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  (Source: HP)
Intel ultrabooks won't come with discrete graphics, you'll have to pay extra for that

Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ) is the world's largest seller of personal computers and hence a key battleground for processor makers Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Intel Corp. (INTC).

Both companies' latest and greatest chip are on parade in a trio of new ultrathin lines unveiled by HP, a refresh to the company's "Envy" ultramobile brand.  Interestingly, the Ivy Bridge (Intel) and Trinity (AMD) notebooks have the same battery life rating from HP -- 9 hours (though of course real-world testing is likely to reveal a winner and a loser).

The AMD designs are substantially cheaper than the Ivy Bridge ones.  HP's most affordable "Sleekbook" line will first launch with higher priced Intel designs, but in June will be expanded to include less costly models powered by AMD's new Trinity accelerated processing unit (APU), which features "discrete quality" on-die graphics.

The SleekBook models are as follows:

HP Envy SleekBook (14-inches): May 9 launch
Price: $699 (Sandy Bridge) ~$799 (Ivy Bridge)
Weight: 4 lb
Thickness: ~19.8 mm
Screen: 14-inch 1366x768 pixel
Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Storage: 500 GB HDD
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n, gigabit ethernet
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x1, SD card reader
Extras: Beats Audio

(Note: This isn't an ultrabook, as it doesn't meet Intel's official spec, which requies an SSD or NAND cache.)

HP Envy SleekBook (15.6-inches): June 20 launch
Price: $599
CPU: AMD Trinity APU
Weight: 4 lb
Thickness: ~19.8 mm
Screen: 15.6-inch 1366x768 pixel
Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Storage: 320 GB HDD
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n, gigabit ethernet
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x1, SD card reader
Extras: Beats Audio

The actual ultrabooks from HP will come in two flavors -- the Envy Ultrabook, the mid-range model, and the Envy Spectre XT Ultrabook, the flagship model.

These designs are as follows:

HP Envy Ultrabook (14-inches): May 9 launch
Price: $749 (Sandy Bridge) ~$849 (Ivy Bridge)
Weight: 4 lb
Thickness: ~19.8 mm
Screen: 14-inch 1366x768 pixel
Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Storage: 500 GB HDD + 32 GB NAND cache
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n, gigabit ethernet
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x1, SD card reader
Extras: Beats Audio

HP Envy Ultrabook (15.6-inches): May 9 launch
Price: $799 (Sandy Bridge) ~$899 (Ivy Bridge)
Weight: 4 lb
Thickness: ~19.8 mm
Screen: 14-inch 1366x768 pixel
Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Storage: 500 GB HDD + 32 GB NAND cache
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n, gigabit ethernet
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 x2, USB 2.0 x1, SD card reader
Extras: Beats Audio
HP Ultrabook
HP Envy Spectre XT (13.3-inches): June 8 launch
Price: $999
CPU: Ivy Bridge (third generation Core i-Series processor) 
Weight: 3 lb
Thickness: 14.5 mm
Screen: 13.3-inch 1366x768 pixel
Memory: 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
Storage: 128 GB SSD
Connectivity: 802.11a/g/n, gigabit ethernet, 2x2 WLAN, Bluetooth 3.0
Ports: HDMI, USB 3.0 x1, HDMI
Extras: Beats Audio, Adobe System Inc.'s (ADBE) Photoshop (full), and Symantec Corp.'s (SYMC) Norton Internet Security (full)

Spectre XT black

The body designs for all the models are relatively similar with sleek brushed metal (black or silver available) cases colored in black or silver hues.  The Ivy Bridge models do not come with discrete graphics by default, but customers can pay extra to get a discrete GPU.  Larger hard drives or more memory are among the other customization options consumers can pony up extra cash for.

Ultimately, the AMD vs. Intel Ivy Bridge thin notebooks are shaping up to be much as what thought -- the Intel will be slightly thinner and lighter, but will be well over $1,000 USD with discrete graphics added.  By contrast, an AMD Sleekbook with matching performance (other than the slower HDD) will start at ~$600.  Build quality (packaging) will be almost identical for both competing designs, other than size and weight.

DailyTech's poll indicated that the majority of people would prefer an AMD ultrathin to an Intel one (the vote was nearly 2-to-1 with over 3,500 votes cast), given the price and graphics difference, assuming battery life and build quality were the same.  Of course the majority will have to wait a month to get their wish, while the vocal enthusiast minority can get their Ivy Bridge Ultrabook dream machine today.

HP's new ultrathins and similar ilk from rivals all closely parrot Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) iconic MacBook Air design, which was arguably the first true metal body-encased ultrathin.  When the Air launched in 2008 many mocked its lack of an internal optical media drive and predicted weak sales.  After Apple wowed with MacBook Air sales, the tune quickly changed, as evidenced by the fact that the Envy Sleekbooks, Envy Ultrabooks, and Envy Spectre XT carry nary an internal optical media drive.

Sources: HP [Press Release], [Spectre XT Product Page]



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RE: IPS HD
By icrf on 5/9/2012 11:05:06 AM , Rating: 5
"Screen: 15.6-inch 1366x768 pixel"

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.


