MBP 13" vs HP Envy 14"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by IVIission, Jun 27, 2010.

  1. IVIission macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    Hello, I have been in the buyers market for the 13" MBP for a while, and since I'm a student I have been anxious to snag it up for $1100 and get a free 8GB iPod. However, I get a nagging feeling that I am buying in to Apples marketing and purchasing a product that just doesn't have the performance to go along along with the hefty price tag. Exploring my other options led me to find the HP ENVY 14", which looks very similar to the MBP.

    HP also offers student discounts, and the one I customized to buy looks like this:

    *Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-430M Dual Core processor (2.26GHz, 3MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.53GHz
    *4GB Ram
    *320GB 7200RPM HD
    *Intel HD graphics default w/ 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 switchable graphics
    *14.5" diagonal HD+ HP Radiance Infinity LED Display (1600x900) (Apparently the screen is really bright and looks great in 1600x900

    = $1,012.49

    MBP on edu. discount (w/ free iPod touch) = $1100

    So my question is the OS and iPod worth that extra $100, I would say yes. However is the extra screen size, much better processor, and discrete graphics worth the trade off?

    Also, how does the ATI discrete card compare to the Nvidia 320m?

    * I should add that I would like to enjoy gaming occassionally
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    The iPod is already worth 200$. Unless you really need that better CPU (use a lot CPU intensive apps), the speed of it is irrelevant. The difference ain't that big either, your documents won't be written any faster with i5 ;) The GPU is also irrelevant unless you do gaming.

    So, unless you can actually take advantage of the extra speed, get the MBP, assuming that you like OS X more than Windows 7 (if you want Windows, get a PC)
  3. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    The question with the processor/GPU is a question you would have to answer yourself. Unless you are doing video encoding, you will not notice a difference between the two processors (which isn't as big as people make it out to be). GPU, you may notice a difference based on what you do. If you game fairly heavily or do a lot of 3D modeling software, you will notice a difference, but the 320m is not bad, and I can even game decently on my machine with a GPU that's about half as powerful as the 320m. As far as screen size goes, that's a personal preference. I really don't like the whole 16:9 aspect of a lot of screens now, it just makes it a pain to read web pages and longer documents due to lack of vertical pixels. However, the HP display is pretty high res, so that likely wouldn't be an issue.

    So if you really want to game (moderately heavily), go HP. If you would rather have extra portability and battery life, plus OS X, go with the MBP.
  4. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I understand where you are coming from. You might want to consider that it's not all about the specs.
    Have you used one in store?
    If you haven't yet, you might consider the superior (well, in my opinion) build quality and Mac os X itself. In my past experiences, I found Mac os x to be a very elegant OS, that doesn't get slow over time. I'm not sure if you'll need that type of power in a computer for school, but hey, you might.

    The Macbook Pro is very fast (don't worry about the specs), looks elegant, works like anything, and has a high resell value.
  5. MonkeyET macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2009
    Coachella, CA
    I agree with whether you are gaming or not. If this is not a main cause, which I would assume if you are purchasing this size of screen it is most likely not the case, to go with what you are most comfortable with. I am known, amongst my friends, as trying to sell the benefits of Apple to people. I do disagree however. If you have a valid reason, other that Apple is too expensive, to not like them then so be it. If you are asking my opinion, I would go with the MBP. If specs are similar consider the resale value. What would a used HP go for in relation to a used MBP? I think they differ quite significantly.:apple:
  6. IVIission thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 4, 2010
    I would not be looking to resell, I'm looking to get a good solid 4-5 years or so without the computer becoming completely obsolete
  7. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    You still didn't answer whether you need the extra speed or not. If you're just going to browse the net, write documents and use iTunes, its not going to be obsolete, any Mac from past 5 years can do that.
  8. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    I have news for you, Apple was and is already working on the next replacement. A computer is only obsolete if it fails to meet your needs. In 4-5 years you will out of collage and your needs for a computer will change.
    The notion that a computer becomes obsolete is just that. I have friends that use an SE for internet services.
  9. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Aug 12, 2009
    well...to put the facts straight...

    The Envy comes with the latest processor, a dedicated graphics card (which will make your occasional gaming more enjoyable) and in a form which is not revolting. You also have the option of getting accidental damage protection directly from HP (which is a plus IMO)

    The MBP on the other hand comes with an old processor, an integrated graphics card (which is not as good as the Envy's dedicated graphics card) and in a form which is pleasing. The big plus point though is that you get Mac OS.

    Spec wise, the Envy is much better value than the MBP. The 13 MBP is basically an outdated machine because of its usage of the older processor and gaming on it might not be a pleasant experience.

    If you are dependent on MS Office a lot, Envy is a better buy.

    Where the Envy might fall short is
    1) the touchpad (this was really bad on the previous Envy models)
    2) excessive heat and the resulting throttling of the CPU (this was really bad on the previous Envy models)
    3) HP Support (most of it is outsourced and hence may not be as good as Apple Care).

    I would wait for a couple of reviews from tech. blogs (engadget, notebook review) and users before buying the Envy 14.5.

