Hewlett-Packard has been busy. At an event at the Shanghai Expo Center in China May 9, the company, which was once on the verge of doing away with its PC unit, introduced more new business and consumer-geared PC models than any single person could reasonably keep track of. Most likely to stand out from the pack are new portfolios of Ultrabooks and what HP is calling "Sleekbooks."
"The Ultrabook is quickly becoming the must-have solution for anyone who wants performance, responsiveness and a secure computing experience in a thin, elegant form factor," Kirk Skaugen, an Intel vice president and general manager, said of the new HP lineup, which is equipped with Intel's chips and other technologies.
HP says the Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks put an emphasis on performance, quality, entertainment experiences and design. All models of both also include Beats Audio, dual speakers and a subwoofer for a better audio and movie-watching experience along with a "spun finish" design for the case.
The silver-and-black Sleekbooks, at a glance, also bear an undeniable resemblance to the Apple MacBook Prowhich HP says was a result of designing what's right, not of any intention to copy Apple, according to Engadget's Richard Lai.
At the Shanghai event, Lai pressed Stacy Wolff, HP's vice president of industrial design, who told him:
"I see a lot of differences as much as the similarities. ... Ours is rubber-coated at the bottom. We use magnesium; they didn't do thatthey use CNC aluminum. We did a brush pattern on our product; they didn't. We did a different kind of keyboard execution. We did audio as a component; they didn't. ... If you want to look at a macro level, there are a lot of similarities to everything in the market that's an Ultrabook today. It is not because those guys did it first; it's just that's where the form factor is leading it."
With that squared away, the additions to HP's thin and light portfolio are as follows.
HP Envy Spectre and SpectreXT
The all-metal Envy Spectre has a 13.3-inch display, weighs 3.07 pounds and measures 0.57-inches thick. It features 128GB of solid-state storage and up to eight hours of battery life, and includes High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and Gigabit Ethernet among its ports.
It comes preloaded with one year of Absolute Data Protect and two years of Norton Internet Security, along with access to a concierge phone line dedicated to Envy Spectre users.
The SpectreXT is paired with an mSATA solid-state drive and Intel Rapid Start Technology, the latest Intel Core processorsalso known as Ivy Bridgeand Intel Smart Connect Technology, which saves users time by updating email even when in sleep mode.
The SpectreXT will arrive in the United States June 8 and starts at $1,000.
HP Envy Ultrabooks
Available with 14- or 15.6-inch displays, these Ultrabooks start at less than 4 pounds with a thickness of 0.78 inches. They come with the latest Intel chips, deliver eight or nine hours of battery life, respectively, plus mSATA solid-state drives and Intel Rapid Start, Identity Protection, Smart Response and Smart Connect technologies.
Soft to the touch, their slip-resistant basescome in black or red. They arrive in the United States May 9, and pricing will begin at $750 for the 14-inch model and $800 for the 15.6-incher.
HP Envy Sleekbooks
For gamers, video editors and others needing a muscular performance, the Envy Sleekbooks come in 14- or 15.6-inch models with the latest AMD Accelerated Processing Units and eight to nine hours of battery life. Options include discrete graphics on Intel platforms and AMD discrete-class graphics on an AMD platform.
The 14-inch Sleekbook will arrive May 9 and start at $700, while the 15.6-inch model, starting at $600, will follow on June 20.
HP EliteBook Folio 9470m
The Folio 9470m, in HP's own surprising words, is the "first Ultrabook to provide a stylish, lightweight design without compromising its enterprise features." It measures 14 inches on the diagonal, is 0.75-inches thick and weighs 3.6 pounds.
Expect a third-gen Intel Core vPro processor and, among the options, 4G connectivity, BIOS Protection and multilevel security features. It will arrive in October at a yet-to-be-determined price.
Additionally, HP unveiled a new line of Pavilion notebooks that is says highlights the company's design philosophy, called MUSEmaterials, usability, sensory appeal and experience. In a statement, HP's Wolff described this group as being "rich to the eye and to the touch."
An m6 notebook features a 15.6-inch LED backlit high-definition BrightView display, Beats Audio, eight hours of battery life, a brushed aluminum appearance, and the latest AMD and Intel processors.
HP's Pavilion dv-series notebooks include the option of Nvidia GeForce graphics, but it's their appearanceand soft-touch panels on the top and bottomthat HP wants to catch users eyes.
"With a tapered chassis, slim top view and infinity waterfall edgeall inspired by kinetic energythe new HP Pavilion dv6 and dv7 boast a metal finish, and the HP Pavilion dv4 is available in black licorice, linen white and carmine red," HP said in a statement.
Finally, g6 and g7 Pavilion models, which will come in ruby red, linen white, sparkling black, winter blue and bright purple, feature a bowl-shaped keyboard deck, textured touch-pads and a chrome strip that borders the speaker, acting as a visual cue for the audio, according to HP, while an exposed speaker bar aids sound projection.
The Pavilion m6 will arrive this summer, at a price that is not yet determined. The dv4, dv6 and dv7 will arrive in the United States June 20 at starting prices of $550, $550 and $800, respectively. The Pavilion g6 and g7 will arrive July 26, starting at $450 and $500.