Introduction, Design, User Interface
When you think about a company like HP, you probably don’t think about innovation. They’re an old company, one that now has a massive market and lots of customers to worry about losing. Common sense says they are more likely to be slow and cautious.
If you examine HP’s laptop division closely, however, that story starts to fall apart. Over the past several years the company has implemented several innovative strategies to keep it ahead of the competition, and one of them is a bit unusual – a focus on audio quality, via the Beats Audio brand.
HP seems to have confidence in this strategy. The company has tucked Beats Audio into its chest and ran with it, slapping the branding onto a number of different laptops. That brings us to the HP dm4t Beats Edition. Let’s have a look at what is inside.
This laptop starts life as a regular dm4t, HP’s entry-level ultraportable. Then it is given a number of upgrades including a standard Core i5 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. These improvements, along with the Beats Audio branding, bump up the base price of $579 to $899. Our review unit came with an optional 1600x900 display, a slightly quicker Core i5 processor and an 32GB solid state drive which works with a 500GB mechanical drive to enable Intel Smart Response.
These options bump the price to an intimidating $1169.
Update: HP has informed us that the laptop that they've shipped is available as a pre-configured model for $899. Wal-Mart is shipping a version without the solid state drive for $798 after a $100 instant rebate. This pricing has impacted our verdict, which is now reflected in the conclusion.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 17, 2012 - 07:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: workstation, nvidia, hp
Here is a story for the professional computer users out there.
Professionals have standards: be polite, be efficient, and have a multi-year plan to cram as much hardware into a small case as you can seat. NVIDIA and HP have obviously played too much Team Fortress -- or I did -- let us just all three of us have. The engineers have dispensed with the desktop tower and crammed everything in the monitor with their Z1 product series. While not original, it does hold a number of nice features.
… But honestly, what the user really wants is for it to dispense Bonk!
As soon as I read the announcement I immediately jumped over to HP’s product page and confirmed the existence of external display connections. Sure enough, HP did not entirely botch this product and allows the connection of one extra monitor by display port. While being limited to just two monitors is a bit disappointing -- I currently have a three monitor setup -- if they were to introduce a workstation computer with just a single monitor it would have been product suicide. Thankfully they had enough sense.
The real flaunted feature of the Z1 workstation is its ease of upgrade. The included power supply is rated at 400W which to my knowledge is decent for a single-card workstation class computer. HP claims support for up to 2 internal 2.5-inch drives or a single 3.5-inch drive; unfortunately they do not clarify whether you can install all three drives, or if you must choose between the one larger versus the two smaller drives.
HP and NVIDIA go on a date -- they dress workstation classual.
The workstation is expected to start at $1899 when it ships sometime around April. Unfortunately HP’s technical specifications list an Intel Core i3 and Integrated HD 2000 GPU -- most likely to hide the price of the products with the components that you actually want. I guess you will need to wait a couple of months to find out what you will actually be paying.
Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 01:45 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: ultrabook, Transformer, spectre, podcast, memo, Intel, hp, envy, CES, asus
PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 2 - 1/9/12
Join us tonight as we talk about our second full day of CES 2012 - including Digital Experience, ASUS, more from OCZ, Thermaltake and more!!
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It’s raining ultrabooks at CES. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult for any individual manufacturer to stand out from the crowd. There was one that caught our eye, however – the HP Envy 14 Spectre.
We’ll go in to the specifications in a moment because they’re not what separate the Spectre from the crowd. It’s the design that commands attention. Instead of using an aluminum lid like most competitors HP decided to use lightweight black glass. This instantly distinguishes the laptop from anything else on the market. While most ultrabooks look like MacBook Air clones, the Spectre is unique at first glance.
UPDATE: We have a video walkthrough of the new HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook for you!
You’d think scratches would be a concern, but the scratch-resistant glass used on the lid appears reasonably tough. In fact, it will likely prove more durable than plastic (which tends to scratch) or aluminum (which tends to dent). The only unavoidable issue will be smudging. The floor model had more than a few fingerprints on it.
