HP Envy 15 Returns – Redesigned

The original Envy 15 was an incredibly fast 15-inch laptop when it was launched in 2009. It borrowed the MacBook Pro design put replaced the hardware with a (then) vastly more powerful 1st-gen quad-core Core i7 CPU coupled with a high-end AMD Mobility Radeon HD 4830 (later HD 5830). On the downside it also received a fair amount of complaints for getting too hot and making the fans work overtime to compensate, which was hardly surprising with those specs. The first quad-core mobile CPUs from Intel were not nearly as efficient as the current generation and built with an older production process.It was later retired in favor of the smaller Envy 14, which was fitted with the current generation of Intel CPUs and a weaker (but still fast for a 14-inch laptop) AMD Radeon HD 5650M (now HD 6630M).

Envy 15This brings us to today, when HP has decided to reintroduce the 15-inch Envy on the market, but in a new chassis and with brand new hardware. The same redesign will apply to the Envy 17 and Envy 17 3D Edition, and it’s unknown whether the current Envy 14 will receive the same treatment down the line or if it will simply be retired. The new Envy 15/17 design is not a dramatic update–the laptop still looks a lot like its Apple counterpart but has a recessed keyboard and a black lid. Additionally, HP has put even more focus on Beats Audio, which now has its own dedicated hardware button on the side of the machine that allows quick access to the Audio control center. It is not surprising that HP puts the sound system front and center, because it literally is; there are no less than six speakers as well as  a subwoofer built into the new machines that should bring a whole new dimension to laptop sound.

The base hardware in both the new Envy 15 and Envy 17 includes a Core i5-2430M processor along with an AMD Radeon GPU with 1GB of video RAM. HP doesn’t go into more detail than that about the GPU, but considering that the current Envy 17 comes with a HD 6850M, gamers will hopefully not be disappointed. There are of course a wide range of hardware upgrades available, including quad-core Sandy Bridge CPUs and Full HD displays on both laptops (the entry-level Envy 15 has a 1366×768 panel and the Envy 17 1600×900).  Moreover, these displays are of the “Radiance Infinity” variety with 350 nits brightness. The keyboards come with individually backlit keys, meaning that each of them has its own LED.

As for the pricing on the new models, the 15-inch Envy starts at $1,100 and the 17-inch at $1,250. The 3D version of the Envy 17 starts at $1,599.

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  1. Greetings,
    It is rumored that the GPU will be an AMD Radeon HD 7690 XT for the Envy 15, which seems to confirm the leak of the next AMD line-up which is mentioning, among others, the 7690m (Thames XT with 1GB of GDDR5, 600Mhz core clock and 128 bits). Now if you look at the official Envy 15 page, you will see HP advertising ‘Performance-level AMD graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM’, while The Envy 17 gets an ‘Enthusiast-level AMD graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM’
    That probably means that the Envy 15 and the Envy 17 will be getting different GPUs.
    Though, I am sort of disappointed by the 7690m rumor, considering the fact the Pavilion dv6 features a 6770m which (most likely) won’t be that far behind the 7690m, if not more powerful.

    Regards

  2. Thanks a lot for that very interesting piece of information! It looks like you’re absolutely right. After a quick search I found the Envy listed by a Swedish vendor here: http://www.alina.se/Produkt.aspx?r=defn&T2=A2Q37EA%23UUW
    Possibly by accident, but that seems to confirm it. That card would be somewhat limited by the 128-bit memory bus, but on the plus side it’s built on the new 28nm process that should leave lots of room for overclocking. In contrast, the Whistler chip in the HD 6770M is the highest clocked part from that lineup. It’s unfortunate if the Envy 15 is getting a slower chip, and probably unnecessary.

  3. Well, we will have to wait for the actual product launch in 2 weeks to see what GPU will be available for the Envy 17. If it’s a 7690m XT (with no possibility for upgrading) then it would be a noticeable loss compared to the 2nd gen Envy 17 which has a 6850m.

    Though, after thinking a bit about it, the 7690m XT is still a decent GPU for a 15″ laptop (assuming it’s around the level of a 6750m or 6770m), so the Envy 15 is interesting in my opinion. The problem lies in giving the Envy 17 a mid range GPU while they used to have quite potent ones.

    That said, since my Toshiba Qosmio x500 fried recently, I’m in the market for a nice (AND SMALLER!) laptop to replace it. The Alienware m14x appeals to me, but it looks like the new Envy 15 might be an interesting choice too. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it and then make up my mind soon. Hopefully!

  4. Yup. Unfortunately there probably won’t be room for an upgrade since the 7690M XT appears to be the fastest part in the first mid-range batch https://www.gaminglaptopreport.com/general/mobile-amd-radeon-hd-7000m-series-details-leaked/ (h/t to you there). The high-end parts will come later. But like you said, if the same one goes in the Envy 15 it becomes interesting. There should be no thermal or physical excuses for not using it, considering the 6770M in the latest MBP, which is still slightly thinner.

  5. Hey again,
    There is more information available about the Envy 15 now, and this time it’s “official”.

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/au/en/ho/WF25a/321957-321957-3329744-3995710-3995710-5186791.html

    Take a look at the GPU too, my guess is that it’ll be possible to upgrade it through their website, or perhaps just save a couple bucks since I’m quite sure the 7670m will be overclockable up to the 7690m clocks and beyond.
    Time will tell

  6. Cool, thanks for sharing! And I just noticed a discrepancy with the charts that appeared a while back said that the 7670M would ship with DDR3 and only the 7690M with GDDR5. Hmm…