HP Envy 17-j130us 17.3-Inch Touchsmart Laptop with Beats Audio Review

HP Envy 17-j130us 17.3-Inch Touchsmart Laptop with Beats Audio

The HP Envy 17-j130us 17.3-Inch Touchsmart Laptop with Beats Audio is a powerful, high-spec machine that should take most computing tasks in its stride.

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It is driven by a fourth generation, quad core Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor – a high performance component based on Intel’s Haswell architecture. It supports Hyper Threading, meaning that each of the processor’s four cores can handle up to two threads in parallel, ensuring that the CPU’s resources are always being put to the best possible use. This processor also supports Intel’s Turbo Boost feature, which allows each core to automatically adjust its own speed as needed, from the base speed of 2.4 GHz, up to a maximum of 3.4 GHz. Together, these technologies allow the processor to conserve energy where possible while still delivering impressive performance when it’s needed.

The all-important processor is supported by 12 GB of DDR3L memory. This is a substantial – but not enormous – amount of memory, which should be more than enough to allow the installed copy of Windows 8.1 to run well, multitasking your applications with ease. Of course, more memory is always better, and it might have been nice for this machine to feature 16 GB of RAM, but, in truth, the supplied 12 GB represents a realistic compromise between price and performance.

Pros :

  • Good, powerful general purpose laptop
  • Intel Core i7-4700MQ QC 2.4 GHz processor
  • 1024 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
  • 4.5-hour battery life
  • Windows 8.1

Cons :

  • Graphics may be underpowered for serious gaming

For permanent storage of your documents, images, music and movies, the machine is fitted with a 1024 GB (1 TB) Hard Disk Drive (HDD). Again, this represents a good balance between price and storage capacity, and is probably more storage capacity than many users would ever fill. Of course, should you eventually find that more storage space is required, it is an easy matter to attach an external HDD to one of the machine’s USB ports. The machine also features HP’s ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection, which attempts to minimize the risk of damage to the sensitive moving parts in an HDD from the inevitable bumps and knocks that are a daily occurrence for most laptops.

It’s good to note that this machine includes a built-in DVD-RW optical drive. Although they are perhaps less important than they once were – no doubt feeling the pinch from memory keys and cloud storage – and many manufacturers are choosing to omit them from some laptop models, they are still sufficiently useful to be a desirable feature for many users.

The machine’s 17.3-inch, HD+ (1600 x 900 pixel) LED backlit touchscreen is driven by integrated Intel HD Graphics 4600. This should give excellent performance for most purposes, and is certainly a substantial improvement over the older HD Graphics 4000 found in third generation processors. Even so, however, it may struggle with the demands of modern games at high detail settings. Consequently, if you intend to play demanding games on this machine, it would be well worth checking with the games’ developers / supplier to see whether or not it supports HD Graphics 4600.

There will, no doubt, be times when you want, or need, to connect an external display to the machine – perhaps to watch a movie with friends. For those occasions, the machine provides an HDMI port for connecting to HDTVs and modern monitors. It also supports WiDi, Intel’s wireless display technology, which enables the machine to wirelessly send videos and images to compatible HDTVs etc.

Other connectivity options include four high speed SUB 3.0 ports, making it easy to attach all your favorite wired peripherals. And, for wireless devices like mice, keyboards and headsets, the machine also supports Bluetooth.

A similar choice applies to networking options. There is a standard Ethernet port for those who want, or need, to use wired networks, while 802.11 A/C WiFi is built in to make wireless networking a breeze.

Beats audio speakers, and HD webcam and a built-in media card reader round off the usual array of input / output options.

The machine measures 6.38″W x 10.83″D x 1.16″/1.32″H, and weighs 7.07 pounds, making it sturdy enough to withstand everyday use, but small and lightweight enough to easily carry around. And, with a reported battery life of up to 4.5 hours, you can be sure of getting plenty of use out of the machine wherever you take it!

Overall, the HP Envy 17-j130us 17.3-Inch Touchsmart Laptop with Beats Audio is an excellent high-end general purpose laptop. Whether for work, relaxation or a combination of the two, this machine has enough processing power to handle most applications. Its integrated graphics may be a little underpowered for serious gaming, but for most other uses it will be more than adequate. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop with plenty of features, this might just be the machine for you.

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