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Voodoo Envy 133


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It’s the notebook James Bond would carry—if Sony wasn’t his corporate sponsor. Yes, the Voodoo Envy 133 is one of the most striking notebooks you’ll lay eyes on. It’s also one of the thinnest notebooks ever. And yet there’s more to this luxury ultraportable for jet-setters (starting at $2,099; $3,299 as configured) than its one-of-a-kind design. An impressive amount of innovation is going on within the 3.4-pound carbon fiber chassis.

For starters, the instant-on OS lets users surf the Web, make Skype calls, and more without booting Windows. The Envy 133 also features an ambient light sensor for the brilliant 13-inch display, a keyboard whose backlight activates when it senses your hands, and surprisingly crisp and loud speakers. Plus, the power brick doubles as a Wi-Fi access point. However, two major drawbacks—a frustratingly erratic touchpad and woefully short battery life—might be deal breakers for some.


Although it can easily be compared to the MacBook Air in thinness (0.7 inches from end to end versus the Air’s 0.16 to 0.76 inches), the truth is that the Envy 133 couldn’t look more different. The Envy 133 makes boxy sexy, with squared-off edges and a light but very sturdy carbon fiber chassis.

The Black Weave pattern is the default finish, which we liked with the exception of noticeable smudge marks. But if you have the means, you can splurge for one of 14 other finishes ($500 to $600), ranging from Ceramic to Monaco Yellow.


We appreciated that the keyboard is backlit; a built-in proximity sensor triggers it automatically. The keyboard layout is a perfect rectangle, and if you run your hand lightly over the surface it almost feels like it is one with the rest of the deck. Even the Power button is contained within the layout to preserve the Envy 133’s stark minimalism.

The trade-off is that not all keys are full-size, such as the right Shift key. Initially, the keyboard felt a tad cramped, but we became acclimated within half an hour and found the key to feel nice and springy.



Normally we don’t dedicate a section of a review to a notebook’s touchpad, and in this case it’s not good news. Sure, integrated Synaptics technology enables multi-touch gestures such as scrolling and pinching (which works for zooming in on photos, Web pages, etc.). But overall the Envy 133 is one of the most awkward touchpad implementations we’ve encountered.

For starters, the touchpad area is just too large. We can live with the fact that it physically blends in with the rest of the design—you can find the dimpled surface by feel—but too often we accidentally moved the cursor or minimized windows with the palm or our hand. If a finger other than your index inadvertently hits the touchpad while navigating the desktop, the cursor will stop. A few times when typing in WordPad the type size decreased or increased even though we were using only a single digit. We encountered fewer problems when we turned off both the Tap Zones feature, which enables the four corners of the touchpad to act as buttons, and Pinch gestures.


We’re glad that the Envy 133 has a proximity sensor that recognizes when fingers are on the keyboard and turns off the touchpad, but we still had issues. And tweaking the size of the usable touchpad area within the settings menu (which dynamically resizes the scroll zone) barely helped. The fact that there’s a single long touchpad button with no physical separation between the left and right sides doesn’t help. An external mouse is a must.

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