HP's revamped lineup gives you three new reasons to forget the Microsoft Surface
HP has taken the opportunity of the Cannes Film Festival to refresh three of its laptop and 2-in-1 lines, unveiling a new Spectre x2, a new Envy x360 convertible, and two new Envy laptops. In other words: Watch your back, Microsoft.
Starting with the Spectre x2 2-in-1, the second generation of this device, you get a choice of the latest Intel i7 Core processors, 8 GB of memory and 360 GB of solid-state storage. Perhaps the star of the show is a new 3,000 x 2,000 pixel touchscreen display, the same number of pixels as the Surface Book – though in this case on a 12.3-inch screen (293 PPI) rather than a 13.5-inch one (267 PPI).
This is, however, more of a Surface Pro 4 rival rather than a device designed to take on the Surface Book. It's worth noting that many are expecting Microsoft to announce the next successor in the Surface Pro line at a Shanghai event this week.
Graphics performance should be decent for a 2-in-1 like this, as HP has opted for the Intel chips with Iris Plus embedded graphics. The company says you'll get around 8 hours of use between battery charges, though as usual don't automatically take that at face value.
If a detachable screen doesn't really appeal, then the new Envy x360 model could be for you. It's a convertible laptop-tablet hybrid, letting you rotate the screen all the way back to lie flat over the base of the keyboard if you want to use it in tablet mode. Like the Spectre x2, it's a device we first saw in 2015.
The upgraded model brings with it a full HD, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel 15.6-inch screen (141 PPI), your choice of Intel (i5 or i7) or AMD (A9, A12 or FX) processors, up to 16 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage space. There's an HDMI out port built-in, so it's easy to get your work up on a bigger display.
These devices are in a separate category of 2-in-1s to the Spectre x2, sharing shelf space with the likes of the Lenovo Yoga range. Battery life tops out at 10 hours, HP says, though it depends on the model you buy.
Finally, if you're in the market for a laptop with a screen that doesn't detach, bend over or do any other kind of trick, both the 13-inch and 17-inch Envy laptops get a refresh, with tweaks to the external design and more power under the hood. Both laptops come with 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution and offer an optional fingerprint sensor, and for the 17-inch model there's the option to up that resolution to 4K.
The smaller model gives you one of the latest Intel i5 processors, 8 GB of memory, and 128 GB of solid-state storage, all crammed into a 0.55-inch thin frame that gives you an impressive 14 hours of battery life (HP says). The larger model ups the processor to an Intel i7 model and the RAM to 16 GB, but sticks with a mechanical hard drive offering 1 TB of room. An Nvidia GeForce GRX 940MX graphics chip is built in too, so that's the one to get if you value performance over portability.
Notably, all these new devices are using the new seventh-generation processors from Intel or AMD, which means they should get closer than ever to the goal of desktop-level performance in a computer you can carry around with you.
As with any laptop or 2-in-1, what matters is the bang for buck, and HP seems to have found a good balance here too: Prices start at US$999.99 for the Spectre x2, $899.99 for the Envy x360, $1,049.99 for the 13-inch Envy and, $999.99 for the 17-inch Envy. That last laptop is on sale now, with the others to follow in June.
Press releases and spec sheets can only tell you so much, but on paper at least, this is a refreshed line-up that could well do enough to tempt buyers away from the Surface range.
Product page: HP