Is the HP Envy the Mac killer?

Apple has enjoyed a tremendous amount of mindshare and market share the past few years.  Many people think they are the innovation leaders and their stock price reflects that.  But there are a number of companies that have had Apple in their sights for quite some time and the market is getting ready to shift.

Windows 7 is getting ready to ship.  It’s a good OS. Maybe great.  But it is made better by the quality hardware products that run it, or the applications that run on it.  We all know this.  The Microsoft partner channel is critical to the success of Windows.  The laptop market is getting ready to go white hot again.  I’ve been talking with hundreds of customers and nearly everyone I talk to is waiting for a key date, 10/22/2009.  Why?

Because everyone is waiting to buy a new computer.  Upgrading from Windows XP?  Nope. Buying a new machine with Windows 7 already on it.  Want to see a machine on my short list?  Look no further.

HP Envy

HP is pretty cocky to name a machine Envy.  But then again HP is doing pretty well and the specs for the Envy look great.  I would trade my ThinkPad today for this machine.  That should not be surprising.  It’s been a loyal servant but it’s 2.5 years old and that is getting ready to make it positively ancient compared to the crop of new machines coming out.


So what’s so hot about the HP Envy?  How about a Quad core processor and up to 16GB of RAM for starters.  And that’s in a slim package. In the picture above you can seeing the Envy all snuggled up to the MacBook Pro.  As you can see, it compares nicely.  Click the link just above or the pic and head on over to the gallery on

Plug in a nice eSATA drive and we are ready to rock Hyper-V virtualization or Hi Def encoding.  The rest of the technical specs are very respectable.  According to a few articles on the internet, the HP Envy 15.6” model starts at $1800.  The 15.4” Apple MacBook Pro starts at $1700 so it would appear we have an interesting horse race here.


So what should you do?  Get a bag of popcorn because the show is getting ready to start.  First up this week are the new Windows Mobile Devices.  After that, there should be a steady parade of laptops and netbooks showing themselves before Black Friday.  Game time.

Comments (19)

  1. Flemming Riis says:

    the envy looks very good , to bad its very costly to add 16gb , but 8gb is now very resonable for a change with 4*2s

  2. Keith Combs says:

    DDR3 memory is expensive but you can find some deals now.  DDR2 4GB SoDIMMs were like that last year, and the year before when the Santa Rosa chipset platform released.

    DDR3 4GB SoDIMMs will come down in price.

  3. Constable Odo says:

    I think that HP building a notebook like that is a fine idea.  It’s very attractive and likely very powerful. You’d probably get some serious value for a fully-optioned Envy.  The only problem is that it goes against Microsoft’s campaign of buying inexpensive computers.  Macs are too expensive, so buy a lower-priced PC instead.

    I think MS is trying to build a customer base of cheapsters and it’s going to hurt computer companies trying to build high-quality, expensive PCs.  All these Windows PC people talk about is $350 netbooks for the masses.  Apple is building a clientele of people who are willing to spend more money on high-quality computers, so it’s going to be hard for HP to compete with the dregs left over from the netbook crowd.

    I’d be happy to see a MacBook Pro with a quad-core processor as an option, but it may be unlikely for another year.

  4. tom says:

    Dear Envy,

    Two things you lack: Mac OS & Apple Support

  5. Keith Combs says:

    I would like to know how many people buy a netbook again after having used one for a period of time.  I want a large screen device so the 10" netbook is out for me.

    I want a 15" screen, memory for virtualization, quad for HD encoding, decent GPU for the OS eye candy or gaming, and at least one fast primary bay for a SSD drive or rotational disk.  

    Oh, and I want the case to be 1" or thinner and weigh 3 pounds.

  6. Oz says:

    First off the use of the word Killer in you title is predictably lame, not a chance. Might keep a few people from switching if they like the look of Apples Laptops.  

    Which brings me to HP design department. or should i say Copying Department!  Metallic body (check) Black Bezel (check) over sized Track Pad Check ) Black Keys (check) Ports on one side (check)  Ah one thing that clearly different it comes with one of those silly stickers …..

  7. Keith Combs says:

    Oz, it was a question.  Let’s not take it too seriously, ok?  The question is there to invite discussion on both sides.

