Hewlett Packard’s marketing arm undoubtedly intended the brand name “Envy” to refer to the emotion the notebooks stir up in adjacent coffee drinkers down at Starbucks. But given the direction HP has taken the Envy name, it might more appropriately refer to the company’s own envy of Apple.
After chasing the MacBook Air with the original Envy 133, HP has now returned with the Envy 13 and 15, which look like sisters – maybe even twin sisters – to Apple’s MacBook Pros. Aluminum chassis? Check. Black-framed edge-to-edge screen? Check. Chiclet keyboard? Check. Oversized touchpad that clicks, rather than using separate buttons? Check there, too.
But maybe that’s not giving HP enough credit, because like the Envy 133, the Envy 13 and 15 do things their MacBook counterparts do not. The 3.74-pound Envy 13, for instance, not only weighs less than the 4.5-pound MacBook of the same size, it’s thinner, too. The 13.1-inch screen may be a hair smaller than Apple’s 13.3-incher, but it also has much higher resolution (1600 x 900), and has an impressive brightness rating of 410 nit for outdoor viewability. The 1.86GHz Intel Core 2 Duo may be a touch slower than Apple’s, but as an upswing, HP claims it will run for an almost-unheard-of 18 hours with an extended-run battery slice. HP also etches designs into the bonded aluminum-and-magnesium chassis, and that touchpad? It has a right and a left click, not just one.
The larger Envy 15, while not quite as portable, drops some major computational power into the equation with Intel’s Core i7 processor under the hood, as well as an ATI Mobility Radeon 4830. You can also cram in up to 16GB of RAM, and the option of dual SSD drives configured in a RAID0 array for faster performance.
Both Envys will go on sale October 18, making them among HP’s first wave of Windows-7-equipped notebooks. The Envy 13 will start at $1,699, while the Envy 15 will start at $1,799. More details can be found on HP’s preview page.