• Enjoy the freedom to innovate and grow your business


    [ad] With Microsoft Azure you have hybrid cloud flexibility, allowing your platform to span your cloud and on premise data centre. Learn more at microsoftcloud.com.

  • IT Admin: No Time to Save Time?


    [ad] Do you spend too much time patching machines or cleaning up after virus attacks? With automation controlled from a central IT management console accessible anytime, anywhere – you can save time for bigger tasks. Try simple IT management from GFI Cloud and start saving time today!

  • Free Forrester analysis of CRM solutions


    [ad] In this 25 page report, independent analyst house Forrester evaluates 18 significant products in the customer relationship management space from a broad range of vendors, detailing its findings on how CRM suites measure up and plotting where they stand in relation to each other. Download it for free now.

  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites


  • Reader giveaway: Google Nexus 5


    We’re big fans of Google’s Nexus line-up in general at Delimiter towers. Nexus 4, Nexus 7, Nexus 10 … we love pretty much anything Nexus. Because of this we've kicked off a new competition to give away one of Google’s new Nexus 5 smartphones to a lucky reader. Click here to enter.

  • Reviews - Written by on Tuesday, December 11, 2012 12:31 - 2 Comments

    HP Envy Touchsmart 4 Ultrabook: Review

    review It’s a familiar form factor for HP regulars, but it’s sporting an all-new touchscreen designed to take advantage of Microsoft’s brand new operating system, Windows 8. Can HP’s Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 demonstrate strong integration between Redmond’s new software and HP’s hardware? Read on to find out.

    Design
    If we had to apply one word to HP’s Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (ETU4 in brief), it would be generic. There’s really nothing about this model’s overall design which hits you as being standout when you pick this model up for the first time, and it really feels like this is a laptop which could have been manufactured by any one of a handful of Microsoft OEMs over the past five years.

    The cover of the ETU4 feels like it’s composed of hard black plastic, with an aluminium rim. It’s smart, professional and business-like without having the iconic business feel of Lenovo’s ThinkPad series. A medium-sized HP log in the bottom left corner lets you know where this particular model came from. Underneath, on the laptop’s bottom, sits an extensive series of grills for exhaust fans. The bottom of the ETU4 feels like it’s made of the same soft plastic which has become so popular in smartphones such as Nokia’s Lumia line. It’s grippy and svelte and we like it. On the ETU4′s bottom it’s pure black.

    The laptop’s lid flips open fairly easily to reveal a brushed aluminium interior paired with a black chiclet keyboard. Overall, the interior of the ETU4 reminds us very much of Apple’s MacBook line, and we would not be surprised at all to hear of people mistaking the two laptops — at least from the front-on view — at a casual glance. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the saying goes — or did Apple originally steal this design from HP or someone else? It’s hard to know, although we suspect Apple had this one first.

    The trackpad is decently sized, and there’s a speaker grill below the ETU4′s screen, along with the Beats Audio logo. On the laptop’s left-hand side you get an Ethernet port, which we’re a huge fan of, as they’re growing rarer on laptops these days, plus a HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports and an SD card slot. There’s also a couple of lights to show the hard drive accessing and another LED which is on when the laptop’s on and cycling on and off when it’s off. On the laptop’s right-hand side sits its power input, which is modestly-sized, plus another USB port, headphone and microphone jacks and a small port for Kensington locks.

    Now, despite explicitly carrying the ‘Ultrabook’ marketing label, we’d be very hard-pressed to fit the ETU4 into this category. It’s not thin — in fact, it’s quite thick at 2cm, and it’s not light, weighing in at 2.1kg. This feels like a traditional heavy laptop in every sense of the word. For reference, Apple’s 13″ MacBook Air is 800g lighter at 1.35kg — and even its 15″ MacBook Pro with its Retina Display is lighter at 2.02kg. This isn’t the sort of laptop you’re going to feel comfortable carrying around in your bag all day every day — it’s more of a fixed sort of machine.

    Features
    The key feature which the ETU4 offers over previous models is its touchscreen, built to take advantage of Windows 8. And it’s the real deal — it feels just like a tablet. You can swipe from the edge in to bring up Windows 8′s menus, you can pinch to zoom and scroll with a flick of the finger. It’s all here and it’s all touchscreen-y. Unfortunately it runs at a maximum resolution of 1366×768, which we consider a little low. But if you’re looking to dive in and test Windows 8 in a laptop form factor, you can definitely do this with the ETU4. Windows 8 performs pretty much as expected on this model.