Once opened, the Envy 14 reveals a more conventional silver metallic (the palmrest is glass-covered, but remains a metallic silver color) interior similar to the rest of the Envy line. A Beats Audio analog volume knob (along with Beats Audio speakers) ties it in with the new Envy 15 and 17.
Although just 20mm (.78) thin, the Envy 14 Spectre seems to offer keyboard feel on par with its larger and thicker cousins without sacrificing the backlight. There’s also a ton of palmrest space and a large touchpad. Multi-touch gestures are among the smoothest available on a Windows laptop. Perhaps the only downside is weight. At 3.79 pounds, it is noticeably heavier than most competitors. While this contributes to the laptop’s luxurious feel it could reduce the convenience of on-the-go use.
HP plans to ship the Envy 14 with Core i5 and i7 low-voltage processors, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB solid state hard drives. A 1600x900 display will be standard. Also included is an NFC chip that will allow for short-range wireless sharing. It’s not a stretch to speculate it could also eventually work with the wireless payment features Intel showed during this morning’s ultrabook conference.
Battery life is projected to be 9 hours, and while this will no doubt end up being generous, it’s far better than the 6 hour estimates given by most competitors. Battery size may be the reason for the extra weight.
The Envy 14 Spectre will be on sale in February or March at an introductory price of $1399. That’s a lot of money, but initial impressions suggest that laptop is worth the price of admission. Quality is quite possibly better than the MacBook Air. If the display and performance proves to be as good as promised this pricey laptop could be a hit.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | December 11, 2011 - 12:52 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webOS, open source, hp
Sure, this title is little more than a series of bad puns. That said, HP’s situation has recently seems like little more than a series of bad jokes itself. Over the last year, HP appears to have been their own biggest public image disaster: they purchased Palm to release a tablet without much platform support; they shut down and liquidate the tablet after seven weeks; they flirt with disbanding their entire profitable division and draw intense media discussion over the death of the entire PC industry; and they sharply change their mind and keep their division long after the media damage ends. Despite that spiraling-out-of-control story, HP has just recently made a surprisingly sensible decision: Open Source WebOS.
WebOS… Web Open Source… I get it now!
Obviously, we cannot tell exactly how good of a long-term decision it is for HP to support WebOS as an open project with the details we have now. A number of questions, not the least of which being about what open source license HP will use for their operating system, shroud the fate of WebOS as an open source platform. While I will not get excited yet, as I will not assume sensibility on the part of HP, it is entirely possible that HP can displace Android and Meego as the open mobile operating systems. Then again, it is entirely possible that HP can just crumble under Android and its other competitors and go back to cramming drops of ink into plastic containers and building large servers for corporate clients.
Depending on the license, as well as other factors, what do you think of WebOS as the open platform of choice?
Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2011 - 10:31 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: memristor, hp
One of the new technologies we have been keeping an eye on is the memristor, a transistor whose resistance can be altered and used as a storage medium. The development of this new technology has been headed by HP and they have some new results to announce, which you can catch at Nanotechweb. We have already seen a recent game changer, with SSDs based on non-volatile flash memory bringing never before seen data access speeds to the desktop. Memristors could be the next step, bringing storage access speeds measured in picoseconds not nanoseconds and usable lifetimes of a trillion cycles as opposed to flash which is at best measured in hundreds of thousands. They may also make volatile flash obsolete as the speeds are faster than current DRAM and SRAM, or perhaps see memory and storage unite into one unit.
