Notebookcheck

HP Envy 17-k104ng Notebook Review

Sebastian Jentsch, Tanja Hinum (translated by Andreas Osthoff), 11/11/2014

Working class hero? HP advertises its new Envy as the epitome of efficiency. Is this because of the SSD-HDD combination? Because of the GTX GeForce? Or the good sound? We check if work and gaming harmonize well.

HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): Sleek all-rounder with gaming capabilities?
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): Sleek all-rounder with gaming capabilities?

For the original German review, see here.

The Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA) is currently the top configuration of HP's desktop replacement. More than 1 TB HDD + 256 GB SSDCore i7-4510UGeForce GTX 850M and matte HD is currently not possible in the luxury series for consumers. Are we getting all the desirable components in a sophisticated chassis that are essential for a high-quality all-rounder for leisure and work? How does the manufacturer handle the topic display quality? The predecessor HP Envy 17-j110eg Leap Motion disappointed with its blue cast.

There are many competitors for 1200 Euros (~$1492), which have more powerful graphics solutions that attract gamers, but the GPU is just one aspect. The Asus N750JK and Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro with a GeForce GTX 850M and GTX 860M, respectively, have a much better overall rating. We will use these two in particular for a comparison with our review unit. 

If you are looking for other alternatives, you will find the less expensive MSI GE70 Apache (GTX 850M, starting at 900 Euros, ~$1119), but there is a reason for the low rating of 78%. Slightly more expensive is a gaming device like the Asus G750JM (GTX 860M) (86%). We will use the following devices for the performance comparisons.

Case

Solid base unit but wobbly lid
Solid base unit but wobbly lid

HP uses a plastic chassis with a sturdy construction. The base unit is covered by a painted aluminum plate, which means the user can rest their hands on a sophisticated and cool material that also gives the device a high stability. Neither the keys, the speakers above the keyboard nor the palm rest can be dented, the surfaces are hard. This continues at the bottom; not even the critical area below the optical drive can be pushed in.

The situation changes at the display cover, which can be easily twisted at the corners (creaking sounds) and you can push the lid in at the center. Still, the whole construction seems to be sufficiently sturdy thanks to the rigid connection of the hinges with the base unit as well as the thick display frame and leaves a solid and durable impression.

Connectivity

HP locates most of the ports on the left side, but, unfortunately, very far at the front. A thick HDMI cable or USB connector could create an unnecessary mess on the desk. The back could have been used for some ports as well since the hinges are located very high, but this position is still occupied by the replaceable battery.

The webcam above the panel, unfortunately, only takes very bad pictures that are not even sufficient for snapshots. Colors are unnatural, surfaces washed out and objects are poorly focused. The strong picture noise, both with natural and artificial light, even prevents usable pictures for small ads.

Right side: combined audio, USB 3.0, optical drive DVD+/-RW DL
Right side: combined audio, USB 3.0, optical drive DVD+/-RW DL
Left side: power adaptor, Kensington, RJ45, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, SD/MMC card reader
Left side: power adaptor, Kensington, RJ45, HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, SD/MMC card reader
Quick-start guide (poster) and RMA contact
Quick-start guide (poster) and RMA contact
Simple Pass / Fingerprint Manager
Simple Pass / Fingerprint Manager

Communication

RealTek (RTL8168/8111 Gigabit LAN) and Intel (Wireless-AC 3160) ensure wired and wireless network connections. The latter also supports Miracast-compatible Bluetooth 4.0. The Intel module worked reliably during our review; we got a signal with a short distance (15 meters, outside the building, 3 bars) and also with a distance of 45 meters (1-2 bars). However, the performance was noticeably reduced when we loaded notebookcheck.com at this distance.

 

Security 

HP installs Windows 8.1 64-bit (including recovery partition), which is customized with some tools for media consumption at home. These tools include Adobe Shockwave Player, BeatsAudio (sound enhancement), CyberLink MediaEspresso and Media Suite, respectively, Evernote as well as Foxit PhantomPDF Express. The latter is still a relatively unknown PDF creator solution. The Express version is an advertisement for the more comprehensive standard package. The recovery manager has information about the recovery partition and helps you creating a recovery DVD. 

Accessories

The Envy 17 only comes with the 455-gram 90-Watt power adaptor. The accessories area in the HP store has wireless speakers, mice and bags, but only the latter are specifically designed for the Envy 17.

Maintenance

Inexperienced users cannot open the Envy, only the battery can easily be replaced. Expansions are not really an option for the top configuration of our review unit (16 GB RAM, both slots occupied), but it is still unfortunate that you cannot even clean the fan without disassembling the base unit.

Warranty

HP grants a manufacturer's warranty of 24 months (collect, repair, return). HP offers the so-called Care Packs, a collect and return service for notebooks (3 years) is available for around 120 Euros (~$149). The Care Pack is comparatively expensive, but it can be purchased during the whole standard warranty period, even if the warranty has almost expired. Most warranty extensions from other manufacturers have to be purchased within the first three months after you bought the notebook.

