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HP Envy Touchsmart 15 review



Our Score


User Score


  • Impressive specs for the price
  • Great game performance for a laptop
  • Impressive sound output


  • Lack of SSD makes a speedy laptop feel sluggish
  • Flakey keyboard and uninspiring trackpad
  • Unimpressive screen

Review Price free/subscription

Key Features: 15.6-inch 1920x1080 touch-screen; 2.56kg; Intel Core i7 Quad Core 2.6GHZ CPU; 16GB RAM; 1TB 5,400rpm SATA hard disk; GeForce GT740M graphics

Manufacturer: HP

What is the HP Envy Touchsmart 15?

While most manufactures are chasing the ultrabook market at the moment, HP has provided us with a good old fashioned notebook powerhouse here: 15.6-inches, 2.56kg, a quad-core i7 CPU and a massive 16GB RAM all for exactly £1,000.

With these kind of dimensions and specifications, we’re fully expecting a desktop replacement here: portable, but mostly intended as the main computer for day to day use. So does it do everything required to ditch the desktop?

Version tested: HP Envy Touchsmart 15-j004ea

HP Envy Touchsmart 15

Not what you're looking for? Try our best Windows 8 laptops, tablets and PCs round-up for more options.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 – Design & Build Quality

The HP Envy Touchsmart 15 certainly feels well built. In stark contrast to the thin, light, fragile feel of some ultrabooks, this is a substantial two and a half kilograms of weight distributed across 15 inches of solid metal frame. Even so, the whole thing is 1.17 inches thick, so it’s far from grotesquely large.

At a glance, the machine resembles the Macbook Pro of old, with an silver metallic coating on the top and keyboard areas, and a thick black bezel around the screen. The underside is a matte black plastic, breaking with the Apple homage (along with the large HP logo where you’d expect the apple to be). The effect is also broken by the off-centre touchpad - more of which on later - and the sloped underside of the laptop, backing up the curves elsewhere.

In terms of connectivity, the Envy Touchsmart comes with a generous three USB ports, an HDMI port, a card reader, headphone jack and Ethernet port, positioned on the left and right sides of the keyboard.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 – Screen Quality

As we’ve seen with a few touch enabled laptops of late, the additional input is something of a mixed blessing. While it makes navigating Windows 8’s chunky buttons a pleasure, the offset in terms of screen quality is unwelcome. In this case, the screen has a certain grainy, meshy feel to it making the icons appear less sharp than you would expect on a 1,920 x 1,080 display.

On top of this, the screen is distractingly reflective, meaning that even at the top brightness setting, your reflection is usually clear to see. The knock on effect to viewing angles is predictable: suffice it to say, this is a laptop you’ll want to be facing dead on, unless you want to use it to spy on your neighbours’ reflections.

The colours feel a little washed out, and a fair bit cooler than on recent laptop, too - a fact verified by the measured 6820K colour temperature. Contrast is disappointing, too, measuring just 222:1, while the peak brightness of 240nits is decent but nothing special. The result is rather grey-looking blacks in dark scenes, and an image that lacks the verve and depth we'd expect on a laptop at this price.

On the plus side, the resolution is very good for this size, and the 15.6 inches of space means that the touch interaction works far better than on some smaller Ultrabooks where we’ve been struggling for accuracy against the smaller screen real estate. It's just a shame the actual quality is below-par.

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David Gray

August 2, 2013, 11:41 am

Or the Samsung 7 series Chronos 15".. The most comparable alternative
Better screen and hybrid HD.. check

David Trotter

August 2, 2013, 3:33 pm

Having recently bought this laptop I feel I should comment. I agree that the screen quality, keyboard and touchpad are average. I have had trouble using them but nothing too stressful. My main issue is with using windows 8 at the moment which I find very frustrating to use.

I managed to buy the 8gb version for around £735 inc vat which makes it a much better deal. So look out for the HP offers and discount codes when you buy.

It doesn't say on the website but I can confirm that the laptop has a spare mSATA port where I've managed to install a 60GB SSD drive. In theory I should be able to install windows onto this but there is no installation CD with the latop. All efforts so far have failed so any help is welcome!

