Desktop PCs are traditionally packed into boring old boxes, but HP has tried to shake things up. The gaming-focused Omen X had an eye-catching, corner-standing shape, and now the company has crammed a more multi-purpose machine into a triangular, smart-speaker-styled body. It's called the Pavilion Wave, and this newest version has the added abilities of Amazon's Alexa assistant.
It's not the beefiest rig out there, but the Pavilion Wave is no slouch in the brains department. It's powered by a 7th Gen Intel Core processor, up to 16 GB of RAM and the option of a Radeon R9 470M GPU. With a range of connections, including three USB 3 ports, one USB-C, HDMI, Bluetooth and a DisplayPort, the Pavilion Wave can output to a 4K display or up to two QHD displays.
On the outside, the Pavilion Wave looks less like a desktop computer and more like a speaker. Its triangular form factor is wrapped in fabric, and thanks to a collaboration with B&O Play it can project sound clearly in 360 degrees. That design means it's more at home on a shelf than tucked under a desk. While HP doesn't give specifics on its size, the company says it's about 85 percent smaller than a conventional PC tower.
To complete its disguise as a smart speaker, the Pavilion Wave has now been fitted with Alexa. The device can apparently pick up voice commands from any angle, allowing users to yell out at the assistant to change the song or set a reminder. To make sure that Alexa isn't listening in on things you'd rather it didn't, there's a new LED on the device that lights up to let you know when it's active.
Although Alexa has already been incorporated into lamps, fridges, vacuums, smoke alarms and robots, the Pavilion Wave is among the first examples of the system being added to computers. We say "among the first" because CES 2018 this week has seen Amazon's able assistant also cropping up in notebooks and all-in-one PCs from the likes of Asus and Acer.
Alongside the new Pavilion Wave, HP is also showing off a few other devices at CES this week. The Spectre x360 15 is a beastly "convertible" PC (meaning the screen can pivot all the way around into laptop, tablet and entertainment modes) that's designed for heavy-duty create work, like 3D modeling. It features a 4K touch display, the latest 8th Gen Intel Core processors, up to a GeForce MX 150 GPU and up to 13.5 hours of battery.
The HP Envy x2 is a little more modest, for less intense office work, reading and drawing. It can be specced up to a 7th Gen Intel Y-Series processor, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD and a battery that lasts up to 17 hours. And finally, the HP Z 3D Camera can capture objects placed in front of it and render them as digital 3D models – complete with colors and textures. These can then be easily used in games, art, animation, AR, VR, or even 3D printed.
The Pavilion Wave is due to launch in the Northern Hemisphere's Spring 2018, starting from US$549. The HP Envy x2 is also due around that season, but there's no price yet. The Spectre x360 15 is due on March 18 from $1,369 and the Z 3D Camera will follow that same month (US only) for $599.
Check out the Alexa-enabled Pavilion Wave in action in the video below.
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