Webcam 1280x720 - Picture on a cloudy day
Webcam 1280x720 - Picture on a cloudy day
Pale and inaccurate colors
Pale and inaccurate colors
A lot of picture noise, here with artificial light
A lot of picture noise, here with artificial light

Input Devices

Keyboard

You can type quickly and precisely on the keys of the Envy 17, but it is, unfortunately, not a very convenient experience. The weak feedback of the keys prevents a certain fun factor, the travel is too short, so you cannot really benefit from the firm pressure point. If you are, however, looking for a quiet keyboard, which has no problems with bouncing, works almost silently and has a conveniently matte surface, then you will like the input. Furthermore, there is a big numeric keypad and sufficient spacing between the keys. The keys have no conical curvature, but they are completely flat.  

Touchpad

HP Control Zone is the patented ClickPad, which is already familiar from the smaller sibling HP Envy 15-k010ng and attracts attention with its unusual width and the two roughened peripheral areas. There are no dedicated mechanical buttons, but a completely smooth center area in return. This center area is actually the ClickPad. The slightly brighter and blunter peripheral areas are supposed to simplify the typical swipe gestures from Windows 8. This actually helped to reduce accidental triggers of gestures compared to conventional touchpads. Precision and response don't cause any criticism.

We sometimes had problems executing a right click in practice. If the finger is too close to the right peripheral area, the Charms menu appears unintentionally. We also would have liked a smoother travel and pressure point of the pad. However, you get a clear haptic feedback. The ClickPad is not completely sensitive up into the peripheral areas and recognizes gestures with up to four fingers.

Keys: Sufficient space but imprecise pressure point
Keys: Sufficient space but imprecise pressure point
ClickPad: Control Zone is here,...
ClickPad: Control Zone is here,...
...the left mouse button here.
...the left mouse button here.
The areas don't have a haptic separation.
The areas don't have a haptic separation.

Display

The anti-reflective LG display (type LGD03FB) has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels on the 17.3-inch panel, which results in a pixel density of 127 ppi. HP does not use an IPS panel but uses a TN panel. It seems that 17-inch IPS panels are very rare since the rivals Asus N750JK and MSI GE70-2PCi785 use TN panels as well, and not the reference in regard to viewing-angle stability (IPS). Acer does a better job with the Aspire V 17 Nitro, though the display still cannot take the lead in the overall display comparison (see chart).

The brightness is pretty good with 280 cd/m², but it is not better than the average result of the rivals. The GE70 even manages 341 cd/m². The situation is similar for the contrast; 673:1 is worse than the N750 or GE70. The gaming device Aspire V17 has a slightly lower contrast, despite its IPS panel.

285
cd/m²
284
cd/m²
280
cd/m²
285
cd/m²
303
cd/m²
286
cd/m²
264
cd/m²
267
cd/m²
262
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 303 cd/m² Average: 279.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 86 %
Center on Battery: 303 cd/m²
Contrast: 673:1 (Black: 0.45 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 11.48 | 0.6-29.43 Ø6.1
ΔE Greyscale 13.28 | 0.64-98 Ø6.3
64% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 3D)
Gamma: 2.53
HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
Asus N750JK-T4042H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
MSI GE70-2PCi785
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Screen
23%
7%
18%
Brightness middle
303
275
-9%
330
9%
341
13%
Brightness
280
251
-10%
317
13%
325
16%
Brightness Distribution
86
81
-6%
92
7%
83
-3%
Black Level *
0.45
0.31
31%
0.59
-31%
0.28
38%
Contrast
673
887
32%
559
-17%
1218
81%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
11.48
4.77
58%
7.19
37%
11.16
3%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
13.28
4.77
64%
7.27
45%
11.26
15%
Gamma
2.53 87%
2.3 96%
2.54 87%
2.47 89%
CCT
21312 30%
7644 85%
7962 82%
14442 45%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
64
59
-8%
54
-16%

* ... smaller is better

Color space AdobeRGB 64% coverage
Color space AdobeRGB 64% coverage
Color space sRGB 85% coverage
Color space sRGB 85% coverage

The color space is important if you want to use the Envy 17 with professional tools like Adobe Lightroom, Quark XPress or InDesign. For this scenario, the TFT should ideally cover AdobeRGB or at least sRGB. However, except for some high-end workstations, laptops usually never manage these goals. This is also the case for the Envy 17 and its rivals as you can see in the table above (row Color Space...). sRGB is covered by 85%, which is superior to many other panels, but it doesn't cover 100 %.

We analyzed the display with a photospectrometer before calibration and determined high DeltaE deviations; ColorChecker shows a DeltaE of almost 12. The N750JV and Aspire V17 manage better results with values of five up to seven; however, the human eye can still see the difference between real colors and the colors on the display. The grayscale performance shows a high DeltaE for the Envy 17 as well and the situation is once again better for the Asus and the Acer. Unfortunately, we can also see the usual blue cast that many panels suffer from, independent of the price class. The N750 only has a slight blue cast.

