HP Envy 17 Leap Motion TS Notebook: Just move your hands

Written by Sudhir Chowdhary | Updated: Mar 20 2014, 17:52pm hrs
HP Envy 17 leap motion TS NotebookA high-end notebook computer with a high-resolution display and brisk performance. (AP)
It is true that super-thin laptopscommonly called ultrabookshave captured peoples imagination for the simple reason that they are thin and elegant, are quick to come to life, and give people a simple and hassle-free work and entertainment experience. Most important, people prefer such fast devices over desktops because of their mobility advantage. But imagine a desktop-kind of a notebook computer that is a stylish piece of hardware with brisk performance and ideal for smart everyday computing

After all, you cannot type out a 200-word email on your mobile phone or tablet screen, can you

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HP Envy 17 Leap Motion TouchSmart Special Edition (SE) notebook has all the features of a speedy laptop quick awakening, brisk performance in an attractive design. At 3.43 kg, it is definitely not crafted for mobility, unless of course you are keen on building your wrist and hand muscles. It is a computer which ought to take up residence in your comfort zone where you can address your office-related work or indulge in watching a movie, listening to music or surfing the internet. The new Envy carries a retail tag of R1,18,711.

Hewlett-Packard claims that its Envy 17 is the worlds first notebook PC with Leap Motion technology. If you have seen Tom Cruises 2002 American science fiction thriller film Minority Report, youll probably be able to connect with Leap Motion technology better. Basically, it (Envy 17) senses natural hand and finger movements in the air for easy navigation and control, offering pinpoint accuracy to make games, modeling and presentations come to life. Physical contact seems so old fashioned, but more on it later.

At my end, I unwrapped this rather heavy machine (Envy 17-j102TX Leap Motion TouchSmart SE) and placed it in my comfort zonein the TV room and on a not-so-old study table where I probe all the new-age devices. This Envy is a metal laptop with a 17.3-inch diagonal full HD display and definitely not light but somewhat portable for those on the heavier side. The metal chassis is sturdy and looks great. The keyboard is comfortable and in actual usage, it is fairly responsive to typing. Its wide touchpad is also responsive and I didnt feel any lag or jerkiness.

The full-HD 17.3-inch screen offers an impressively sharp resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and its size and vibrancy offers a nice viewing experience whether you are browsing the internet, watching a movie or playing a game. Theres a DVD drive on board and a wealth of ports dotted around its chunky sides.

Probing the innards, the laptop comes with 4th Generation Intel Core i7 mobile processor, 8 GB PC3-12800 DDR3L memory, 1 TB Serial ATA hard drive, 8x SuperMultimode DVD Writer and Beats Audio with good quality sound. It has Windows 8 as its OS and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics. Since it is a multimedia laptop first and foremost, the Envy 17 requires a lot of storage space, and the 1 TB HDD delivers.

What makes the Envy 17 special is that it is the first laptop to offer proper 3D motion control. Let me explain a little bit here. Basically, we have seen that touchscreens are fairly common nowadays in Windows 8 laptops. But HPs new Envy 17 Leap Motion SE has integrated yet another type of input, that is, touchless. The Envy has Leap Motions gesture recognition technology built directly into the palm rest, allowing users to move seamlessly between the touchpad, touchscreen, and 3D gesture control.

The Leap Motion controller is located at the right hand side of the palm rest; it is activated via Fn+Space (works even when running on battery). The Leap Visualiser shows immediately what the shift to the right of the infrared sensor means, as the left hand will only be recognised as soon as it starts hovering right above the touchpad. The user thus has to relocate their hands to the right.

In terms of real usage, I used Google Maps and was quite impressed with this gesture-control feature. For the more adventurous lot, I would recommend to check out a range of apps available in the Leap Motion app store.

The notebook provides faster and more responsive experience. However, the battery life is significantly decreased when the Leap Motion controller is enabled. Therefore, I would recommend leaving the notebook plugged in while it is in use.

Also, if you take your music seriously then the Envy 17 is the machine to go for. It is designed for the best sounding, rich audio available on a PC, thanks to Beats Audio technology.

All in all, the Envy 17 Leap Motion Special Edition notebook comes across as a high-end notebook computer with high-resolution display and brisk performance. Ideal for home entertainment!

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