HP's Envy laptop lineup hits stores December 7

Summary:HP targets gamers with the new Envy 15, Envy 17 and Envy 17 3D this holiday season.

Sick of hearing about thin and light Ultrabooks when you're looking for power and performance from your laptop for games? Well you may just want to put one of these HP Envy machines under your Christmas tree when it arrives on December 7.

This aptly named laptop series from HP certainly has the potential to make your spec-conscious friends drool, but the base configurations that HP is announcing today for the Envy 15, Envy 17 and Envy 17 3D make these machines seem ho-hum -- probably to minimize sticker shock -- when they are anything but. The starting price and specs for all three models are below:

HP Envy 15 (pictured right)

  • Display: 15.6"
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2430M
  • GPU: AMD Radeon
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 500GB HDD
  • Audio: Beats Audio with 6.1 channel system
  • Optical Drive: DVD-RW 9.5mm slot
  • Battery: 8-cell Lithium 76WHr
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Di
  • Backlit keyboard with proximity sensor and HP Imagepad
  • OS: Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
  • Starting price: $1099.99

HP Envy 17 (pictured below, right)

  • Display: 17.3" Radiance Full HD 1080p LED; 1920 X 1080 resolution
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2430M
  • GPU: AMD Radeon
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 750GB HDD
  • Audio: Beats Audio with 6.1 channel system
  • Optical Drive: DVD-RW 12.7mm slot
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium 91WHr
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Di
  • Backlit keyboard with proximity sensor and HP Imagepad
  • OS: Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
  • Starting price: $1249.99

HP Envy 17 3D (pictured right)

  • Display: 17.3" Radiance Full HD HP 3D LED; 1920 X 1080 resolution; 120Hz; wide viewing angles
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-2430M
  • GPU: AMD Radeon
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 750GB HDD
  • Audio: Beats Audio with 6.1 channel system
  • Optical Drive: Blu-ray + DVD-RW 12.7mm slot
  • Battery: 6-cell Lithium 91WHr
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Di
  • Backlit keyboard with proximity sensor and HP Imagepad
  • OS: Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
  • includes 1 pair of active shutter 3D glasses
  • Starting price: $1599.99

All three can actually be outfitted with the Intel quad-core CPU with discreet AMD Mobility Radeon HD graphics, Radiance Full HD Infinity LED displays at 1920 x 1080 resolution for richer colors and wider viewing angles than conventional displays, as well as a 128 GB SSD plus dual hard drives up to 1TB each for extensive media storage and snappy access to your programs/computer. HP somehow managed to pack six speakers and a sub-woofer into the a relatively compact package, so that you can properly appreciate the Beats Audio by Dr. Dre acoustics whether you're immersed in a game or a HD movie. To complement the great audio, you'll also be able to plug in up to three external displays via the built-in HDMI and display ports, whether to maximize your productivity or create your own Imax-like experience.

I'm curious just how much such a spec-out Envy laptop would cost even if I could never afford it, but I suppose HP doesn't want its price to overshadow the product like with the Sony Vaio Z brouhaha. Price aside, I'm not too keen on the Envy 17 3D's display requiring Active Shutter 3D glasses because Toshiba's Qosmio F755 3D can do it glasses-free, which is more user-friendly in the long run. After all, who would travel with a bulky pair of goggles that require charging?

If you're eager to bring one of these HP powerhouses home this holiday season, you would have to order one direct from HP: these machines are simply too niche and require too much customization for mass retailers. Be sure to let us know if the laptop lives up to its name.

Here is a video that describes some of the design considerations built into the Envy line:

[Source: HP, HP's YouTube Channel, NotebookCheck]

Related:

Topics: Hewlett-Packard

About

Gloria Sin is a New York-based freelance journalist who writes about the tech toys that you can't live without for ZDNet. She has little patience for poorly designed user experiences, and is not afraid of opening the guts of her own machines for repair or hacking her gadgets for new uses.She has written for FastCompany.com, Popular Scienc... Full Bio

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