    Frankly, my intent really isn’t to say HP is going to bury Apple with the machine. Only time will tell on that.

    But you must admit, the specs are a pretty nice match for a power user. I don’t care if it’s coyote ugly if it’s realiable and powerful.

    But I want my next machine to weigh less, be slimmer in size, and if at all possible, consume less electricity.  That’s a pretty tall order but it’s apparent from this machine that it’s possible.

    And the stickers are the first thing to go.

  8. Keith Combs says:

    NOTE to Apple fans,

    If you are going to send unprofessional comments, they won’t be approved.  I moderate all comments for a reason. Keep it professional and respectful.

    And in case you were wondering, I have a number of machines from Dell, Lenovo, HP, Toshiba and Apple.



  9. Synthmeister says:

    Looks good, but what are the full specs? Dell just came out with a cool looking laptop, but when you checked out the specs, it was awful. No optical drive, plastic body, underpowered, crappy video and more expensive than a similar Macbook.

  10. Synthmeister says:

    I can’t seem to locate an optical drive from the pics. Is there one

  11. Keith Combs says:

    I believe the full launch of the machine, and specs are on 10/15.  In the meantime you can dig around on or Google.  

    The HP site is

  12. Keith Combs says:

    By the way, there are conflicting reports on the grid about an internal optical drive.  It would appear that the Envy 15 doesn’t have one. That certainly isn’t a show stopper for me. I use the Sony external drive on my desk for installs, ripping, etc.

    Every machine I’ve used in recent years never had the optical drive in the machine.  Instead there’s always another hard drive with my virtual machines.

    These days I can easily go external for VM storage, especially now that 2.5" drives are at 500GB 7200rpm levels.

    One review said the machine had an internal blu-ray drive.

    I’d wait and see what the other machines look like that are coming between now and Christmas.  There’s just way too much tech available to pick something right this second.  A close to perfect machine is bound to come along soon.

  13. Jordan says:

    Dear Tom,

    There is nothing desireable to Mac OSX (at least business users, anyway) and Apple Support isn’t exactly a step above any of the rest.

    I’m typing this from a brand new Macbook Pro running Windows 7. Although the hardware is exceptionally nice, there are obvious things that have been left-out or overlooked, and its a shame.

  14. shollomon says:

    No internal optical drive suggests laziness on the part of both HP and Dell in their slim notebooks.  Apple got one in the same space.

    These machines look pretty good.  Its getting close to what I want, a system packaged like a macbook to run windows.  But since the price is nearly the same, maybe I should just buy an Apple and put Windows on it.  For about the same price I can run whichever OS strikes my fancy at the time.

  15. james says:

    I believe that I am the only one that realizes that Apple does not actually inspire anything short of a gag reflex. Looking at all of the computers that Hewlett Packard produces, they totally blow Apple away in every respect.

  16. Peder Vendelbo Mikkelsen says:

    Keith Combs wrote:

    > I would like to know how many people buy a

    > netbook again after having used one for a

    > period of time.

    I have been using a HP 2140 (Vista edition with 2 GB RAM)) for about 6 months and I dont think I will buy and use a machine this small again, unless the resolution of the screen improves. 1024×576 is simply not enough screen real estate and I miss a TrackPoint pointing device.

    It ran Vista fine and is running Windows 7 just as fine.

  17. Keith Combs says:

    I’m with you Peder.  14" is about as small as I want to ever go with a 1440×900 resolution.

  18. Keith Combs says:


    Considering the Envy doesn’t have an optical drive, many people would probably consider that a show stopper and disagree with you. I’m certain the Apple machine don’t make most of the people gag.

    But thanks for the feedback.

  19. Bobby Mukaisu says:

    I have to disagree that HP technical support is the same as Apple.  For the same price or a bit more I can assure you that even as a primarily PC user, I’ll buy the Mac in a heartbeat.  Every time I buy an HP product and need technical support I have to wade through 5 levels of useless scripted Indian technical support before getting anyone who is knowledgeable and able to help.  Apple has a reputation for superior hardware design and support.  For the same price it’s a no-brainer.  

    HP will have to build this for a lot less to gain my interest.

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