RE: IPS HD
By BioHazardous on 5/9/2012 11:12:15 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Hah, Dodgeball.

Movie quotes aside, I agree, these 1366x768 resolutions need to go away.


RE: IPS HD
By cknobman on 5/9/2012 1:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
1366x768 screens??

They're about as useful as a poopie flavored lollipop!!!


RE: IPS HD
By BioHazardous on 5/9/2012 2:38:17 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They're about as useful as a poopie flavored lollipop!


You had me at blood and semen.


RE: IPS HD
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: IPS HD
By Denigrate on 5/9/2012 11:16:31 AM , Rating: 4
1366x768 is terrible, and barely adequate for a 10" screen 1440 X 900 should be the minimum for anything larger, with any decent laptop coming in at 1680 X 1050.


RE: IPS HD
By Solandri on 5/9/2012 3:42:15 PM , Rating: 3
1024x768 was the standard desktop resolution about 15 years ago. It's painful to think that with all the advances in computer graphics in 15 years, the "standard" screen resolution in laptop manufacturers' eyes has only increased 33% in the horizontal and remained unchanged in the vertical.

I partly blame Microsoft though. Until Windows 7, Windows did a poor job scaling icons, windows, and text for different dpi. A common complaint I got when buying laptops for older people was that the icons and text were too small. Under Windows XP, 1366x768 on a 14" or 15.6" screen had a comfortable text and icon size for older people. Going to a higher resolution screen was actually a disadvantage for them.

The scaling has (finally) been fixed in Windows 7, but the manufacturers now have it ingrained in their heads that going higher than 1366x768 will result in complaints from their older customers.


RE: IPS HD
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: IPS HD
By The0ne on 5/9/12, Rating: -1
RE: IPS HD
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2012 5:37:25 PM , Rating: 3
I'm playing devils advocate, I'm not "saying" ain't broke, don't fix.

I'm saying while WE might feel certain aspects are utterly crucial, the market at-large might not be reflecting that in actual buying trends.

Look how long it took for LCD TV's to become mainstream. Or how long it took for HD to truly saturate. Sometimes the market doesn't move as quickly as we would like. The simple fact is the vast majority of laptops have what we would consider to be an "inferior" screen.


RE: IPS HD
By rubbahbandman on 5/9/2012 4:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
In the past I may have shared your sentiment, but I think sales of "the new ipad" deflate your argument (in case you're wondering, I'm only comparing the two because some ipad models share a similar price point).

The most interesting thing is that an ipad is no where near as powerful or as functional as an ultrabook, but clearly the general consumer could care less. I would even go as far as to say that the majority of ultrabook sales will be made up by businesses, but I could be wrong there.

What do you want to bet Apple's goal is to put retina displays on their new macbooks regardless of the additional cost? You better believe they will sell like crazy even if they cost the consumer twice as much and offer no other advantage to your average ultrabook.

I would say the main distinguishing factor of Apple products (other than costing more) is they have significantly higher quality displays than the competition and to me that's been their edge.


RE: IPS HD
By Gondor on 5/9/2012 5:34:18 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
You better believe they will sell like crazy even if they cost the consumer twice as much and offer no other advantage to your average ultrabook.


This statement is a tautology because Apple drones will purchase anything, retina display or not, even if it comes with the poop-flavored lollypop mentioned above.

It has nothing to do with technical details (such as employing higher resolution screen versus a lower resoltuion one).


RE: IPS HD
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2012 5:45:18 PM , Rating: 2
The old iPad had a pretty bad DPI and was a CRUSHING sales leader and touted as the greatest thing ever by Apple fans and others.

To put things in perspective, my $200 Kindle Fire has a higher pixel density than the iPad 2. So yeah, the 10" iPad2 was REALLY bad on that front, but did it even matter? Nope.

So I'm not sure your example is all that relevant. Regardless of specs, Apple moves products on the scale that most companies only dream of. They also have almost unmatched buying power and supply chains. So while they could easily put a Retina display in a MacBook regardless of costs, doesn't mean everyone can.

And again, I wasn't putting forth a "sentiment". I was trying to be moderate and looking at this from a different angle. But my mistake.


RE: IPS HD
By corduroygt on 5/9/2012 11:27:57 AM , Rating: 3
You sit much closer to a laptop screen compared to a desktop monitor. Have you EVER used a 15.6" 1080p laptop? I have and it's glorious and not too small at all.


RE: IPS HD
By Novaguy on 5/9/2012 11:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
Getting 1080p at 15.6 was probably the best upgrade I got for my current Llano dv6; the 6750m video card upgrade probably was overkill.

The 1080p upgrade usually costs about $150 from HP in the dv6 line, so hopefully they'll keep it for this line. Perhaps they will even allow the occasional 30/35% coupon get used as well, putting the upgrade around $100. Still a bit of a sticker shock, but I'll do it again.

If ssd prices drop, a nice device might be a 35W Trinity with the 1080p and an aftermark 120gb ssd.


