HP Envy 15 (2015) Review: Form A to Z

With streamlined design, a better hinge, and a smaller size, HP upgrades the Envy. Poor screen quality, a picky touchpad, and strange on-board technology, however, put it down.
The HP Envy 15 is listed under the “Performance Home” category on HP’s website. We examined the 15-ae001na model, which, as the name suggests, has a 15.6-inch widescreen. Because of the screen size, the base can accommodate a conventional number pad on the right side, reducing its portability.

The HP Envy 15 falls somewhere in the middle of being a low-cost workhorse for students, a very basic gaming laptop, and a business laptop. It is appropriate for families who require a versatile computer that can withstand some abuse and can play games, view DVDs, and browse the internet. That would work equally well for students who spend most of their time at home or in libraries working on research papers.

Although not having a touchscreen, it is equivalent to Levono’s most recent Thinkpad Yoga 15 office workhorse. However, HP’s decision to include four USB 3.0 ports, a DVD burner, and an ethernet port may persuade some customers, but it may also turn off those who value simplicity and think their presence is unnecessary. The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 is a touchscreen laptop that is smaller, less expensive, and ideal for students to consider.


Build-wise the HP Envy 15 can take the everyday knocks likely to be encountered when moving it from place-to-place. Its backlit keyboard lies slightly depressed within an aluminium frame with sleek and smooth contours.

You can avoid having to remember and punch in passwords by using the fingerprint reader in the bottom right corner of the band. It’s driven by HP’s SimplePass software which is surprisingly light and easy – you won’t notice it’s operating most of the time.

A DVD burner may be found on the right side of this model. With how much room they take up, having one of these in late 2015 seems weird. This feels like an outdated gadget because external drives are rather affordable these days and the majority of applications and music can be streamed or downloaded.

It might be useful for some users, such as employees who get information safely on CDs or households with a sizable DVD collection and spotty internet access. There’s another possibility, namely that it’s been put in there to appeal to elderly computer users hesitant to give up on the technology just yet.


Four Bang & Olufsen speakers with a sub woofer hidden somewhere are also housed in the base. This results in an on-board sound that is strong, good at the top end, and has some bass as well.

Because of its size, you won’t be throwing the HP Envy 15 into and out of bags or using it on your lap for extended amounts of time. This laptop is more suited for use at home and is not portable.

The touchpad caused me a few problems because it frequently started selecting things rather than just moving the mouse around the screen. Although it wasn’t always an issue, it was annoying when doing routine chores like browsing the web and writing this review.

Lack of screen Envy

A WLED full HD screen (1920 x 1080) with anti-glare was included with our review unit. Sadly, the screen is one of the worst qualities because, if not viewed directly, the colors become dark and nearly impossible to see. Since you can’t share it with others while watching DVDs or movies, the lack of a broad viewing angle slightly mitigates the requirement for a larger screen.

The display’s size is an advantage, but the colors are gaudy at high brightness; we advise choosing a model with an IPS screen instead. The 17.3-inch models already have that choice, and there are rumors of an IPS 15.6-inch model, although the HP website hasn’t yet made any mention of it.

The entire bundle feels a touch overpriced for the £649 ($999 over in the US, which is approximately AU$1370) asking price, but if you’re looking for a less expensive gaming-capable computer, you might be ready to invest the extra money.

While it won’t be able to run every new game on medium or low settings, HP has integrated a very quiet 1TB SSHD and GeForce 940M graphics solution. That’s fantastic for casual gamers who want to experiment rather than die-hard players who demand all the bells and whistles.


Here is the full spec sheet of the HP Envy configuration sent to TechRadar for review:

  • CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i5-5200U (dual-core, up to 2.7GHz with Turbo Boost)
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940M (2GB DDR3L RAM), Intel HD Graphics 5500
  • RAM: 8 GB DDR3L (1600MHz)
  • Screen: 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 FHD anti-glare WLED-backlit
  • Storage: 1TB 5400 rpm SATA SSHD (8GB flash cache)
  • Optical drive: SuperMulti DVD burner
  • Ports: 4 x USB 3.0 (1HP USB Boost), HDMI, Headphone/microphone combo, 1 RJ-45, Multi-format SD media card reader
  • Connectivity: Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 combo (Miracast compatible) and Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • Camera: HP TrueVision HD Webcam (front-facing) with integrated dual-array digital microphone
  • Weight: 2.35kg (5.2 pounds)
  • Size: 15.12 x 10.03 x 0.90-inches (W x D x H)


Here’s how the HP Envy 15-ae001na performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

  • 3DMark: Cloud Gate: 5276; Sky Diver: 4877; Fire Strike: 1360
  • PCMark 8 Home Test: 2072 points
  • PCMark 8 Battery Life: 3 hours 59 minutes
  • Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 11fps; (1080p, Low): 30fps
  • Metro: Last Light (1080p, Ultra): 5 fps (1080p, Low): 45 fps

The HP Envy 15-ae001na did as follows in our battery of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Fire Strike: 1360; Sky Diver: 4877; Cloud Gate: 5276
PCMark 8 Home Test score: 2072
Battery life on PCMark 8: 3 hours 59 minutes
Shadow of Mordor (1080p, Ultra): 11 frames per second; 1080p, Low): 30 frames per second.
1080p, Ultra: 5 fps; 1080p, Low: 45 fps; Metro: Last Light

Final verdict

This laptop is challenging to love because of the subpar screen and buggy touchpad. Further hurting the situation was its short battery life. Many customers will probably never utilize an Ethernet port or a DVD burner, so their inclusion in a 2015 laptop seems strange.

What’s pleasant, however, is the multitude of USB 3.0 connections, attractive keyboard and inclusion of an Nvidia GeForce 940M to speed up the graphics. Yet students would be best off setting aside a bit extra money for the HP Spectre x360 (plus it also has a touchscreen).

It appears that HP is unsure of its course with this one. This laptop offers above-average graphics that can play some recent games, but it also has a bad screen that lowers the quality of the entire graphical experience. In the end, the HP Envy 15 is a beast all-around that falls short in a few key areas.

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