Sometimes, a little identity crisis is a wonderful thing. Since acquiring Voodoo in 2006, HP has been quietly injecting the specialty gaming PC maker’s high-dollar DNA into its own mass-market machines. It’s taken some time, but the fruits of that marriage are finally ripe: an inexpensive yet fast, feature-rich, and exquisitely designed computer. HP dropped serious hardware into this box, with a 2.4-GHz Intel Core i5 processor and smoking ATI Radeon 5650 graphics card, backed up by enough RAM and hard drive space to rip a pile of movies on the quick. And all that power is ensconced in decadent luxury. The spacious island-style keyboard offers full-size arrow keys typically unheard of on laptops. The slot-loading DVD drive is smooth and responsive, battery life is great, and three USB ports keep your gear connected. Even better is the gloriously high-resolution LED-backlit display that loads up on enough pixels (1600 x 900) in its 14.5 inches to give games, movies, and photos an immersive level of realism. Finally, it’s simply beautiful to behold, with a richly textured and patterned aluminum case that looks like a custom etching. The result is a sophisticated and sleek machine that makes Envy an affordable luxury.
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