Being on hand in Shanghai to see HP unveil its latest lineup of PCs, I got up close to a few of them to see how they look and feel, though the crowd around them didn’t let me do much else. HP looks to be doubling down on the ultrabook category christened by Intel (they own the trademark, by the way), and the latest consumer lineup is lead by the Envy Spectre XT. Information on pricing and availability for Canada is going to be updated once I have it confirmed.
Rather than go into a lengthy preamble on ultrabooks, I’m going to focus instead on what’s being offered with this new lineup, and what wasn’t announced at all at HP’s Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai.
Starting with the Spectre XT, it has a 13.3-inch display (1366x768) resolution and will run on an Intel Sandy Bridge processor with 4GB of RAM. A 128GB solid state drive is included, but you can pay extra for a 256GB as well (pricing for that to come). Battery life is rated at “up to eight hours” but always take those numbers with a grain of salt. You’re more likely to get five or six on one charge. It weighs in at a lightweight 3 lbs.
Not surprisingly, it runs on Windows 7 Premium, but has apparently been optimized to run on Windows 8 when that launches later this year. A cool addition here is that a full version of Adobe Photoshop and Premier Elements is included, as well as a two-year subscription to Norton Internet Security (which hopefully won’t slow the machine down to a crawl). On the audio side, Beats Audio is built-in to enhance the fidelity of whatever you want to listen to. For ports, you get Ethernet, HDMI out and one USB 3.0. Intel’s WiDi is also built-in for projecting the screen to a TV via a third-party receiver.
HP says the Spectre XT will come to Canada on July 13 with a starting price point of $999.
HP’s 15-inch Envy Ultrabook has similar specs to the Spectre, except for some notable differences. Screen resolution is the same, as are the operating system, RAM and processor (though it looks like there will be a downgrade spec for Canada that doesn’t use a Sandy Bridge chip — more on that as it comes in). Rather than use an SSD, the Envy Ultrabook comes with a 500GB hard drive instead. It also has two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI and an SD card reader. Beats Audio is in here with dual speakers and a subwoofer crammed in. Battery life is “up to nine hours”.
It’s pretty thin at 19.8mm, but weighs a bit more at 4 lbs. or more depending on final configuration. You don’t get Photoshop, Norton, WiDi, or even Bluetooth, apparently. This one should also be available on July 13 at a starting price point of $799.
As for the sleekbooks, it’s just a trademarked name HP came up with for thin-and-light notebooks that don’t necessarily run on Intel chips. While the two models HP unveiled do run on AMD’s APU, there is no exclusive arrangement between the companies on that, meaning Intel will be making processors for sleekbooks as well.
Sleekbooks appear to be the more budget-friendly alternative to the ultrabooks, with price points as much as $200 less. The 15-inch Envy Sleekbook is virtually exactly the same as the 15-inch Envy Ultrabook, except for AMD’s integrated processor and graphics and a smaller hard drive (320GB). The size, weight, thickness, ports, screen resolution and just about everything else are identical on paper. The look and feel, however, is different in that the Sleekbook doesn’t appear to be made of the same higher-end materials. The Envy Sleekbook will also come out on July 13 at a starting price point of $699.
More details about these new notebooks are still to come, and you can expect to see reviews right here on the Tech Blog closer to launch.
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