HP Envy TouchSmart 4T-1102 review

This Envy has a thoughtfully executed design

HP Envy TouchSmart 4T-1102

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Benchmarks results show that this Envy 4 Sleekbook can't keep up with laptops more focused on performance. The 1.7GHz Intel i5-3317U CPU utilizes an onboard Intel HD 4000 graphics processor, so expectations for game performance should be limited. However, the system has the potential to hold its own when set against notebooks in the same class... at least it did before HP delivered a BIOS update.

HP Envy TouchSmart 4T-1102

In the initial test with 3D Mark 11 using the default Performance preset, the result was a combined score of 654, easily putting it into the upper third of tested systems with similar specs... a pleasant surprise. However, after an automated BIOS update from HP, 3D Mark was re-run and returned a "Graphics driver not approved" message with new lower results and a combined score of 251. Similarly, Cinebench scores dropped as well from 16.2 fps to 6.4fps in the OpenGL test, but held steady in the CPU test at 2.38. However, benchmarks are one thing, real-world performance is the key, and we didn't notice any odd drop in speed during regular use.

Even with the oddity in the benchmark tests, the Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics acceleration has plenty of power for HD video. The Envy easily handled every high definition video file I tossed at at. It will also let you get into some lighter-weight games. It was necessary to turn detail levels and resolution way down to get a playable framerate in the online shooter Planetside 2. On the other hand, less intensive strategy games should run better. Company of Heroes ran smoothly with the details automatically set to medium by the game, but it was slow and eventually crashed when pumped up to high and ultra details. Manage your expectations and you'll find plenty of games that can keep you occupied.

Hp Envy TouchSmart 4T-1102

For wireless connections, an Intel Centrino 2230 chipset delivers both Bluetooth 4.0 and dual band 802.11 bgn connections. Performance was impressive when connected to a Linksys E4200 router, and the Envy actually edged out my hardwired desktop during upload tests 5.58 to 5.53Mbps, while showing a very respectable second in downloads 23.18 to 27.32Mbps. It also crushed another notebook with a budget-oriented Qualcomm Atheros AR9485 chip that could only manage 16.08Mbps in downloads. If you demand a fast network connection, this Envy can deliver.

Battery life tests with Battery Eater managed to clock over 2 hours and 11 minutes burning through intensive CPU and disk tasks with the Envy in the recommended Energy Star setting. The much stingier Power Saver setting, which put the screen to sleep, extended life to 6 hours and 10 minutes.