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HP Envy 17t: A large multimedia laptop with a few small problems

The HP Envy 17t. Image via HP
The HP Envy 17t. Image via HP
Our recent review of the HP Envy 17t highlighted some great facets and some small quibbles. While we like the build quality and the beautiful 4K screen, a confusing keyboard omission and lackluster battery life left us wanting more.

The HP Envy 17t is laptop baked with one part excellence, one part disappointment.

The large 17.3-inch 4K screen is bright, covers most of the AdobeRGB color space (88%), and has excellent contrast. However, it's not the most color-accurate display; most colors are heavily saturated. Additionally, the large screen makes for a big and heavy laptop that some will find cumbersome.

For the most part, the Envy 17t is a capable laptop. Its Core i7-1065G7 Ice Lake CPU handles most CPU demanding tasks without much issue, and its Nvidia GeForce MX330 is capable of cranking out simple creative projects and powers through light or low-setting gaming. The build quality is excellent; the aluminum chassis looks great, and the machine's body is rigid throughout.

However, we found a handful of flaws with the device. Most glaring is the placement of the Envy 17t's fingerprint sensor. Instead of placing it on the side of the keyboard or in a corner of the keyboard deck, HP replaced the right Ctrl key with the touch fingerprint scanner. The scanner is quick and reliable, but the omission of that particular Ctrl key is a heavy price to pay. The number of Windows, browser, and software-specific hotkeys that rely on the right Ctrl key (e.g., Ctrl + Enter, Ctrl + N, Ctrl + P, etc.) makes its absence annoying. Instead, users will have to stretch their hands (or use two hands) to activate these functions.

Additionally, the machine's battery lasted a paltry 4.5 hours in our WiFi v1.3 battery test. While not a deal-breaker, this means users will have to lug the Envy 17t's power adapter along with the laptop for long days away, which adds to the already bulky package.

Lastly, the price is too high for the package on offer. Our configuration of the HP Envy 17t (Core i7-1065G7, Nvidia MX330, 4K non-touch display, 16 GB (1x16 GB) DDR4 RAM, 512 GB NVMe SSD) retails for US$1600. For that price, you can find a competent gaming laptop that will trump the Envy 17t in almost every way.

If you need a 17.3-inch 4K display, the HP Envy 17t isn't a bad option. Just be prepared to overpay for the package.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > HP Envy 17t: A large multimedia laptop with a few small problems
Sam Medley, 2020-06-17 (Update: 2020-06-17)