CalMAN Grayscale: Strong blue cast
CalMAN Grayscale: Strong blue cast
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps: Noticeable color deviations
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps: Noticeable color deviations
CalMAN ColorChecker: High DeltaE
CalMAN ColorChecker: High DeltaE

Planning a trip outdoors? This is actually possible with the Envy 17, at least if you don't mind the weight. The matte panel has no problems with reflections and the brightness is not reduced on battery power (303 cd/m² at the center) when you deactivate the energy-saving feature of the Intel Graphics driver. The Envy 17 does not have a brightness sensor.

Outdoors @303 cd/m² (center)
Outdoors @303 cd/m² (center)
Good visibility on a cloudy day
Good visibility on a cloudy day
But not from above (TN)
But not from above (TN)

The Envy 17 cannot keep up with the Aspire V17 Nitro and its IPS display when we look at the viewing-angle stability. Picture inversions quickly appear with vertical shifts. The situation is better with horizontal shifts but the contrast will be reduced as soon as the angle is bigger than 140 degrees.

Viewing angles HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
Viewing angles HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)

Performance

With a Core i7, a 256 GB SSD (ADATA) besides the 1 TB hard drive (WDC), GeForce GTX 850M and 16 GB memory, the Envy 17 is equipped for all scenarios. The professional use, for example, as a workstation, is handicapped by the TN display (small viewing angles) but also by the low-voltage processor. If you are looking for a powerful laptop for your business, then you are not looking for a price-performance compromise, but usually just for the most powerful processor.

System info: CPU-Z CPU
System info: CPU-Z Cache
System info: CPU-Z Motherboard
System info: CPU-Z Memory
System info: CPU-Z SPD
System info: GPU-Z 850M
System info: GPU-Z HD Graphics 4600
System information HP Envy 17-k104ng

Processor

With the Intel Core i7-4510U (2 GHz), the Envy becomes a very frugal device. While previous Envy 17 devices used standard-voltage mobile CPUs with 45 or 47 Watts, respectively (predecessor: Core i7-4702MQ 2.2 GHz), the new version has a 15 Watts TDP. This is not necessarily combined with a huge performance deficit as we already saw with many low-voltage Core i7 chips. However, performance enthusiasts will be disappointed since such a bulky 17-inch chassis has sufficient space for the cooling of a 45-Watt processor. So we checked the performance of the 4510U and the behavior of the Turbo Boost.

In theory, the variable clock fluctuates between 2.0 and 3.1 GHz under single-thread and multi-thread load. This is also the case under load, the Turbo headroom is utilized perfectly, and a thermal throttling would have been really disappointing in this chassis. Prime95 (Multi-test) starts the calculations with 2.5 up to 2.6 GHz before it levels off to a constant 2.3 GHz after a couple of minutes.

Intel Core i7-4510U - Low-voltage setup in a 17-inch device
Intel Core i7-4510U - Low-voltage setup in a 17-inch device
Cinebench R15 Single CPU@2.8-3.1GHz
Cinebench R15 Single [email protected]
Cinebench R15 Multi CPU@2.4 GHz constant
Cinebench R15 Multi [email protected] GHz constant
Prime95 Multi CPU@2.5-2.6 GHz
Prime95 Multi [email protected] GHz
Cinebench R15
CPU Single 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
120 Points ∼55%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
106 Points ∼49% -12%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
126 Points ∼58% +5%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
122 Points ∼56% +2%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
135 Points ∼62% +13%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
132 Points ∼61% +10%
Gigabyte P27G v2
123 Points ∼56% +3%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
131 Points ∼60% +9%
CPU Multi 64Bit (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
226 Points ∼5%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
464 Points ∼11% +105%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
660 Points ∼15% +192%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
579 Points ∼13% +156%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
649 Points ∼15% +187%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
642 Points ∼15% +184%
Gigabyte P27G v2
599 Points ∼14% +165%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
642 Points ∼15% +184%

Legend

 
HP Envy 17-k104ng Intel Core i7-4510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
 
Asus N750JK-T4042H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk Intel Core i7-4702MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Kingston RBU-SMS10053128GA
 
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795 Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, SanDisk X110 SD6SF1M128G
 
Asus G750JM-T4014H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, HGST Travelstar 5K1500 HTS541515A9E630
 
Gigabyte P27G v2 Intel Core i7-4710MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
 
MSI GE70-2PCi785 Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Cinebench R10 Shading 32Bit
6518
Cinebench R10 Rendering Multiple CPUs 32Bit
8243
Cinebench R10 Rendering Single 32Bit
4523
Cinebench R11.5 OpenGL 64Bit
48.52 fps
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Multi 64Bit
2.65 Points
Cinebench R11.5 CPU Single 64Bit
1.35 Points
Cinebench R15 Ref. Match 64Bit
99.6 %
Cinebench R15 OpenGL 64Bit
71.93 fps
Cinebench R15 CPU Multi 64Bit
226 Points
Cinebench R15 CPU Single 64Bit
120 Points
Help

System Performance

The SSD-i7 combination does not result in an impressive application performance in the PCMark tests. The result is average within our 17-inch comparison, where the other devices sometimes only have a single hard drive. The Asus N750JK (only HDD) is 10% ahead in PCMark Home, which can only be caused by the faster processor since both laptops use the same GPU. The same applies for the V17 Nitro (SSD), which cannot overtake the N750JK despite the GTX 860M.

