It looks like HP Envy 15-k020us has been a best selling laptop for some time now. This always makes you wonder why. Is it because of great performance? Suitability for gaming? Excellent price-performance ratio? Or just the right kind of marketing? Well, let’s hope it’s some of the first three options. In this review, we’ll try to find out the real reasons behind the notebook’s popularity…
How fast is it?
There’s a nice processor in HP Envy 15-k020us. Called Intel Core i7-4710HQ, it runs on four cores and 2.5GHz clock speed that will increase to 3.5GHz with turbo. It’s extremely powerful chip, reaching a solid 8000 points in CPU Mark benchmark. As a reference, i3s found in cheaper laptop models get around 1/3 of that. There’s pretty much nothing the i7-4710HQ couldn’t do, if you’re a heavy user you’ll surely appreciate its high performance.
Another good thing in this model is 8GB DDR3L memory. It works wonders for demanding applications that you don’t want to lag. The 8GB is installed on one chip and the system has one slot free. Although it’s not officially stated, the laptop should recognize up to 16GB memory, so I believe installing more is indeed possible.
HP Envy 15-k020us has a big 1024GB (5400RPM) storage drive. It’s good news for people that store a lot of huge files on their computers. However, such a drive is quite slow, so if you’re after performance you might be disappointed. To fix this issue, the hard drive can be replaced with an SSD. You’ll have to remove the bottom part for that, but it is certainly doable. Just make sure it’s a 2.5″ SATA SSD such as the Crucial MX100.
Does it have a quality screen
The screen is 15.6″ large with pleasant 1920×1080 resolution and touch support. Although the graphics engine is integrated (=slow) it can still play Full HD content nicely on this screen. The panel type is TN, not a premium IPS this time. Also remember the display doesn’t fold into a tablet, this is a regular laptop.
Does it work for gaming
Gaming on this computer might work. The Intel HD 4600 graphics chip isn’t very fast one, but if you can accept low details on many games you should be alright. With such settings, even GTA 5 gets very playable ~30 FPS. The heavyweight Witcher 3 however struggles, reaching only ~15 FPS. Many older games are a walk in the park, including types such as Minecraft, Sims 4 and World of Warcraft.
How’s the connectivity
HP Envy 15-k020us comes with three USB 3.0 ports and one HDMI out for external monitor. It also contains DVD burner and SD card reader for data transfers from mobile devices.
Getting Internet access is easy, the notebook features a Gigabit RJ-45 port and Intel AC-3160 1×1 WiFi adapter. Bluetooth 4.0 works out of the box as well.
Front-facing webcam is featured, so this unit can be used for video meetings on Skype like any other laptop.
Any other things to keep in mind?
HP Envy 15-k020us is not very lightweight notebook, it weighs 5.74 pounds unpackaged – many of its competitors are in the 5lbs range. The battery seems to be 4-cell 41Whr one which people said lasts for ~3 hours. That’s not good, especially when the computer is rather pricey.
The keys are illuminated, and a 10-key pad is located on right hand side of the keyboard.
The laptop body is made out of plastic.
HP Envy 15-k020us has a solid “big three”: a quick i7 processor, nice 8GB RAM and large 1024GB hard drive. This kind of a setup allows you to run heavier applications (virtual machines, video rendering etc.) in addition to lighter stuff, such as day-to-day web browsing and email writing. Graphics performance is so-so, the integrated Intel HD unit lets you play many games, but not with full settings and high resolution. If there’s something to complain about, it would be the questionable suitability for gaming and slow hard drive, although the latter you can always fix by installing a solid-state drive (which of course costs). All in all, if you choose this unit, you’ll receive a fast laptop that will last for years before you need to look for a replacement.