The HP Envy 6t-1000 is a 15.6” size thin and light laptop that HP is calling an Ultrabook, though it may not quite fit some of the expectations you’d have for that Ultrabook nomenclature. At a weight of 4.75lbs it’s not exactly a MacBook Air, but then again it has a large 15” screen and is half the cost. With a thinness of 0.78” it does impress when compared with other 15” PC laptops that are usually more than 1.2” thick. What might impress you even more is the price of $749.99 that the Envy 6t starts at, but is the low price worth it or are there some major trade offs? Read on to find out!
The Envy 6t-1000 comes equipped with a low voltage Intel Core i3 or i5 processor, meanwhile the Envy 6z that HP also sells comes with an AMD processor and graphics. Other than the processor difference the Envy 6z and 6t are the same build, design and form factor. The Envy 6t under review has the following specs:
- Model: Envy 6t-1000
- Operating System: Windows Seven Home Premium 64 –bit
- CPU: Intel 1.6GHz Core i5-2467M
- Memory: 4GB DDR 1600MHz(16GB Max)
- Hard Drive: 500GB Hitachi 5K500 5400RPM Hard Drive, 32GB mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration
- Screen: 15.6” Matte HD (1366×768) TN LED LCD
- Graphics: Intel HD3000 Integrated Graphics
- Network: Broadcom 4313GN Wi-Fi Card and Realtek Ethernet Card
- Inputs: Backlit Keyboard and Touchpad with Mouse Buttons
- Buttons: Power Button
- Ports: Three USB – Two USB 3.0, One USB 2.0, HDMI, Headphone and Microphone Jacks
- Slots: Media Card Reader
- Battery: Four-Cell , up to 8 hours 15 minutes battery life
- Dimensions: 14.72 x 9.95 x 0.78 in
- Weight: 4.75 Pounds
- Warranty: One Year
- MSRP: $749
Design and Build
The Envy 6t has an all brush metal finish and is the same midnight black color as the popular Pavilion dv6t-7000 and dv7t-7000 series, there is also a natural silver color option that costs an extra $25. On the lid you’ll find an HP logo, it’s not backlit and just a badge. The metal finish of the Envy is attractive but it does tend to gather fingerprints more than you’d like so keeping a rag on hand is recommended. One cool design feature of the Envy 6t-1000 is the soft grip on the bottom that has a red color finish, it makes it easy to hold the laptop and looks great – only problem is no one will really see there!
The Envy 6t is slim for a 15.6” laptop which helps to make it look sleek compared to other notebooks. The weight of 4.75lbs is also significantly less than the average, though not as light as the MacBook Pro with Retina Display that weighs 4.5lbs. The laptop feels very solid and dense, likely because so many components have been crammed into the slim design. One downside to the fact the Envy 6t is an Ultrabook is that it’s almost impossible to upgrade, the bottom is tightly clipped down and messing with anything internally will void the warranty, that includes attempting to change the battery.
The case of the Envy 6t-1000 is all metal, which makes for an overall very rigid body that has little give to it when pushed. The lid closes down and is held in place using a latchless design, when closed the lid stays tightly down and when open there isn’t any wobble to the screen while typing. The overall build quality and design of this laptop is very good, especially given the price of $749 at which we’ve seen some pretty shoddily put together laptops. That’s not the case here.
Display and Audio
The Envy 6t comes with a 15.6” display with a resolution of 1366 x 768 and glossy finish. The display on the whole is pretty average, it does not match up to the higher resolution and better quality displays on the HP ENVY 15. The colors are good when viewed straight on and the glossy screen does help to make colors pop, but tilt the screen back and they will distort rather quickly, this is not an iPad like display that looks the same when viewed from any angle. It would be nice if HP offered a higher resolution matte screen display for the Envy 6t, but for those that aren’t picky then you’ll be perfectly happy with what you see here. Screen snobs should look elsewhere for a better option such as an HP ProBook.
The ENVY 6t-1000 comes equipped with Beats Edition audio which means you get two speakers and a subwoofer which provides a well above average listening experience for the Ultrabook category. The speakers are located at the top of the keyboard and angled toward the user, this is great as some Ultrabooks have speakers in odd locations such as on the bottom. This is still a laptop of course so it’s not going to be a theater like experience, to get better audio simply plugin in your headphones.
While the Envy 6t-1000 is available with an Intel Core i5 3rd generation processor, ours is just the 2nd generation from last year. For most people this will still offer enough performance. The specific model of the processor we have is the Core i5-2467m. The RAM is configured as 4GB, which is just about enough, the problem is that if you decide you need more down the road there’s no ability to upgrade, so get as much as you need at the time of purchase (up to 8GB). You can get up a 500GB HD that spins at 5400RPM, which is fairly slow, but the bonus is that you can get a 32GB mini-SSD (mSSD) that uses Intel’s Smart Response Technology to help speed up boot up and application load times. Our review unit was able to boot from a cold start in about 25 seconds, which is very impressive relative to hard drive boot up times of up to a minute.
