Hewlett-Packard is bringing a new level of manufacturing sophistication to the increasingly competitive ultrabook space with the release of its Envy 14 Spectre, which the company is showing off at the Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas.
The ultrabook features lightweight, scratch-resistant glass on the lid, display, palm rest and HP ImagePad. The notebook, which starts at $1,399, offers a 14-inch screen inside a 13.3-inch body, the company's high-definition Radiance display and the latest Intel Core processors.
The 20-mm-thin Spectre weighs less than 4 pounds and includes up to 256GB of storage. Intel Rapid Start Technology and support for two mSATA solid-state drives also allow for quick boot and resume times, the company said. The notebook also comes with HP technology such as CoolSense, which automatically adjusts performance and internal fan settings for a cooler PC. In addition, the ImagePad provides precise multi-finger touch navigation and the company's TrueVision HD Webcam provides high-quality high-definition images.
The Spectre also features an array of input and output options, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and Mini DisplayPort. Additionally, the Spectre offers a performance-tuned software image, full versions of Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements, two years of preinstalled Norton Internet Security and a concierge phone line for technical support that is dedicated exclusively to Envy users.
Equipped with a matching audio-grade speaker mesh and Beats Audio, a technology developed by HP and Beats by Dr. Dre, the Spectre boasts an aluminum analog volume dial that acts as a visual design cue and works with Beats Audio Manager to more precisely adjust audio levels. Built-in HP Wireless Audio allows users to stream uncompressed audio to up to four external devices or directly to any KleerNet-compatible device. An HP Radiance Backlit keyboard provides improved illumination, using individual LEDs dedicated to each keycap. The keyboard works with a proximity sensor to intelligently sense a user's presence, lighting up when a user approaches and dimming down after the user leaves.
"Sleek, midnight black glass on the outside and stark contrast silver glass on the inside make Spectre extraordinary, defying conventional notebook design," Eric Keshin, senior vice president of strategy and marketing for HP's Personal Systems Group, said in a statement. "We chose the name for our first Envy Ultrabook to evoke mystery, and we packed it with the best in entertainment technology to satisfy those who expect the unexpected."
At this year's CES, a significant number of companies will unveil ultrabooks, all of which are super-thin and boast more powerful specs than netbooks. At several events throughout the fall, companies ranging from Asus and Acer to Toshiba and HP have all demonstrated ultrabooks either in development or already on store shelves. Last week, a report from IT analytics firm Canalys predicted Intel's ultrabook category would capture most of the mobile product announcements, with up to 50 new devices expected.