Introduction to Ultrabooks:
Today, we have the HP Envy 4-1035TX Ultrabook for review which is powered by the latest Chief River platform. Compared to the Huron River powered Zenbook we reviewed earlier the HP envy offers far better performance and battery lifetimes.
Intel unleashed the Ultrabook in the mid of 2012. A combination of super sleek design and fast performance is what makes an Ultrabook. After its successful launch, many companies hopped towards the new market offering new Ultrabook parts.
We thank Intel Pakistan for providing and letting us review the 3rd Generation based HP Envy 4 Ultrabook. To sew how the HP Envy performed in our review, continue reading below:
Packaging and accessories:
The HP Envy 4 shipped within a large package. The box package was of a black matte finish with an HP logo etched in the center and a beats audio sticker on the lower right corner. The sides of the box came with a specifications sheet sticker and serial code sticker. Inside the box packaging the HP Envy 4 Ultrabook was held by foam and bubble wraps to protect it from any kind of structural damage while carrying or traveling.
The HP Envy 4 came without any sort of additional accessory except the AC Charging adapter and a warranty manual. This was indeed a let down since other companies had shipped their Ultrabooks with a variety of connectors.
The HP Envy 4 design is far more elegant than any Ultrabook i have seen with its Brushed Black Aluminum finish design. Looking by the side it almost feels as if the Display and Keyboard section of the Ultrabook are entirely separate parts. The front has a large silver HP logo on the right lower-end corner. The 14.0″ display has a thin glossy bezel at its sides with curved edges that provides a nice look. The Envy 4 however felt heavier weighing at 1.80 kg and slightly more thicker too at 1.98 cm.
The back is made up of plastic and is colored red. While holding, the HP Envy 4 does give a really good impression with the black and red color scheme. A large portion of the backside is dedicated to the cooling vents since heat produced by the Envy 4 is a bit of a problem.
HP Envy 4 Specifications:
The HP Envy 4-1035TX is powered by the latest 3rd generation ‘Chief River’ platform. The Intel Core i5 3317U is based on the 22nm Ivy bridge architecture which makes use of tri-gate transistor technology which significantly reduces the overall power consumption of the processor maintaining better IPC performance. Specifically, the Core i5 3317U is a dual-core CPU with four threads and 3MB L3 cache running at a base clock of 1.70 GHz and Turbo Boost clock of 2.40 GHz. The Core i5 3317U maintains the 17W TDP of its Sandy Bridge based predecessor while delivering better performance with Boost frequency.
The Mainboard of the HP Envy 4 Ultrabook is powered by the HM77 chipset, the CPU is shipped within a BGA package. The HP Envy 4 comes with an impressive 8 GB DDR3 (4GB x 2) memory clocked at 1600 MHz in Dual Channel mode.
The HP Envy 4-1035TX we were sent came with two GPU options. One is the HD 4000 graphics chip on-board the Core i5 3317U die which is a GT2 level GPU featuring 1400 million transistors, 16 shaders, 2 ROPs with GPU clocked at 350 MHz and memory at 800 MHz. Intel’s HD 4000 iGP supports DirectX 11, Direct Compute 5.0 and Shader Model 5.0.
In addition to the HD 4000 IGP, the HP Envy comes with a better GPU solution from AMD. The AMD Radeon HD 7670M is based on the 40nm Thames architecture featuring 480 shaders and 16 ROPs. The HD 7670M has a 2GB DDR3 memory clocked at 150 MHz running across a 128-bit interface. Core clock is maintained at 300 MHz.
The HP Envy 4 Ultrabook gives you the option to switch between both GPUs as per your needs. Games do run smooth on the HD 4000 IGP both for better performance on demanding titles you can always witch over to the AMD HD 7670M GPU while sacrificing battery times.
HP equips the Envy 4-1035TX with a 500 GB hard-disk operating at 5400 RPM and a 32 GB SLC m-Sata cache drive which with Intel’s Smart Response and Rapid Storage Technology delivers fast boot times and file transfers.
With these specifications, the HP Envy 4-1035TX managed to score 5.9 in WEI (Windows Experience Index).
