HP ENVY 700-230

A Quad Core Desktop PC With Integrated Gesture Controls

HP ENVY 700
HP ENVY 700. ©HP Inc.

The Bottom Line

Apr 14 2014 - HP's ENVY has lost much of its appeal with the high performance users because of its erosion into a more budget performance system, replaced by the ENVY Phoenix. This is evident in the lack of higher end processors and dedicated graphics that many of its competitors at this price point include. HP tries to make up for this by having a larger hard drive and including the Leap Motion gesture controls.

The problem is that these don't make up for the loss of performance. Since the design offers limited internals upgrades, you have to really want and use the features to make the system worthwhile.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Larger Hard Drive
  • Leap Motion Controller Built-In

Cons

  • Integrated Graphics
  • Limited Internal Upgrade Options
  • Motion Controls are Still Gimmicky

Description

  • Intel Core i5-4440 Quad Core Desktop Processor
  • 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 Memory
  • 2TB 7200rpm SATA Hard Drive
  • Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW Burner
  • Intel HD Graphics 4600 Integrated Graphics
  • HDA 7.1 Audio Support
  • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wireless, Bluetooth
  • Four USB 3.0, Six USB 2.0, HDMI, DVI, VGA, 15-in-1 Card Reader
  • Windows 8.1

Review - HP ENVY 700-230

Apr 14 2014 - HP's ENVY computers used to be about high end performance and computer gaming. Now, they are more just upscale versions of their standard Pavilion and replaced by the ENVY Phoenix as the new high-end performance systems.

The ENVY 700 is a fairly modest system from the exterior with a mix of steel and plastic construction. The front panel is a bit more stylish than the pavilion systems with its two tone color and a red light accent in just below the drive bays. One difference is that there are no front panel ports. Instead, they reside at the top facing backwards which helps make cable placement look less cluttered but they can be slightly more difficult to reach if there is less space between your computer and the desk.

Powering the ENVY 700-230 is the Intel Core i5-4440 quad core processor. This is the second to lowest of the Intel dedicated quad core processors. This means that it has a slightly lower clock speed than the dual core i5 processors but it performs better with multi-tasking and multi-threaded applications which is beneficial these days. It still is not going to be as fast as the i5-4570 or the i7 series processors but it is generally fast enough for those doing most tasks other than desktop video editing. The system comes with 8GB of DDR3 memory that allows it to perform smoothly with Windows. One downside here though is that the motherboard only features two memory slots and both are in use meaning you have to replace the modules rather than add to them to upgrade to 16GB of memory.

While many systems at this price point use a single terabyte hard drive, HP has elected to include a larger two terabyte drive with twice as much storage space for applications, data and media files. The drive is a full 7200rpm speed drive which offers good performance for a desktop but it still is slower than those systems that use a solid state drive for a primary boot partition or caching. If you want to add more space, there is room for one extra hard drive inside but most will probably add them externally through the four USB 3.0 ports.

There is still a dual layer DVD burner for playback and recording of CD or DVD media.

One of the bigger disappointments with the HP ENVY 700-230 is the reliance upon the Intel HD Graphics 4600 that are built into the Core i5 processor rather than using a dedicated graphics card. This means that the system has much less 3D performance such that it is really only suitable for playing casual 3D games at lower resolutions and detail levels. At least the integrated graphics do offer the ability to accelerate media encoding when used with Quick Sync Video compatible applications. If you need additional performance, there is a PCI-Express graphics card slot but your options for video card upgrades will be limited due to the 300 watt power supply. At least there is the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 cards that can run without the need of external PCI-Express power connectors that are missing in this system.

HP is one of the few companies that is trying to distinguish itself from other companies by including the Leap Motion gesture controller with their new systems. This 3D motion controller is built into the upper portion of the USB keyboard and allows for gesture controls with compatible applications. It can also be used to navigate Windows but it is still far more efficient to use the mouse. The feature is still more of a gimmick than useful as there are a very limited number of applications available through Leap's online store that use it.

Pricing for the HP ENVY 700-230 is one bright spot. The list price for the system was originally $850 but street pricing is much better. It can be found as little as $650 with special offers from HP but the typical price is around $750 to $800. This makes it one of the more affordable Intel options with a true quad core processor. Most of the competition at this price point is using AMD's quad core processors. Some similarly priced options include the Avatar Gaming A10-7876, Cyberpower Gamer Ultra GU2190 and Lenovo's IdeaCentre K450. Both the Avatar and Cyberpower systems use the AMD A10 processors that are generally equivalent. The difference is they both come with dedicated graphics cards for better 3D performance. The Cyberpower system even features a two terabyte hard drive. The Lenovo system is very similar with configuration but it is less desirable because it has so few USB ports for external peripherals.

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