If you thought laptop / tablet mashups were trendy, we can think of at least one other theme you're going to see repeated ad nauseam over the coming months: PC makers putting touchscreens on things that didn't used to have them. That's right, in addition to all those funky-looking hybrids, you're going to see lots of familiar-looking laptops get upgraded with touch in time for the Windows 8 launch. Exhibit A: HP, which just announced two conventional notebooks with touch. This includes a finger-friendly version of the 14-inch Envy 4 Ultrabook, as well as the Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, a 15-inch version of the Spectre XT announced earlier this year. Both will be available during the holiday season. That's the short version, but if you follow past the break, we've got a lot to talk about in the way of specs. Join us, will you?
Starting with that Spectre XT, this is the same aluminum-and-magnesium design introduced on the 13-inch XT, right down to that soft-touch bottom. Aside from being bigger, though, it also steps up to a 1080p IPS touchscreen, making this the first time HP's used a 1,920 x 1,080 display on one of its Ultrabooks. It's also relatively thin, at 17.9mm and 4.77 pounds -- an impressive feat given that Intel requires Ultrabooks this size to be no thicker than 22mm (and that's without factoring in touch-enabled machines, which are allowed to be a bit thicker). On the inside, it runs Ivy Bridge processors and can be configured with either solid-storage or a hybrid hard drive paired with a 32GB SSD.
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart UltrabookSee all photos
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook hands-onSee all photos
As you can imagine, that larger footprint means the Spectre XT TouchSmart has room for more ports than its little brother: take a tour around the device you'll find an Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 socket, a memory card reader, a 3.5mm headphone port and a Kensington lock slot. Incidentally, too, it's the first HP system to have a Thunderbolt port. Software-wise, it comes with a two-year subscription to Norton antivirus software as well as full copies of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements. It comes with a generous two-year warranty, too, but only if you buy it through HP Direct.
HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4See all photos
HP Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 hands-onSee all photos
Moving on to the Envy TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 (how's that for a mouthful?) this has the same exact industrial design as the current Envy Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks, except the touchscreen adds a little heft (it weighs 4.77 pounds and measures 23mm thick). For the unfamiliar, though, this has a similar interior to the Spectre XT TouchSmart, but the chassis has some plastic bits, and the screen resolution is a mediocre 1,366 x 768. That makes sense, given that this is supposed to be more of a mid-range machine, but it's worth noting you can configure this with higher-end specs like a 2GB AMD GPU (sorry, we don't know the exact card yet). Either way, the system comes standard with Beats Audio and a subwoofer, so we expect the sound quality should be decent for a mid-tier system.
The 15-inch Spectre XT TouchSmart will be available sometime in December starting at $1,400. We've got fewer details on the touch-enabled Envy 4, however: all we know is that it will arrive in time for the holidays, with the price to be announced at a later date. Until then, though, we went to town taking hands-on photos so hopefully those will sate your appetite in the meantime.
Edgar Alvarez, Mat Smith and Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.
HP Unveils Innovative Multitouch Hybrid PC and Ultrabooks
PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 30, 2012 - HP today announced three consumer notebooks featuring multitouch displays, including a uniquely designed hybrid PC that gives people more choice in how they access information.
The HP ENVY x2 is a powerful and ultrathin hybrid PC with the advantages of two devices in one. As a notebook that doubles as a tablet, the HP ENVY x2 has a detachable screen that becomes a full tablet when separated from the keyboard via a seamless magnetic latch. Customers no longer have to choose between a product that lets them create rich content and another that lets them enjoy entertainment on the go-they can have both in one device.
The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart UltrabookTM and HP ENVY TouchSmart UltrabookTM 4 bring the intuitive power of touch to ultramobile PCs.
"Consumers want the flexibility to move between creating rich documents and losing themselves in a great movie," said James Mouton, senior vice president and general manager, Personal Computer Global Business Unit, HP. "With the HP ENVY x2, customers can have it all, and the touch experience on these three new notebooks brings out the best of Windows 8."
These notebook PCs are the first HP products announced with Microsoft® Windows® 8; additional notebooks, desktops and tablets will be announced later in 2012.
HP ENVY x2-the right device for the right time, every time
The HP ENVY x2 solves the "Do I bring my notebook or tablet?" dilemma. Consumers get the power of a notebook and the freedom of a tablet in one stylish, lightweight device.
Featuring a sleek aluminum finish and an innovative hinge with magnets that smoothly guide the tablet into place, the HP ENVY x2 weighs 3.1 pounds. When separated, the tablet portion weighs just 1.5 pounds.
