HP Envy 17 3D - Performance, Battery Life and Verdict Review

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After the performance behemoth that is Sandy Bridge (as seen in the MSI GT680), everything else is going to seem a tad underwhelming. Nevertheless, the quad-core Core i7 720QM powering the Envy 17 3D-1195ea is still one of the most powerful mobile processors around and will handle mosts task with ease.

In PCMark Vantage its lead over the dual-core Core i5 460M found in the {linkout:https://www.trustedreviews.com/laptops/review/2010/12/02/Dell-XPS-17–L701X-/p1 XPS 17 isn’t shown off properly, but more intensive use (like video encoding) will make full use of the extra physical cores and Hyper-Threading to provide eight virtual cores.

In 2D gaming, this HP’s AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5850 can handle some reasonably demanding titles in lower resolutions. For example, Stalker: Call of Pripyat ran at a perfectly smooth 53fps on Maximum detail and DirectX11, albeit at 1,280×768. Crysis on High detail is pretty much out of the picture, but many modern games will at least run if you’re willing to accept a few compromises.


It’s worth noting that although the Envy 17 3D stays reasonably quiet even under load, its left side gets warm enough to act as a hand-warmer in winter, which is not necessarily a good thing.

Battery life is, unsurprisingly, the weakest area of the Envy 17 3D. Its 62Wh/5,225mAh battery only managed just under two hours in Mobilemark’s semi-intensive Productivity test, while with the screen at full brightness, watching a DVD brought this down to just 55 minutes. Good luck watching a 3D Blu-ray without a power socket in the vicinity!


To be fair to HP, these kind of results are hardly unusual on a desktop replacement, but if you’re looking for 3D on the go, the Acer Aspire 5745DG is by far the better choice – and considerably cheaper at £600. However, the Envy 17 3D does thoroughly trounce it in build, design, connectivity, performance and quality, not to mention actually sporting a Blu-ray drive.

A more viable comparison is with the 3D version of Dell’s XPS 17. Using Nvidia’s rechargeable wireless glasses in conjunction with a 17.3in, Full HD, 120Hz display, you can get a very similar configuration for £1,500 compared to the HP’s £1,600. You’ll get 4GB of RAM, a 500GB, 7,200rpm hard drive, HD webcam, Blu-ray drive, backlit keyboard and aluminium lid. Connectivity will also be very similar, and the Nvidia GT 550M graphics should give roughly comparable performance. However, not only do you pay £100 less and gain more flexibility, but you also get a newer Sandy Bridge Core i7 2620M CPU, which should give both faster processing and better battery life, especially with Nvidia’s graphics-switching Optimus thrown in.

Verdict


HP’s premium Envy 17 3D oozes class, is stuffed to the brim with features and connectivity, and offers powerful specifications. It includes a stylish metal-clad body, an impressive Full HD, 120Hz screen and accomplished 2.1 speakers, and with its comfortable 3D glasses provides one of the better mobile 3D experiences going. However, you pay a considerable premium for the same basic specifications that others better for less, so it’s not the best offer around.