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HP Discover 2014 | HP Envy m6 2014 Hands-On

We go hands-on at this year's HP Discover in Las Vegas with HP's premium consumer notebook featuring a Haswell CPU, GeForce GTX 850M GPU, and the manufacturer's new "Control Zone" touchpad.

The new Envy m6 ditches the optical drive for a thinner and sleeker look than one would expect from a 15.6-inch notebook. Two display options are planned: a 1366 x 768 base resolution and a 1920 x 1080 FHD display. A touchscreen option will also add about 400 grams to the base 2.2 kg model. In terms of chassis material, HP had told us that the m6 will use a combination of aluminum for the top shell, plastic for the inner surfaces and underside, and a glass fiber composite for the rest of the lid. With that said, the surfaces felt like plastic to the touch during our hands-on time with the model.

The heart of the Envy m6 lies a Haswell-based dual-core Core i5 or quad-core i7 depending on configuration. The model on show uses the higher-end i7-4712HQ (2.3 to 3.3 GHz, 37 W TDP) with integrated HD 4600 graphics. A quick CineBench 15 test resulted in 596 points, which is very similar to the Core i7-4702HQ. HP is planning an AMD version of the Envy m6 as well, though the APU will likely be based on the Richland series rather than the newer Kaveri series.

If the integrated Intel GPU is not enough, users can opt-in for an Nvidia GTX 850M dedicated GPU. Interestingly, the model on show is a variant with 4 GB DDR3 RAM, which is twice the RAM of a standard GTX 850M. A quick CineBench 15 OpenGL run returned 82.1 points, which brings it a bit closer to existing GTX 850M models that feature faster GDDR5 VRAM.

A special feature is the new Control Zone touchpad. The touchpad reserves two dedicated peripheral areas for Windows 8 functionality (see video), though the pre-preduction model on show had a somewhat uneven feel to the touchpad during use. The keyboard warps a bit easily as well and offers just one brightness level as of this stage in development.

Moving to the bottom of the unit, the notebook features a friendly maintenance hatch helpfully labeled with memory, HDD, and wireless icons. Of particular note is that the test model houses an Intel AC 3160, which suggests 802.11ac compatibility upon release. Physical connectivity features include four USB ports and Gigabit Ethernet, but only a single video-out port in the form of HDMI. As expected from HP multimedia models, the stereo speakers and subwoofer (2.1) are provided by Beats Audio.

In terms of price, HP tells us that the Envy m6 will start at $899 USD and likely for the same nominal figure in Europe.

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Klaus Hinum/ Allen Ngo, 2014-06-12 (Update: 2021-05-18)