"Memristors are promising candidates for future high-density nonvolatile memories given their demonstrated desirable properties such as endurance on the order of 1 trillion cycles, electroforming-free operation, compatibility with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) processes, and the ability to be integrated in high-density cross-bar arrays. Other envisioned applications include digital logic, synaptic and hybrid circuits. For many of these applications evaluating the high-speed dynamical properties of memristors, including the switching speed, is paramount."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel’s analog shrink is for real @ SemiAccurate
- Smartphone component makers penetrate ultrabook supply chain @ DigiTimes
- AMD smacks Xeon 5600s with Opteron 6200s @ The Register
- 2011 Holiday Buying Guide @ Hardware Secrets
- Hard drive prices drop as SSD sales get a boost @ kitguru
- HIS Desperate Upgrade GPU Giveaway @ XSReviews
Subject: General Tech | November 16, 2011 - 09:36 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xeon e5, xeon, servers, opteron, knights ferry, knights corner, interlagos, hp, dell, bulldozer, acer
As you would expect, no sooner does AMD release news on its new line of Bulldozer era Opterons, Intel follows suit with news on their next generation of server chips. AMD hit the news and the server room first thanks to interest shown by Dell, HP and Acer. These vendors have based a series of 2U servers on AMD's new chip as well as a family of blade servers. Dell's Poweredge C6145 was probably the most ambitious, with 4 sockets you can have 128 cores and 1TB of DDR3 in a 2U rack mount server and FusionIO was suggesting the inclusion of their 1.2TB Iodrive Duo card to ensure your storage media can keep up.
Intel also spoke with The Inquirer and other news sites about their new Xeon E5 processor family as well as providing more information about Knights Bridge. Intel has reached out to a different set of clients for the new Xeon, focusing on NVIDIA's latest target market of High Performance Computing (that HPC acronym you see hanging around Fermi). They tout over 10,000 chips sold, some of which are sitting pretty in the TOP500. Also on display was their Knights Ferry accelerator board, again targeted for the HPC crowd that NVIDIA has been courting.
So this processor generation we have Intel and NVIDIA fighting it out for HPC customers, while AMD seems to be without major competition in high density computing, although ARM has certainly been making inroads into that market.
"AMD's partners have shown a small but impressive array of Bulldozer Opteron kit. Dell's 2U eight socket beast was arguably the most impressive of the lot on show in Munich, but AMD will know it needs more than just one vendor in its fight against Intel. Thankfully it has the might of HP also showing that its traditional rackmount and blade servers can make use of AMD's Bulldozer silicon."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD kills Wichita and Krishna @ SemiAccurate
- Canada CRTC Rules Against Usage Based Billing @ Slashdot
- CarrierIQ: Most Phones Ship With "Rootkit" @ Slashdot
- Google will ignore your Wi-Fi router ... if you rename it @ The Register
- Making aerogel at home @ Hack a Day
- HP unveils business ultrabook @ DigiTimes
- Microsoft moving embedded systems to Windows 8 @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- Griffin Helo TC RC Helicopter Review @ TechwareLabs
- TechSpot Holiday Gift Guide 2011
- The Antec Giveaways: Part 1 @ AnandTech
- Real World Labs And Cooler Master Joint Contest
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | November 6, 2011 - 05:32 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, slate 2, psg, hp, business, atom
Not long after HP reconsidered spinning off the PC manufacturing arm of the company, it has begun prepping two new business computers. The new PCs are aimed at business, education, healthcare, and government users and include a tablet and notebook. Specifically, HP is releasing the HP Slate 2 tablet computer and a lightweight notebook dubbed the HP 3115m.
The HP Slate 2 is a dark gray and silver accented slate style tablet computer weighing in at 1.5 lbs and a 8.9” (diagonal) screen. Running Windows 7, the computer offers both pen and touch input using its capacitive multi-touch display. To make up for the absence of a hardware keyboard, HP is including a new Swype keyboard application which will likely be well received as a notable improvement over the default Windows 7 on screen keyboard. As it is aimed at business users, several security enhancements are baked in, including a TPM (Trusted Platform Module) chip, HP ProtectTools, and Computrace Pro BIOS level security software.
