HP Envy 6 review

The HP Envy 6 is bigger and heavier than most Ultrabooks

HP Envy 6
The HP Envy 6 is bigger than most Ultrabooks

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When we first saw the HP Envy 6, our first thought was that it's pushing the rules of Ultrabooks to their limits. This laptop might be smaller and lighter than the average 15-inch laptop, but ultra-portable it ain't.

After a bit of time with it, we can't say that our opinion has changed, but we understand its intentions far more. A lot of people want 15-inch laptops instead of desktops, but don't want the weight. Though something like the HP Envy 6 might not be as ideal for road warriors as other Ultrabooks, it's a good concept for the home.

But the problems with it aren't in concept – they're in execution.

We liked

Thin and light for its size, it works well for sofa surfers. It's not much of a hassle to carry around the house, and its rubberised rear makes it easy to hold. The keyboard's pleasant to use, and the range of ports is useful.

Its spec list may not be phenomenal, but it does a good job of offering the advantages of Ultrabooks despite lacking an SSD for storage – it's quick to wake up though, because there is a very small SSD on board to make Windows boot and resume faster. The laptop also multitasks low-level activities well. And, many people might actually prefer having the big 500GB hard drive in place of a 128GB SSD if they want to watch a lot of videos.

The biggest thing in the HP Envy 6's favour, though, is its price. At £680/$900, it's cheaper than most smaller Ultrabooks of a comparable spec, but the lack of a storage SSD may help there.

We disliked

Though there are a few problems with the HP Envy 6, the trackpad is easily the worst. It makes the whole Ultrabook more of a pain to use – an operating system is only as good as the input methods you control it with, and you'll be cursing the invention of the double-click within minutes of turning on the HP Envy 6.

The battery life is also disappointing. For a 15-inch laptop, it's not too bad. For an Ultrabook, it's notably low. We know a large screen uses more battery, but it also means there's more space to fill with batteries, so it left us cold.

As we said before, some might prefer the large hard drive to the small SSD, but we missed the extra little boosts of speed you get from flash storage.

And though the screen is bright and vibrant, its resolution is still disappointing, especially for a machine that seems as though multimedia use should be its raison d'être.

Final verdict

Seeing a laptop like this for £680/$900 got a few raised eyebrows from us, and it becomes clear that HP has trimmed a few corners to get it to that price.

But that's not our problem with the HP Envy 6. There's nothing wrong with a really usable laptop having a few lower-end components, but this isn't even really pleasant to use, and doesn't offer the kind of huge battery life we were expecting.

The HP Envy 6 might just about squeeze into the definition, but we don't recommend it for those looking for an Ultrabook. If you're on a budget and want something this thin, it will do the job, but do yourself a favour and use a mouse.