HP Mixes Consumer Features into New Business Notebooks

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2010-05-05

HP Mixes Consumer Features into New Business Notebooks

SAN FRANCISCO-Hewlett-Packard debuted a set of 14 business and consumer notebooks May 5, all ranging in screen size from 13 to 17 inches, which borrow heavily from features normally associated with consumer notebooks only.

These new Envy, ProBook, Pavilion and Mini laptops are powered by either Advanced Micro Devices or Intel dual-core processors and feature notable improvements to screen quality, graphics, bundled business applications sets and sound. Choice is the operative word here.

"That's exactly it. We provide a long list of [feature] choices for the enterprise, prosumer and consumer, because that what it takes to drive this business," Mike Hockey, an HP spokesperson for the Personal Systems Group, told eWEEK. "We basically custom-make these machines on demand."

For a look at the new HP notebooks, click here.

Pricing on these new portable PCs also is choice-driven. They start as low as $549 and can run up over $2,000, depending upon the feature and hardware choices the buyer makes.

The first clue to this consumer-enterprise notebook cross-pollination is their appearance. While you can still buy standard silver, black or white models, HP's designers also have conjured up almost every color in the rainbow-even with patterns-for the notebook casings.

"In business, coming into a meeting with a classy-looking notebook says a lot about you as a business individual," an HP product manager told eWEEK. "This is true anywhere you go in the world. Your laptop speaks volumes about you. If you have a classy-looking one, people like to check them out. Can't hurt your image!"

ATI graphics cards and high-end Beats sound systems are two of the high-end features included in this launch. Most of these machines also feature direct connections (HDMI ports) to high-definition monitors so that users can play movies and video games without hassle.

Highlights of the May 5 Launch

Here are some highlights of the product launch:

-HP is including new standard software called Power Assistant, which keeps the user up-to-date on everything important about the machine, including battery life and application CPU usage.

-Another standard feature on all the new HP laptops and notebooks is something called HP DayStarter, an application that runs in the BIOS while the computer is booting up. DayStarter displays the next 12 hours of events on the user's Outlook calendar and displays exactly how much battery power is left via a power meter.

-The HP 425 Notebook is powered by the newest AMD dual-core processors, and features an energy-efficient 14.0-inch diagonal LED-backlit display, optional 2-megapixel Webcam and integrated WiFi. It also comes with AMD Vision Pro with ATI Mobility Radeon HD Graphics, and an HDMI port allows the user to connect directly to HD displays.

-The HP ProBook 6450b Notebook PC provides business-level performance with Intel Core i74 and i54 processors and a 14-inch-diagonal HD, LED-backlit display. It features connectivity that includes optional HP Mobile Broadband; the new Central Management for HP ProtectTools is a much-requested addition, according to HP. Users get a choice between UMA or high-performance discrete graphics cards.

-Designed for video editing, the HP ProBook 4425s weighs only 4.71 lb, so it is easy to move around. It features low-power consumption ATI integrated graphics and the new ArcSoft TotalMedia Suite that allows the user to play, edit and create video and audio files. Multimedia controls for video, such as play, rewind and fast-forward, are now integrated into the keyboard, simplifying work with video and audio files, and it comes with an HDMI port.

-Beats by Dr. Dre is a high-quality new sound system-software and headset-being sold by Monster. Rap artist Dr. Dre has lent his name to this high-end sound system that could allow a laptop to be used for public entertainment purposes. eWEEK was able to test this headset and software directly against the standard system, and the sound is much deeper, richer and clearer by a wide margin.

These notebooks are available now on the HP Web site and will be appearing in retail markets during the next several weeks.

Go here for a slide show on these new laptops.

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