Customers can interact directly with the optimized Windows 8 touch interface on the HP ENVY x2's vivid 11.6-inch diagonal HD touch display. Ultrawide viewing angles and a bright, 400-nit In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel provide a superb visual experience indoors and outdoors, while an HD webcam on the front and an 8-megapixel camera on the back capture high-quality photos and video.
The HP ENVY x2 also features Beats Audio for the best-sounding, richest audio experience available on a PC. An optional stylus offers added creativity, giving customers the freedom to write, draw and navigate with added accuracy.
The HP ENVY x2 also makes sharing and staying connected with friends and family a breeze. A new HP Connected Photo application seamlessly syncs photos across multiple devices and offers basic editing options and instant-sharing capabilities for social networks. HP Connected Music powered by Meridian allows consumers to experience music downloads, streaming services and internet radio all in one convenient place.
The HP ENVY x2 uses solid-state memory designed for improved reliability and faster startup times. Near Field Communication (NFC) technology lets users share content, including photos, contacts and URLs, with a simple tap.
HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook-a premium touch experience
With Windows 8, the HP TouchSmart experience expands beyond the desktop to deliver multitouch technology to notebooks.
Featuring a 15.6-inch diagonal multitouch Radiance Full HD display with IPS technology, the HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook delivers strong performance and the ability to go beyond keyboard and mouse with an optimized touch experience.
Measuring 17.9 millimeters (mm) thin and weighing 4.77 pounds, this premium Ultrabook stands out from the crowd with a sophisticated all-metal design featuring edge-to-edge glass, a soft-touch base for comfort and grip, a glass touchpad and tilted speakers with Beats Audio for optimal sound.
The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook is HP's first notebook with Intel® ThunderboltTM technology for blazing-fast transfer of music, movies and data to external devices. HP USB Boost technology charges devices via USB ports while the Ultrabook is on or off.
The Ultrabook delivers great performance with the latest Intel CoreTM processors, an mSATA solid-state drive with Intel Rapid Start, Intel Identity Protection
Technology, Intel Anti-Theft Technology, Intel Smart Response and Intel Smart Connect technologies, and a full array of ports, including Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and HDMI.
The notebook also features exclusive HP innovations, including HP CoolSense for a noticeably cooler PC; an HP Imagepad for precise multifinger and gesture navigation; HP ProtectSmart for added hard-drive protection; an HP TrueVision HD Webcam; and applications such as HP Connected Photo and HP Connected Music for easy access to photos, music and more.
The HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook offers a clean software image with fully loaded versions of entertainment and security software and a concierge phone line for technical support dedicated exclusively for HP Spectre customers.
For entertainment, full versions of Adobe Photoshop® Elements 10 and Adobe® Premiere Elements 10 bring powerful photo- and video-editing capabilities, and sMedio 360 and HP Connected Music deliver easy media access between PCs and mobile devices.
To safeguard confidential data and thwart cyberthreats, the notebook is preloaded with one year of Absolute Data Protect, two years of Norton Internet Security, and Intel Anti- Theft for remote data protection.
The Ultrabook also includes 90 days of complimentary HP SmartFriend Setup Service, which offers expedited, one-on-one assistance to help customers get their new PCs up and running fast. HP SmartFriend Complete Service gives customers answers to how-to questions for setting up Wi-Fi, removing a virus, using new software or backing up files.
HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4-the power of touch
Featuring an eye-catching metal design, the HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 offers a 14-inch multitouch HD display, measures 23mm thin and weighs 4.77 pounds.
A backlit keyboard, up to 8 hours of battery life, a booming subwoofer with Beats Audio and an optional AMD graphics card with 2 GB of graphics memory allow customers to power through their day.
The HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 delivers powerful performance with the latest Intel processors, solid-state drive options, and the same Intel technologies available on the HP SpectreXT TouchSmart Ultrabook. HP innovations such as HP CoolSense, HP Imagepad, HP ProtectSmart, HP TrueVision HD Webcam, HP Connected Photo, HP Connected Music and HP Connected Backup also are included.
Pricing and availability
- The HP ENVY x2 is expected to be available in the United States for the holidays. Pricing will be available at a later date.
- The HP Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook is expected to be available in the United States in December with a starting price of $1,399.99.
- The HP ENVY TouchSmart Ultrabook 4 is expected to be available in the United States for the holidays. Pricing will be available at a later date.