HP Envy TouchSmart 15t-j100 Quad Edition review

 

The HP Envy TouchSmart 15t-j100 Quad Editon is a multimedia powerhouse desktop replacement laptop. This is the one you want if you need to replace a $2,000 desktop you purchased back in 2010, and it’s starting to feel slow. You know that you can’t conceive of buying a PC without the latest quad-core Intel processor and Nvidia GeForce graphics, so you want a power user’s system. This can be the case if you’re a graphics artist by trade, you think you’ll need a power system for the long term, or if you think that $500 budget laptops are just too darn slow. Sure, it’s got a few flaws, but the TouchSmart 15t-j100 is still worth a look if you’re that type of user.

 

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Design and Features
The TouchSmart 15t-j100 follows the standard bright silver with black chiclet keyboard design ID that’s currently in vogue for high-end multimedia-oriented laptops. It’s fairly large, well into desktop replacement territory, with its dimensions running approximately 1.2 by 15 by 10 inches (HWD) and weighing in at a heavy 5.61 pounds. This is a system designed to look good on a desk surface, and not in a commuter bag taken back and forth from home daily.

 

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The black chiclet-style keyboard is comfortable to use, and is solid with zero keyboard flex. The keyboard isn’t backlit, but that is an extra cost option for configure-to-order systems like our review unit. The keyboard has a full numeric keypad to the right, fitting for a desktop replacement laptop, but it does mean that HP had to shorten the width of the return and backspace keys. The Delete key above the backspace key is also quite small.

One plus for consumers is that the row of function keys on the top row default to their multimedia and brightness functions; if you need F1-F12, you’ll have to hold down the Fn key. There is a fingerprint reader below the numeric keypad, on the palm rest. You can use the fingerprint reader instead of typing in passwords, since a quick swipe of a finger brings up the HP SimplePass utility. The one-piece trackpad responds quickly to single and multi-finger touch commands.

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Speaking of touch, the TouchSmart 15t-j100’s 15.6-inch screen has a 1,920-by-1,080 (1080p HD) resolution and 10-finger multi-touch support. The dual-hinge design means that the lid is steady during when you touch the screen. Screen bounce can be a problem if you use the touch screen a lot, and shows up in systems. The screen is bright and clear, though since the display is a Brightview LED-backlit display, aka LED-backlit TFT LCD, the viewing angles are a bit narrower than they would be on an IPS-display. The TouchSmart 15t-j100’s screen is less sharable than on other systems with an IPS display.

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If you need to share photos or video with a group from the TouchSmart 15t-j100, it’s best to use the built-in HDMI port or Intel Wi-Di to display your work on a HDTV. Other I/O ports include four USB 3.0 ports, a SD card reader, Kensington lock port, headset jack, and an Ethernet port. The system has quite a few pre-loaded apps, including Box (cloud storage), four Xbox Live games, HP Connected Photo (Snapfish), HP+ (online shopping), Savings Center (ads and coupons), HP Games, Kindle, Fresh Paint, Norton Internet Security, Netflix, YouCam, ebay, Microsoft Office Trial, HP Connected Music, HP MyRoom (video conferenceing), and PowerDirector 10 (a basic video editor). The system’s speakers are very clear, though nowhere as loud as systems, even though the ENVY TouchSmart 15t-j100 has Beats Audio enhancements including a bottom mounted subwoofer and four speakers. The system comes with a 24GB cache SSD (for speed) and a 1TB 5,400rpm SATA hard drive for storage. This system comes with a standard one-year warranty.

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Performance
The TouchSmart 15t-j100 comes with an Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor, 8GB of system memory, 2GB Nvidia GeForce GT 740M discrete graphics, 24GB cache SSD and 1TB 4,00rpm SATA hard drive. These components together give the system prodigious performance on day-to-day and multimedia benchmarks tests. On the day-to-day PCMark 7 test, the TouchSmart 15t-j100 scored 5,521 points, besting the Asus N550JV-DB72T (3,456 points) and matched the Asus N550jV-DB72T on the Handbrake video encode test (33 seconds for both). The TouchSmart 15t-j100 also bests the Vizio CT15T-B1 and the Sony Flip 15 on the multimedia and day-to-day benchmark tests. However, the Asus 550JV-DB72T has a higher-powered Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics processor, which means that the Asus 550JV-DB72T is better suited to 3D games when you’re on playtime.