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Bored of aluminum and plastic? HP made a laptop out of wood that looks amazing

HP’s refreshed line up of EliteBook and Envy laptops have some intriguing new features, including longer battery life — up to 24-hours in some cases — and enhanced privacy and security protections.

Arguably the most eye-catching of the updates though, includes a new woodgrain finish on select notebooks that’s made from very real wood. Don’t worry, it doesn’t affect touchpad sensitivity — we checked.

The HP Envy, now in wood!

Last year, HP made waves when it introduced the leather-built (not just leather-clad) HP Spectre Folio, a premium Windows laptop designed for the discerning business user. Now it’s branching out in a different direction with new laptop materials once again. Bringing to the laptop space an edge of traditional sophistication, its new line up of Envy laptops come in a variety of wood finishes, covering the base of the keyboard-half of the clamshell design, including the touchpad.

The HP Envy 13, 17, and 360 13 and 15 all offer a handful of different finishes made from walnut, and birch, including black, white, and silver, as well as more natural wood tones. We don’t have the official specification lists for these laptop models just yet, but we can confirm that they will all offer a choice of 8th-generation Intel CPUs, while the 13 and 15-inch models will also have the option of second-generation Ryzen APUs with on board Vega graphics.

HP has also made an effort to trim the bezels on these designs, making for leaner and sleeker-looking devices. Newly bundled security and privacy features include a fingerprint reader with wake capabilities; HP Sure View, which limits viewing angles to the user only to enhance privacy, and a webcam kill switch which cuts off power to the front-facing camera.

The new HP Envy notebooks will be released in fall 2019 with pricing as yet to be announced. Will they top our best 17-inch laptop list like they do now? We’ll have to wait and see.

New EliteBooks ramp up security

For more business-focused users, HP’s revamped range of Elitebooks may be more to your taste. Eschewing wood finishes for even greater security and improved battery life, these new devices also offer refreshed hardware, enhanced connectivity, and full support for HP’s new, highly-sensitive Active Pen G3 stylus.

The HP Elite x2 G4 sports up to an Intel Core i7-8665U vPRO CPU with Intel UHD 620 graphics and 16GB of DDR3 memory. Storage options go all the way up to 2TB of high-speed, NVMe SSD space. You can also pick from a 1080p 13-inch screen with brightness of 1,000 nits, smaller 12.3-inch 1080p screen, or a much more detailed 3,000 x 2,000 13-inch panel. Battery life is said to last up to 10 hours, and it supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard and high-speed LTE Advanced cellular connections.

HP has enhanced the privacy of the new x2 G4 with webcam slide covers on both the front and rear-facing webcams, and the latest Sure View technology to restrict viewing angles when in public spaces. It now fades to white, rather than black too. Style options include silver and leather, but no matter which version you pick, the keyboard is fully detachable for a lightweight tablet experience.

The Elite x2 G4 will go on sale in August starting at $1,500.

The EliteBook 360 1030 G4 is a capable 2-in-1 with a 360 degree hinge, enhanced specifications over its predecessors, and high-end wireless connectivity. It sports up to an Intel Core i7-8665U vPRO CPU with Intel UHD 620 graphics, 16GB of DDR3 memory, and up to 2TB of PCIe NVMe storage space. Screen options vary from a 1080p IPS panel with touch support, through 1080p options with HP’s Sure View integrated privacy screen, all the way up to a 4K panel.

Battery life is said to last as long as 19 hours and HP has enhanced this EliteBook’s connectivity with Wi-Fi 6, gigabit class 4G LTE Advanced, and Bluetooth 5.0. It’s also only 2.78 pounds, so is one of the lightest convertible laptops in its class.

The last in the new EliteBook lineup is the EliteBook 360 1040 G6, which offers the same privacy protections, security enhancements, and wireless connectivity as its siblings, but in a larger shell. Its CPU choices are the same, but you can pair that with up to 32GB of faster DDR4 memory — that’s overkill for most but you might find some use for it. Its 14-inch displays come with options for 1080p and 4K, with up to 1,000 nits brightness. There are also a pair of low-power 1080p options, which use just 1-watt of power when displaying static content and help extend the battery life to up to 24 hours in ideal cases.

The EliteBook 360 1030 G4 and 1040 G6 will ship out this July starting at $1,449 and $1,499 respectively.

For the most demanding of business users, HP’s new ZBook 15 and 17 G5 will offer up to Intel ninth-generation Core i9 CPUs for high-end multithreaded performance and up to Nvidia Quadro 5000 RTX graphics chips for powerful rendering capabilities. The 17-inch version will also have an enhanced display with 100 percent DCI-P3 color gamut support.

They will start shipping out this July, with prices as yet to be announced.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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