Overall Specs List:
- Intel Core i5 3317U @ 1.70 GHz (Upto 2.4 GHz)
- Intel HD 4000 Graphics Chipset
- AMD Radeon HD 7670M 2 GB Dedicated Vram
- 8 GB Dual Channel DDR3 Memory @ 1600 MHz
- 500 GB HDD @ 5400 RPM
- 32 GB SLC m-SATA Cache Drive
- LED Display 14.0″ *Max Res 1366×768
HP Envy 4 Display and Sound:
The HP Envy 4 comes with a 14.0″ (Inches) widescreen LED display with HD Bright-view technology. The LED display supports a maximum resolution of 1366×768 which has become a norm on most laptops available these days.
There’s even a webcam etched in the top-middle section of the bezel over the LED display which features TrueVision HD technology and a maximum resolution of 1280×720. The only downside of the display is its glossy finish which makes working or viewing pictures and videos in lit rooms difficult.
Audio on the HP Envy 4 is delivered by Beats Audio with two internal speakers including a sub-woofer delivering high quality audio output. The Beats Audio delivered amazing sound playback while playing games and watching movies and is truly a great addition to the HP Envy 4 Ultrabook. The Beats Audio speaker is equipped right on top of the exhaust vents.
HP Envy 4 Maneuverability:
HP Envy 4 comes with a keyboard sized similarly to other Ultrabooks and the alphanumeric keys are large enough to easily navigate through them. The keyboard deck comes with the same black aluminum finish as the front cover and the keys are smooth to type on.
The corner keys come with a curve design making the Envy 4 desgin feel elegant. Top of the keyboard is the speaker deck which has the power on/off switch to the left and Beats Audio emblem to the right. The keyboard on the HP Envy 4 however was not backlit making it entirely unfit for work in lower lightning areas. The function keys come with a set of features:
- F1 – Opens help Menu
- F2 – Decreaes Brightness
- F3 – Increases Brightness
- F4 – Switch between Displays
- F6 – Previous Track
- F7 – Play/Pause
- F8 – Next Track
- F9 – Volume Down
- F10 – Volume Up
- F11 – Mute
- F12 – Toggle WiFi On/Off (White = ON/ Orange = OFF)
The touchapd is located on the lower side of the keyboard deck. Being evidently larger from the Zenbook’s glass touchpad, the touchpad is surrounded by a silver plating. The pad is divided by a single white line which shows the area for Left and Right keys although this bit is known by almost everyone who has used a laptop before.
The mousepad ran fine while browsing but the keys are a bit hard to use, they seem to require a bit more push from users fingers to address properly. Gestures were smooth and easy to use but there aren’t a variety of them available on the Envy 4.
HP Envy 4 Input and Output:
HP Envy 4 is equipped with a variety of input and output options. The right side of the Ultrabook features a USB 2.0 port, Headphone In/ Microphone Out Jacks and the AC Power connector. There’s a small led switch next to the power connector which when turns white shows that the Ultrabook has full power and turns orange to show that the Ultrabook is currently charging.
The left side has a couple of more options such as two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, Multi-Format Digital Media Card Reader, HDMI connector for display and on the far end side is a single RJ45 LAN port which at first does give the impression of another USB port but is well stacked in the HP Envy 4 through a collapsible socket which can be adjusted to make way for LAN connector. Wireless connectivity is offered by Intel 802.11 b/g/n with Smart Connect Technology and Built-in Bluetooth. The wireless solution was able to pickup Wi-Fi connections from an acceptable distance.
HP Envy 4 Performance:
We ran our performance evaluation on a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 which was pre-installed in the Ultrabook. The benchmarking applications along with their respective results are listed below:
Futuremark’s 3DMark 11 evaluated the performance of HP Envy 4-1035TX by running DirectX 11 feature tests.
In Performance mode, we manged to get a score of P1153 Marks with HD 7670M and Core i5 3317U.
In Entry mode, we managed to get a score of E1792 Marks with HD 7670M and Core i5 3317U on Envy 4.
Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage might be an old benchmark but it is still considered useful to evaluate performance on Entry-Level PCs and notebooks. The benchmark runs DirectX 10 tests to evaluate PC’s performance.
With the performance preset, HP’s Envy 4-1035TX scored P2715 points.
