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HP ENVY 14 (Beats Edition) Review: The Eternal Quest To Beat Down Substandard Sound

Artists and sound engineers spend countless hours perfecting their sound before even thinking about shipping the end product off for retail. Unfortunately, that effort is often lost on end-users who deem it fit to sully their efforts with sub-standard earbuds and headphones. Will HP’s ENVY 14 (Beats Edition) notebook and its accompanying Beats By Dr. Dre headphones do justice to the hard work put in by such producers? We put on our surgical gloves and take the ENVY 14 under the knife to find out the answer.

Sandy Bridge may have just seen the light of the day, but that does not necessarily mean that the current stock of laptops and desktop PCs in the market have magically become obsolete just because they make use of the (slightly) older Nehalem microarchitecture. After all, Sandy Bridge is only but a couple of days old, and while OEMs scramble to update their product lines with Intel’s new processors, the vast majority of Nehalem-based notebooks are definitely going to remain around in the market for some time.

That being said, technology has also advanced to a point where having the fastest, meanest machine is no longer a top priority for many users. Instead, consumers are now moving into a phase where they require a laptop either for general-purpose computing, long battery uptime,  or to fulfill a certain specific need. And the HP ENVY 14 is one such notebook which falls neatly into the latter, considering that it was designed to cater to audiophiles who seek nothing but the best audio fidelity in a notebook.

Of course, that is what HP claims, but does the ENVY 14 Beats Edition notebook really have what it takes to satisfy the needs of the audiophiles it is intended to serve? VR-Zone takes the ENVY 14 Beats Edition notebook for a spin to see just what HP has got to offer for its target audience.

But first, here is the obligatory list of hardware specifications for our review unit:

HP ENVY 14 Beats Edition Notebook PC Specifications
 Processor  Intel Core i7-740QM Processor (1.73GHz, up to 2.93GHz under Intel Turbo Boost, 6MB cache)
 Chipset  Intel HM55 Chipset
 Graphics Card  AMD Mobility Radeon 5650HD Graphics with 1GB dedicated VRAM
 Operating System  Windows 7 Home Premium (x64 version)
 Display  36.8 cm (14.5″) diagonal High-Definition LED HP BrightView Infinity Display with resolution up to 1366 x 768
 Memory  8GB DDR3 1333MHz SDRAM (2 x 4GB SODIMM)
 Hard Disk capacity  640GB SATA hard disk
 Wireless Connectivity  802.11 a/b/g/n
 Bluetooth wireless networking
 Battery  8-cell Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) battery
 Weight  Starting at 2.58kg
 Additional accessories bundled  Beats Solo High Definition On-Ear Headphones

VR-Zone is a leading online technology news publication reporting on bleeding edge trends in PC and mobile gadgets, with in-depth reviews and commentaries.

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