Connectivity: Three USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, one HDMI 2.0, one Gigabit ethernet, audio jack. The single USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) Type C supports HDMI 2.0b, DisplayPort 1.2, Power Delivery 3.0, and HP’s Sleep & Charge, which can charge the battery to 50-percent capacity in about 45 minutes.
Wireless: Intel 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2×2), Bluetooth 4.2 Combo.
Dimensions: 16.38 x 10.94 x 0.91 inches
Weight: 6.41 pounds without AC adapter
Battery: The 3-cell, 52.5Whr battery lasts for up to 9 hours and 15 minutes of mixed usage, and up to 8 hours and 45 minutes of video playback.
Color: Natural Silver
As you can see from the specs, the Envy 17 packs a high-end quad-core mobile processor that will deliver more power than most people will use. Our tests on other laptops have shown that a simple dual-core processor suffices for mainstream applications, but quad-core comes in handy for more intensive uses such as gaming and creating graphics-heavy content.
The 8GB to 16GB of main RAM is nice, but the 12GB of Intel Optane memory is a noteworthy bonus. It works as caching memory for the laptop’s 1TB hard drive to make that traditional storage feel a whole lot faster.
While the Envy 17 doesn’t get the Sure View privacy toggle that’s available on its Envy 13 sibling, HP does offer a 4K display option. Just note that this gorgeous, higher resolution will shrink text and icons onscreen, and also drain your battery faster.
The GeForce MX150 discrete graphics isn’t going to be as fast as the company’s GTX mobile parts. However, it’s a big step up from Intel’s UHD 620 integrated graphics—something you could even play games on. If you look closely, you can see the extra ventilation HP built into the hinge area to help the MX150 stay cool.
A last detail is all about looks: The complex etching along the back of the hinge, which closely resembles the look of honed Damascus swords and knives and is named after them. HP added this to certain Envy models to help them stand out from all the sandblasted metal and shiny plastic out there, and it does the trick.
Why this matters: The Envy 17 ticks off a lot of boxes for more sophisticated mainstream users who care about style as well as power. It’s also pretty affordable. The Envy 17 could be someone’s work-from-home PC with few compromises, and you could even carry it somewhere if you really wanted to. We’ll dig even further into the details for you if we get a chance to test it.
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Melissa Riofrio spent her formative journalistic years reviewing some of the biggest iron at PCWorld--desktops, laptops, storage, printers--and she continued to focus on hardware testing during stints at Computer Currents and CNET. Currently, in addition to leading PCWorld’s content direction, she covers productivity laptops and Chromebooks.