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HP Envy Touchsmart 15 - Performance, Heat & Noise, and Battery Life

By Alan Martin



Our Score:


HP Envy Touchsmart 15 – Performance

Despite its enviable specifications, our tests found the HP Envy Touchsmart 15 to be a little underwhelming. In PCMark07 it recorded a score of 3,573: respectable, but well short of the Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch (5,056), or even cheaper Ultrabooks like the Sony VAIO Pro 13 (4,566) or Samsung Series 7 Ultra (4,399).

This was backed up by occasionally sluggish performance opening applications and boot up times of 18 seconds from cold, and over 30 from a restart. We put this mild disappointment squarely at the feet of the 5,400rpm hard drive. We’d personally have gladly reduced the 16GB RAM for a hybrid SSD drive to pep up performance.

We were expecting great things with the dedicated GeForce GT740M graphics card included, but our 3DMark tests were confusing. On the entry-level Icestorm tests it recorded a score of 15,265 - our lowest since we started using the software. Turning it up to Icestorm Extreme actually improved the score: 15,326. This is unprecedented, with every other laptop we’ve tested lowering at this point.

Baffled we pushed on to the Cloudgate tests, and the Envy surprised us again... this time by recording the highest score we’d managed to date on the most intensive test: 7,078. This comfortably beats the previous record held by the Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch of just 3,807.

To settle this, we put some real world gaming examples through their paces in the form of LA Noire and Fallout New Vegas. We’re delighted to report that LA Noire’s beautifully drawn, expansive city environments were incredibly smooth to play around in on the default settings, and even ramping things up to 1,920 x 1,080 with the comparatively elderly Fallout New Vegas in 1,920 x 1,080, ultra-detail and 8x anti-aliasing didn’t cause it to struggle one bit.

With that in mind, we’re happy to put the initially disappointing 3DMark scores down to the idiosyncrasies of the tests - this is a laptop that can handle some pretty challenging 3D gaming!

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 – Heat & Noise

It wasn’t helped by testing the Envy in the hottest month of the year so far, of course, but we found the fans on the laptop even during light use to be on the noisy side. Still, this shouldn’t be overstated: it’s not something that a little light music wouldn’t drown out, but it’s definitely noticeable.

To the touch, the Envy feels only slightly warm. This comes down to the advantage it has over its Ultrabook brethren, where its thickness insulates against direct contact with its hottest components.

When we put it under proper pressure in our LA Noire test above the fans because truly noisy - so loud that the Envy’s built in speakers struggled to cover it. The Fallout New Vegas test didn’t stress it to the same extent, so that kind of noise is evidently reserved for the more challenging tasks.

HP Envy Touchsmart 15 – Battery Life

Our standard test at 40% screen brightness found the Envy Touchsmart 15’s six-cell Li-lon battery would last around four hours and 17 minutes of mixed use before giving up the ghost: solid, but unspectacular. On the plus side, it's more than the AMD-powered HP Pavilion Touchsmart Sleekbook 15-b129ea, though the Envy is good deal more expensive, too.

Recharging speed was pretty good: a half hour burst returned 36% of the Envy’s battery life. That’s roughly one hour and 32 minutes real world usage.

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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