Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH -

Ul­tra­books are slowly tak­ing on the role of reg­u­lar note­book PCs and, in the process, are be­com­ing chunkier to ac­com­mo­date more fea­tures. They are also be­com­ing costlier. The HP Envy 4 Sleek­book tires to pro­vide a cheaper al­ter­na­tive de­spite adding more ports and a 14-inch screen with­out look­ing fat­ter than is should be.

In fact, the all-black Envy 4 is a stun­ner as far as looks go, with a sleek body that is both manly and stylish at the same time. The brushed alu­minum body holds a 14-inch HD Brightview, 1366x768p LED-back­lit dis­play. Still it main­tains its body at 19.8mm with a weight of 1.75 kg, not a small achieve­ment by any means. The key­board is full-size and the keys have nice travel. But the mousepad is a bit stub­born and needs too much per­sua­sion for our lik­ing.

The Envy 4 eas­ily ticks all the boxes as far as per­for­mance is con­cerned. This one sports not the 3rd gen­er­a­tion In­tel Core pro­ces­sor, but the In­tel Core i3-2367M pro­ces­sor— which is good enough for reg­u­lar users. While it took a rather long 1.1 min­utes to start up, it woke up from sleep in 2 sec­onds. At times we felt the ma­chine was drag­ging a bit while open­ing ap­pli­ca­tions. So, its PC Mark7 Bench­mark score was not very im­pres­sive at an en­try-level 1102 marks.

Where the Envy 4 scores high is with en­ter­tain­ment, thanks to the larger screen size and the in­built Beats Au­dio. While the LED screen needs to find the per­fect an­gle to stop re­flect­ing all that is around, the speaker has no such is­sues. The sound is loud and good with­out any help from Beats and when you call Dr Dre for help the au­dio goes up sev­eral notches. Along with the brand­ing we would have loved to see a Beats Au­dio but­ton too.

The bat­tery life is not what you would ex­pect from an Ul­tra­book or Sleek­book, but then you have to un­der­stand that it is a 14-inch de­vice and needs more power. We got about six hours on reg­u­lar us­age, not the eight we were promised. Over­all, the Envy 4 is ideal for those who want an en­try-level Ul­tra­book with­out hav­ing to dole out too much moolah as much as it is for those who do not re­quire the ex­tra pro­cess­ing power.

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