Home / Computing / Laptop / HP Envy 14 Beats Edition (14-1195ea) / AV, Battery Life, Value and Verdict

HP Envy 14 Beats - AV, Battery Life, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


For those occasions where you don't want to use the Envy 14-1195ea's included Monster Beats Solo headphones, this Envy's speakers have also been given the Dr Dre treatment – though we suspect this is just some additional processing thrown in with the same speakers as the regular edition Envy.

As expected, the audio these stereo efforts provide is good, but it's not great. They manage to pump out plenty of volume without distorting, and produce a high and mid-range with good clarity and detail. Surprisingly though – especially given the Beats Solo bass prejudice – they're not great on the low end. In fact, they sound a tad tinny, robbing explosive entertainment of much of its impact. This is only partially compensated by the Beats processing, and even an aurally inferior laptop like the Dell XPS 15 isn't far behind in terms of audio performance.

Thankfully the 14-1195ea's 14.5in screen isn't as ambiguous, though some might think its 1,366 x 768 resolution a bit low for a premium machine - at least compared to the Apple Macbook Pro's 1,440 x 900 and especially the XPS 15's (optional) 1,920 x 1,080.

However, aside from the poor vertical viewing angles that are almost inevitable with a TN-based screen (the Samsung Series 9's awesome display being a notable exception), we have few complaints. Horizontal viewing angles, for example, display very little contrast or colour shift. Of course the glossy screen finish causes distracting reflections with any kind of ambient light present, but it also lends a little extra brightness to already punchy colours.

This is helped by excellent contrast at the dark end of the scale, allowing you to see every last detail in gloomy games and movies. Nor is there any clouding or backlight bleed to mar its performance. Finally, sharpness is excellent with little sign of banding or other artefacts.

Unsurprisingly, considering its powerful components and lack of graphics switching, battery life is not great. Its rather stingy 3,760mAh battery only managed to power the 14in laptop for three hours and 40 minutes in our semi-intensive Productivity test. It did far less well in MobileMark's DVD test with screen brightness at 100 percent, dying at just short of two hours.

However, it's on value that the 14-1195ea really falls down. At £1,100, there really is no compelling argument for this machine. Quite simply, it's terrible value, even if you think the headphones are worth around £150. Compared, for example, to a Dell XPS 15 for that kind of money, it would give you a faster and more efficient Sandy Bridge CPU, better graphics, an SSD, more memory, an HD webcam and superior connectivity.


Though it's undeniably a stylish and attractive machine which has plenty of power even for a fairly intense workload, the HP Envy 14 14-1195ea Beats Edition doesn't excel enough in any area to justify its ridiculously high price, and the inclusion of the sub-par Beats Solo headphones doesn't help.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Battery Life 5
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8
  • Value 4

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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