The first wave of HP Windows 8 laptops unveiled including the Envy

first_imgWith Windows 8‘s release less than two months away all the PC manufacturers are finishing up preparations on their newest machines. The release of a new OS version is a prime time for consumers to buy a PC and manufacturers are more tan happy to sell them one, outfitted with all the features that go hand-in-hand with that update. In the case of Windows 8 those features range from a new Windows logo on the keyboard, to touch/gesture readiness, and extreme mobile-friendliness. This also includes the newest gear from Intel/AMD, features like Thunderbolt on high-end models, and designs that account for Intel’s ultrabook standard as well as the burgeoning post-PC era.Today HP announced two new laptops and one updated one in their prosumer lines (Envy and Spectre). Going from the least exciting to the most, there is the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (the update), the Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook (the high-end model), and the Envy x2 (the hybrid computer).The Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is an updated version of HP’s existing Envy 4 ultrabook. This new model adds a touchscreen and Windows 8, and will be a few dollars more than the existing model. There is no official price yet, but it should go for around $800 and be a reasonably solid thin-and-light system. It will pack a 14-inch, 1366×768 display, 8 hours of battery life, and optional AMD discrete graphics. The machine will be 23mm thick (barely in the ultrabook range) and 4.77 pounds.HP’s higher end, just-announced laptop is the Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook. It’s the same weight as the Envy 4 but it’s a 15.6-inch computer and is just 17.9mm thick, making this HP’s MacBook Pro%displayPrice% at %seller% competitor. It has a 15.6-inch IPS multitouch LCD, Thunderbolt (in addition to USB 3.0), HDMI, ethernet, and has optional 128GB or 256GB SSDs. This system will start at $1399.The most unique of HP’s new prosumer offerings is the Envy x2 hybrid computer. This is a sort of like the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 in that it’s essentially a tablet with a removable keyboard, but the x2 has an Intel processor and only runs Windows (no Android). The x2’s features an 11.6-inch, Atom-powered (Clover Trail) tablet that connects to a keyboard dock with a quick, clean motion. The keyboard is essentially a USB hub with a built-in battery which is about equal to the size of the one in the tablet. So separate them and you have a Windows 8 tablet, combine the two and you have a touchscreen laptop with a full-sized keyboard and twice the battery life. The system has 64GB of flash storage, microSD expandability, and a few nice perks, including NFC, Beats audio, and an IPS panel.Keen observers might note that the Envy x2 is essentially a netbook with a removable keyboard but it’s a sensible offering for HP to make, even if it never captures a large part of the market. With an expected total weight of about 2.5 pounds it’s quite portable for a laptop and Windows 8 should run well on Clover Trail, so it will be a functional computer despite its small size.There is no pricing information for the Envy X2 yet, but HP says it’ll be out before the holidays. The other systems will be available in the same time frame, likely some time in December.HP20120808872HP20120808872HP20120808871HP ENVY x2HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4_left facingHP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 – Win8 screenHP ENVY TouchSmart Sleekbook 4_left facinglast_img read more