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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 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.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken














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