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HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 Laptop Review

The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a 14-inch laptop with good design and touch screen to take advantage of Microsoft’s brand new Windows 8 operating system. The overall design of the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 does not stand out. The case of the laptop is made of hardened black plastic with an aluminum rim to increase the sturdiness. The bottom of the laptop has extensive grills to keep the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 cool even during long hours of operation.  The laptop has a good array of ports, moderate features and a capacitive touch screen which gives you the feel of a tablet.

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Specifications

HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 Laptop AngleThe HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is available in a variety of configurations.  Customers can upgrade the main system components in the basic configuration. Some of the components that can be upgraded in the list include more memory of up to 16GB, a faster processor- an Intel Core i5 processor with clock speed of 1.7 GHz, and upgrading to Windows 8 Professional 64-bit edition.

The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 has a unique list of features, with the capacitive touch screen topping the list. The touch screen measures 14.0” diagonally and renders a resolution of 1366 x 768. The basic configuration includes a 3rd generation Intel core i3 processor running at a clock speed of 1.8 GHz and integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 processor.  Despite the small form factor, the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is fitted with a full-size backlit keyboard. The Ultrabook is fitted with HP’s proprietary Beats Audio, dual speaker and subwoofer, and a True Vision HD webcam on the top of the 14” screen. The basic configuration list includes a 500GB SATA hard drive with 5200 rpm.

The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 does not have an internal DVD writer. Instead, the   company provides an external DVD-writer capable of reading dual layer DVDs. The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 features essential networking options which includes Integrated 10/100 BASE-T Ethernet LAN, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The array of ports includes 1 USB 2.0 port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 HDMI port, and a regular one for micro-phone in and headphone out. The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 also features a multi format digital card reader.

Other Specifications

CPU

  • 3rd generation Intel Core i3-3217U Processor (1.8 GHz)
  • 3rd generation Intel Core i5-3317U Processor (1.7 GHz)

OS

  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • Windows 8 Pro 64-bit

Memory

  • 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)
  • 6GB 1600MHz DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 System Memory (1 Dimm)

Graphics

  • on-board Intel HD Graphics 4000

Display

  • 14-inch HD BrightView LED-backlit Display

WLAN

  • Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN

DVD

  • External Tray Super Multi 8X DVD+/-RW w/Double Layer

Dimensions: 13.38 x 9.28 x 0.78 in

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Performance

HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 Laptop Angle 2Powered by an Intel Core i series processor and integrated graphics, the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is capable of handling HD stream video  and some good games. However, the absence of discrete graphic cards limits the user from playing modern games on HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4. The processor and graphics combination works well for the Windows 8 touch screen interface. However, the image quality of the touch screen is something to complain about.  The screens looks faded while browsing or watching videos. Despite the proprietary Beats Audio Speakers, the sound quality produced is average.

However, the sound output from headphones is top-notch and will enhance the audio experience. We found the keyboard less comfortable, while the Touch Pad also lacks good responsiveness.  The physical buttons in the Touch Pad are hard and uncomfortable. The 500GB SATA hard drive is adequate to store data and some multimedia files.

HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 Laptop ClosedThe HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is not a gamer’s laptop, but it doesn’t disappoint gamers completely either. You can play some modern games on low to medium settings.  The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 boots quickly, and the responsiveness for attached peripherals is also good. The Ultrabook is bundled with some heavy applications that may curb the overall performance of the ETU4. The battery life is around four hours, which will be adequate for a majority of users.

Verdict

The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 can give you the experience of using a tablet and enhance your Windows 8 experience. The laptop is slim, but certainly not lightweight; it weighs around 3lbs. The small form factor makes it travel-friendly but the weight can be a big hindrance and many people will not call it a good travel companion. The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a mediocre machine that renders good performance and offers good battery life. The Ultrabook can become a good replacement for your desktop, provided you are happy with the 14” screen size.

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Where to buy?

You can purchase from Amazon right here.

About the author

Will Blears

As a teenager I watched all of my friends playing the latest games on their high spec gaming computers. Meanwhile, I didn't even have a computer or an internet connection - that is until I realised I could build my own computer. Since that day, I've been a complete computer geek, a gaming fanatic and a lover of everything digital.