hpenvy13_ledeWHAT: HP Envy 13 Series Laptop

PRICE: Base: $1500, As Tested: $1,999.99

FUN FACT: The Envy 13 was featured in Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance" video.

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING: Ask someone to recommend to you a computer that's as stylish as it is functional and most people will direct you to the the closest Apple store. And sure, Apple's MacBook's are some of the best designed laptops on the market. But if you're more comfortable with Windows and want something that will draw stares when you pull it out of your backpack, you should check out the HP Envy 13 Series . What started as part of HP's high end Voodoo performance line, it's now branched out on its own, and has emerged as one of the most attractive and feature filled laptops (save for the Dell Adamo) we've seen from a PC maker in a long, long time.

• Amazing design. The Envy is crafted out of aluminum and magnesium to give it a feel that, dare we say, is better than the Macbook. It feels like a high quality piece of a equipment. It's cool and smooth in your hands.
• Great display. The 13.1 inch, 1,600x900 pixel "Radiance" display was extremely sharp and clear. It made the whole experience of watching DVDs and even surfing the web that much better. The viewing angle was great, too, allowing friends peeping at what we were viewing to actually clearly see what we were doing.
• Keyboard feels great. A keyboard can make or break a laptop. It's the one thing you'll be interacting with the most. Get a bad one and you'll hate using your computer. Thankfully, HP agrees and developed a keyboard that's extremely comfortable with great travel (the space the key takes to go and up and down) and key size.
• It's Fast as hell. As HP's top of the line laptop, we expected it to be speedy, and it is. Ours came with a 2.13 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor SL9400. Pair that with the 3 GB of ram and you have a hell of a workstation. We were able our decode DVDs super quickly and decode AVI's to MP4s for use on our iPods in under 15 minutes. There's really nothing you can't do on 'em.
• Long battery life.
• Good graphics. Our loaner came with the 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330 chipset which is their entry level set up. Although it's entry level, it's powerful enough to handle most games and most multimedia projects and tasks.
• There's no built in DVD player, there's an external DVD burner that you can get that works well. Besides, when's the last time you actually needed to use your CD drive?
• There's a built in SD card slot so you can easily transfer video and photo's from your camera to your computer. May not seem like a big deal, but it turned out to be very helpful.
• Super thin. The Envy measures in at less than an inch thin, about the same as a 13in MacBook, but thanks to the lack of CD drive, it weighs almost a pound less. The less weight is really noticeable when you're toting it around from work to home or from class to class.


• Trackpad takes a little getting used to. It's nice and large but we couldn't quite calibrate it to the point where it wasn't a hassle to use. Scrolling on a web page was difficult, as was just dragging windows across the screen. More often than not, we found ourselves using a portable mouse.
• There are only two USB ports.
• It's pretty pricey. Compared to a comparable MacBook, you're looking at spending around $500 more.


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