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

HP Envy 13 Laptop

HP’s Envy lineup falls in the middle between the Pavillion and Spectre lines, promising a more premium experience at more moderate prices. The Envy line includes traditional clamshell notebooks for anyone who doesn’t need a 2-in-1, and HP has refreshed the Envy at both ends with new Envy 13 and Envy 17 machines.

The new Envy 13 is constructed from machined aluminum on the cover and around the keyboard tray and then utilizes a stamped magnesium chassis. It’s a thin machine at 13.95mm and relatively light at 2.72 pounds. HP significantly reduced the bezel sizes on both sides, and the new Envy 13 has trimmed 10.3mm of width on both sides as well, resulting in a much smaller chassis. Two color options are available, Silk Gold and Natural Silver.

The Envy 13 utilizes seventh-generation Intel Core processors ranging from i3 to i7, with optional Nvidia GeForce discrete graphics for enhanced productivity performance. Up to 16GB of RAM can be configured, and storage ranges from 128GB up to 1TB PCIe SSD. Display options include a choice between 13.3-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) and 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolutions. Battery life is estimated at 14.25 hours with the Full HD display and 12.5 hours with the 4K UHD display.

The keyboard offers 1.3mm of travel, an edge-to-edge design, and HP has added the same home row keys on the right-hand side as it has utilized with other recent machines. HP has incorporated a lift-keyboard design where opening the lid creates a more comfortable keyboard angle along with improved ventilation (similar to the “lift-and-lock” keyboard on some Lenovo Yoga models). The touchpad is HP’s standard wide glass-covered version, and an LED-lit fingerprint scanner is embedded in the upper right of the touchpad for Windows Hello support.

Connectivity includes two USB Type-A 3.0 ports, two USB Type-C Gen1 ports, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm headset jack. Audio is provided by quad HP speakers with HP Audio Boost discrete amplifiers and Bang & Olufsen tuning.

The Envy 13 will be available starting in June 2017, with pricing starting at $1,050.

Here are the specifications for the HP Envy 13 laptop:

Screen size: 13.3 inches
Screen resolution: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Display type: IPS BrightView non-touch or touchscreen
Processor: Up to Intel Core i7
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 or Nvidia discrete graphics
System memory: Up to 16GB LPDDR3
Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe SSD
Audio: Bang & Olufsen with four speakers and HP Audio Boost
Connectivity: 2×2 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
2x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
MicroSD card reader
3.5mm headset jack
Keyboard: Full-size backlit with 1.3mm travel
Wide glass touchpad includes LED-lit fingerprint reader with Windows Hello support
Camera: HP WideVision FullHD webcam
Battery: 6-cell 53.6 watt-hour lithium ion battery up to 8 hours
Dimensions (inches): 0.55 in x 12.04 in x 8.49 in
Weight: 2.72 pounds
Materials: Machined aluminum and stamped magnesium
Starting price: $1,050
Availability: June 2017

HP Envy 17 Laptop

While thin and light notebooks are all the rage today, HP recognizes the demand for larger systems and thus is offering a refresh of its largest notebook, the Envy 17. HP focused on providing what customer demand in such a large machine, specifically improved performance, better battery life, and high-resolution displays.

In order to provide a machine that’s both attractive and durable but reasonable in weight, HP used machined aluminum on the cover and keyboard tray and plastic on the rest of the chassis. HP reduced the Envy 17’s thickness from the previous generation’s 25.5mm to 23.3mm, and the weight comes in at 6.73 pounds.

The Envy 17 has two display options, Full HD and 4K UHD, with the 4K UHD offering 95-percent sRGB color gamut support and the Full HD 72-percent. Processor options include seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and i7, and the Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB graphics are on-hand. RAM can be configured up to 16GB of DDR4 and the dual storage options include up to 256GB SSD and up to 1TB of hard disk drive (HDD). An optical DVD writer is also included. Battery life is estimated at 10.75 hours with the Full HD display, and HP has incorporated fast charging technology that can take that battery to 90 percent in 90 minutes.

The full-size keyboard includes a numeric keypad, and the usual HP wide glass-covered touchpad is directly below. Audio is provided by dual Bang & Olufsen tuned speakers with HD Audio Boost discrete amplifiers. The HP WideVision Full HD webcam an includes infrared camera for Windows Hello support. Connectivity is robust, including a USB Type-C 3.1 port, three USB Type-A 3.0 ports, an HDMI connection, a gigabit Ethernet port, a multi-format digital media card reader, and a 3.5mm headset jack.

