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HP Envy dv7-7230us

November 19, 2012

Bottom line up front: The Windows 8 start screen is not truly integrated with the desktop. My laptop arrived with no product key for Windows 8. There is no software disk, and it is not affixed to the outside of the laptop, nor stored in a file on the hard drive.

The display, graphics, and sound are marvelous. Better than any I’ve seen or heard. I did play a game from the app store and was very impressed.

Speaking of the app store, as one might expect, at this time the selection of apps is limited. Windows 8 is brand new, after all. Some apps are impressive, others aren’t worth having.

I already own a HP Pavilion dv6┬álaptop, and I love it except for one thing: the touchpad. It is extremely sensitive, and flush with the area below the keyboard. On the dv6, I’ve disabled the touchpad because every time I use the keyboard, I brush the touchpad with an arm or finger, and my input is interrupted. Disabling the touchpad on the dv6 was a good workaround. I simply use a mouse instead of the touchpad.

Unfortunately, this is a poor workaround for the Envy 7230-us. Navigating the start screen with a mouse is difficult, at best. None of the apps have a back button, and the app screens fill the entire screen. To get out of an app, one must use either the Windows button on the keyboard, or hover the mouse in the general area of the charms and bring them forward in order to click on the start charm. For three weeks, I’ve tried to work out simple workarounds that make the interface less clunky to use to no avail.

I own Office 2010 Professional, and loaded it on this machine. I assumed if I pinned the icons to the start screen, they would behave as apps, and they almost do. Microsoft does not put them on the desktop. They are on the start screen, and you can start them there. But once you open one, you are on the desktop. If you want to use another piece of software, you have to press the Windows button to get back to the start screen.

If you’re planning to purchase a laptop primarily for gaming, streaming video, and/or gaming, you’ll be delighted. But if you want to use it to create or edit your own files and photos, you’ll find the start screen is a chronic obstacle.

And with no product key, if this happens to you, you won’t be able to purchase upgraded version of Windows 8 at discount prices.

I got this laptop free from Vine. I thought I’d be delighted. After all, thought it’s reasonably priced, it isn’t a cheap item. It’s something I’d shop around for. Personally, I don’t like it and I’m glad I didn’t pay for it. But because of the speakers and graphics, instead of two stars, I rate it three.

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