"The HP Envy 14 lacks a brilliant display, but it makes up for it with impressive performance."
Excellent productivity performance
Solid build quality
Conservative looks good
Good entry game
Superior keyboard and touchpad
The ad is below average for the intended creative market
A bit thick and heavy for the class
The media battery life is mediocre
HP's Envy laptops have evolved from midrange offers to the most attractive machines for creative people. The Envy 15, for example, is a high-performance laptop with a color-accurate OLED display that competes well with other 15-inch laptops in terms of performance and, in particular, price. Now, HP has reintroduced its HP Envy 14 form factor with a new computer that leverages Intel's 11th generation Tiger Lake CPUs and discrete Nvidia graphics – all in a case slightly smaller than its bigger sibling.
I have a $ 1,150 Envy 14 configuration with the Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive (SSD), and a 14-inch WUXGA IPS display (1,920x 1,200) in a more productivity-friendly 16:10 aspect ratio and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q GPU.
This is a premium price for configuration, proving that the Envy 14 is designed to compete with the best laptops you can buy. But does it offer the performance and display quality creative users crave?
The Envy 14 is made of stamped aluminum, which is different from the CNC-milled Specter line. The latter is a bit more robust in terms of workmanship. The Envy 14 shows just a hint of bend in the lid and bend in the keyboard deck. It's a solid build, just not with the HP Specter x360 14 or other premium laptops like the Dell XPS 13.
The MSI Prestige 14 Evo is another 14-inch clamshell notebook that feels about the same as the Envy 14 – solid, but not entirely top-notch. Note that the Prestige 14 Evo with a Core i7 and a 1TB SSD also costs a few hundred dollars less than the HP. Finally, I want to mention the Porsche Design Acer Book RS, which mixes carbon fiber and metal for a more solid feel.
Aesthetically, HP opted for a minimalist design with the Envy 14, and it worked. In contrast to the multi-colored Gemstone-cut Specter x360 14, the Envy 14 is a matt silver color with a clear appearance and simple lines. It's attractive enough, but it doesn't stand out. The MSI Prestige 14 Evo is also more aggressive in styling and coloring, but I think the Envy 14 strikes a good balance.
In that regard, it's very similar to Lenovo's Yoga 9i – a design that isn't meant to be eye-catching but won't embarrass you regardless of the surroundings. If you're looking to flaunt a 14-inch clamshell, the Porsche Design Acer Book RS has by far the most aggressive design.
The Envy 14 is a bit more powerful than most of its 14-inch competition. The chassis is reasonably sized thanks to an 88% screen-to-body ratio and small bezels all around, with the exception of the chin, which is only slightly larger than the current trend. But it's a little thicker at 0.71 inches and heavier at 3.3 pounds. The Prestige 14 Evo, for example, is 0.63 inches thick and weighs 2.85 pounds while the Acer Swift 5 is 0.59 inches and 2.31 pounds.
However, these laptops do not offer an option for discrete graphics and may free up internal storage space for cooling. The Envy 14 also looks a bit thicker thanks to a rear leg that supports the keyboard and offers extra space underneath for better airflow.
Connectivity is a real strength: a USB-A 3.1 port, a full-size HDMI 2.0 port, a USB4 Type-C port with Thunderbolt 4 support, and a 3.5mm audio jack on the left as well as another USB-A 3.1 connector and a microSD card reader on the right. The wireless connection is established via Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.
In contrast to the larger Envy 15 with a 45 watt Intel CPU, the Envy 14 has a Tiger Lack Core i5-1135G7 processor of the 11th generation from Intel. We found this to be a fast option in the U-series, which in many cases is almost as fast as the Intel Core i7, which is clocked just a bit faster.
The Envy 14 delivers what the CPU promises. As you can see in the table below, it's not great in Geekbench 5, but it's more competitive in our other tests. HP offers its Command Center software, which you can use to tune the CPU for fan noise and heat compared to full performance. However, this doesn't make as much of a difference on the Envy 14 as it does on the Envy 15 and Specter x360 14. as two examples. The Specter x360 14 in particular makes good use of the utility – it's reasonably fast in performance mode, very quiet in balanced mode, and much slower. All of the Envy 14 results listed here are for the Balanced utility.