With the Intel Core i5 2nd generation you’ll have plenty of power for doing normal everyday tasks such as surfing the web with several browsers open, running Office applications, watch HD movies all at the same time. If you had your heart set on doing some gaming you may want to upgrade to the Core i5 3rd generation processor that comes with either an Intel HD 4000 graphics or AMD 7670M as both are more powerful graphics solutions than the HD 3000 our review unit has. With the AMD 7670M GPU you should actually be able to get a decent medium settings gaming experience on modern games.
To measure performance of the Envy 6t-1000 configuration we have we used PCMark Vantage that measures overall system performance:
|Laptop||PCMark Vantage Score|
|HP Envy 6t-1000 (Intel Core i5-2467M 1.60GHz, Intel HD 3000, 4GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||6,212 PCMarks|
|HP Pavilion dv4t-5100 (Intel Core i5-3210M, Nvidia GT 650M, 8GB RAM, 7200RPM HD)||7,304 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y580 (Intel Core i7-3610QM, Nvidia GTX 660M, 8GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||9,256 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y570 (Intel Core i7-2670QM, Nvidia 555M 1GB, 8GB RAM,5400RPM HD)||8,771 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y480 (Intel Core i7-3610QM, NVIDIA 640M LE, 8GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||8,634 PCMarks|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Y470p (Intel Core i5-2450m, AMD 7690M, 6GB RAM, 5400RPM HD)||6,727 PCMarks|
The score of over 6,212 indicates this is a capable performer, while it can’t keep up with more fully fledged Core i5 or i7 equipped gaming rigs you should be set for seamless performance with the typical tasks an average user would perform.
Keyboard and Touch Pad
The Envy 6t uses a six row chiclet or island style keyboard and comes equipped with a backlit keyboard if you’re willing to pay the $20 extra HP charges for that. It’s well worth it, having a backlit keyboard in a dimly lit room just makes finding the right keys so much easier. The feel of Envy 6t keyboard leaves something to be desired, the travel distance for the keys is very shallow so it’s not going to give a satisfying tactile feedback you get with higher quality keyboards seen on the likes of ThinkPad notebooks. The shallow keys just make it hard to get in a rhythm so if you’re picky with keyboards you may want to look somewhere else.
The Envy 6t touchpad is generously sized and uses Synaptics drivers. It’s a clickpad, this means you can click down anywhere to register a left click. To register a right click you need to click on the lower right side. The click mechanism is a little stiff, it doesn’t feel as nice as the Apple MacBook touchpad. Like the MacBook it offers multi-touch gestures such as two finger scrolling and pinch to zoom. Overall the touchpad is very good and a better implementation than the keyboard.
The Envy 6t battery is sealed inside just as every other Ultrabook on the market, while this is a downside that makes it impossible to easily replace the battery down the road, it is designed to last at least 3-years of staying close to its original capacity. HP quotes the Envy 6t-1000 battery life as 8 hours and 15 minutes. That’s pretty optimistic, but I was able to get 7 hours out of the laptop when screen brightness was set to 1/3, wireless on and simply setting a browser to refresh every 60 seconds on the home page of CNN.com. Under a usage scenario in which the screen brightness is full and you’re watching video the battery would probably provide around 4.5 hours of life.
Heat & Noise
The Envy 6t runs nice and cool under just about any usage, except for maybe when gaming for several hours in a warm room. HP has come a long way over the past couple of years improving cooling on their laptops. The fan is on quite a bit under normal usage, but it’s not overly loud, you won’t here it a room with ambient noise. When you’re doing more demanding tasks the fan does rev up and get louder, but that’s to be expected and there’s no annoying whine which is more than can be said of other Ultrabooks.
Ports and Networking
The Envy 6t provides all the major ports users look for even with its slim profile. The left side of the Envy 6t has an Ethernet port, HDMI, two USB 3.0 ports and a card reader. The Ethernet port has a cover on it that hinges open to be able to put the jack in.
The right side of the 6t has a headphone and microphone jack, a USB 2.0 port and the power jack
If you’re looking for where the optical drive is, don’t bother, like every other Ultrabook one thing you sacrifice is having a DVD drive in order to keep the thickness down.
If you’re looking for a lighter than average 15” screen laptop but don’t have the $2,000 to spend on a MacBook Pro with Retina Display then the $749 Envy 6t could be a decent half priced substitute. The design is appealing, the midnight black color is professional while the red trim gives it a sporty look. The audio quality is above average for both 15” laptops and Ultrabooks and the number of ports you get is also great. Performance varies depending on which processor and graphics card you select, but even the base level Core i5 will be enough to zip through standard usage patterns such as browsing the web with multiple tabs, watching HD video streamed from the web, office applications or some Photoshop work. With the Intel HD 4000 or AMD 7670M graphics you could even do a little gaming running the latest games. The big negatives for the Envy 6t are the screen that really should be higher resolution than 1366 x 768 given its size, plus the keyboard is simply lackluster. The battery is non-replaceable and you can’t make any after purchase upgrades, which is a con, but one you get with any Ultrabook. For the price you can’t go too far wrong with the Envy 6t-1000, it’s a great alternative to the more powerful but far more beefy sized Pavilion dv6t-7000 we reviewed if you simply want something that’s as thin and light as possible in a 15” form factor.
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