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HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea) review

Ardjuna Seghers



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HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea)
  • ENVY 14 Beats Notebook (2.53GHz Intel Core i5 460M, 4GB DDR3, 640GB HDD, DVD±RW DL, Windows 7 Home Premium, 14.5" LCD)


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Quad-core Core i7
  • Stylish, classy design
  • Soft-touch lid and palm rests
  • Decent speakers
  • Good build quality


  • Overpriced
  • Dated specs and connectivity
  • No Blu-ray drive

Key Features

  • 14.5in, 1,366 x 768
  • Quad-core Core i7-720QM
  • Mobility Radeon 5650 graphics
  • 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD
  • HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort
  • Manufacturer: HP
  • Review Price: £1,099.97

If you want a powerful, premium laptop that's not a Macbook Pro 15in, HP's Envy line is an interesting alternative, generally offering sharp styling, high-end build materials, excellent ergonomics and loads of features. After checking out the 17in 3D model (the aptly named HP Envy 17 3D), we now thought we'd take a look at the smaller and lighter Envy 14, which as its name suggests is a 14.5in powerhouse. However, this isn't the 'regular' 14-1190e with its silver aluminium finish, but rather the 14-1195ea 'Beats' Edition.

Paired with a set of Monster Beats Solo headphones certified by Dr. Dre, the 1195ea comes in a sexy combination of red and black to match. The lid is now a matt black affair with the HP logo attractively highlighted in glossy black, though the massive red 'b' (for 'Beats') is a bit overbearing and could have done with being either more subtle or backlit. Fingerprints are also a bit of an issue, but not nearly as much as they would have been with a glossy black plastic finish.

Opening the laptop up, its insides are even more attractive. Along with Apple, HP realizes the value of minimalism, and very little breaks the 1195ea's sleek black lines. The screen is of the 'borderless' variety, meaning a single sheet of glass across the screen and bezel makes it appear seamless – though it also ups the reflections to frankly distracting levels.

Thankfully, unlike with the Samsung Series 9, HP's finish is more consistent, and the entire keyboard surround is a single piece. It sports a lovely soft-touch finish (similar to the feel of the lid on Lenovos such as the ThinkPad X220t) that makes it a delight to rest your palms on yet doesn't suffer too much from grease marks or fingerprints.

Adding further to the laptop's appeal is a band of gunmetal trim surrounding the ports. Even the power adapter is sleek and curved, allows you to detach its cables at both ends, and offers a USB port for charging your devices without needing the laptop. These features make it our favourite power adapter on a laptop yet, and we hope other manufacturers will take note.

Also on hand to increase the 14-1195ea's premium feel is a felt cloth slipcase, which is a far more useful addition than the cardboard carrying bag for the Samsung 900X3A, and in another nice touch the manual is found on an Envy-branded SD card!

Of course, the star addition to the show is those Monster Beats Solo headphones, which are worth around £150 on their own. That's quite a value-add, but then we are talking about a laptop that costs over £1,000. If you want the full low-down, go and have a read of our review. Otherwise, here's a quick summary.

Sporting a matt black, almost soft outer finish and grey headband padding with leatherette on-ear cups, the Beats Solo look and feel just as premium as the laptop. Build quality is excellent, with an adjustable metal inner frame and metal hinges that allow the phones to fold flat for transport.

There's an extensive range of accessories too, including a thickly padded carrying pouch, cleaning cloth, and two thick red cables (one plain, the other with a 'control centre' offering volume controls, a call-answer button and microphone).

Unfortunately the headphones' sound quality doesn't live up to their build and presentation, as they are so bass heavy as to almost completely ruin the vast majority of the music we used to test them with.

Nav Garayal

April 27, 2011, 5:31 pm

I am in the market for a new laptop. I clicked the link to the Macbook Pro which you mentioned in your article and from what I can see, the Apple machine has a similar spec (but includes Sandy Bridge chips) and also has no Blu Ray (only a DVD drive). TR has stated that the HP machine looks good/ good build/ performance etc but it is overpriced at approx £1000. If this is the case, why has TR given the Apple machine a 9 star rating when this machine costs £1900? The last line of the Apple review being along the lines " if you get over the price of the Apple, you cant deny its a thing of beauty/ style etc". There seems to be some inconsistency here and it has left me really confused.


April 27, 2011, 5:58 pm

There are a few things.

For one, the macbook model we actually reviewed is the upgraded version, which thanks to Apple's high upgrade prices makes it expensive. However, the scoring and text review point to the fact that if you opt for the standard configuration it's reasonable value.

Also, the build quality of the MacBook is another level up from the HP.

The screen is better and has a higher resolution.

As you mention, the CPU is the new Sandy bridge type.

Battery life is nearly double at around 7 hours.

Admittedly, we were perhaps a little generous to the MacBook but essentially the feeling we got from the two machines was that the HP is expensive for little real world gain - unless you like the headphones - whereas the MacBook feels more worthy of its high price.


April 29, 2011, 3:21 am

Just to add to Eds comments i will say that despite apples appalling marketing (which making me want to throw my expensive and incredibly useful macbook air through the tv) the ownership experience with macbooks is at another level to every pc i have ever owned. Though the dell d420 i had before it was arguably just as useful and very well built Macs just feel better.

Apple really thinks through each and every component, the keyboards while they can be a bit different are excellent, the screens good (with special mention to the macbook pros which are superb) and battery life great. Conectivity and power are sacrified but to be honest i am beginning to think that geeks put far to much stock in connectivity. I don't know any of my friends who use more than an external harddrive or usb stick and a set of headphones with there mac and increasingly i don't use anything but the bluetooth and the displayport to hook it up to my 24.

Machines like the envy and especially the dell xps (the orginal 13 version of which was actually a good match to the plastic macs) have forgotten that most people just want to watch films and surf the internet with maybe play the odd game and the first priority of these machines should be to make them as pleasurable to use as possible. This means good IPS screens (or at least good basic PVA's or excellent high res TN ones) good speakers and a solid output and rock solid build quality particularly in the premium market. Yet these remain absent from mainstream machines or at least expensive extras. You look at a macbook pro 15 and it looks expensive and distinctive and it feels it when you use it. The last envy i saw looked like a cheap macbook copy but to use felt much worse and cost almost as much.

If im honest i don't enjoy using mac osx as much as windows 7 but the hardware is so much better at the laptop level (even if a well made windows 7 desktop will embarrass the hidediously expensive mac pro in the looks, cost, and performance department (i keep mine in the excellent and gorgeous black silverstone ft02 plugged into the but ugly but excellent multisync 24wmgx3)) that until one of the manufacturers get they act together i would never consider paying more than £1000 for a windows laptop when i could get a mac equivalent.

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