The older PCMark 7 does not show such a consistent picture; the Envy 17 manages a lead in the Productivity and System Storage tests. Those two ratings really benefit from a fast SSD, so HDD notebooks (N750) clearly fall behind. But is the ADATA SSD really that fast?

PCMark 8 - Home Score Accelerated v2 (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
3144 Points ∼52%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
3827 Points ∼63% +22%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
3620 Points ∼59% +15%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
3474 Points ∼57% +10%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
3223 Points ∼53% +3%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
3509 Points ∼58% +12%
Gigabyte P27G v2
3393 Points ∼56% +8%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
3217 Points ∼53% +2%
PCMark 7
System Storage (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
5009 Points ∼70%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
1481 Points ∼21% -70%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5209 Points ∼73% +4%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
1751 Points ∼25% -65%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
1426 Points ∼20% -72%
Computation (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
15127 Points ∼53%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
21541 Points ∼76% +42%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
19480 Points ∼69% +29%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
17534 Points ∼62% +16%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
15098 Points ∼53% 0%
Entertainment (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
3572 Points ∼33%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
6338 Points ∼59% +77%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
4375 Points ∼41% +22%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
3611 Points ∼34% +1%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
3112 Points ∼29% -13%
Productivity (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
3974 Points ∼36%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
1707 Points ∼16% -57%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
5122 Points ∼47% +29%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
2179 Points ∼20% -45%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
1855 Points ∼17% -53%

Legend

 
HP Envy 17-k104ng Intel Core i7-4510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
 
Asus N750JK-T4042H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk Intel Core i7-4702MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Kingston RBU-SMS10053128GA
 
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795 Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, SanDisk X110 SD6SF1M128G
 
Asus G750JM-T4014H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, HGST Travelstar 5K1500 HTS541515A9E630
 
Gigabyte P27G v2 Intel Core i7-4710MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
 
MSI GE70-2PCi785 Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
PCMark 7 Score
4854 points
PCMark 8 Home Score Accelerated v2
3144 points
Help

Storage Devices

The ADATA-M.2-SSD (AXNS381E-256GM-B, 256 GB) is actually not that fast within the comparison and can only beat the SanDisk SSD. The N750 with the HDD is obviously far behind. All in all, the read and write scores are around 20% behind the best rivals from Acer and Asus.

HP Envy 17-k104ng
ADATA SSD
Gigabyte P27G v2
Seagate HDD
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
Kingston SSD
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
WDC HDD
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
SanDisk SSD
Asus N750JK-T4042H
HGST HDD
AS SSD
21%
19%
3%
-31%
-98%
Score Write
283
317
12%
299
6%
241
-15%
188
-34%
10
-96%
Score Read
290
374
29%
283
-2%
281
-3%
162
-44%
10
-97%
4K Write
62.31
77.36
24%
81.47
31%
66.8
7%
49
-21%
0.29
-100%
4K Read
26.6
31.36
18%
37.25
40%
32.47
22%
20
-25%
0.41
-98%
ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
Sequential Read: 484.6 MB/s
Sequential Write: 280.6 MB/s
512K Read: 352.4 MB/s
512K Write: 281.8 MB/s
4K Read: 29.19 MB/s
4K Write: 73.46 MB/s
4K QD32 Read: 232.1 MB/s
4K QD32 Write: 226.1 MB/s

Graphics

Cinebench R15 OpenGL GPU@1084/900 MHz (core/memory)
Cinebench R15 OpenGL [email protected]/900 MHz (core/memory)
Battery: R15 OpenGL GPU@1084/900 MHz
Battery: R15 OpenGL [email protected]/900 MHz

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M is an upper mainstream graphics card, in this case supported by 4 GB DDR3 video memory. The variable core clock can reach up to 1084 MHz under load (Turbo) and that applies on battery power as well. As usual, the Optimus configuration works with the HD Graphics 4400. We had massive problems with the preinstalled ForceWare driver 333.11; some games couldn't be launched at all and some games only ran with the performance of the Intel HD Graphics. The update to ForceWare 344.11 improved the situation instantly.

The 3DMark tests show that the review unit is 3 up to 10 % slower than the Asus N750 or Aspire V3-772G with the identical GTX 850M. The problem is the lower CPU performance, which is clearly visible in the Fire Strike Standard Physics score, where the rivals are at least twice as fast.

