HP Unveils New Line Of Ultrabooks, Sleekbooks, And Notebooks
May 10, 2012

HP Unveils New Line Of Ultrabooks, Sleekbooks, And Notebooks

Hewlett-Packard (HP), a company that was recently on the verge of closing the doors on its once-lucrative PC unit, unveiled five fresh thin-and-light notebook PCs at the Shanghai Expo Center in China yesterday, May 9.

Among the additions to HP´s lineup, are new “ultrabooks” that are thinner and lighter than anything released by the company before, and a pair of “sleekbooks,”  a term HP used to describe their new line of super-thin laptops that do not quite meet Intel´s criteria for ultrabook status.

“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,” said Kevin Skaugen, an Intel VP and general manager, referring to the new line of HP notebooks, which are equipped with Intel chip technology.

HP said its Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks put an emphasis on performance, quality, entertainment experiences and design. It said all models include Beats Audio, dual speakers and a subwoofer for a better audio and movie-watching experience.

The top-end model in the new line of ultrabooks is the 13.3-inch Envy Spectre XT, the follow-up to HP´s glass-bodied Envy 14 Spectre. The new model, which now has an all-metal case instead of the glass-body of its predecessor, weighs nearly a pound less, but has a slightly smaller screen. The overall thickness remains the same, however.

One can't help but notice, however, that the silver-and-black Sleekbooks, bear an uncanny resemblance to Apple´s MacBook Pro. HP defended itself by saying they designed the new notebooks on what is right, and not of any intention of copying Apple, according to Richard Lai, a blogger with Engadget.

“I see a lot of differences as much as the similarities,” Stacy Wolff, HP´s president of industrial design, explained to Lai. “Ours is rubber-coated at the bottom. We use magnesium; they didn't do that–they 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,” added Wolff.

On the inside, HP´s Envy Spectre XT features Intel´s third-generation Ivy Bridge processors, 128GB of SSD storage, and 4GB of memory. And according to HP, the Spectre XT will get up to eight hours of battery life. It has a 1366×769 pixel display and comes with a backlit keyboard, HP CoolSense technology, as well as a bunch of preloaded software such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 10, and Norton antivirus protection.

The Spectre XT will be available in the US beginning June 8 and will sell at a starting price of $1,000.

Two new Envy ultrabooks are also coming to the market: a 14-inch and a 15.6-inch model. Both can be configured with either Intel´s second-generation Sandy Bridge or third-generation Ivy Bridge processors. Both models were made available May 9. The 14-inch model goes for a starting price of $750, while the 15.6-inch version starts at $800.

HP also unveiled two new Sleekbooks -- which also come in 14-inch and 15.6-inch models. These two models are very similar feature-wise to the ultrabooks, but cost much less: $700 and $600, respectively. The 14-inch model is out now, while the 15.6-inch model is set to arrive June 20.

The major difference, besides price, between the Sleekbooks and ultrabooks is that the 15.6-inch Sleekbook model comes with an AMD processor, rather than an Intel. Also, the ultrabooks – being ultrabooks – come with various Intel technologies, including Rapid Start, Identity Protection Technology, Smart Response and Smart Connect Technologies.

All of these models feature Beats Audio, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, and an Ethernet port. The 14-inch models get up to eight hours of battery life, while the 15.6-inch models give you nine hours. While HP didn´t provide specific thickness and weight measurements, the company stated that the devices start at 4 pounds and are as thin as 19.8 mm.

Click here to see full details and specs on all of HP´s new Sleekbook and ultrabook model line-up.

“Building on the success of the HP Folio13 and HP ENVY14 Spectre, we are now offering the most comprehensive Ultrabook portfolio in the industry,” said James Mouton, senior vice president and general manager, Personal Computer Global Business Unit, HP. “Our expanded portfolio of HP Ultrabook systems and HP Sleekbooks for both consumers and businesses delivers uncompromised performance, quality and entertainment experiences within distinctive designs.”

HP also unveiled a new line of its Pavilion notebooks that it said highlights the company´s design philosophy, called MUSE–materials, usability, sensory appeal and experience. In a statement, HP's Wolff described this group as being “rich to the eye and to the touch.”

The new Pavilions are set to arrive this summer with price beginning at around $450.