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1/11/2012
09:23 AM
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HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook

The tricked-out and pricey Envy Spectre 14, unveiled at CES this week, includes a high-resolution screen, Beats Audio, and NFC.

Ultrabooks Of CES: Visual Tour
Ultrabooks Of CES: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Ultrabooks are everywhere at CES this week, doing their level best to mimic Apple's MacBook Air. HP's newest entry, the Envy Spectre 14, is a high-end version (HP deems it a "no compromise" machine), maxed out at nearly every turn.

Its 14-inch screen is baked into a 13-inch chassis, and offers minimal bezel (to make it lighter), is layered with Gorilla Glass, and has 1600 x 900 resolution. (By the way, HP put Gorilla Glass on the palm rest as well.) The company claims its battery can last nine hours. It includes a mini display port, USB 3.0, HDMI, and gigabit Ethernet, and it weighs less than four pounds.

[ What qualifies as an ultrabook? Read CES 2012: Ultrabook Ultimate FAQ. ]

The Spectre 14 includes Beats Audio, which is supposed to provide superior sound quality--both from the system's speakers and the audio jack. HP has been adding Beats Audio to many of its laptops, and HTC has incorporated it into some of its smartphones.

The wow factor in the Spectre 14 is quite high; dare I say, the keyboard looks very similar to the MacBook Air, with each key getting its own LED, and its outside is also pretty sexy. The ultrabook comes with two years of antivirus protection, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Elements.

Finally, the Spectre 14 includes near-field communications (NFC), so users can "tap-to-share" with NFC phones.

The Envy Spectre 14 will be available February 8, and will cost $1,399 for the base configuration.

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JWILSON6288
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JWILSON6288,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/11/2012 | 5:33:58 PM
re: HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook
I find the idea that a "no compromises" machine comes in a "base configuration" amusing.
HELNIL000
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HELNIL000,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 12:13:43 AM
re: HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook
C'mon, it's called "Follow the Leader". A game we played as kids!
Guest
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Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 8:40:26 AM
re: HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook
These won't sell because you can get something comparable, although thicker, for $500. Without the ability to alter the OS and differentiate the experience, they cannot make a laptop 3x better (the price difference) than the $500 laptops. It is going to be hard to convince the IT enthusiast consumer target market that they should spend $400 more than an Air for a Windows PC.... not to mention $900 more than a standard Windows laptop.
Redmond Jennings
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Redmond Jennings,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 9:47:00 AM
re: HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook
Don't you think this is being marketed as an expensive, exclusive, luxury status symbol? 1% chic. If people buy it it'll be because it looks and is more expensive and refined than the ones other people have, not because the weight to features ratio is really that important.
Guest
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Guest,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/12/2012 | 7:47:23 PM
re: HP's 'No Compromise' Ultrabook
I think the high-end consumer is the target market for this laptop. It is going to be an uphill battle though because generally, HP (and all of the other Windows OEMs) = corporate laptops designed for basic productivity, Apple = chic, cool factor, consumer orientated from a brand perspective. There is also the problem that Windows is viewed by most high-end consumers as the opposite of exclusive, refined and chic. I don't like HP's odds is trying to beat Apple at their own game with Windows and a laptop which is basically 3-4 years late to the market. It is a pretty good imitation of the features that appeared in Air several years ago, but it will be hard to go after exclusivity and the cool factor with something that has been on the market for years.

I think this entire Ultrabook push is something designed primarily by Intel and Microsoft, the primary beneficiaries of the PC market, to keep the form factor relevant with the onslaught of tablets (where both Intel and Microsoft do not yet have an answer to ARM and Apple/Android). They are trying to protect the old model as opposed to transitioning to the new model.
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