HP Envy 14 Beats Edition

HP Envy 14 Beats Edition review: A good looking and well built laptop designed for music lovers

HP Envy 14 Beats Edition
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Looks great, sturdy build quality, backlit keyboard, ships with Beats By Dre Solo headphones, Core i7 CPU, better sound quality than most notebook on the market

Cons

  • No line or optical audio input, glossy screen, screen isn't Full HD

Bottom Line

With great styling, a solid build quality and Beats by Dr Dre headphones, the HP Envy 14 Beats Edition notebook is hard to resist. It's the type of notebook you buy when you have deep pockets, a need for a powerful laptop, and you want to stand out from the crowd. That said, it's not perfect, and it could still use a few more features to make it a killer notebook.

Would you buy this?

HP Envy 14 Beats Edition: Audio features

A pair of Beats by Dr Dre Solo headphones is supplied with the Beats Edition notebook, and these offer loud, clear and deep sound for all genres of music, but especially hip-hop. By default, the sound quality of the Beats Edition notebook is very bass-heavy, and you notice this even when you use other headphones, such as a pair of Jays t-Jays One in-ear headphones. The Beats By Dre Solo headphones are over-the-head-style headphones with small drivers that don't cup your ears, but instead sit on top of them. They are cushioned and very comfortable to wear while at home or even while on the road (the sound leakage isn't excessive while you listen at medium volume, which is all you need really), and they look good, too. The Monster cable that connects the headphones to the laptop should last for a while, but just in case, a spare cable is provided. (If you have any questions about Monster cables, this great Reddit ASKREDDIT thread may be a useful read).

The sound quality of the notebook is good overall, but there is some noticeable background hissing when you are listening at a high volume and there is a lull in the music. Compared to most notebooks, however, the sound quality is very good, and it's a much louder notebook than most — you probably won't need to move the volume slider up past the half-way mark when you are listening using the headphones. The notebook speakers are also quite good for a 14in notebook, providing a decent range of frequencies, but albeit not enough bass. You will still have to plug in a decent pair of speakers if you want a rich, full sound to fill a room, but the built-in speakers are designed for use in a small room, for example a bedroom.

One feature we wish the notebook included is an analogue line input so that you could record a DJ set from a mixer's analogue output, for example. Instead, the only input the notebook has is for a microphone or a headset. Other ports around the edges of the notebook include three USB 2.0 ports (one shared with an eSATA port), an HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort, and Gigabit Ethernet. You also get an SD card reader and a slot-loading DVD burner, 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a webcam.

HP Envy 14 Beats Edition: Battery life

The HP Envy 14 Beats Edition has a slim battery installed in its base that has a rating of 3800mAh. It lasted 1h 52min in our battery test, in which we disable power management, enable Wi-Fi, maximise the screen brightness and loop an Xvid-encoded video. It's not a great time for a 14in notebook, but a second battery can be installed if you require more juice.

HP Envy 14 Beats Edition review

The bottom panel comes off to allow access to the battery and the hard drive.

Conclusion

After you use a notebook like the HP Envy 14 Beats Edition, it's hard to give it up. Part of that is do with the notebook's great styling, in addition to its top build quality and good feature set. The fact that it ships with a great pair of headphones adds to the package, and it makes you just want to listen to music all day and all night long. Most importantly, the configuration of the notebook is good and it provides handy performance for all sorts of common (and not so common) computing tasks. However, at this price point we wish it had a Full HD screen, as well as more audio features; for a notebook that has such a marketing focus on DJs and music lovers, we'd like to see more audio ports (for example, a line in port) and a more comprehensive software interface for its audio driver. That said, if we had the money and we wanted a good-looking, well performing and sturdily built 14in notebook, we'd go for it! It's available from selected Harvey Norman stores.

For more images of the HP Envy 14 Beats Edition notebook, take a look at our gallery.

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