    The rest of the ETU4′s features are more or less along standard lines for a moderately well-featured laptop in late 2012. You get 4GB of RAM, an Intel Core i3 CPU running at 1.8GHz, a 5400RPM 300GB SATA hard disk, an Intel HD 4000 model graphics card, 802.11 W-Fi (b/g/n), Bluetooth and so on. Basically all of the features which you would expect from a mid-range laptop at this point are here, although none are top of the range. HP rates the battery life of the laptop at up to seven hours and fifteen minutes.

    Performance
    There’s probably three key aspects of the ETU4′s performance which you need to know about: Its touchscreen, its screen (yes, these are different things) and its battery life. Then there’s a few minor aspects of the laptop which we’d also like to discuss.

    The first, and most important aspect of the ETU4′s performance relates to its hero feature, Windows 8 and its touchscreen. In this aspect, we have to give the laptop a huge tick mark. Windows 8 performs very, very well on this baby. The touchscreen is very responsive and highly satisfying to use. If you can click it with a mouse, you can touch it on the screen, and we really enjoyed using features such as pinch to zoom on the touchscreen that simply aren’t available in Windows 7 and on computers without touchscreens.

    The ETU4′s touchscreen doesn’t feel like an add-on, although that’s fundamentally what it is; it suddenly feels like something that should have been there all along, and using it has changed our expectations about all screens forever. All screens — computer screens, TV screens, laptop screens, even dynamic photo displays; after using the ETU4 we just felt like everything should be able to be touched and manipulated. It’s a changed world that we’re living in with Windows 8, and the ETU represents a good implementation of Microsoft’s touchscreen vision.

    Now for the downside.

    The bad news is that the quality of the ETU4′s actual screen is not fantastic. We watched a few episodes of some of our favourite television shows on this model, and while it did the job, we have to say the colours weren’t fantastic and we didn’t like looking at the screen itself. The same can be said of just browsing the desktop and using Windows 8 on the ETU4; the screen looks faded and old-school. We just weren’t huge fans of it. Many people won’t notice these issues as they’re not discerning technology users, but we think it’s safe to say that even amongst those who aren’t technophiles, few would walk away with a hugely positive impression of the ETU4′s display.

    In general we were pretty impressed with the ETU4′s battery life. We set a HD television show episode on repeat on the machine after it was fully charged, and it took most of the day for it to run out of juice. Even when it did die, it went into deep hibernation mode — we were able to revive it quickly by plugging it into the mains. HP says the ETU4 should get a little over seven hours of life, and we don’t have any reason to doubt that at this point.

    In most other aspects of the ETU4′s performance, it felt like this was quite a mediocre laptop in general. It was heavy and bulky to carry around, the sound quality through its speakers — despite the Beats Audio sticker — was tinny and honestly, pretty bad, and its keyboard, while more than serviceable, wasn’t among the best we have used. The trackpad was similarly relatively responsive but not ideal, and it was quite difficult to press down on the bottom left-hand corner of the trackpad for a concrete physical button press.

    On the plus side, the ETU4 didn’t get that warm during our testing, and its underlying performance is solid, with it being able to handle our computing needs easily. We didn’t test high-end gaming on the machine, but we anticipate it would have no problem playing many games at moderate graphics settings, given the strength of Intel’s built-in graphics chips recently. The ETU4 also wakes quickly, boots quickly, and was very responsive to peripherals being plugged in. Unfortunately HP has bundled some crapware with the ETU4 — such as the CyberLink photo and video suite and quite a few of its own apps. But the apps don’t get in your face and can be removed at need.

    Conclusion
    The HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 has one standout feature: Its excellent and highly responsive touchscreen, which is well-integrated with Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. However, when you examine every other area of this quite heavy and bulky laptop, not only is it hard to escape the conclusion that it’s not an ‘Ultrabook’ at all, but you’re left with the conclusion that its excellent touchscreen is just window dressing on what is otherwise a fairly mediocre machine, albeit with solid technical performance and battery life. One other factor is the price — for the AU$1,600 odd you’ll pay for this model, it should do a better job than this.

