HP Envy 14 Impressions

The Envy 14 is dressed to impress with an aluminum lid and base. The top is a darker gun metal color and features a micro etched pattern across the surface with a reflective HP logo. The front bezel of the computer has two speaker ports and SD / MMC card slot.

The right side features power and hard drive activity LEDs, eSATA and USB ports, a Kensington lock slot, an Ethernet jack, exhaust vents and a power receptacle. The traditional VGA output has been replaced by the more modern HDMI / Mini Display port, something to note if you plan to connect the Envy to an external display.

The back of the system only has a centrally-located exhaust port which becomes somewhat obstructed when the lid is opened. On the left side of the notebook is a slot-loading optical drive, two USB 2.0 ports and headphone and mic jacks.

The glossy display looks great even when it's off. The bezel fits the screen size nicely and doesn't look or feel cheap. HP has placed their TrueVision HD webcam above the screen with dual microphones as well as a tiny LED light.

The keyboard is full size and features island-style keys, all of which are backlit. The overall key layout makes sense, something we don't always see with notebooks. The keyboard itself isn't mushy or overly flexible and feels very solid, matching the rest of the system. There are no media keys or other distracting buttons above the keyboard; only a single power button with a small LED indicator.

The touchpad and mouse click buttons have been integrated into a single unit, something I'm not entirely crazy about. The touchpad itself is very large and sits flush with the palm rest. We will go into more detail about the touchpad later in our evaluation.

On the bottom of the Envy are four anti-slip pads that, in all actuality, aren't too grippy. Unlike most notebooks, the battery on the Envy is hidden under an access panel that also houses the hard drive and Windows activation key sticker. The battery is easily removable, just a bit more difficult to access than usual.

The battery is an 8-cell unit rated at 3,750 mAh. For an extra $200, HP offers an external 6-cell slim battery that attaches to a connector in the center of the Envy. This auxiliary battery supplements the internal unit for those who need more juice on the go. You have to dig a bit deeper to find the memory expansion slots. Our review unit shipped with two 2GB DIMMS but you can configure an Envy with up to 8GB of system memory.