HP ENVY 15-k151nr Review

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January 19, 2015
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The HP’s aptly named Envy series caters to professional users who’re not happy with the performance basic Pavilion laptops offer. HP ENVY 15-k151nr is an example of such a powerful notebook, containing high end specs like Intel Core i7 processor. And in this review we’ll see if this computer would indeed make your friends envious or not…

Performance

The top tier processors of Intel are called Core i7. They are good for wide array of uses, with the emphasis being on tasks that require heavy processing performance, such as multitasking or working with images and videos. In this laptop, the 4th generation Intel Core i7-4710HQ brings up to 3.5GHz clock speed (with turbo feature) on four cores. It’s very safe to assume that no matter what you do on this computer, the processor won’t become its bottleneck.

8GB of memory isn’t bad spec, either. In this HP it’s installed on one DIMM chip, and I’d say you can expand the RAM if you wanted to. But starting with the default eight gigabytes is probably more than enough, so there’s no hurry adding more memory at all.

The storage of this notebook consists of a terabyte hard drive. The sales speech says it can hold thousands of songs and photos but I’d make that number at least tenfold. In addition, for big files such as HD movies, there’s space for approximately 200 DVD-grade flicks. A possible disadvantage, speed of the drive is just 5400RPM so read/write rates are far less than a solid-state drive has. But the storage space itself is ace on this one.

Display and graphics

The 15.6″ display offers a basic 1366×768 resolution good for everyday computing. It would do better justice for the powerful processor and RAM to have a full HD screen, but this would also mean increase in costs. The display is not a touchscreen either so you can’t take advantage of Windows 8.1’s touch features on this computer.

Graphics are served by Intel HD Graphics 4600 chip which is one of the fastest members in the Intel HD family. Together with the beefy CPU and 8GB memory, basically any game can be played at least on low settings and resolution. The popular Battlefield 4 should run on ~40FPS and Minecraft with far better frame rates. To be honest, you could very well up the settings to medium-high on certain titles and retain smooth frame rates.

Connections

HP ENVY 15-k151nr has three USB ports, just like much cheaper laptops do. But the difference is in the version: In this laptop, they’re all USB 3.0, giving you an edge over budget laptops’ slower USB 2.0 ports. This laptop has also an HDMI output, useful if you want to use the notebook through a HDTV or a PC monitor.

Networking options are good. For a wired connection there’s a Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 port – faster compared to typical 10/100Mbps adapter. Also WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 are supported.

The laptop comes with a DVD burner and multi-format media card reader for transferring and storing data. HD webcam is installed and can be used for video meetings on Skype.

Other noteworthy things

You might think such powerful components might be large, leading to heavier weight. Well, that’s not the case with HP ENVY 15-k151nr. It weighs just 5.16 pounds, quite an average for a notebook with 15.6″ screen. That said, the 4-cell battery might not be friendly for travelers since it gives around 3 or 4 hours operating time with a single charge.

Numeric keypad is available on the keyboard so a fast access to numbers is guaranteed. To my knowledge, the keyboard is not backlit, so bring a candle if you’re using it in dark.

Lastly, I must give the usual note about bloatware: this notebook has it, and it can be annoying. Naturally, you can uninstall it after which the issue becomes non-existent.

Conclusion

A power user who can really appreciate the added performance of Core i7 processor would get most out of HP ENVY 15-k151nr. Virtually any program will run on this laptop without problems, and games (given that you keep resolution and other settings low-medium) should run on acceptable frame rates, too. If it only had a full HD screen it would be a perfect power laptop, but I can understand the decision to go with basic 1366×768 to keep the price at a reasonable level. As such, if you don’t mind the basic display, this laptop will take you far and there are no worries about having to upgrade it anytime soon.


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