RE: IPS HD
By retrospooty on 5/9/2012 12:48:00 PM , Rating: 3
"The 1080p upgrade usually costs about $150 from HP"

Yup... This is what drives me nuts abouot alot of recently released laptops... Most dont have the optional high res screens. IT used to be most laptops would have a crappy 1366x768 and $50 would get you 1600x900 and $100 would get you 1920x1080... Lately alot of model just have 1366x768 and that's all. I would gladly pay the extra cash for higher res.


RE: IPS HD
By Novaguy on 5/9/2012 4:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
Just tried pricing out an Envy sleekbook; obviously intel versions are only available at this point.

They do have an upgrade to a 120 gb SSD ($150 upgrade over a 500gb 5400 rpm drive), so maybe worth it when factoring a labor and warranty and such; possibly a good idea if any of those coupons hit. i5 sandy bridge chips only, but there is a potential $50 upgrade for the 7670M if you don't want the hd3000.

However, there was no option for a 1080p screen yet, not sure if it ever will happen. But they did have a monitor selection page, it just had the 768 screen on it. Maybe it'll be avaialable in the future, maybe never.


RE: IPS HD
By retrospooty on 5/9/2012 12:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
"You guys want 15" laptops to rock full 1080p lol."

Yes, I am on a Dell Lat E6520 with a 15 inch 1080p now (my work laptop) and it rocks. 1080p may be overkill on a 15 inch, but at least get 1600x900 FFS. 1366x768 needs to diw on anything larger than 10 inches. Its just freegin unuseable.


RE: IPS HD
By twhittet on 5/9/2012 2:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
Also on a 6520 with 1080p - love it. It's the only way I can get any work done without having it hooked up to an external monitor. Even at 1080 I am annoyed occasionally - my main monitor is 1920x1200, and when I get to 1080 I still can't fit everything.
768 is barely fine for play. 1080 vertical is very necessary for work.


RE: IPS HD
By Solandri on 5/9/2012 3:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
My laptop is 1600x900, while my desktop is 1920x1200. 1600x900 is good (much better than 1366x768), but I still have to flip back and forth between windows to get work done.

To really work comfortably with two windows open side-by-side, you need 1920x1200 (or 1920x1080). I'm making do with hooking up an external monitor for extra space, but a full 1080p display is going to be a high priority on my next laptop.


RE: IPS HD
By Calin on 5/10/2012 2:25:12 AM , Rating: 2
I've bought a Dell 15.4 laptop, with something like Athlon 4400 (dual core) with WinXP - I don't know exactly when was that, but some four to four and a half years ago. Bottom of the bin laptop, but it had 1280 by 800 display, and the resolution and dpi was about OK. However, I _HAD_ to move the taskbar to the left (instead of down) to have enough vertical space.
This problem (vertical space) would be much more painful on a 768 pixel width display, especially as Win7 has a bigger taskbar


RE: IPS HD
By Camikazi on 5/9/2012 1:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
My laptop has a 15.4 inch screen with 1680x1050 resolution, it looks awesome.


RE: IPS HD
By piroroadkill on 5/9/2012 5:41:23 PM , Rating: 1
Heheh, I have two 15" laptops with 1920x1200.


RE: IPS HD
By nafhan on 5/9/2012 11:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
I'm fine with the resolution... I'm just sick of 15.6" notebooks. A 13" at 1366 x 768 is fine with me. Seriously, what's the point of all these new low power CPU's if we're just sticking them in huge laptops?

The worst though was HP and others sticking Brazos in 15 inchers. WTF?!?


RE: IPS HD
By morgan12x on 5/9/2012 11:34:42 AM , Rating: 2
I personally like a 17" laptop. But that aside I hate how all these great ultrabooks have glossy screens. I would pay extra if they would offer a matte screen option. Hear that HP? Dell? Lenovo?


RE: IPS HD
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2012 11:44:32 AM , Rating: 2
Matte has really fallen by the wayside, and I'm not sure why. Tablets with glossy screens are just HORRIBLE in sunlight, or any other light really. You would think that at least those would have the option for a matte screen, but nope.


RE: IPS HD
By Lonyo on 5/9/2012 12:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
Because glossy helps make up for the shit TN panels they throw in them making them look nice in the store and encouraging people to be fooled into buying them.


RE: IPS HD
By dubldwn on 5/9/2012 1:14:26 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose that's true. Kind of ironic finding a matte laptop is tough, which could be outdoors or in unusual lighting, but finding a glossy IPS desktop monitor is impossible. I'm one of those weirdos who likes glossy displays - there should be more choices.


RE: IPS HD
By Belard on 5/9/2012 4:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
Its not hard. Go to Lenovo's website and order a ThinkPad from the T, L, X or W line. They also have high res options.


RE: IPS HD
By nafhan on 5/9/2012 1:40:41 PM , Rating: 2
Smaller the better for me. My ideal desktop replacement is a 13" with an external monitor and full size keyboard/mouse. I don't want to be carrying a 17"... to each his own, though.


RE: IPS HD
By Flunk on 5/9/2012 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Enjoy your boat anchor.


RE: IPS HD
By lennylim on 5/9/2012 2:47:30 PM , Rating: 2
I had to look really hard to get a matte screen for my Lenovo. Both the T and the Edge E series have matte screens, possibly others.


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