Voodoo Envy M: 152

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The Voodoo Envy M: 152 is the latest 15-inch gaming notebook from HP’s latest acquisition, Voodoo. It comes with a 1GB or 2 GB DDR2 memory, with a maximum of 4 GB and costs upwards of $3600. The customized paint job available in eleven colors and tattoos will set you back by another $1100,making it one of the more expensive notebooks in the category. It measures 14.2 x 11.6 x 1.2 inches and weighs just seven pounds.

You can choose from two options of a 200 GB hard drive at 7200-rpm rotational speed or a 250 GB hard drive at 5400 rpm. The 15.4-inch screen has a resolution of 1680×1050 and is good for graphics. This resolution is ideal for gaming and seeing HD videos. The black keyboard has a spaced out keypad with a power button, fingerprint reader, some feather touch quick launch buttons for browsing and emails and a mute button. However a smaller laptop implies a loss of a separate number pad found in 17-inch notebooks.

The Voodoo Envy runs on an Intel Core 2 Duo T7300, 2.4 GHz mobile processor with the option to migrate to the higher T7700 for an extra $335.It has an NVIDIA GeForce 8600GT GPU that supports DirectX 10 gaming, but is not as fast as its competitors. Moreover Voodoo does not offer Ge8700 cards and this is a disappointment. This setup offers average frame rates for older games like Quake 4, but took some adjustments to get the best performance out of recent games like Crysis.

It comes with pre-loaded Windows Vista or Windows XP. There is a pre-installed 56 K modem, an Intel Wireless Wi-Fi Link 4965AGN card, Ethernet LAN and Bluetooth. The 2 mega-pixel inbuilt camera provides for easy video conferencing. A standard dual layer DVD burner provides for recording and playback of DVDs.

The video system includes a VGA-out and an S-video. The audio setup includes stereo speakers, headphones and a slot for a microphone. There is space for expansion in the form of an Express Card slot and the data port includes four USB 2.0 mini-FireWire, multiformat memory card readers. You can install an external TV tuner for an additional $183.

In regards to performance, the Voodoo is not so quick at multimedia tasking. For image processing using Adobe Photoshop it takes the longest time among its competitors. Encoding Apple iTunes takes less time than other notebooks in the category. The notebook runs for about two and a half hours on a full battery charge and this is impressive considering the use of DVDs that drain the battery. The battery definitely lasts longer for normal Web browsing and other simple applications.

The company gives a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor and a phone support for the lifetime of the system. There is a toll-free round the clock phone support and tech support over email. You can upgrade to a three-year warranty by paying $254. On the whole the Voodoo Envy scores high on looks but the high price does not justify the lack of better graphics options essential for good gaming performance.