The high end laptop market has changed a lot over the past couple of years. Whilst before a high definition display couples with 1 TB of storage would automatically grant a laptop the "high end status", nowadays it takes quite a bit more. Such is the case we'll see in our review of the HP Envy 13-d099nr.
HP's latest entry into the very competitive yet lucrative high end market sports a Quad HD display, 256GB of SSD storage, a fingerprint reader, an Intel Core i7 processor and a discounted price amongst its many other virtues. Today we'll invite you to tag along and find out what the high end market is really like these days.
Is this laptop all it's cracked up to be? Find out what buyers have to say!
HP Envy 13-d099nr a Redefined High End Laptop
Who wants Full HD when you can have a QHD display?
That's probably what went through HP's set of engineers when they decided to build the HP ENVY 13-d099nr. This laptop goes along and even blows Apple's Retina Display Macbooks out of the water with a crisp and clear 13.3 inch IPS display with a 3200 by 1800 pixel count.
That's where the high end is at in terms of display resolution and we couldn't be happier since you can't just watch Full HD movies on this thing, you can actually watch 4K videos and even though you won't get the complete resolution, you'll be pretty darn close. Finally all those phones capable of recording 4K video will be put to good use.
But the display isn't the only thing the engineers worked hard on. No, the body of this notebook is beyond perfect with an aluminium chassis that's cool under pressure and an ultralight body of a measly 2.72 pounds. To place these numbers into context, it's actually lighter than Apple's own 13 inch MacBook Air. Oh, and it's also very thin, as expected, measuring just 0.8 inches at its thickest point.
As for the keyboard, while HP had to restrain themselves from placing a numeric pad on the side they did provide us with an interesting bonus such as the backlit feature and a keyboard travel distance of just 1.14 mm to deliver the sturdy typing experience we've come to expect from the top end.
How does it deliver on performance? Is it suited for hardcore users?
When we set out to write this review of the HP ENVY 13-d099nr we did so because we knew we had a winner on our hands, a laptop that would become very popular thanks to its balanced set of specs that deliver a great performance.
Said performance, is headed by an Intel Core i7-6500U dual core processor, possibly the best dual core processor in the market at this point. The Skylake generation i7 is built on 14nm technology, features 4 MB of Intel's smart cache and can deliver a base frequency speed of 2.5 GHz (3.1 GHz with Turbo boost).
Translated from nerd to english this means you're looking at a CPU that's capable of handling any kind of task you throw down its path. Be it a heavy session of 2K video editing or a marathon programming night running three separate operating systems on virtual machines, this laptop is up to the challenge and then some.
However, while the i7 in place is very powerful on its own, it still needs a good amount of RAM to fulfill your multitasking needs and that's where HP's attention to detail comes in and we find an 8 GB module of LPDDR3 RAM. This is a very specific type of RAM that has a bigger bandwidth and works on less energy therefore increasing battery life while improving overall performance. Leave no stone unturned huh HP?
Finally, a big component that will help a lot in everyday performance is the 256 GB SSD storage module placed inside this laptop. If you come from a standard Hard Drive laptop then you're in for a ride because once you go down the SSD path you'll never want to look back. Speed is the magic word here and that's exactly what you'll get for everything from booting the machine up to launching virtual machines and accessing long lost files.
Where does it fall short?
As in life, designing a powerful laptop like the HP ENVY 13-d099nr at a competitive price meant the company had to make a series of compromises. The most prominent of these are the lack of an optical drive, a battery life that doesn't really stand out (roughly 5 hours) and an integrated graphics card like the Intel HD 520 that makes this laptop less than ideal for gamers.
Most current games will run at very low frame rates even when placed on low settings so we really wouldn't recommend going down that route.
What's left to know?
While we reach the end point of this review we didn't wanna leave without giving a special mention to the fingerprint reader placed at the top right of the laptop, below the keyboard and on the right side of the trackpad. We believe this feature to be essential for both current generation laptops as well as future generations.
There's also a set of Bang & Olufsen Speakers, a 1 MP webcam, 3 USB 3.0 ports, Bluetooth and an HDMI port. Of course, being a high end model we didn't expect anything under a WiFi ac antenna to deliver the fastest internet access your router is capable of handling.
Final thoughts and conclusion
As we navigated through the HP Envy 13-d099nr review it's become quite clear that the high end isn't what it used to be. It has been improved considerably over the past couple of years where things like QHD displays, fingerprint readers and a relatively massive SSD storage where unthinkable at this price point.
Yes, this laptop is worth every penny and then some. Aside from lacking an optical drive and delivering a standard battery life we don't seem to find any actual reasons why one wouldn't buy this laptop other than budget limitations.
However, as we all know, sometimes a cheap laptop ends up being more expensive when you have to renew it on a yearly bi-yearly basis which is what happens to a lot of hardcore users that go down the "cheap path" only to find themselves paying up for their "mistake" shortly after.
Sure, the HP envy 13-d099nr is not for everyone. Gamers should steer clear and light users will be severely overpowered and overpriced. However, if you're an intensive user who has his laptop turned on from dusk till dawn and you don't just need a laptop to browse the web and watch movies then this is arguably one of your best options in the market. You can check out pricing and availability here.