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HP focuses on virtual reality and 2-in-1s at CES 2016

HP has revealed a lot in personal computing at CES. Here’s everything we know about its upcoming consumer lineup, including a gaming rig conceived for VR, and a modest assortment of 2-in-1 notebooks.

The Envy Phoenix is designed for virtual reality

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In an effort to be accepted on the VR bandwagon, HP is collaborating with HTC to ensure its Envy Phoenix PC is properly optimized for the HTC and SteamVR-powered Vive headset. To make sure the two systems work properly in conjunction with one another, the two companies have worked together to test every configuration of the gaming rig with the HTC Vive, ensuring the prevention of issues related to drivers, graphics cards, and resolution.

Like Oculus Ready PCs before it, the Envy Phoenix is designed to guarantee full compatibility with the Vive when the headset launches in April. Unlike Oculus’ lineup, however, the Envy Phoenix starts with luxury specs at a premium price.

Sure, it ships with a 2TB hard drive, Intel Core i7 K-series processors, and the option between an AMD Radeon R9 390x, Nvidia GTX 980, and Nvidia GTX 980 Ti graphics cards, but the $1,700 asking price doesn’t even account for the cost of the Vive. Meanwhile, the combined price of an Oculus Rift and a PC shouldn’t exceed $1,500.

2-in-1 Devices

In case you’re not sold yet on VR (don’t worry, neither am I), HP has a handful of other consumer-grade offerings up its sleeve as well — namely this trio of convertible Windows laptops: the 15.6-inch Spectre x360, an OLED version of its 13.3-inch x360, and an update to the Pavilion x2 with a 12.1-inch diagonal display.

Spectre x360 goes big, in both screen size and resolution

This time around, the Spectre x360 comes with a 15.6-inch 3,840 x 2,160 touchscreen display, designed for both content creators and consumers. Plus, for improved performance, users have the option of configuring the notebook with an Intel Iris graphics card and up to 16GB of built-in RAM.

Audiophiles luckily won’t have to deal with the casual Beats Audio speakers that used to ship with HP laptops. Instead, your ears will be pleased to hear that the x360 comes packed with four front-facing Bang & Olufsen speakers.

And that’s not all. The HP Spectre x360 will be the thinnest and lightest 15.6-inch diagonal laptop when it comes out this Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t get in the way of its battery life. The 15.6-inch Spectre x360 model boasts a 64.5 wat-hour battery, allowing for 13 hours of use on the 1080p version, or 9.5 hours on the 4K model.

Purchasers of the larger Spectre x360 can expect the choice between 6th-generation Core i5 or i7 processors and up to 512GB of SSD storage. Its hinges bear resemblance to those featured on the 13.3-inch Spectre x360 since it takes advantage of the sametechnology. Likewise, this new edition features a full-size backlit keyboard with a MacBook-esque extra wide touchpad.

Connectivity-wise, it sports three USB 3.0 ports, a single USB Type-C connector, a mini display port, an HDMI port, and a headphone jack. The 15.6-inch HP Spectre x360 will be available on February 14, 2016 for $1,149, from Best Buy and on HP’s website.

13.3-inch Spectre x360 gets a better looking OLED option

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Surprisingly, CES 2016 has been an eye-opening experience for OLED skeptics, and HP is now an obvious contributor to this challenging of the status quo. So much so, in fact, that the already present 13.3-inch HP Spectre x360 is getting an OLED makeover this spring.

For those not in the know, the switch to an OLED display is going to make colors more vibrant and shades even darker, improving contrast whether you’re kicking back and watching a movie on Netflix or editing photos you took on your trip to Italy.

Not only that, but a lesser known fact about OLED is that it makes your display thinner. The Spectre’s in particular brings its weight down by 50 grams while also raising its color gamut from 72 percent to 103 percent of AdobeRGB.

Like the 15.6-inch model, the OLED 13.3-inch Spectre x360 will also ship with an optional Intel Iris graphics card with storage options approaching the excessive, with the largest being a tremendous 1TB solid state drive.

The OLED Spectre x360 will go on sale this spring at an undetermined price. Depending on the exact date of its delivery, there’s a chance it will beat Lenovo’s Thinkpad X1 Yoga to market.

12.1-inch Pavilion x2

The Pavilion x2 was a neat budget laptop that could have benefited from a larger display — and now it will, with a 12.1-inch option having been announced today. This iteration of the x2 not only revises the screen size, however. It also adds a metal tablet design, Intel processors, more storage options, and a 1080p display.

With the 12.1-inch model the Pavilion x2 now bears a full-size keyboard with 1.5 millimeters of travel and a large touchpad for those intending to use it for work. What’s more, it boasts an eight hour and 15 minute battery life, which is pretty good for a notebook whose tablet alone weighs only 1.6 pounds.

With the keyboard, on the other hand, the Pavilion x2 is a bit more sizable at 3.23 pounds and 15.3mm, though it’s still “one of the thinnest 2-in-1 PCs in the Pavilion line-up.”

The 12-inch Pavilion x2 is configurable with the option of Intel Atom processors with 64GB of eMMC storage or a 6th-gen Core M CPU with 128 or 256GB of SSD storage. Connectivity-wise, it sports a USB Type-C connector, a full-size USB 2.0 port, and a micro HDMI port for projecting to an external display. It even manages to fit two front-facing B&O Play speakers for high-quality sound.

The 12-inch Pavilion x2 will be available on February 7 for $500.