capsule review

HP Voodoo Envy M:152 Desktop Replacement Laptop

At a Glance
  • Voodoo HP Voodoo Envy 152

    PCWorld Rating

    This pricey, high-concept laptop has flair to spare, but its Extreme gaming processor failed to set records.

The HP Voodoo Envy M:152, the first laptop we've tested with the new Intel Core 2 X7800 Extreme mobile gaming processor, smoked the field. Light for a desktop replacement, it also offers a bright screen and has surprisingly good battery life. In our game tests, however, the M:152 wasn't any faster than some notebooks with regular Intel processors. It is outrageously expensive, too, and the heavily painted case might not be for everyone.

Its performance on applications was excellent. Our $4300 (as of November 16, 2007) review unit harnessed its 2.6-GHz Core 2 Extreme X7800 chip and 2GB of RAM to achieve a WorldBench 6 Beta 2 score of 92; the average score of 19 currently tested desktop replacement laptops is 81. The only laptops to outperform it--the Micro Express NP9261 and the Eurocom D900C Phantom-X, which scored 96 and 97, respectively--had quad-core desktop processors. In our Doom 3 and Far Cry gaming tests, the M:152 managed frame rates of 90 and 123, results that are excellent but not unprecedented.

Battery life was better than we expected for a gaming laptop at a touch past 3 hours, or 34 minutes longer than the desktop replacement average of 2.5 hours.

The M:152 is light for a power laptop at 6.9 pounds, and it offers several outstanding features, such as a rewritable DVD drive. The 15.4-inch, 1680-by-1050-pixel screen is extra-bright, and the keyboard boasts a touch-sensitive panel that launches common applications at the tap of a finger.

For people who like to jazz it up, the M:152 is available in 22 different colors ranging from conservative dark hues to shades like our unit's Bacalou Red ($660 extra). Tattoos--lid logos, such as unicorns or flowers--cost several hundred dollars more. (Ours came with the Voodoo Classic, which looks like some sort of family crest.) The four coats of hand-mixed automobile paint (according to the Voodoo site) give the notebook exterior a hard, shiny die-cast feel like that of a Matchbox car, and the finish makes some of the stamped words and icons hard to read.

The bottom line for well-heeled gamers: Unless you need the HP Voodoo Envy M:152's appealing weight and battery life, you might want to think twice about spending your dollars on this laptop and instead opt for a heavier but faster gaming portable such as the desktop-quad-core-equipped Eurocom D900C Phantom-X.

--Carla Thornton

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This pricey, high-concept laptop has flair to spare, but its Extreme gaming processor failed to set records.

    Pros

    • Fastest dual-core we've tested so far
    • Has rewritable DVD drive

    Cons

    • Outrageously expensive
    • Lacquered look not for everyone
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