All along the line, the Envy 14 shows an admirable performance, even against the Core i7 competition. In our handbrake test, which encodes a 420MB file in H.265, the Envy 14 matched with the exception of the Prestige 14 Evo and the Ryzen 7 5800U-based Asus ZenBook 13, which blew Intel's competition. In performance mode, the Envy 14 took third place in this group.
In Cinebench R23, the results were similar, with the Prestige 14 Evo and Zenbook 13 leading the way. Note that the Envy 14 scored an even more competitive 6073 in Cinebench multi-core test in performance mode. In the PCMark 10 Complete test, the Envy 14 took second place in the total number of points. It also performed well in the Productivity and Content Creation sections of the test, while it fell behind in the Essentials section.
Overall, the Envy 14 was a solid performer in our benchmarks, and that's how it felt when I used it during testing. It's a fast machine for whatever productivity task you want to do, and it's just as good for creative use as any other Tiger Lake laptop. It can't compete with AMD's Ryzen CPUs for processor-intensive tasks, but that's where the discrete GPU comes in.
If you're using an application that can take advantage of the GPU, the GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q – a rarity in the 14-inch class – makes a real difference. HP configured the GPU with Nvidia's Studio platform drivers, which provide better performance and reliability in certain popular creative applications.
For example, I ran the PugetBench benchmark, which does a series of intensive tasks in Premiere Pro – an application that makes efficient use of a GPU. The Envy 14 did reasonably well for a U-series machine, scoring 432 points to embarrass the 180 on the ZenBook 13 and the 320 on the MacBook Air M1. It couldn't compete with laptops powered by Intel's 45-watt CPUs and faster GPUs, but it did well based on its components. In fact, it beat the HP Specter x360 15, which scored 339 points with its Core i7-10750H and GTX 1650 Ti.
(single / multiple)
(single / multiple)
|PCMark 10||3DMark Time Spy|
|HP Envy 14 (Core i5-1135G7)||1398/4741||190||1343/5028||5178||3147|
|MSI Prestige 14 Evo (Core i7-1185G7)||1593/5904||162||1479/6680||4866||1465|
|Porsche Design Acer Base RS
|Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1165G7)||1540/5432||201||1449/4267||N / A||1589|
|Asus ZenBook 13 UM325UA
(Ryzen 7 5800U)
|Acer Swift 5 2020 (Core i7-1165G7)||1580/5836||190||N / A||N / A||1686|
The Envy 14 is also a decent entry-level gaming laptop for anyone looking to take a little break from work. It led the 3DMark Time Spy test, doubling the Intel Iris Xe-based competition. It ran decently in Fortnite too, reaching 49 frames per second (fps) at 1080p and high graphics (57 fps in Performance mode), where the rest of the Tiger Lake class run around 30 fps.
With Epic Graphics enabled, the Envy 14 achieved 39 fps (40 fps in performance mode), is still playable and much faster than the Tiger Lake average of around 22 fps. You're not going to run modern titles with the graphical detail exposed, just tweaking things up a bit and most of the titles will play.
Creative professionals want displays with a wide color gamut and accurate colors to go hand in hand with high brightness and excellent contrast. Does the Envy 14's productivity-friendly 16:10 display stack up with its design and performance?
In a word, no. It's a bright display at 371 nits, well above our 300 nit threshold. However, it only covers 70% of AdobeRGB and 94% of sRGB, slightly below average for premium and near-premium laptops and well below average for displays for creative types. None of the 14-inch laptops I discussed in this review are much better – the MSI Prestige 14 Evo and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS, for example, scored 73% of AdobeRGB and 97% of sRGB, which is only a slightly higher score .
The Envy 14's color accuracy was good at 1.28 (1.0 or less is considered excellent). The Prestige 14 Evo scored 1.3 and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS came in at 1.15. These results are above average and closer to the professional level.
Contrast was another weak point for the Envy 14, which reached a ratio of only 880: 1. We'd like to see premium displays with 1000: 1 or higher, which both the MSI and Acer have almost achieved at 970: 1 and 940: 1, respectively.
In truth, the Envy 14's display would hardly be acceptable as a premium productivity display. It certainly doesn't live up to the standards the developers wanted, unlike the Envy 15's OLED display, which manages 97% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB, and a contrast ratio of 404,410: 1 (to be fair, that's typical of OLED displays and no IPS panel will ever come close) and a DeltaE of 0.73.