    Personally speaking, I would have gone for the 13 MBP cause I don't game and I prefer the Mac OS (use Open Office to get by Word and Excel)...and I love the touchpad on the MBP.

    To me, the current config of the MBP is a good one cause I don't have to deal with all the automatic switchable graphics crap and I can expect 8 hours of real world battery life from it.
  10. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    Additional issues to consider aside from the raw CPU and graphics specs:

    1. How does the HP's battery life stack up against the MBP?
    2. Does the HP's screen quality match that of the MBP?
    3. How is the touchpad on each computer?
    4. Which is lighter and smaller? Do you care?
    5. How do the keyboards compare?
    6. How strong is your OS preference one way or another?
    7. Do you often go back to the manufacturer for support?
  11. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    A Mac will last longer. Literally, a 13" MBP lasts 10 hours on a single charge. :) But a Core 2 Duo should last 4-5 years no problem. Core i5 is better but that is only one part of a computer. Don't forget the trackpad, keyboard, etc. My friend's Envy keyboard/trackpad is already showing lots of wears (read: shiny) just after a few months. My MBP keyboard after 1 year of programming and heavy keyboard use isn't worn yet.
  12. JasO macrumors regular

    Jan 11, 2008
    Melbourne, Australia
    I wouldn't recommend the current MBP 13" because of the last gen C2D.

    Get the Envy unless you really want the iPod touch.
  13. cuttooth macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    The graphics chip is more important than the actual processor for most things these days. I just purchased a 13" MBP a few days ago and it's fantastic. It runs the games I personally care about (WoW, HoN, most likely SC2) with little to no slowdown on higher settings, and has the portability that serves the entire purpose of owning a notebook.
  14. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    The mbp does not run games well. THE MBP DOES NOT RUN GAMES WELL. Windows is far better for gaming than mac os.

    They envy looks really good, is thin, and you can swap out batteries. That makes it last longer than a mb.

  15. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Currently, yes because most, if not all games for OS X are ported from the Windows version which means the performance is worse. Apple, NVidia, ATI and Valve have all said that they will be improving the gaming performance as much as they can via driver and other updates.

    320M runs pretty much every game at low settings at least. Sure PC gets you better performance/price ratio but if you aren't more than a casual gamer, that isn't that important
  16. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    Yeah but that pretty much means the Envy is going to run better in all aspects over the MBP, because it has a better processor and better graphics card. That's pretty important in the OP's decision making on which laptop to choose.

  17. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    No, it really doesn’t. Remember, specs aren’t everything. If they were both running Windows 7, sure, the HP’s going to beat the MBP on speed in most, if not all tasks. But when you’re comparing an OS X based laptop with a W7 based laptop, raw specs simply aren’t enough, because it’s about how they’re utilized. Quite simply, Mac OS X on a C2D with the 320M is likely faster at many tasks than the i5 and ATI5650 (that’s if you’re taking the performance route, if you’re using the Intel graphics the performance would be worse across the board probably, although I don’t know if that laptop supports automatic switching). That doesn’t mean the hardware is more powerful, but the software is more efficient and finely tuned, so it works better overall for many tasks.

    Of course, if gaming is the key (as many people on here seem to be assuming), the of course the HP’s the best bet. Don’t count out the MBP just because it appears to be the weaker computer by the specs, though.

  18. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2010
    I agree specs aren't everything since the operating systems are quite different, but the Envy can be spec'd considerably better than the macbook pro 13 inch. The processor can range anywhere from an i3 to a quad core i7 and the graphics cards apparently "blow the MacBook Pro's GeForce 320M and GT 330M accelerators out of the water" ( http://www.tested.com/news/hps-new-envy-14-and-17-vs-apples-macbook-pro/239/) Heck, you even get Dr. Dre's audio :D


  19. MacSignal macrumors regular

    May 8, 2010
    If I were going to consider a Windows alternative to a 13 MBP, it would be this Asus. If not Asus, I would buy a Sony.

    MBP Advantages vs. HP Envy 14:
    1. battery life
    2. trackpad
    3. build quality
    4. customer service
    (HP ratings are horrible for #3 and #4)
    5. resale

    The reasons for favoring a Windows machine would be gaming and the need to use Windows applications like MS Office as opposed to the alternatives that run on OS X. The Mac and Windows i5 laptops that I have played with in the stores do feel snappy, but I have also been using a (2010) base model C2D MBP 13 for a few weeks now and it is working plenty fine for email, surfing, (Open) office, light image/graphics editing, and coding.

    If your needs or uses are similar, the relatively small performance difference might surprise you.
  20. cuttooth macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    Did you not read the part where I said it runs in high settings?

    If you're going to be playing Modern Warfare 2 or something similar, you shouldn't be doing it on a laptop, anyway.
  21. mags631 Guest

    Mar 6, 2007
    Sony has build quality issues, poor resale, and is loaded with crappy trialware to boot.
  22. pnr macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2009
    I check the dimensions of envy 14” (actually 14.5”) and it is more close to MBP 15”. If you need a really portable machine, the best alternative I can think is Sony Vaio Z or even S series.

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