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

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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.

Verdict

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.

Score in detail

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

Processor, Memory & Storage

Processor Intel Core i5
Processor Speed Standard (Gigahertz) 1 GHz, 2.53 GHz
Memory (RAM) (Gigabyte) 4 GB
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) (Gigabyte) 640 GB
DVD Optical Drive DVD+-RW DL

Graphics & Sound

Graphics ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650
Display (Inch) 14.5 in

Other

Type Other Laptop

Physical Specifications

Weight (With Battery) (Kilogram) 4.16 ozkg
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