Our HP Envy TouchSmart 4 review unit is equipped with a capable Intel i5-3317U processor. This dual-core is of the low-voltage variety, meaning it features a TDP of just 17 watts. TurboBoost 2.0 enables this processor to dynamically clock up single-threaded performance, while remaining cool and power efficient at idle.
As you can see, on the front of the system, we logged a maximum temperature of 117 degrees Fahrenheit. This high temperature was located above the keyboard and somewhere you are unlikely to touch during normal use. The HP Keyboard itself saw temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a bit higher than I'd like to see. It certainly makes gaming uncomfortable as the temperature was observed in between the WSAD keys.
Moving around to the back side, temperatures were even worse. The maximum observed temperature was 130 degrees Fahrenheit. I would not recommend using this system on your lap under any sort of load as temperatures this high can cause permanent discoloration and damage.
The HP Envy TouchSmart 4 comes with HP's standard island-style keyboard like the HP G Series G62-341NR Keyboard . This is good news for most as I find HP's standard keyboard to be quite comfortable and capable. I find myself to be partial to the keyboard equipped on HP systems.
The keyboard is, of course, recessed into the system to prevent the keys from connecting with the screen and causing damage. The recess is a bit larger than other Ultrabooks and allows the keys to be higher than other systems.
Because the keys are higher, they have more travel. This vastly helps the typing experience and I'd be willing to sacrifice some thinness any day for the vastly improved typing experience. However, the laptop keyboard does feature quite a bit of flex, something I found both distracting and annoying. It certainly affected my typing ability and detracted from an otherwise awesome keyboard implementation.
Key travel is smooth, though not quite as stiff as I would like to see. The keys bottom out solidly and aren't too loud. The sound that is present aids the typing experience for those of us who like the click of a keyboard.
The keys have a matte texture on the surface and appear to be perfectly flat. The surfaces of the keys are black, which sets them off from the rest of the silver palm rest. They have a good tactile feel that I could type on for hours.
The Envy TouchSmart 4's keyboard comes with a backlight, a feature that I love on any system like the Lenovo Thinkpad X Series X200 Keyboard . HP's implementation doesn't give any choice as to the brightness and it can be a bit bright when in a really dark room.
The touchpad is made from a single piece of material, with all sections touch sensitive and able to be pushed down for a left click. There is no visible delineation for left or right click, meaning you have to take a guess as to where left click ends and right click begins.
The touchpad area is recessed down into the palm rest of the machine. The touchpad itself is then raised above the recessed area. The touchpad surface has circle grooves and results in an interesting feeling that is hard to describe. I can say that I am not a fan of the touchpad on this system.