If the Envy 14 has any weakness related to its target market, this would be the ad. And it's important – anyone looking to buy this photo or video editing laptop should consider these results.
Keyboard and touchpad
The Envy 14 inherited a keyboard similar to HP's Specter range – and that's a good thing. The distance between the square buttons and the switches is large and precise. The lettering is attractive and legible in good lighting, and the two-tier backlighting is effective and consistent. This is one of the better keyboards that can rival Dell's XPS 13 and is only marginally behind Apple's latest Magic keyboard on the MacBook lineup.
The touchpad is also excellent and benefits from the larger keyboard deck thanks to the larger 16:10 display. The touchpad is of course a Microsoft Precision version and therefore responsive and precise. The buttons click solidly, but without too much noise, which is a plus. There's also an equally responsive touch display that I really appreciated in my tests.
A fingerprint reader provides Windows 10 Hello support on the keyboard and replaces the right control key. I'm not a fan of this placement as I've come across at least one application with a hard-coded use for the right control button, but the fingerprint reader was accurate and fast on my tests.
Additional security and privacy are provided by a function button that controls a physical lock for the webcam and a special button to turn off the microphone. These are small details that are treasured for times when you don't want your webcam showing your messy office – or worse, when they're being hacked and used to spy on you.
The Envy 14 has a 63-watt-hour battery, which frankly is smaller than I expected. The Specter x360 14, a much smaller laptop, fit in 67 watt hours. Still, I expected the Envy 14 to have better longevity than the 3,000 x 2,000 OLED panel on the Specter thanks to its lower resolution 1,920 x 1,200 IPS display.
As it turned out, my expectations were met. The Envy 14 got a little over 12.5 hours on our web browser test, which ran through a number of popular websites. This is a strong score that beats the 14-inch competition I mentioned by a few hours and is in the upper range for all of the laptops we tested.
In our video test, in which a Full HD Avengers trailer is played, the Envy 14 was not quite as strong until the battery was empty. The HP managed 14.5 hours here, a good number of points, which was surpassed by the MSI Prestige 14 Evo and the Porsche Design Acer Base RS. We usually see a bigger difference between the web and video tests, with the latter usually being a bit longer.
Finally, I ran the PCMark 10 gaming battery test, which put a strain on the CPU and GPU, and the Envy 14 lasted just under 1.5 hours. This is the lower end of all the machines we tested and shows that the Envy 14 is a real battery hog under load. Unfortunately, the Envy 14 couldn't complete the battery test for PCMark 10 applications. This is the best indication of actual productivity.
Overall, I would rate the Envy 14's battery life as good for productivity work and not as good for media consumption. And of course, if you want to power the CPU and GPU forward, you should carry your charger with you.
The Envy 14 is a well-built, good-looking 14-inch notebook with a fast Core i5 and a discrete GPU, which is unusual for a nongaming notebook of this size. That makes it a strong performer and, in that sense, a good option for the creative types HP wants to please. Unfortunately, the display is a little below average – it's good enough for productivity users but less so for creativity.
That makes the Envy 14 an interesting laptop. It's a solid offering for general users with good battery life performance and productivity, solid build, and a great keyboard and touchpad. It may not meet the needs of the creative types HP is targeting, but it is a very good laptop for everyone else.
Are there alternatives?
The MSI Prestige 14 Evo is a solid alternative to the Envy 14. It's faster for CPU-intensive tasks, has a better display, and has a good battery life. It's a bit cheaper too, but of course you don't get a fast GPU.
If a 2-in-1 is more of your style, consider the HP Specter x360 14. In performance mode, it's faster, it's built better, and it looks better. The OLED display meets the needs of photo and video editors in ways the Envy 14 can't.
As usual, I also offer the Dell XPS 13 as an alternative. While it's smaller with its 13.4-inch 16:10 display, this display is a bit better and the Dell has much better build quality.
How long it will take?
The Envy 14 is built well enough to provide years of productive service. The components are up to date and should keep pace with typical user requirements for some time. The one-year warranty is disappointing, but it is industry standard.
Should you buy it?
Yes, but not for photo or video editing when tons of accurate colors are required. The Envy 14 is a great productivity machine and should be judged as one rather than the creative powerhouse that HP positions it for.