Thoughts on an HP Envy 15t? I only know dell

getting a laptop for our son going to college.  He seems to have settled on HP Envy 15t.

What do you think of that model?  And this build:

Is touch screen important.
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelp-- is often a good source of info and customer reviews about products such as the HP Envy.
Scroll down about 70% for the reviews.  
Since shipping is free, it also may be a few dollars cheaper than Costco.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
I used Dell laptops for many years and, for the most part, was happy with them. In fact, the 1920x1200 laptop screen that I mentioned in your other question is a Dell Latitude D830 — still in use every day! But in recent years, I switched my laptop purchases to HP — but the EliteBook series, not the Envy. I can say that the EliteBook laptops have been terrific. If the Envy is similar in quality to the EliteBook (but I don't know that it is), then it's a good choice. As far as that config, it's fine, with some provisos below.

I would rather see 16GB than 12GB (I have 16GB on several of the EliteBooks), but 12GB will certainly be adequate. The Core i7-4710HQ is a quad core processor and should provide ample CPU power. I would rather see a 500GB SSD (or even 1TB SSD if you can afford it) rather than the 1TB/5400RPM HDD, but the latter is certainly adequate. My thinking on the SSD is not just speed, but since he's likely to be all over the place on campus, with the laptop jostling in his backpack, I'd rather see a no-moving-parts SSD than the rotating hard drive — I've seen too many head crashes in my day. Speaking of head crashes, make sure he has some backup mechanism (preferably more than one) — an external drive, a small NAS, the cloud, etc. Even an SSD should have backup.

We discussed the 1366x768 in your other question. I would rather have 1920x1080, but if he's OK with 1366x768, that's fine. You can still get an external 20-24" monitor with 1920x1080 and use both screens in an extended desktop config. Windows is able to drive the two displays at different resolutions (the optimal one for each).

Re the touch screen, I don't think it's important, but I'm not a college kid. :)  I'd leave that choice up to him.

One last comment — W8. A college kid is more likely to be OK with it than his father, but if it's an issue for him, I recommend the excellent (and free!) Classic Shell. This ties a bit into the touch screen issue — if he uses the W8 Metro interface a lot, he'll likely prefer a touch screen.

In summary, this Envy will almost surely be a fine laptop for him, although I'd be tempted to do a custom build with some different specs.

I wish your son great success in his college days. Regards, Joe

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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Thanks, especially joe for that detailed comment!

Wound up going with

it gets the 16GB, but I've never gotten more than 4GB on a desktop for users / clients (for simple office work)...  Joe - really - 12 is just 'adequate'?!  : )

This is for  basic college stuff in a dorm and around campus, so he's not getting a monitor. He didn't want the touch screen initially, but it came with this one and yeah, he also wanted win 7 vs. win 8 (I've barely touched win 8), so like you say -  as the son vs. the dad, he'll be better with the win 8 and touch.
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BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
And for us, I much prefer having Costco behind it (we bought their square trade 3 year warranty and spill protection) vs. someone on amazon.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Well, I run a lot of programs at once, keeping them open — I hate to close and re-open apps all the time. That's where the extra memory comes in, so over the years I've tended to max out the memory config, which is 8GB on some of the EliteBooks and 16GB on others. I can't say that it's really necessary, but memory is cheap enough these days that I do it. Maybe "adequate" for 12GB is a bit understated. :)

That said, you've made a great choice — i7 quad core, 16GB, 1920x1080, 1TB, HD webcam, and Blu-ray player/burner! Awesome! And, of course, the most important feature for a college student — Beats Audio. :)  He'll be the envy of the dorm...hehe. One other thing you should consider — an extra battery. I read a few reviews that said battery life is in the 3-4 hour range. If he charges an extra one overnight every so often, he'll be able to go through a whole school day without access to AC. Best of luck to him! Regards, Joe
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Joe, thanks! most important for the parent of a college student - the breakage protection : )

yeah, a spare battery - do you buy just OEM or do you have an aftermarket battery supplier you like?
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Yes, breakage — good point!

I don't have a particular battery supplier that I like. I buy them on Amazon or eBay. The most important aspect is that I like to get the manufacturer-branded batteries (Dell, HP, Sony, whatever), not generic, third-party ones, although I've done the latter occasionally, especially for older machines (like the Dell D830). You can, of course, get them at the HP website, although they tend to be overpriced there. Regards, Joe
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
thanks.  I wonder about OEM batteries from other places - not legit, but I guess it's always buyer beware / deal with legit sites / if price is too good....
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
I've had mixed results with batteries. Lately, I've been buying from various eBay sellers (for the HP EliteBook 2540p and HP EliteBook 8460w), and all have been shipped directly from China. They have "official" HP labels, although they could be non-legit — I simply don't know. A couple of years ago I bought one for the Dell Latitude D830 on Amazon and it died quickly — fortunately, I had no problem returning it to Amazon. If you're concerned, then stick with the HP site — presumably, you can't go wrong there. Regards, Joe
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