On the hardware side of things, the HP tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z670 processor and a mSATA compatible SSD. A front facing VGA camera is available for video conferencing, and a second 3 MP (megapixel) camera is located on the back providing photo and video capture. Further, the tablet features SRS Premium Sound, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, optional 3G mobile broadband, an SD card slot, and USB 2.0 ports. HP is further designing a docking station, integrated Bluetooth keyboard tablet case, and a Point of Sale (POS) attachment that adds a magnetic card reader to the tablet for processing credit card payments.
For those that would prefer a hardware keyboard instead of a tablet PC, HP is also releasing a lightweight notebook. The company claims that the new HP 3115m laptop will offer up to 11.5 hours of battery life. The PC features a 11.6” LED-backlit HD display, an HP webcam, and Beats Audio. Powering the laptop is a AMD E450 dual core Fusion APU. The APU features AMD Radeon HD 6320 graphics hardware, which should easily meet the needs of road warriors and business professionals.
Both the HP Slate 2 and 3115m will be available later this month. The HP Slate 2 will be available worldwide towards the end of the month while the 3115m will be available November 11th in North and South America only. More photos can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2011 - 12:58 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: webOS, software, hp, hardware, computers
In a move by HP that is becoming less surprising by the day, the company has reconsidered (yet again) its position on WebOS and will be keeping WebOS hardware and software around for the foreseeable future (or at least until their next announcement).
Although several tech sites reported last week that WebOS would soon be getting a final nail in the coffin and abandoned by HP, Vice President (for the Personal Systems Group) Todd Bradley stated the exact opposite sentiment in an interview recently.
3 heads of a dragon all going different directions... sound familiar HP?
Specifically, Mr. Bradley appeared on the television show Bloomberg West to talk about the company’s plans to keep the PSG (Personal Systems Group) part of the company. When questioned about WebOS, he stated that the various reports on HP shutting down the WebOS division were “unfounded rumor(s).” He further stated that HP is in fact continuing to invest in WebOS software and WebOS hardware. You can see a video of the full interview here (fair warning: the video is set to auto-play on the site).
Speaking of WebOS, Best Buy has recently snagged Touchpads while HP itself has depleted its inventory. Unfortunately, Best Buy is only willing to sell the HP Touchpads to customers who also purchase a HP or Compaq laptop or All-In-One computer, at least if you want a reasonable price on the units. More information on that can be found over at Maximum PC.
Any bets on how soon it will be before HP changes directions yet again and I have to eat my words?
A few months ago, there was talk coming from Hewlett-Packard regarding their Personal Systems Group, which is the OEM/PC Manufacturing aspect of the company. Management talked and seemed to decide that they would pull and IBM and sell off their PC division to become a services company. This plan was pushed by the (now) former CEO Leo Apotheker who came from a services background. The company stopped rolling out WebOS devices including the HP Touchpad, and was further considering getting rid of the whole PC division.
A surprising "whoops" emanated from HP today as the new CEO Meg Whitman reversed the previous plans to spin off the PC or Personal Systems Group division. According to Ars Technica, HP’s PSG isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The site quoted the new HP CEO in stating “it’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers, and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees.” She believes keeping the Personal Systems Group makes HP stronger.
Not only is HP keeping the OEM aspects of the company alive, they are planning on expanding their current lineup in the mobile space with, and you guessed it, an ultrabook of all things! While this is likely much to the chagrin of our own Jeremy Hellstrom who would rather have 2 X79 motherboards duct taped together than an ultrabook, consumers and fans of a certain other fruit flavored slim form factor computer will likely appreciate some more competition in the ultrabook space to bring down prices a bit.
HP’s Executive Vice President over the PSG, Todd Bradley, has been quoted by several sites in a conference call yesterday as saying an HP Ultrabook is coming very soon.
"We’re very focused on having a suite in that ultramobile space. And you’ll see that very soon."
-via Maximum PC
What do you think of this move? Does HP need a lesson in moderation in a time when they are either all on or all off on decisions (that are further flip flopping back and forth), or will jumping into the Ultrabook game be a good thing for the company?
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