HP has never been afraid to try something new. We saw that with the introduction of the unique Sprout all-in-one, its pairing with HTC to build the Vive-ready Phoenix, and the inclusion of OLED displays in some of its new PCs. Now, the firm is doubling down on that commitment to innovation with the new and improved Sprout Pro, plus some related education-focused solutions.
The Sprout gets serious
If you’re not familiar with HP’s Sprout line, it’s a unique take on the all-in-one design. A camera and projector sticks off the top of the screen, pointing straight down in order to project a second screen onto a touch-sensitive mat below. This allows for some interesting functionality when the two inputs are blended.
At the same time, the Intel RealSense 3D camera is able to capture objects as they move across its field of view. It can scan documents, or 3D-map an object for modeling, and there’s a lot more functionality headed its way via developers like Autodesk.
Under the hood, the Sprout Pro is a respectable machine. It’s powered by a quad-core i7-6700, 8 or 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and optional Nvidia GeForce GT 945A with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. There isn’t a lot of room for customization, but the specs should satisfy anyone in the market for this sort of unique all-in-one.
Apart from the improved internals, the major upgrades to the device come in the form of software support. There’s more of a focus on collaboration and sharing, with apps like HP’s External Display Mixer, which lets you share what’s on the touchpad over Skype, or capture a screenshot of a conversation and annotate it instantly.
The Sprout Pro will be available starting in February, with a base price of $2,199.
In the classroom
While HP is going to be pushing the Sprout Pro for education, that doesn’t mean that more traditional options are going away. HP also has two new notebooks, purpose-built for the classroom.
The first is the HP ProBook 11 G2 Education Edition. Built with a rugged molded rubber design and boasting up to 18 hours of battery life, this little laptop is perfect for handing out to a full classroom of students. Performance is nimble, with an i3-6100U or choice of Pentium and Celeron processors, and up to 8GB of RAM. The 11.6-inch display runs at 1,366 x 768, a fine option for the size, and touch is available too. When it launches in February, the ProBook 11 G2 EE will start at just $359.
The other option, the HP Pro 310 x360 Education Edition takes a bit of a performance hit, offering only Celeron and Pentium processors. The trade-off is the screen, an 11.6-inch 1,366 x 768 panel that flips all the way around via a 360-degree hinge. It costs a bit more as well, carrying a base price of $449 when it launches in March.
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