HP is setting the bar pretty high when it comes to mid range and high end laptops. Recently we reviewed the HP 15-ay018nr which packs a punch thanks to its low cost price coupled with a state of the art Core i7, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Today we go even further towards exploring the high end of HP's lineup with this review of the HP ENVY 15-as020nr.
The company's latest flagship packs a Core i7, 12GB of the latest generation RAM and a Full HD touchscreen. Now it's time for us to weigh in on this laptop's overall performance and see if it's got what it takes to be a big seller.
The Good: Full HD touchscreen, 6th gen Core i7, 12GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, almost 11 hours of battery life, conveniently priced.
The Bad: No dedicated GPU, no DVD reader nor ethernet port.
Review of the HP ENVY 15-as020nr with Pros and Cons
A Quality construction and a marvellous display
As part of HP's Envy series we didn't expect any less of this notebook than it being an engineering marvel and we were right. With a quality build that feel comfortable to our grip, this laptop stands out very quickly when you hold it in your hands not just because of its robust premium design but also because of its very light weight. All in all, this notebook weighs 4.3 pounds which is well below the standard for 15 inch laptops.
The display is one of its key features. Being a Full HD display is one thing but having IPS technology on top of a multitouch screen makes the experience all the more appealing. You'll get great viewing angles and when you're not in the mood to use the mouse or trackpad you can easily use your fingers to interact with the laptop seamlessly.
Finally, the keyboard offers the ergonomics we've come to expect from a premium product such as this one and add to that the fact that it's backlit and has a dedicated numeric pad and the typing experience becomes very comfortable, something especially important for power user who might type away for hours at a time.
It's all about performance
The key to the HP ENVY 15-as020nr's success is undoubtedly its top of the line performance. Such power comes from a slew of features, mainly its high end Intel Core i7-6500U dual core processor. This processor clocks in at 2.5GHz base speed with 4MB of cache and can stretch things out to 3.1 GHz when you're looking for that little "extra nudge" of power.
This is an excellent processor, of the latest Skylake generation and short of being a quad core model it's really as good as it gets in the dual core laptop segment. It can handle everything from your everyday tasks such as web browsing and video streaming to more complex tasks like video editing, front end development and the use of several virtual machines at a time.
However, a CPU's performance is only as good as its available RAM and in this case we've got ourselves 12GB of the latest generation DDR4 SDRAM working at 2133MHz. You have to consider that most laptops come packed with DDR3 RAM working at 1600MHz so this is a major performance boost that most manufacturers "forget to include".
That said, when it comes to multitasking you're pretty much covered, being able to launch several apps at any given time without fearing the possibility of running out of memory.
What's more, while you're not as likely to use the whole 12GB today, as technology progresses those "spare gigabytes" will future-proof your new laptop allowing you to maintain a solid performance for many years to come.
Amazing storage and excellent battery life
Many people don't realize this when looking to buy a new laptop but storage is key towards the overall performance of their laptop. That's why we're so keen to address this issue in our review of the HP ENVY 15-as020nr. You see, HP's latest ultrabook packs a 256GB SSD storage module developed by Samsung which can deliver speeds up to 17 times faster than traditional hard drives.
This affects speed on anything from booting up the system to accessing files and it's a major time saver when everything's said and done.
As for battery life, HP has promised us just shy of 11 hours of battery life. Even if we were to manage our expectations to a solid 9 hours of hardcore usage that's still pretty good when compared to other laptops who can hardly go beyond the 6 hour mark at best.
Is this a gaming laptop?
Gaming really wasn't contemplated when HP opted to design the HP ENVY 15-as020nr. It's got an integrated Intel HD 520 graphics chip and while this is a pretty good GPU for titles such as Overwatch, SIMS and Fifa, it won't fare as well as a dedicated graphics chip would when playing more graphic-intensive games.
What's left to know?
A couple of things you should know right off the bat; this laptop doesn't have a DVD drive and it doesn't have an ethernet port. Other then that connectivity is pretty great with 3 USB 3.0 ports, a standalone USB type C port, HDMI output, SD card reader and an audio jack for audio input/output.
As you'd expect on a high end notebook it also comes with WiFi ac support, which means you get blazing fast WiFi speeds when connected to a compatible WiFi ac router. There's also Bluetooth support and you've got an HD webcam as well as great audio quality courtesy of the B&O speakers.
Final thoughts and opinions: Is this a hero or a zero?
With some laptops you have to look at the price to determine if its a good purchase in relation to its price, with other models pricing is irrelevant to the quality. In the case of the HP ENVY 15-as020nr review, it's quite clear that this is an excellent laptop from every standpoint.
This model has no flaws and there's nothing that we're actually missing when looking at it. We've got a solid design, a great display, top notch components, loads of high quality storage and an excellent battery life.
It really doesn't get any better than this as far as consumer laptops are concerned. Sure a dedicated graphics chip would've gone the extra mile but unless you're a hardcore gamer then that's not really a feature you're gonna miss and for the rest of us "mortals" this is just one of the best laptops available. You can check out pricing and availability here!