Menu
HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4: Fast, capable but heavy Windows 8 Ultrabook

HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4: Fast, capable but heavy Windows 8 Ultrabook

The Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is decent with good features that lets you take advantage of Windows 8's touch capabilities, but it's heavy

The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is a cleanly designed, good performing Windows 8 laptop with a nice array of ports and good input ergonomics. The only issue is weight--the digitizer for the touchscreen, support for it and the overall build quality adds quite a bit of heft to the unit which travels at 5.3 pounds with AC adapter. That's heavy for a laptop with only a 14-inch display.

Usability and features

If the weight doesn't bother you, there's a lot to like about the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4. The keyboard is short-throw, but it types well. The touchpad is a one-piece rocking unit, and has a good overall feel, though the press to click function requires more than the usual amount of force. It's on the sensitive side when it comes to taps, but that's a matter of taste.

Our test unit shipped with an Intel Core i5-3317U CPU, 4GB of system memory, and integrated Intel HD 4000 graphics. The hard drive is a 500GB Seagate Slim with a 32GB Liteonit SSD for caching. All told a $875 configuration. You can lower that price by $75 by opting for a slower Core i3-3217U CPU, or up the price by $100/$150 for 8GB of memory in the form of 2 or 1 SODIMMs.

Performance

Our test unit managed a 57 on WorldBench 8 (not comparable to WorldBench 7) which is good, but not scintillating. That score is about 12% lower than the Dell XPS 12 Convertible, but the Dell also costs nearly $1,200.. Subjectively, you should have no problem with the feel of the unit, especially once when the SSD and Windows caching kick in. It boots rapidly and there's little lag at any point. Gaming frame rates were sometimes playable at the 14-inch display's native 1366 by 768 resolution, but lowering game detail or the resolution will be required for truly smooth game play. On the other hand, movies look great and the sound through headphones is top-notch thanks to the Beats audio--through the speakers, not so much. Battery life is a few minutes over 4 hours; not great, but adequate for most users. (The Dell XPS 12 managed 4:39 in our new, somewhat more rigorous Winbench 8 test.)

Any port in a storm

The Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 has a nice array of ports, including a cleverly designed 10/100 Ethernet port that expands when you push the cable in but stays within Ultrabook height specs when closed. There are also 2 USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, plus a SDHC memory card slot. Wi-Fi is 802.11 b/g/n and there's Bluetooth and WiDi onboard as well.

HP ships a somewhat cluttered Windows 8 software installation. On hand are Norton Internet Security, Microsoft Office, Kindle, Netflix, iHeart Radio, Fresh Paint, all of which are free or trials. There is also Cyberlink's YouCam for the HD Webcam as well as a number of useful HP utilities for backup, etc.

Bottom line

The chief issue, as mentioned, with the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is its weight. To be fair, HP is hardly alone--I've seen a number of Ultrabooks, including older, non-touch based systems come in at over four pounds. If the heft doesn't bother you, then the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook is nicely priced, sturdy and all-around pleasant way to get the full Windows 8 touch experience.

Follow Us

Join the ARN newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags HPWindows 8hardware systemsultrabooksbusinesslaptopsHewlett-Packard

Upcoming

Slideshows

IN PICTURES: Nutanix's .NEXT channel event in Sydney (+20 photos)

IN PICTURES: Nutanix's .NEXT channel event in Sydney (+20 photos)

Nutanix recently held its customer and channel event, .NEXT, in Sydney. The event, held at the Sheraton on the Park saw attendance from more than 150 channel and technology partners and customers. It was the first in a series of events Nutanix is holding in A/NZ in August and September, the objective of which is to brief partners and customers on “what’s next” in the design and management of datacentre technology.

IN PICTURES: Nutanix's .NEXT channel event in Sydney (+20 photos)
IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 sponsor debrief (+23 photos)

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 sponsor debrief (+23 photos)

Some of the sponsors of ARN's inaugural EDGE 2015 event got together at the ARN office for a debrief of the event. Over some drinks and cheese, these attendees got an update on some key statistics that arose from the EDGE event and discussed potential topics and improvements that can be made at next year's event.

IN PICTURES: EDGE 2015 sponsor debrief (+23 photos)
IN PICTURES: ARN Distributor Roundtable, Sydney, 26.08.15 (+26 photos)

IN PICTURES: ARN Distributor Roundtable, Sydney, 26.08.15 (+26 photos)

ARN hosted a distributor roundtable at Cafe Del Mar in Sydney, at which attendees and their partners discussed the changing role of the traditional IT distributor. They spoke about the challenges of digital disruption, the blurring lines of the channel in the age of digital transformation, and examined the ever-evolving business models. This roundtable was sponsored by Distribution Central, Exclusive Networks, Rhipe, and Hemisphere Technologies. Photos by ARN Editorial Director, Mike Gee.

IN PICTURES: ARN Distributor Roundtable, Sydney, 26.08.15 (+26 photos)

iasset.com is a channel management ecosystem that automates all major aspects of the entire sales, marketing and service process, including data tracking, integrated learning, knowledge management and product lifecycle management.

Show Comments