What’s a high-end laptop like? A powerful processor, Full HD display and good connectivity. Just like the HP ENVY 15-k220nr seems to be at a glance. The Core i7 CPU is a dream for power users and the full 8GB memory allows for serious multitasking. But the price is not cheap – so the essential question follows: is the notebook worth its price? We’ll find that out below.
HP ENVY 15-k220nr features Intel Core i7-4720HQ despite Amazon stating otherwise, I checked this from HP specifications. It’s a quad core processor of 2.6GHz clock speed and 3.6GHz turbo. The model is one of the faster CPUs, getting over 8000 points in CPU Passmark test (in comparison, common Core i3s get around 3000 and Celerons only 1000). The processor won’t definitely be a bottleneck, no matter how demanding software you run on it. This of course means it might be too powerful for casual users. On the other hand, there’s much room to grow.
One 8GB DDR3L SDRAM module is installed on the notebook. The motherboard has a free slot in case you want to add more memory. However, that might be unnecessary because performance boost from going above eight gigabytes isn’t usually noticeable. Many people would actually be fine with mere 4GB memory, and the current 8GB is for power users.
The laptop has a terabyte hard drive. You can use it for your primary data storage no problem, since 1024GB equals around two hundred DVDs or 100,000s of photos or other files of similar size. In case you don’t value sheer storage but smooth user experience, you might want to remove the HDD and install a solid-state drive. They have much better transfer rates so you’d get faster system and program startup times.
Display and graphics
There’s a touchscreen in HP ENVY 15-k220nr which works nicely with Windows 8.1. The 15.6″ diagonal is the average for laptops, a jack of all trades so to speak. But resolution is 1920×1080 so you don’t have to “suffer” from a mediocre 1366×768 on this laptop. That said, lower resolutions are fine for everyday computing, Full HD is more of a power user thing – something that again suggests this notebook was made with professionals in mind.
Intel HD 4600 is one of the better integrated graphics chip. Granted, it’s still an integrated one, so you’re not getting a full-blown gaming laptop. Demanding games from 2014-2015 should work on this rig on around 20FPS, although just on low settings. But if you like to play titles that have less system requirements you have no worries. For example, Tomb Raider, Steam games and Minecraft will run great even if you decide to up the settings and resolution.
HP ENVY 15-k220nr has three USB 3.0 ports – something peripheral owners will like, thanks to the quick USB 3.0 speeds. A full-size HDMI output is available for people who want to connect their HD television or HDMI-supporting monitor to the laptop.
A DVD writer is installed on the right side, so no need to fiddle with external optical drives. There also seems to be SD card slot on the left so you can work with memory cards as well.
Networking options are premium, as one could expect from this expensive laptop. There’s 802.11ac Wifi + Bluetooth 4.0 card and also a Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) port to get you connected to Internet.
HP TrueVision webcam is fixed on top of the screen, giving a decent 1280×720 resolution for video chats.
Something else to keep in mind?
HP ENVY 15-k220nr weighs 5.74 pounds according to HP specs. That might be slightly above average 15.6″ laptop weighing ~5 lbs, although the difference is not so noticeable. Regarding to the 4-cell battery, it’s given a life of 6 hours 15 minutes in the ad copy. There are no user reports backing this up, but at least 4 hours of use is a realistic expectation.
The keys are illuminated, thus working in a dark room is a breeze. A 10-key pad is also included on right.
HP ENVY 15-k220nr might feel slow right from the beginning. It is due to pre-loaded bloatware. That’s a common curse amongst most laptops, fortunately with a very simple solution: you can navigate to Control Panel and remove these programs altogether.
Wrapping it up
HP ENVY 15-k220nr is a tool for professionals and heavy office use where a budget notebook would be far too slow. The beefy Core i7 allows you to multitask or work with very demanding programs without breaking a sweat, while digital artists and other people working with graphics will appreciate the Full HD display. Having a plenty of USB 3.0 ports and a backlit keyboard won’t hurt, either. The laptop seems too good to be true until you see the expensive price. Certainly not everybody can or should buy this high end machine. But if you can put its great performance to good use the HP is something I definitely recommend.