This week is Computex, a huge computer show happening in Taiwan, which means lots of PC makers will be unveiling their back-to-school lineups, if they haven't already. HP, for instance, just unveiled a boatload of PCs, including budget and mid-range laptops, a handful of convertibles, and even some Beats products -- the first we've seen from HP since the Apple deal was announced. Rather than inundate you with specs, we've got a neat summary laid out below. We promise to make sense of it all -- even if HP does have a penchant for similar-sounding product names.
- Pavilion x360. Confusing product names? May we present Exhibit A: HP just announced a laptop called the Pavilion x360, even though it already sells something with the same name. The original x360 is a cheap, 11-inch machine with a screen that folds all the way back into tablet mode, à la Lenovo's Yoga line. This new model has a similar design, except it rocks a larger 13.3-inch screen and is more powerful. Whereas the 11-inch version makes do with an Intel Bay Trail processor, the 13-incher starts with AMD A6/A8/A10 chips, going all the way up to Intel Core i3 and i5 CPUs. It also has up to 1TB of storage, not 500GB, with battery life rated between 6.25 and 8.25 hours, depending on whether you go with AMD or Intel (the 11-inch x360 tops out at 4.5 hours). Look for it in July, starting at $600.
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HP Pavilion x360 (13-inch)
- Envy x360. It's a similar story with the Envy x360, except it has a bigger 15.6-inch screen, and also belongs to HP's mid-range Envy line, which means the design will be nicer than what you find in the Pavilion range. As a higher-end machine, it also offers higher-end specs, including a range of Core i3 to Core i7 processors and up to 1TB of storage, with the option of a hybrid hard drive for faster boot-ups. This one starts at $680.
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HP Envy x360
- Split x2. Also known as the Pavilion x2 outside the US, the Split x2 is a refresh of an earlier HP Split x2, which came out last year. Like the original, this is a 13.3-inch Windows tablet with a keyboard dock that packs a spare battery. Whereas the original was only offered with Core i3 and i5 processors, though, this new one will also be available with Bay Trail CPUs, allowing HP to sell it at a lower price ($600 and up). Another tradeoff: the new edition has a 500GB spinning hard drive in the tablet, whereas the old one had SSDs inside the slate and an optional HDD inside the dock. In that case, we don't expect performance to be quite as fast.
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HP Split x2 (2014)
- HP All-in-One PC Beats. You're going to have to pry the Beats-branded PCs out of HP's cold, dead hands. The company has said it plans to release products with Beats through the end of 2015, presumably even after the Apple acquisition closes, and indeed, it appears the company is wasting no time. The Envy All-in-One Beats is, uh, exactly what it sounds like: a 23-inch all-in-one desktop whose very being centers around the Beats brand. (Which is to say, it's very red, and comes armed with both four speakers and four subwoofers.) Design and audio quality aside, the system also has a hinge allowing it to tilt to a 60-degree angle. On the spec front, you're looking at Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. Expect it to start at $999.
- Envy notebooks. HP's mid-range "Envy" laptops come in three sizes (14, 15.6 and 17.3 inches), each with a metal-accented design and an extra-wide trackpad with "touch zones" on the end to help with Windows 8 gestures. (N.B.: Most modern touchpads handle Windows 8 swipes just fine.) Across the board, these come with touch or non-touch screens, Core i5 and i7 processors, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage, with hybrid hard drives offered on the 14- and 17-inch models. Expect the 14, 15- and 17-inch versions to start at $599, $749 and $699, respectively.
- Pavilion notebooks. It's all about the color, folks. HP's budget notebooks (available in 14-, 15- and 17-inch sizes) have a polycarbonate shell with colors like silver, red, blue, white and purple. They also have Beats Audio, which isn't exactly surprising to us, though HP is making a big deal out of the fact that it's included even on lower-end notebooks. Speaking of, though this is technically HP's lower-tier range, you'll still have lots of flexibility when it comes to configurations; each starts with an AMD E2 chip, moving up to AMD's A4/A6/A8/A10 APUs and culminating with Intel's Core i3, i5 and i7 series. Other specs include up to 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage -- again, not bad for a so-called low-end machine. Look for the 14- and 15-inch models to start at $429, while the 17-incher is slated to sell for $449.