3DMark
1920x1080 Fire Strike Combined (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
948 Points ∼8%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
1029 Points ∼8% +9%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
1537 Points ∼13% +62%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
1425 Points ∼12% +50%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
1058 Points ∼9% +12%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
1653 Points ∼13% +74%
Gigabyte P27G v2
1564 Points ∼13% +65%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
1468 Points ∼12% +55%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Physics (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
4057 Points ∼15%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
8811 Points ∼33% +117%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
9173 Points ∼34% +126%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
8073 Points ∼30% +99%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
9252 Points ∼34% +128%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
8923 Points ∼33% +120%
Gigabyte P27G v2
8299 Points ∼31% +105%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
8817 Points ∼33% +117%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Graphics (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
2932 Points ∼7%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
3034 Points ∼7% +3%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
3870 Points ∼10% +32%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
3447 Points ∼8% +18%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
3056 Points ∼8% +4%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
4199 Points ∼10% +43%
Gigabyte P27G v2
3928 Points ∼10% +34%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
3596 Points ∼9% +23%
1920x1080 Fire Strike Score (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
2510 Points ∼9%
Asus N750JK-T4042H
2766 Points ∼10% +10%
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
3633 Points ∼14% +45%
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk
3264 Points ∼12% +30%
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795
2807 Points ∼10% +12%
Asus G750JM-T4014H
3907 Points ∼15% +56%
Gigabyte P27G v2
3663 Points ∼14% +46%
MSI GE70-2PCi785
3404 Points ∼13% +36%

Legend

 
HP Envy 17-k104ng Intel Core i7-4510U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
 
Asus N750JK-T4042H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
 
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
 
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk Intel Core i7-4702MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Kingston RBU-SMS10053128GA
 
Medion Erazer X7613-MD98795 Intel Core i7-4710HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, SanDisk X110 SD6SF1M128G
 
Asus G750JM-T4014H Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, HGST Travelstar 5K1500 HTS541515A9E630
 
Gigabyte P27G v2 Intel Core i7-4710MQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M, Liteonit LMT-128M6M
 
MSI GE70-2PCi785 Intel Core i7-4700HQ, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
3DMark 06 Standard
14494 points
3DMark Ice Storm Standard Score
42871 points
3DMark Cloud Gate Standard Score
8392 points
3DMark Fire Strike Score
2510 points
Help

Gaming Performance

The gaming performance is sufficient for high details, even in Full HD. However, the frame rate will suffer in very complex titles like Shadow of Mordor or Thief. The Schenker M504 or the N550JK with the same GPU (DDR3) but with a standard voltage Core i5 show: The best gaming experience obviously still requires a standard-voltage configuration.

Dead Space 3 - 1920x1080 Very High Preset (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
48 fps ∼19%
Asus N550JK-CN109H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4200H, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
67.7 fps ∼27% +41%
Sims 4 - 1920x1080 Ultra Preset (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
38.4 fps ∼24%
Schenker M504
GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
47.8 (min: 33) fps ∼30% +24%
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor - 1920x1080 High Preset (sort by value)
HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
23.8 fps ∼13%
Schenker M504
GeForce GTX 850M, 4340M
23.5 (min: 15) fps ∼13% -1%
low med. high ultra
Dead Space 3 (2013) 988248fps
Sims 4 (2014) 84.540.738.4fps
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) 46.223.818.15fps

Emissions

System Noise

The system noise leaves a mixed impression. The Envy 17 is very quiet when idling, even though it is not completely silent. But it isn't the HDD with its murmur that always creates 31.1 dB(A), it is actually the continuously running system fan. The HDD also produces a subtle and audible clattering, but that is not really annoying. The situation changes under load with our stress test, we hardly measure up to 52 dB(A) from a notebook. Except for the MSI GE70, all the rivals are quieter: The N750JK and V 17 Nitro only reach up to 41 and 44 dB(A), respectively, under high load.

HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
Asus N750JK-T4042H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
MSI GE70-2PCi785
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Noise
7%
7%
-6%
off / environment *
Idle Minimum *
31.1
31.5
-1%
29.9
4%
34.4
-11%
Idle Average *
31.1
31.5
-1%
30.7
1%
34.8
-12%
Idle Maximum *
31.1
34.8
-12%
32.1
-3%
36.4
-17%
Load Average *
46.3
34.8
25%
38.1
18%
45.8
1%
Load Maximum *
52.3
40.9
22%
43.6
17%
48.2
8%

* ... smaller is better

Noise Level

Idle
31.1 / 31.1 / 31.1 dB(A)
HDD
33.2 dB(A)
DVD
36 / dB(A)
Load
46.3 / 52.3 dB(A)
  red to green bar
 
 
30 dB
silent
40 dB(A)
audible
50 dB(A)
loud
 
min: dark, med: mid, max: light   Voltcraft sl-320 (15 cm distance)

Temperature

Stress test Prime95+Furmark CPU@2.1-2.2 GHz 78 °C
Stress test Prime95+Furmark [email protected] GHz 78 °C
Stress test HP Cool Sense off CPU@2.1 GHz constant 83 °C
Stress test HP Cool Sense off [email protected] GHz constant 83 °C

The temperature development, however, shows the advantage of the low-voltage setup: While the Envy 17 only reaches up to 41 °C on the top during our stress test, the rivals reach 46 up to 53 °C. The palm rest, fortunately, stays pretty cool.