    If this model was substantially lighter, had better screen and speaker quality and better overall build quality, it would be a model which we would recommend. As it stands, we’re sure there are better ways out there to jump on the Windows 8 bandwagon, and we recommend you investigate them.

    Other reviews we liked of the HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4: PCWorld Australia, The Verge.

    Image credit: HP

    submit to reddit

    2 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Posted 12/12/2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink |

      Waiting for a Asus UX51VZ review….

      That puppy is a REAL competitor to the MacBook Pro Retina….

      Might even convince me to go to the US and buy it…

      *drools*

    2. Annoying Old Fart
      Posted 15/12/2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink |

      Crappy low-end screen… pass.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Most Popular Content


  • Six smart secrets for nurturing customer relationships
    [ad] Today, we are experiencing a world where behind every app, every device, and every connection, is a customer. Your customers will demand you to be where they and managing customer relationship is the key to your business’s growth. The question is where do you start? Click here to download six free whitepapers to help you connect with your customers in a whole new way.
  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster sydney

      The NSW Greens late last week claimed to have obtained documents showing that the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ wide-ranging Learning Management and Business Reform program, which involves a number of rolling upgrades of business administration software, was deployed before it was ready, with “appalling consequences for administrative staff, principals, teachers and students”.

    • NSW Govt trials inter-truck safety devices trucks-cohda

      The New South Wales Government has inked a contract with connected vehicle technology supplier Cohda Wireless, as part of a trial of so-called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) which allow heavy vehicles to communicate directly with each other about their position on the road to help reduce road accidents.

    • Victoria finally kills $180m Ultranet disaster thumbsdown1

      The Victorian Government has reportedly terminated its disastrous Ultranet schools portal, which ballooned in cost to $180 million over the past seven years but ended up being barely used by the education stakeholders it was supposed to serve.

    • NetSuite in whole of business TurboSmart deal turbosmart

      Business-focused software as a service giant NetSuite has unveiled yet another win with a mid-sized Australian company, revealing a deal with automotive performance products manufacturer Turbosmart that has seen the company deploy a comprehensive suite of NetSuite products across its business.

    • WA Health told: Hire a goddamn CIO already doctor

      A state parliamentary committee has told Western Australia’s Department of Health to end four years of acting appointments and hire a permanent CIO, in the wake of news that the lack of such an executive role in the department contributed directly to the fiasco at the state’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital, much of which has revolved around poorly delivered IT systems.

    • Former whole of Qld Govt CIO Grant resigns petergrant

      High-flying IT executive Peter Grant has left his senior position in the Queensland State Government, a year after the state demoted him from the whole of government chief information officer role he had held for the second time.

    • Hills dumped $18m ERP/CRM rollout for Salesforce.com hills

      According to a blog post published by Salesforce.com today, one of Ted Pretty’s first moves upon taking up managing director role at iconic Australian brand Hills in 2012 was to halt an expensive traditional business software project and call Salesforce.com instead.

    • Dropbox opens Sydney office koalabox

      Cloud computing storage player Dropbox has announced it is opening an office in Sydney, as competition in the local enterprise cloud storage market accelerates.

    • Heartbleed, internal outages: CBA’s horror 24 hours commbankatm

      The Commonwealth Bank’s IT division has suffered something of a nightmare 24 hours, with a catastrophic internal IT outage taking down multiple systems and resulting in physical branches being offline, and the bank separately suffering public opprobrium stemming from contradictory statements it made with respect to potential vulnerabilities stemming from the Heartbleed OpenSSL bug.

    • Android in the enterprise: Three Aussie examples from Samsung androidapple

      Forget iOS and Windows. Today we present three decently sized deployments of Android in the Australian market on Samsung’s hardware, which the Korean vendor has dug up from its archives over the past several years for us after a little prompting :)

  • Enterprise IT, News - Apr 23, 2014 15:58 - 4 Comments

    Greens claim NSW LMBR project turning into a disaster

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Apr 24, 2014 14:00 - 11 Comments

    iiNet to splurge $350m on content, media

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry - Apr 24, 2014 16:05 - 0 Comments

    Free to fail: Why corporates are learning to love venture capital

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Apr 23, 2014 12:57 - 32 Comments

    Cinema execs blame piracy for $20 ticket prices

    More In Digital Rights