With the Entry preset. HP’s Envy 4-1035TX scored E11175 points.
Futuremark’s PCMark 7 is a complete PC Evaluation suite, the HP Envy 4 managed to score 3859 Points in this benchmark.
The CineBench R11.5 test ended up with the HP Envy 4-1035TX churning 2.96 Points in Multi-threaded and 1.25 Points in Single-threaded performance. OpenGL render test ended with an average score of 13.04 FPS.
A 64-bit OS allowed us to truly evaluate the CPU performance with Winrar compression benchmark. The Core i5 3317U was able to get a max speed of 3134 KB/s in Multi-threaded and 1090 KB/s in Single-thread performance.
HDTune Disk Benchmark:
We used HDTune, a popular disk benchmark to evaluate performance of the 500 GB Drive and the 32 GB cache Solid-State Drive. The HDD ended up with an average read speed of 83.5 MB/s while the Cache SSD gave a read speed of 240.4 MB/s.
Due to the addition of a discrete graphics solution such as the Radeon HD 7670M, we were able to test the HP Envy 4-1035TX through a couple of latest titles, we kept the demanding ones out of the list since the HD 7670M is still an entry level solution even on the laptops.
Borderlands 2, developed by Gearbox Studios is one of the most hottest titles released in 2012. The game runs on a highly modified version of Unreal Engine making use of PhysX and rich DirectX 9 detail. During our test, we set the PhysX to low since that feature is exclusive for GeForce (NVIDIA) GPUs. We got to almost 30 average FPS with detail set at low and FXAA on, medium detail settings cost us 5 precious frames.
Planetside 2 is an online MMO First person shooter published by Sony Online Entertainment. The game has one of the largest maps and warfare ever seen in an FPS title. The game is highly demanding on the CPU side so we were able to get a decent 34 FPS on low settings but 28 FPS on medium settings.
Dota 2 is the sequel to one of the most popular mods made through WarCraft III. Developed by Valve, DOTA 2 is an online arena based RTS title that pits 8 vs 8 players on a single map. The game is built with Valve’s Source 2 engine which would become the standard of upcoming Valve titles.
Trine series is an side-scrolling action and puzzle title developed by Frozenbyte studios. The game is one of the most demanding side scrolling titles yet and can even be taxing for most modern PCs. At medium settings with FXAA, the HP Envy 4 managed to get 34 FPS and 29 FPS at High settings.
HP Envy 4 Thermal Test:
During thermal testing of the HP Envy 4, the Ultrabook kept itself at 55C at full load under heavy usage. The bottom plastic cover at the back which holds the venting portion did become a bit hot but the heat was nothing to worry about as compared to an average laptop. The other thing we noticed during heavy testing was that the fans ran really fast and the noise become unbearable. Under normal usage, the temperature remained at a comfortable 40C mark.
HP Envy 4 Battery Life:
The HP Envy 4-1035TX came with a 4 Cell Lithium-Ion Polymer battery and a 65W AC power adapter. The Battery on 1035TX lasted us 2 Hours and 20 Minutes with high quality video playback and running games. Under normal usage, the battery easily spanned over 4.50 hours and at idle it took around 7 hours before the battery ran out.
In performance mode, the battery can become a downside but is ideal for work usage. Its better if you keep the AC adapter connected while playing games or watching videos. The Core i5 3317U however does show a significant improvement over Sandy Bridge when it comes to power usage. The CPU performs exceptionally at the same amount of consumption rate.
The HP Envy 4-1035TX is a quality Ultrabook which delivers handful of performance to the user. However all the extra performance comes at the cost of extra weight and size which may get rid of the Ultrabook feel and make it look more like a everyday laptop.
The HP Envy 4 comes with limited amount of accessories and a non-backlit keyboard, not to mention the difficulty it took while handling the trackpad. Overall, the feel and design of the HP Envy 4 would be a downside for users but for performance hungry customers, the HP Envy 4 delivers amazing performance with the 3rd Generation Core series and AMD Radeon Mobility GPU solution.
Once again, we thank Intel Pakistan for giving us the opportunity to review the HP ENVY 4-1035TX Ultrabook!