The stress test reveals a weak Turbo utilization, even though it never drops below 2 GHz. With a CPU temperature of 78 °C, the clock only fluctuates between 2.1 and 2.2 GHz after 30 minutes with our stress test. We tried to deactivate the fan control HP Cool Sense, but that did not really have an effect on the results.

HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
Asus N750JK-T4042H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
MSI GE70-2PCi785
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Heat
-4%
-21%
-18%
Maximum Upper Side *
40.7
46.1
-13%
53.3
-31%
47.6
-17%
Maximum Bottom *
39.6
44.2
-12%
55.1
-39%
57.7
-46%
Idle Upper Side *
28
26.8
4%
30
-7%
29.3
-5%
Idle Bottom *
28.1
26.6
5%
30.1
-7%
28.7
-2%

* ... smaller is better

Max. Load
 34.3 °C
94 F
31 °C
88 F
25 °C
77 F
 
 29.3 °C
85 F
40.7 °C
105 F
24.4 °C
76 F
 
 32.7 °C
91 F
32.6 °C
91 F
25.7 °C
78 F
 
Maximum: 40.7 °C = 105 F
Average: 30.6 °C = 87 F
25.5 °C
78 F
30.2 °C
86 F
39.6 °C
103 F
25.7 °C
78 F
27.6 °C
82 F
37.5 °C
100 F
26.7 °C
80 F
26.3 °C
79 F
34.9 °C
95 F
Maximum: 39.6 °C = 103 F
Average: 30.4 °C = 87 F
Power Supply (max.)  52.8 °C = 127 F | Room Temperature 23.2 °C = 74 F | Voltcraft IR-360
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.6 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 30.9 °C / 88 F for the devices in the class Multimedia.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 40.7 °C / 105 F, compared to the average of 36.5 °C / 98 F, ranging from 21.1 to 71 °C for the class Multimedia.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 39.6 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 38.8 °C / 102 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.6 °C / 78 F, compared to the device average of 30.9 °C / 88 F.
(+) The palmrests and touchpad are reaching skin temperature as a maximum (32.7 °C / 90.9 F) and are therefore not hot.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 29.1 °C / 84.4 F (-3.6 °C / -6.5 F).

Speakers

The speakers are behind the perforated grille above the keyboard. The sound produces nice medium and high tones, but a powerful bass is completely missing. The device does not have a subwoofer. The maximum volume is pretty high and the speakers don't have problems with distortions. Beats Audio can actually improve the sound with some presets, for example for music, audio and 3D movies. External speakers can only be attached via combined stereo jack. The integrated stereo microphones next to the webcam record without any signal noise (no murmur from the HDD), but the recording sounds a bit thin and slightly tinny.

Energy Management

Weak: The 90-Watt power adaptor is just sufficient for the consumption.
Weak: The 90-Watt power adaptor is just sufficient for the consumption.

Power Consumption

The Envy 17 pulls up to 84 Watts from the socket during the stress test, but there are drops to 78 Watts periodically. Load by games results in up to 66 Watts, and the device only consumes 35 Watts when you just stress the CPU because of its low-voltage concept. This means the Envy 17 is much more frugal under load than all the rivals, which consume between 84 up to 130 Watts. However, the Envy 17 shouldn't consume more anyway since the 90-Watt power adaptor has to be sufficient. By the way, the latter needs 2:12 hours to charge a completely empty battery while the device is idling.

HP Envy 17-k104ng
GeForce GTX 850M, 4510U, ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B
Asus N750JK-T4042H
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Seagate Momentus SpinPoint M8 ST1000LM024 HN-M101MBB
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)
GeForce GTX 860M, 4710HQ, Kingston RBU-SNS8100S3128GD
MSI GE70-2PCi785
GeForce GTX 850M, 4700HQ, Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD5000LPVX
Power Consumption
-10%
-12%
-46%
Idle Minimum *
6.9
6.5
6%
5.4
22%
10.6
-54%
Idle Average *
13.6
12.4
9%
12.6
7%
17.5
-29%
Idle Maximum *
16.7
15.5
7%
18.3
-10%
28.3
-69%
Load Average *
66.5
85.9
-29%
84.2
-27%
90
-35%
Load Maximum *
83.6
118.6
-42%
127.6
-53%
121.6
-45%

