The following review is provided by guest contributor Sheila Redstripe:
Is the HP Envy 15t a Waste of Your Money?
Among the complaints shortly after the Envy 15t’s launch in late 2011, was a problem with colors on the screen. Users complained early on that the colors were poorly calibrated and that the 15.6″ laptop was turning reds into shades of orange. HP has since upgraded the laptop (from the Envy 15t-3000 to the Envy 15t-3200). In the period since its launch, the price of the Envy 15t-3200 has dropped precipitously from $1,349.99 to $1,099.99 on HP’s website and using an HP promo code may get buyers even greater savings than that.
The Envy 15t’s Looks and Weight
Despite the fairly recent trend of the Ultrabook, the fact is that many people still like the way laptops have looked for the last decade or so. Optical media may be on the way out, but it is not quite dead yet and consumers still like being able to use DVDs and CDs on their computers. The 15t’s design reflects this. The 15.6″ screen size is also popular as while it may not seem like it, that slight change from a 14″ to a 15.6″ can make a whole lot of difference in the user’s viewing experience. The body and the keyboard of the 15t are both reminiscent of the MacBook Pro, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The impression given is of a tight, neatly designed device that is well balanced and aesthetically pleasing. Again, this is somewhat reminiscent of a MacBook Pro. As may be expected from a 15.6″ laptop with an optical drive, it is chunky. Chunky does not mean that it is unwieldy, but it is not a paper-thin Ultrabook either. It is 5.79lbs, which is not inordinately heavy. It is also 1.1″ thick.
Users get three USB ports, an HDMI port and HP’s CoolSense system that allows it to be used on the lap for long periods without becoming uncomfortably warm. Users also get a memory card reader and two headphone jacks. Those who opt to pay more for HP’s (now controversial) Radiance display get brilliant colors that considerably outdo most other laptops in the same class. The keyboard is nice to look at, but depending on the user’s preference and typing style the island-style keys may be problematic. They require a little more force to use comfortably and may become a chore to use for people who do lots of typing. Some users like this kind of “deep” feel to their keys, so different strokes for different folks. Light keyboard users should have no problems with it, however. There is an analog volume dial for users who miss the feel of old technology, and a plus-sized touchpad.
Display issues aside, users still get a BrightView high definition screen and an Intel Ivy bridge processor. At a deeply discounted price, that alone should swing it for most buyers. This generation of processors is reported as being 15 percent cooler and 15 percent faster as well. Beyond that, the Envy 15t comes with a 750 GB hard drive and 6 GB of DDR3 memory. For the average user this should be more than enough. Even light to moderate gaming can be done pretty well on this laptop. The battery life is longer than four hours, which sets it ahead of some of the competition.
Should You Buy it?
Yes. For the price and performance, it is definitely worth it. The color problems are relatively minor when the computer’s power and good looks are considered.
Sheila Redstripe is an experienced tech blogger with several years’ worth of experience working with and reviewing computers. She has also written more than a hundred reviews on various technological devices (not just PCs) in her career.