HP Envy 6 – 1090 Review

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Laptops have always competed to be as thin as possible. They should be light, thin, have good battery life and just give the right performance. When it comes to performance we have several categories. There are machines for gaming, entertainment, or just surfing in a while. When it comes to size there is also plenty to choose from, the laptop can be great and good to work with, some small and easy to travel with, or so small that it is almost painful to use them.

Ultra Book is a term created by Intel for laptops that meet certain requirements. An Ultra-Book will be relatively quick, and fulfill certain requirements for size, battery life, security, connections, and hardware.

HP is one of the world’s largest PC manufacturers, but has not yet made many computers that meet the Ultra-Book requirements for Intel. But with Envy 4 – and 6-Envy Series HP will try to disprove this and get a solid share in this market as well.

Today we take a look at the best of its new Ultra HP Books, namely the HP Envy 6-1090. This machine has a screen on the entire 15.6-inch, and is physically at an edge of what one might call an Ultra Book. That’s just it does not violate the limits of Intel’s new requirements for an Ultra Book.

It does not matter whether the HP Envy Ultra 6-1090 is an ultrabook or not. But it is a thin and relatively lightweight 15-inch. Hopefully it can also provide a good user experience. Below are the specifications of the machine.

Specifications

 Hardware

 Processor Intel Core i5-3317U (1.7 – 2.6 GHz, dual core, 3 MB cache)

 Memory – 6GB of DDR3 RAM 1600 MHz

 Hard Drive 500 GB, 5400 RPM

 32 GB Samsung SSD mSATA

 Graphics Card AMD Radeon HD 7670M 2 GB

 Chipset Mobile Intel HM77 Express

 Display 15.6-inch, LED-backlit

 1366 x 768 pixels resolution

Optical unit No

 Wireless 802.11 b / g / n Wi-Fi

 Bluetooth

 The battery has 4 cells and provides 60 WH – HP says the battery should last up to 8 hours

 Other

 Operating system Windows 7 Home Premium

 Size 2.15 kg heavy

 2 cm thick

You are not supposed to get maximum performance for your money when buying a machine like this. But the price can still be justified if it is good to use and the machine is well constructed.

In use

Right out of the box HP Envy 6-1090 turns to us as relatively large. It also has a solid weight of just over 2 kilograms. Although it is within the specifications of an Ultra Book, but we feel that it is simply not particularly small and slender. The exterior design is certainly very stylish. Here we have brushed metal screen cover, and a rubberized plastic on the underside of an attractive red color.

The machine would otherwise seem slim in shape, and maybe we get a good thing The screen bend easily under pressure, even when you just want to open the display lid and the silver frame around the display panel does not help to add the impression of quality.

The rest of Envy 6 seems however very robust. It is brushed metal and sturdy plastic that is at the top and bottom of the main body of the machine. We also like that the frame around the screen is quite narrow, which makes the screen appear larger.

Keys and Touchpad

The keyboard on the HP Envy 6 is of the “island-style”. In this type of keyboards each key sticking out of the enclosure, with a relatively good fit between each other. We can experience failures when we write with a certain pressure on the keys, but what we least like is the keyboard are the lack of response and resistance in the keys. Otherwise the backlight in place gets handy in the late night hours.

There are no dedicated shortcut keys on the keyboard or around 6 Envy. However, all F-keys are essentially shortcuts to common system functions. Here you can control the music, lights in the keyboard, and the strength of the backlight.

The touch pad on this machine is a bit special. It almost seems like a small island where it protrudes from the recess underneath the keyboard. The mouse buttons are integrated at the bottom of the touchpad, which works perfectly. Support for multi-touch is of course also in place.

Speakers

Under the hood of the HP Envy 6 hides a small woofer that will provide a little more fullness in the sound. The speakers are like most other speakers on laptops, you will not like it if you love music and better sound systems. We would definitely recommend a good pair of headphones or external speakers there too Beats Audio technology in this machine comes into its own.

Screen

We will say that one of the computer’s clearest weaknesses are evident in the moment is about the screen. We mentioned earlier that the screen seems a little too physically weak and flexible, but it also has a moderate display panel with only 1366 x 768 pixels. If you are accustomed to a higher resolution of 15.6 inches, you can miss this on this screen.

The picture quality is quite straightforward. There are fresh colors without excessive color saturation, and the horizontal viewing angle is good. But the contrast of the screen is not going to make out, which means that both light and dark areas losing detail. In other words, it is a screen just suitable for picture or video editing.

