Aluminium: The New Panacea For Laptop Design And Construction

HP makes some rather good-looking laptops for sale in the market today, but it is quite clear from the ENVY 14 Beats Edition’s design that the engineers had the intention of making the notebook stand out visually. Like the original ENVY 14 which was crafted out of aluminium and magnesium, the Beats Edition variant of the notebook sports the same construction and design, which makes the notebook look oh-so-sleek as compared to the standard run-of-the-mill laptops built out of cheap plastics.

That being said, there are noticeable differences between the ENVY 14
and its Beats Edition counterpart. Instead of shiny metallic gray, the Beats Edition comes in black, while the HP logo on the front has been
replaced by a very large and stylized ‘b’, which is none other than the
iconic Beats logo.

Flipping the Beats Edition over reveals a clean yet elegant
design which hides virtually all signs of ugly screw holes and
excessive heat vents. Which, in all honesty, seems to bear a little more
than just a passing similarity to how the current Macbook Pros are
designed.

Ironically, the use of aluminium does not guarantee that the ENVY 14
Beats Edition will be the kind of ultralight notebook that one can swing
around for use without any issues. This is because the laptop is
surprisingly heavy: a quick look at HP’s product page reveals that the
notebook sports a hefty starting weight of 2.58kg considerable to the
larger 15-inch notebooks in the market today. This means that users are
probably better off just stashing in a notebook bag unless you intend to
build up some biceps by carrying it around in the bundled notebook
sleeve.

Last but not least, the HP ENVY 14 Beats Edition also sports a
matte finish over the material, and this can only mean one thing:
fingerprint magnet anyone?

A Closer Look: Connectivity and I/O ports

Of course, a premium notebook means nothing if it does not offer users the expandability and connectivity which we have all come to take for granted in today’s highly-digitized world. And the good news is that the ENVY 14 Beats Edition comes with the same I/O ports found on the earlier ENVY 14 notebook. Then again, this is also something that we had expected right from the very beginning, since the Beats Edition is essentially a glorified version of the original ENVY 14 notebook.

The right side of the ENVY 14 Beats Edition houses an eSATA/USB combo port, and like the original Envy 14, two display output ports have been provided in the form of a HDMI-out and a miniDisplayPort-out. A Kensington-compatible lock slot is also available here, along with the obligatory Ethernet and DC-in jacks.

A huge chuck of the space available of the left side of the ENVY 14 Beats Edition has been occupied by the slot-loading optical drive, thus leaving only just enough room for two USB 2.0 ports and two 3.5mm stereo-out ports for headphones and headsets. We were a little disappointed that HP did not opt to furnish the premium Beats Edition notebook with USB3.0 ports instead, but the inclusion of an eSATA port (on the right side) helped to mitigate that omission.

No ports of any sort save for a heat vent located on the rear of the ENVY 14 Beats Edition, just like how it was in the original ENVY 14 notebooks.

The front of the Beats Edition is also kept remarkably clean: the only things present here are grilles for the built-in speakers, along with a card reader which supports both SD and MM cards.