* ... smaller is better

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.3 / 0.7 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 6.9 / 13.6 / 16.7 Watt
Load midlight 66.5 / 83.6 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Voltcraft VC 960

Battery Runtime

Lithium-polymer battery, 41 Wh, 4 cells, 2620 mAh
Lithium-polymer battery, 41 Wh, 4 cells, 2620 mAh

The 41 Wh lithium-polymer battery is a weak spot of the 17-inch notebook, at least if the user occasionally requires mobility. The Envy 17 manages almost three hours in our WLAN test, where the device runs a script that simulates web browsing at an adjusted brightness of 132 cd/m² (dim by 2 steps, closest to 150 cd/m²). The competition is much better and the large batteries can easily compensate for the disadvantage of standard voltage CPUs. Only the GE70 with its 49 Wh module falls behind.

HP Envy 17-k104ngAsus N750JK-T4042HAcer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q)MSI GE70-2PCi785
Battery Runtime
60%
42%
-14%
Reader / Idle
329
453
38%
522
59%
271
-18%
WiFi
176
321
82%
220
25%
160
-9%
Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
5h 29min
WiFi Surfing
2h 56min
Load (maximum brightness)
1h 16min

Verdict

HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)

HP updates its premium laptop Envy 17 with a low-voltage processor, SSD-HDD combination and the current GeForce GTX 850M. The result is a nice, well constructed DTR with good speakers and a usable matte Full HD panel. Performance enthusiasts looking for the last bit of performance, however, won't be very happy with the Core i7-4510U; the competition with standard-voltage Haswell CPUs is superior, even though the advantage is sometimes very small.

The frugal hardware is an advantage for the user that wants to work with the device: The Envy 17 is conveniently quiet when idling and with light workloads, the power consumption is very low and the surface temperatures are very low as well. The keyboard, however, suffers from a limited travel and is not very convenient for extensive typing sessions. Even less ideal is the maintainability since you can only remove the battery but nothing else.

If you are looking for the best performance, then you will be better off with the Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q); here you get a faster GeForce GTX 860M, a standard i7-CPU and also an SSD for 1200 Euros (~$1492). Furthermore, you get an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, which is rare for a 17-inch device. If you want a better sound and a more sophisticated chassis, then you should get the Asus N750JK-T4042H (GeForce GTX 850M, 1200 Euros, ~$1492). The quality of the matte Full HD panel is on a level with the Envy 17, but the color accuracy is higher. Drawback: Asus does not use an SSD, but a 1.5 TB hard drive with a 24 GB SSD cache in the configuration N750JK-T4138H (1300 Euros, ~$1618).

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In review: HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA). Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de
In review: HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA). Test model courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de

Specifications

HP Envy 17-k104ng (Envy 17 Series)
Graphics adapter
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M - 4096 MB, Core: 1084 MHz, Memory: 900 MHz, DDR3, ForceWare 344.11, Optimus HD Graphics 4400
Memory
16384 MB 
, 2/2 Slots occupied, 2 x 8192 MB, Kingston PC3-12800
Display
17.3 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel, LGD03FB, TN, glossy: no
Mainboard
Intel Lynx Point-LP
Storage
ADATA AXNS381E-256GM-B, 256 GB 
, 256 GB M.2 SSD + WDC WD10JPVX-60JC3T0
Soundcard
Intel Lynx Point-LP - High Definition Audio Controller
Connections
3 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, Audio Connections: combined Line-out and microphone, Card Reader: SD, SDHC, SDXC, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Sensors: Accelerometer
Networking
Realtek RTL8168/8111 Gigabit-LAN (10/100/1000MBit), Intel Wireless-AC 3160 (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.0 (Miracast-kompatibel)
Optical drive
HP DVDRAM GU90N
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 29.8 x 419.5 x 279 ( = 1.17 x 16.52 x 10.98 in)
Battery
41 Wh Lithium-Polymer, 4 cells
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit
Camera
Webcam: 1280x720
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo + Subwoofer feat. Beats Audio, Keyboard: Chiclet, 90 Watts power adaptor, McAfee LiveSafe, Utility Center, Recovery Manager (Recovery partition, tool to create a recovery USB/flash drive), Adobe Shockwave Player, BeatsAudio, CyberLink MediaEspresso, CyberLink Media Suite, Evernote, Foxit PhantomPDF, 24 Months Warranty
Weight
2.954 kg ( = 104.2 oz / 6.51 pounds), Power Supply: 455 g ( = 16.05 oz / 1 pounds)
Price
1199 Euro

 

