By Travis Persaud

I remember spying the latest HP Envy model last year, with, well, envy. Now, it wasn’t the ordinary, plain Jane model that caught my eye.  Yes, I’m sure it’s quite fine and dandy, but it was the Beats Edition model that grabbed my attention. I was jonesing for it ever since. Earlier this year I finally had the chance to test it out.

The first thing I noticed was the packaging. There was no sloppy Joe cardboard and packing peanuts to battle with. Instead, a slick shoebox-esque container held the even slicker looking laptop. A very nice touch that lets you know you’ll be keeping this machine longer than that chincy netbook you bought on sale for $199 last year on Boxing Day.

The Beats Edition sets itself apart from the normal Envy 14 with its matte black finish and soft-touch paint along the palm rest area. A red beats audio symbol is prominently displayed on the back of the lid and the black island keyboard is backlit with red light — very classy. Once you experience a beautiful backlit keyboard like this, you really don’t want to go back.

Of course, since the system uses Dr. Dre’s Beats Audio technology, the sound is by far one of the best I’ve ever heard on a laptop. It completely transforms your music listening and movie watching experience, making it worth your time to transfer your media to its hard drive — unlike other notebooks with subpar audio, which absolutely butchers the sound.

Of course, this notebook isn’t perfect. The gestures on the keyboard are sketchy at best, which turned into quite a frustrating moment until I simply ignored the gestures and went about my business as if they didn’t exist. It’d be nice to have work well, but it didn’t kill my time with it. And while its aluminum structure is solid and will eliminate any worry of damage with it gets bumped and slammed, at nearly 5.7 lbs it is a hefty guy to carry around. But I gladly hauled it with me — what it offers outweighs any momentary shoulder strain it could give you.

And if you’re the one in your group of friends who cares about specs, well, this Envy has more than enough for you everyday needs (and if you don’t give a rip about specs, ignore this list and just know it has enough power and space to take care of you for quite some time): i5-460M processor with Turbo Boost and up to 2.80 GHz; 6 GB DDR3 memory; 640 GB hard drive; and a very crisp 14.5-inch display screen.

This was the best experience I’ve had on a PC in a very long time.

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