there's no getting around the fact that the battery life is rubbish.

Final verdict

The TouchSmart 15 is potentially a great option for creative pros, or someone looking for a premium entertainment laptop that can do games and Full HD movies. It's a shame this its most notable issues are in such important areas, but they're by no means fatal flaws.

HP has struck a great balance of quality, features and price here. If the problems sound like the kind of things you can live with, we think it's a great option.