HP upgrades its notebook: After the last version of the Envy 17 was equipped with a GeForce GT 750M,...
HP upgrades its notebook: After the last version of the Envy 17 was equipped with a GeForce GT 750M,...
...the Envy 17-k104ng uses a GeForce GTX 850M.
...the Envy 17-k104ng uses a GeForce GTX 850M.
You still get a Full HD display, but the manufacturer once again uses a TN panel.
You still get a Full HD display, but the manufacturer once again uses a TN panel.
The chassis was modified,...
The chassis was modified,...
...and the aluminum-plastic construction is not even very heavy for a 17-inch device...
...and the aluminum-plastic construction is not even very heavy for a 17-inch device...
...with almost 3 kilograms.
...with almost 3 kilograms.
The rounded back that accommodates the hinges...
The rounded back that accommodates the hinges...
...is the biggest visual new feature.
...is the biggest visual new feature.
Maintenance is still not a very big topic.
Maintenance is still not a very big topic.
Only the battery can be replaced by the user.
Only the battery can be replaced by the user.
The base unit is sophisticated and has a good torsion resistance,...
The base unit is sophisticated and has a good torsion resistance,...
...but you can easily twist the creaking display cover.
...but you can easily twist the creaking display cover.
The keyboard has a short travel, is firm and it has a one-stage illumination.
The keyboard has a short travel, is firm and it has a one-stage illumination.
The Control-Zone ClickPad results in many input errors.
The Control-Zone ClickPad results in many input errors.
The 90-Watt power adaptor provides sufficient voltage.
The 90-Watt power adaptor provides sufficient voltage.
Usable contrast, good brightness, matte – but the viewing angles are, unfortunately, very limited.
Usable contrast, good brightness, matte – but the viewing angles are, unfortunately, very limited.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: 17.3-inches, 1920x1080, non-glare.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: 17.3-inches, 1920x1080, non-glare.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: The new chassis looks very functional.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: The new chassis looks very functional.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: Good gaming performance with the GeForce GTX 850M.
HP Envy 17-k104ng: Good gaming performance with the GeForce GTX 850M.
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA)
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): TN panel.
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): TN panel.
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): But not with the worst viewing angles.
HP Envy 17-k104ng (K1H57EA): But not with the worst viewing angles.

Similar Laptops

Devices from a different Manufacturer and/or with a different CPU

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Asus N751JK-T4144H Notebook Review
GeForce GTX 850M, Core i7 4710HQ

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HP Envy 15 Notebook Review
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Nexoc M514 (Clevo WA50SJQ) Notebook Review
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Asus N551JK-CN166H Notebook Review
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First Impressions: Asus Zenbook NX500JK in Review
GeForce GTX 850M, Core i7 4712HQ, 15.6", 2.256 kg

Links

Compare Prices

Pros

+Solid base unit
+Constant fan control
+Matte and bright TN panel
+Good sound
+Application performance
 

Cons

-Keyboard with short travel but usable
-Bad webcam
-Very loud under maximum load
-Weak color presentation
-No maintainability

Shortcut

What we like

The sophisticated and sturdy work environment. The matte panel with reasonable viewing angles.

What we'd like to see

A keyboard with good feedback, preferably a mechanical one. This would result in a good DTR for work. Why is there no maintenance cover? 

What surprises us

That more and more 15-Watt CPUs are being used for high-end devices, even though the cooling and the chassis would easily accommodate standard-voltage CPUs.

The competition

Recommendable:

Asus N750JK-T4042H (GeForce GTX 850M, 1200 Euros, ~$1492)
Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro (VN7-791G-759Q) (GeForce GTX 860M, 1200 Euros, ~$1492)

More expensive or worse ratings, respectively:
Acer Aspire V3-772G-747a8G1.12TWakk (GeForce GTX 850M, 1200 Euros, ~$1492)
Medion Erazer X7613 (GeForce GTX 860M, 1100 Euros, ~$1368)
Asus G750JM-T4014H (GeForce GTX 860M, 1370 Euros, ~$1704)
Gigabyte P27G v2 (GeForce GTX 860M, 1230 Euros, ~$1529)

Less expensive:
MSI GE70 Apache (GTX 850M, starting at 900 Euros, ~$1119)

Rating

HP Envy 17-k104ng - 10/23/2014 v4(old)
Sebastian Jentsch

Chassis
66 / 98 → 67%
Keyboard
73%
Pointing Device
82%
Connectivity
61 / 81 → 75%
Weight
57 / 20-67 → 79%
Battery
78%
Display
81%
Games Performance
83 / 85 → 98%
Application Performance
82 / 92 → 89%
Temperature
91%
Noise
79 / 95 → 83%
Audio
81%
Camera
33 / 85 → 39%
Average
73%
79%
Multimedia - Weighted Average
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > HP Envy 17-k104ng Notebook Review
Sebastian Jentsch, 2014-11-11 (Update: 2018-05-15)
Andreas Osthoff
Andreas Osthoff - Senior Editor Business
I grew up with computers and modern consumer electronics. I am interested in the technology since I had my first computer, a Commodore C64, and started building my own PCs after that. My focus here at Notebookcheck is the business segment including mobile workstations, but I also like to test new mobile devices. It is always a great experience to review and compare new products. My free time is filled with a lot of sports, in the summer mainly on my bike.