Feeling envy now? HP revamps high-end PCs with gobs of solid state storage

hp refreshes envy and spectre lineups premium roundup header featured

HP has fairly distinct product segmentation, with its Pavilion line at the low end of the consumer market and its Spectre line at the high end. The Elite line sits at the high end as well, but is primarily aimed at business customers. Not only is its product line built fairly rationally, but it’s also stocked with excellent options like the Spectre x360 13, Spectre x360 15, and EliteBook x360 G2.

The company can’t sit on its laurels, however, and needs to keep refreshing the various lines to make sure they continue to offer good value for its customers. That’s precisely what the company has done with its most recent introduction, focusing on the HP Envy line with a Spectre 2-in-1 refresh thrown in for good measure.

HP Spectre x2

Almost all Windows OEMs have a Surface Pro-like detachable tablet 2-in-1 device, and HP’s version is its Spectre x2. Microsoft obviously doesn’t mind if OEMs copy its basic designs, and the Spectre x2 takes some real liberties in thie regard as a tablet with a kickstand and multi-angle detachable keyboard. The newly refreshed Spectre x2 simply takes what was best about the original model and makes it better.

First up is the migration to seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors from the previous generation’s low-power Core M processors, which should help improve performance. HP also increased maximum RAM to 16GB and doubled the maximum storage to a 1TB PCIe SSD. Finally, Intel Iris Plus graphics are an option for a bit more performance in productivity tasks. Weight comes in at 2.49 pounds with the keyboard attached, and thickness is 0.52 inches.

HP also improved the display, with a new 12.3-inch 3K2K (3,000 x 2,000) resolution panel that’s now in the very Microsoft-like 3:2 aspect ratio. That’s down in size a bit from the 12.5-inch display in the previous generation, but is arguably better for productivity, work and also enjoys increased sharpness at 293 pixels per inch. Of course, it remains a 10-point multi-touch display with full support for HP’s Active Pen and Windows 10 Ink. Finally, as is par for the course today, the display bezels were shrunk, making for an even smaller overall footprint.

The new copper kickstand and keyboard also received some attention. The previous generation’s kickstand release was considered too complex, and so HP engineered a simpler solution that loses the release button and now simply swings down and out to its full 165-degree angle. The included detachable keyboard offers dual magnets for adjustable angles and a full 1.5mm of key travel, and HP has taken pains to make the typing experience consistent and similar to that provided by a traditional notebook. The keyboard base also includes a wide glass-covered touchpad.

In terms of input and output, the Spectre x2 now incorporates two USB Type-C Gen1 ports to go with the 3.5mm headset jack. The speakers are now front-firing with cutouts in the glass and HP Audio Boost — in other words, discrete amplifiers — to ensure a full sound. Finally, the 5MP HP TrueVision HD webcam offers infrared support for Windows Hello via facial recognition.

Pricing for the HP Spectre x2 will start at $1,000 and the pen is included. The new machine will start shipping in June 2017. The machine comes in the same Dark Ash Silver (really a dark gray) that is used throughout the Spectre line.

Here are the specifications for the new HP Spectre x2:

Screen size: 12.3 inches
Screen resolution: 3,000 x 2,000
Display type: IPS touchscreen with active pen support, 3:2 aspect ratio
Processor: Up to Intel Core i7-7560U
Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Plus 650 with 4GB total graphics memory
System memory: Up to 16GB LPDDR3
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Audio: Bang & Olufsen with dual speakers and HP Audio Boost
Connectivity: 2×2 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Ports: 2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
3.5mm headset jack
Keyboard: Detachable with magnetic attachment
Camera: 5MP HP TrueVision HD webcam front-facing
13MP HP TrueVision HD webcam rear-facing
HP infrared camera with Windows Hello support
Battery: 4-cell 41.58 watt-hour lithium ion battery up to 8 hours
Dimensions (inches): 11.57 in x 0.52 in x 8.15 in
Weight: 2.49 pounds
Materials: Machined aluminum and stamped magnesium
Starting price: $1,000
Availability: June 2017
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