I haven't spent too much time testing it for games or work as I am waiting to re-install windows. Battery life prediction is around 4-5 hours as reported.


August 3, 2013, 5:40 pm

Thanks. I was thinking about buying this laptop to replace my 17-inch Samsung Series 7 Chronos, but am not sure I will now (because the battery life on my Chronos is around 7 hours).

In regards to your problem with Windows 8 - I felt the same. I installed Ubuntu 13.04 (dual-boot configuration) and haven't looked back. I only boot in to Windows 8 now if I need to perform BIOS upgrades etc. (so rarely).

Mark Herridge

August 11, 2013, 10:24 pm

Is there an option to make a backup of the OS in the HP Recovery Manager? If so you should be able to make one to an external drive, fit a mSATA and recover the image to that, I have had the same problem before, and this is what I did, hope it helps


August 26, 2013, 11:10 pm

I've got this computer and I'm a havey user that searched for a laptop that could run my game and programs in the highest performers . This computer has it all!
He's not havey and very beautiful and makes you feel great as a user.
In my opinion the screen is very large And I couldn't afford to buy smaller laptop with the same performers so I took this one and its great.
I'm attempt to hold this computer for the next ten years and I think this one can acually make it.


September 25, 2013, 7:21 pm

Guys btw this model has and optional SSD and Hybrid HDD which you can install at the same time for a very fast loading. I assume you picked up basic model for $799... smh


November 6, 2013, 3:54 am

Yup, the screen is extremely bad. It acts just like a mirror with most lighting. I have to say that the keyboard functions great, no dropped keys with the exception of me being new to this keyboard. The touchpad is a little jumpy but the multitouch for it is incredible!


November 19, 2013, 12:27 pm

jus tgot a question booting up and shutting off do you tend to notice it takes a while to shut off or even restart


November 22, 2013, 8:45 pm

I'm going to buy this laptop (HP envy 15-j022el). Do you really mean there is room for a SSD?? Because I can't find this information anywhere else. Thanks


December 9, 2013, 5:59 am

are you shore about this ?
because i'm going to buy this laptop and replace the exist HDD with SSD
if you are sure could you please give me a link to any reference

Piter Sam

December 29, 2013, 10:01 am

Please do not buy HP ENVY 15 laptops. These is some issue with these laptops. These laptop doesn't work after BIOS updates. The BIOS update happens as the part of regular windows update process. The moment laptop is restarted, the BIOS updates happens and after that the laptop doesn't start. Many users have logged this problem on HP Support forums.

Vikas Anand

February 5, 2014, 9:07 pm

worst experience to be HP consumer.
my name is Dr.vikas anand .

my product detail is;

Date Of Lookup 2013-10-23

Country IN

Product Number A9T81B

Serial Number CN37P2P8GV

I brought HP Enevy M6 1214 tx notebook and there was offer of printer if i will give extra money of 1600 indian rupees. and i sent demand draft to HP redemption cell. and they did not provide my offer instead they sent brocken printer in care pack in my home .i gave that to HP service center and untill now they didn't provide my offer.It is now becoming 8 months and i think it will also become more than 1 year.i contact them and they have have always new excuse and internal process. I want to share this bad experience to all of you because it is not about offer and my money , it is about my valuable time that i thout they will provide my product at time.i am a professional and all knows that printer is printer is part of work .and i have worst experience with HP with compare to sony, apple ,etc

thanhks for reading

Dr. Vikas Anand

leo janjgava

February 16, 2014, 9:55 am

i agree, but not about the noise since i playedd skyrim and it did have "some" noise but the beats audio system covered it even though it was on 75 %

leo janjgava

February 16, 2014, 9:59 am

oh yeah and i got to tell u this laptop is great except for its slight keyboard flex and the performance? hmh! gotta tell u mine is i7 and i play any game on its highest performance, bu i truly reccomend not to since u dont know when will the highest graphic demanding moments in gaming will occur. btw great job hp


November 15, 2014, 3:47 pm

what processor did this have? and was it 8gb? thx

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