The frame around the screen is thin, but very reflective, and it is the display panel as well. This makes it somewhat difficult to use the machine in very bright room or outdoors. We also see that the brightness is pretty lackluster, so HP has definitely something to learn from the competition.

Connections

 Inputs and outputs

 Type and interface

 Image HDMI

 Sound Headphone

 Microphone

 Device Connection 2 x USB 3.0

 1 x USB 2.0 (Power Share)

 Network 10/100/1000 Mb Ethernet

 Other Memory Card Reader

 Webcam

Thin and lightweight machines simply do not have room for many connections, and Envy 6 is no exception. We find the absolute most necessary, and not much more. Here you can quickly lacking even a USB port, DisplayPort and VGA for example.

All connections are on the sides of the machine. Some prefer to have connections on the back so that the wires do not interfere or create clutter, but they are not as easily available. This is a matter of taste, and it’s up to you what you prefer.

Temperature and noise

The small fan inside the HP Envy 6-1090 is not so much to do under normal use. Since there is an extra power-efficient processor from Intel, and the dedicated video card only runs when needed, we do not hear much noise of the fan.

This machine gets little warm on the bottom when doing heavy operations or running demanding games. But it never reaches nuisance levels. The machine is a bit larger than most other Ultra Books are doing so that there is a room for better cooling, leading to lower temperatures.

Battery and bottom

With a battery of four cells and 60 WH capacities, HP says that this machine will hold out for up to 8 hours before the battery retire. We have not really started with new test procedures for battery on laptop computers.  As we can see the machine can hold out for nearly five and a half hours in strongest brightness, and nearly eight hours on lowest brightness. Somewhere between these numbers will be enough to correspond and we are completely satisfied with it.

It is quite a laborious process to get to the insides of the HP Envy 6 First, loosen hand full screws, and then you need to try with mouth to remove the piece of plastic that covers the underside of the machine. Once you have removed the bottom you have the opportunity to replace the memory and hard disk, both the traditional type and an mSATA SSD.

Software and performance

When you go for the purchase of the HP Envy 6-1090 it comes with an installation of Windows 7 Home Premium. This machine has no problems running Windows 7 but because of a relatively weak processor may be instances where you have to wait a little while for things to happen. Multitasking with heavy applications is not this machine’s forte, but you can have a nice running web browser, an Office document, music player and minesweeper at the same time.

There is indeed a 32GB SSD is already in HP Envy 6-1090, but this is only used as a cache solution. This means that only the most and most recently used files are stored here, to be retrieved quickly when you need them. But if you download a lot of data that you rarely use those usually obtained from the slow traditional hard disk. This often leads to some lugging in response.

For those who would be interested in using Linux with this machine, we fired up Ubuntu 4.12, which is the last edition of this popular distribution. We were unfortunately greeted with a black screen at startup.

Some of the comparisons

Samsung NP900X3C has an Intel Core i5-3317U processor and only the integrated graphics processor in the form of Intel HD 4000. Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A is slightly heavier and has an Intel Core i7-3517U processor and a slightly faster version of the integrated graphics solution Intel HD 4000.

HP Envy 6-1090, which we are testing today, has an Intel Core i5-3317U processor and a dedicated video card in the form of AMD Radeon HD 7670M, with 2 GB of RAM.

We should therefore be able to safely assume that Envy 6 will handle games better than the other two machines we compare with. However, since these machines have clean solutions, and the Asus machine has a faster processor will probably not dominate the tests overall system performance.

Play Performance

We see that it is possible to play the games with good graphics. But if you try to run newer and more demanding games than this you will quickly be disappointed. When we tested the Just Cause 2 and Metro 2033, we received only a few frames per second. It is far too small to enjoy these games.

System Performance

We have allowed HP Envy 6 go through the usual test apparatus ours, with certain modifications. Experience Index for Windows 7 and Cinebench are synthetic tests that measure how long your computer uses in different calculations to test different parts of the hardware.

HandBrake test, we have to show how long it takes to convert a ca. one hour long film. The tests will together perform tasks that require a lot of processor, memory, hard drive, and to some extent the video card. They therefore provide a good indication of how powerful these parts are and how effectively they work.

We felt, and could see the actual test results; the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A was the fastest of machines. Next is the Samsung NP900X3C. Both machines have a larger, faster SSD than the HP Envy 6-1090 boast, and Asus also has a slightly faster processor. All numbers aside, we will clearly say that the HP Envy 6-1090 is a machine that is best suited for small and light operations.

Conclusion

We can conclude here that the newer HP machine is good for the people looking for an ultrabook with low price and good features that can provide them with basic ability to perform all computer tasks and better gaming experience than average notebooks in the market.