The HP Envy 17 will be available starting in June 2017. The machine will have a starting price of $1,000.

Here are the specifications for the Envy 17 laptop:

Screen size: 17.3 inches
Screen resolution: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Display type: IPS touchscreen display
Processor: Up to Intel Core i7
Graphics: Nvidia GeFore 940MX 2GB dedicated graphics memory
System memory: Up to 16GB DDR4
Storage: Dual storage, up to 256GB PCIe SSD, up to 1TB HDD
DVD writer
Audio: Bang & Olufsen with two speakers and HP Audio Boost
Connectivity: 2×2 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Ports: 3x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
Multi-format digital media card reader
HDMI port
Gigabit ethernet port
3.5mm headset jack
Keyboard: Full-size backlit with numeric keypad
Camera: HP WideVision FullHD webcam
HP infrared camera with Windows Hello support
Battery: 3-cell 55.8 watt-hour lithium ion battery up to 10.75 hours
Dimensions (inches): 0.92 in x 16.38 in x 11.14 in
Weight: 6.73 pounds
Materials: Aluminum and plastic
Sample price: $1,000
Availability: June 2017

HP Envy x360 2-in-1

In addition to refreshing its Envy laptops, HP has also touched up its Envy x360 2-in-1 machines. The new model falls into the larger category of 360-degree convertible 2-in-1s with 15.6-inch displays, and HP is offering versions with Intel Core processors and AMD APUs.

HP called out the design and manufacturing changes in the latest Envy x360 machines in particular, noting the micro-thin bezels and stamped aluminum chassis with CNC machined accents. The company also focuses on the new backlit edge-to-edge keyboard with numeric keypad and 1.5mm of travel. The final area of focus is on the use of HP’s geared hinges that provide enhanced stability in the various 2-in-1 modes. In terms of color schemes, HP is offering the AMD model with its Dark Ash Silver and the Intel version in Natural Silver.

The Envy x360 is now significantly thinner than the previous generation, with 10.15mm shaved off each side. Weight comes in at 4.75 pounds.

Display options include 15.6-inch IPS Full HD or 4K UHD, although the high-resolution option is only available in the Intel version. The displays are 10-point multitouch displays with support for HP’s Active Pen. Audio is provided by Bang & Olufsen tuned dual speakers.

In terms of power, HP is offering a choice between seventh-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processor or AMD A9, A12, or FX APUs. The Intel models come with Nvidia GeForce 940MX 4GB graphics. Up to 16GB of DDR4 RAM can be configured, and dual storage options include up to 512GB SSD and up to 1TB HDD. Battery life is up to 11.5 hours with Intel processors, and up to 10.25 hours with AMD APUs. Both versions offer HP’s fast-charging technology promising 90-percent charge in 90 minutes.

Connectivity includes one USB Type-C 3.1 Gen1 connection, two USB Type-A 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5mm headset jack. The HP WideView FullHD webcam includes an infrared camera for Windows Hello support.

The Envy x360 15 will be available starting in June 2017 with a starting price of $900.

Here are the specifications for the HP Envy x360 15:

Screen size: 15.6 inches
Screen resolution: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160)
Display type: IPS touchscreen display with HP Active Pen support
Processor: Up to Intel Core i7
Up to AMD FX APU
Graphics: Nvidia GeFore 940MX 2GB dedicated graphics memory (Intel only)
System memory: Up to 16GB DDR4
Storage: Dual storage, up to 512GB PCIe SSD, up to 1TB HDD
Audio: Bang & Olufsen with two speakers and HP Audio Boost
Connectivity: 2×2 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Ports: 2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
Multi-format digital media card reader
HDMI port
3.5mm headset jack
Keyboard: Full-size backlit with numeric keypad
Camera: HP WideVision FullHD webcam
HP infrared camera with Windows Hello support
Battery: 3-cell 55.8 watt-hour lithium ion battery up to 11.5 hours
Dimensions (inches): 0.77 in x 14.16 in x 9.80 in
Weight: 4.75 pounds
Materials: Stamped aluminum
Starting price: $900
Availability: June 2017

Updated on 5-22-2017 by Mark Coppock: Clarified pricing and minor specifications.

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