Going beyond HD - Review of HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook which boasts a 3200 x 1800 Resolution Display


HP has went the extra mile to bring one of the firsts 3200 x 1800 resolution laptops for the Singapore market. Launched at COMEX 2013 in September, the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook introduced the idea of resolution beyond FullHD to mainstream users. Nobody would mind a higher resolution display as it would mean a higher pixel density and most definitely a clearer and more pleasant visual experience. Together with the Sleekbook's thin profile and light weight, it stands out distinctly from competing products. 

Today, we take a closer look at the new touch screen enabled Sleekbook to let you decide if the new HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 is the right choice for you. 


Operating System
Windows 8 64bit ( Upgradeable to Windows 8.1)
Intel Core i5-4200U (1.6GHz, 3MB L3 Cache)
8 GB 1600MHz DDR3 (1 x 8 GB)
Hard Drive
750GB 5400RPM SATA, 24GB mSATA cache
NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M (2 GB DDR3 dedicated VRAM) – NVIDIA Optimus Technology
I/O Ports
2 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x HDMI
1 x RJ-45 (LAN Ethernet Port)
1 x Headphone out/Mic in
SD Card Reader
Front Facing HD Webcam f2.0 720p
2 x Beats Audio Internal Speakers with Subwoofer
HP Clickpad with multitouch features
Full-Sized Backlit keyboard
Network Connections
Gigabit Ethernet
Intel 802.11b/g/n
34.57 x 23.93 x 2.13cm

Audio Combo jack, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet port and power jack

Kensington lock, HDMI out, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and SD Card Slot

Stereo speakers housed within body above keyboard
The HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 also comes with a multi-touch screen. Applications on the Windows 8 Store that are meant to be interfaced with touch will be able to run on this Sleekbook. Additionally, if you are a developer and would like to create Windows 8 applications, this is probably a machine you can look into for running and testing your apps on. 


Honestly speaking, the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook looks almost like an Apple Macbook in terms of the use of materials, touch pad placement and also backlit keyboard. If you have always adored the simplistic design of an Apple Macbook Pro and want to run Windows optimally on your machine, this is probably the best alternative yet. 

As many already have known, the HP Sleekbook is actually made to be an Intel Ultrabook, but due to its specifications not meeting the Ultrabook requirements, it is rebranded as a Sleekbook. That is why the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 boasts a very slim profile and weighs extremely light. It lives up to its name of a "Sleek" book as it really looks very sleek. 

Aluminium is used as the housing for the hardware, giving the whole system a very complete and premium design. Yet, everything still looks very simple and approachable.

This is the maximum angle which the display can be left at. I felt that this angle was good enough for using touch based applications for Windows 8. Because HP used an IPS panel, it promises wide viewing angles. Regardless of angle the screen is left at, users will be able to see the whole screen clearly.

Say what? 3200 x 1800 Resolution?!

The jump in terms of display resolution has to be deemed too huge. It seems that this both PC hardware and software aren't able to yet catch up for displays of such resolution. The HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook is still early in its game and I think developers are working hard to make their applications work on displays of such resolution.

For example, Google Chrome is still not optimized for 3200 x 1800. After installation of the application on Windows 8, Google Chrome opens up only in the Windows 8 App mode. Switching it back to the desktop mode results in a lower resolution browser being used.

Chrome in Desktop mode is blurry

Actual 3200 x 1800 Chrome in Windows 8 App mode

Despite applications are still not optimized for the high resolution, productivity applications worked very well.

View documents side by side in Microsoft Word

Luckily, high resolution displays definitely increases the quality and density of the display pixels, resulting in true higher than high definition entertainment experience. HP also also worked a lot on their display panel. They've included their BrightView LED-backlit technology, ensuring that the display is brighter than usual displays. This promises better movie viewing experience.

Benchmarks and Performance

I decided to put the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook to the test. I started with a DirectX 9 based game to find out the optimal resolution which games can be played at with the GT740M dedicated graphics. Then, I moved on to DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 game. After the gaming benchmarks, I tested the system on PCMark 7 and 3DMark 11 which puts every aspect of the system to test in different scenarios

At 3200 x 1800, Street Fighter IV (DX9) is almost unplayable

At 1920 x 1080 FullHD Resolution, results were better and game was playable

At 1366 x 768 resolution, Street Fighter IV Benchmark gave an A rating - Optimal resolution for gaming

At 1360 x 768, Resident Evil 5 benchmark (DX10) had a rank of B. Decent game rates

Unplayable framerates at 3200 x 1800 Resolution on Resident Evil 5 benchmark

In DX11 Lost Planet 2 Benchmark, 3200 x 1800 resulted in a 7.7FPS - Not playable at all
Lost Planet 2 did not allow us to reduce the resolution of the game

PCMark 7 reported a score of 4080

3DMark 11 reported a score of P1819, better than most Ultrabook computers

Final Words

The HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook's 3200 x 1800 display helps a lot in productivity applications. Users will have the ability to place large spreadsheets side by side to do comparison or edit documents easily to a reference. However, it seems that 14 inch could be a screen too small for such a high resolution. Some applications which were not optimized at this resolution just simply looked too small to be used. It probably even make sense to drop the resolution of this unit back down to 1920 x 1080 for applications to function better. It's a huge regret that the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook is a bit too early in its technology. Perhaps this has been improved in Windows 8.1, which I have yet to test.

Of course, more laptops tablets will start moving towards the trend of have ultra high definition display. It could be a good investment to purchase this notebook unit to prepare for the future. I personally think that it will be around these 2 years that ultra high resolution displays will drop in price and becomes mainstream in the market.

Additionally, the NVIDIA GT740M dedicated graphics chip found within the unit was adequate for most productivity applications which the Sleekbook is made to run. However, if you are looking at playing games at the native resolution of 3200 x 1800, you should get a gaming laptop instead as the GT740M just can't handle all that power those games need as shown in the tests above. There were some experiences where even rendering of the Windows 8 UI was jittery as the computer was running on the Intel graphics. The NVIDIA drivers have yet to fully allow the laptop unit to solely use its GT740M graphics card. I believe that if that was possible, the whole Windows 8 experience on the laptop will be much smoother.

In summary, I think that the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook will be a good buy if you are looking for a new laptop that will last you for the next few years as laptops move towards the high resolution display trend. It will be perfect if you are just using the device for productivity applications and not playing games on it. Of course, the HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 is a great piece of entertainment hardware thanks to its super crisp and clear display and above average speakers unit with Beats Audio Technology.


The new HP ENVY TouchSmart 14 Sleekbook is already available at all major IT retail stores in Singapore. This includes but is not limited to Challenger, Best Denki, Courts and Harvey Norman. It is also available at HP's online store at 1,699SGD. This Sleekbook will also come with a free carrying case with purchase. Also, it comes with a 1 year hardware limited warranty.

Purchase it on lazada here!

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Bikram Pratap Singh said...

I have the same laptop. Used it for more than 18 months. The 3200x1800 is just ridiculous. But I love using Lightroom and Photoshop under that resolution because the images are so damn crisp!