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Backlit Red Laptops - Beats by Dre Laptop vs AlienWare Laptops

Updated on March 12, 2012
Beats By Dre Laptop
Beats By Dre Laptop

Trying out the Beats by Dre Laptop

The recent commercials for the Beats by Dre laptops really captured my interest. I guess it was just a clever commercial, nice colors, catchy beat worked for me. So, i had to head off and look into the specs and possible deals on the HP Envy 14 Laptop (Beats by Dre)

I should be open and state that although I appreciated the marketing I was also instantly turned off by it. It's a pretty good rule of thumb that when something is over-marketed or requires a celebrity endorsement it will probably be over-priced and lacking.

The cost of that celebrity endorsement is coming out of the consumers pocket and the related hyped advertising will too.

So, I certainly didn't go run and buy one to review, but I did spend a half hour or so demoing it in a store while the family shopped for Christmas presents.

First Impression of Beats by Dre Laptop

When I first saw this laptop in person, I was quite surprised. What HP is calling the "beats" detailing, is impressive. This is quite possibly the best looking laptop I have ever seen. Far from being an Apple fanboy, i would still give them the nod for best design sense, usually. For the more tricked out customized machines I would give the nod to the Alienware line BUT I have never seen anything this cool, just sitting on a shelf at a big bix store.

The "Beats by Dre" HP Envy 14 is a real head turner, its tech-bling. The keyboard is fully backlit in red - its a really amazing effect. The finish on the machine is spectacular and the overall form factor is very sleek. This is the laptop that "Q" from the Bond series would carry, this is the laptop that would be launching nukes.

What makes the Beats by Dre Laptop unique?

First, the obvious red backlit keyboard will call to you, as you get closer you realize that the screen is hyper-crisp as its a true HD display.

  • 14.5 inch High Definition HP BrightView Display

You wont realize this when first looking at or even using the laptop, but , the integrated webcam is actually a High Def video camera!

  • 1280 x 720 HP TrueVision High Def Webcam

When you put your hands on the laptop you'll notice a very unique feel - a paint you have never experienced before.

  • Soft-Touch Paint and Alloy Chassis

Its a Dr Dre Branded Music Laptop, right? so what makes it special in the music department?

"With Beats, people are going to hear what the artists hear, and listen to music the way they should: The way I do" - Dr. Dre

The Beats laptop has two headphone jacks and a dedicated headphone amplifier!

Improved Audio on Beats laptops

I was able to experience the amplified and quite impressive sound that came out of the Envy's dual headphone jacks. I carry a mp3 player of some sort at all times and will always have headphone of some sort on me, as it was cold I was carrying a DJ quality folding headphone set that doubles as a earwarmer for me.

The Beats software was outside of my expertise, I am not sure what makes this specific ability to control "waves" independently between headphone jacks and system speakers desirable or whether this included audio mixing software is superior or comparable to standards like Fruity Loops or Sound Forge or even Adobe Audition. But, if it is comparable then the $300 price tag that most of these software carries should be accounted for when comparing this laptops relatively high cost.

yes, it sounds good, better than any laptop I have ever seen, but cant say it beats my desktop system and speaker set.

HP ENVY 14-1163SE Notebook PC
HP ENVY 14-1163SE Notebook PC

ATI Mobility Radeon 5650 graphics and 1GB DDR3 dedicated video memory.

Up to 6 hours and 30 minutes of life with the 8-cell 59WHr Li-Ion battery.


750GB (5400RPM) SATA with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection


Conclusion: Not at the inflated price

This thing has some really amazing and promising features, including the ability to upgrade to 16gb of RAM! its truly amazing to look at and has top of the line hardware features throughout.

But, I hate HP and its bloatware, the cost is huge and some smart reviewers have pointed out that the HP Envy when not purchased as a "Beats" edition will offer more hardware options and has more future-proofing.

It really is amazing to look at, is super thin and has some really cool little tweaks in the UI , but I could do more at that price than this stock Laptop offers.

Beats by Dre laptop alternatives
Beats by Dre laptop alternatives

Alternatives to the Beats by Dre Laptop

In this price range one can find some pretty tracked out gaming and video editing custom builds from the Alienware line.

I did say the Beats by Dre Beats laptop was the best looking laptop I have seen in a big box store - the Area51 by AlienWare is an example of what less commercial brands have been doing for quite awhile - this particular model can be upgraded to 1.5 terabytes and the led backlighting can be any color you want!


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    • profile image

      lord age 6 years ago

      The Hp envy sucks compared to alienware the only thing about the hp envy that is good is beats audio that's it nothing else and ocbill alienware is under dell a well known company and alienware is way more powerful then the hp envy and if you like beats audio so much just get a pair of beats. One alienware laptop i recommend is the Alienware m18x. Also another good laptop is the sony vaio. I repeat DO NOT BUY THE HP ENVY!

    • mwatkins profile image

      mwatkins 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC

      We've been looking at MAC's for our next big round of computers. I didn't know anything about these until I read your article. It's nice to know that there are still people out there who are honest enough to mention price and quality equivalents that won't break the bank as a reason NOT to buy something when they are making comparisons! Thank you!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your great informationespecially after your research and ;personal experience.

    • brandonakelly profile image

      brandonakelly 7 years ago from Wilmington, NC

      I felt the same way about this laptop when I first saw it on television, overpriced. Knowing who Dr. Dre is, as in his professional background and how well he does, I knew this laptop would be crazy. I mean, just the head phones he produced are extremely expensive.. good article tho, very informative for those who know nothing about Dre or laptop pricing.

    • sunforged profile image

      sunforged 7 years ago from

      HP software is usually ridiculously bloated - this machine has some special integration and win7 has some anti-annoyance features that limit the negatives on all the trials and such - but the company should be painted with the "likely to install annoying crap" brush anyway.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Alienware, Ferrari and some other lesser knowns I cannot recall are top of the line laptops. HP envy sounds good though. Bloatware? it appears that HP and Compaq just blended it all in.

    • viking305 profile image

      L M Reid 7 years ago from Ireland

      Yes I must agree with you that the HP Envy 14 laptop is really impressive. If anyone is looking to buy their first laptop or upgrade their old one then this HP envy is worth looking at. Great review