As if there weren’t enough laptops in the world already! Ah well. The new lineup of Envy, Mini, and Pavilion laptops looks pretty solid, and they’ve got stuff for pretty much every price point. I don’t want to get into too much detail here, since obviously if you’re looking for a laptop you’ll be checking HP’s site for specifics, but let’s hit the high points.
Why don’t we start with the smallest and work our way up?
HP Mini 210
The familiar Mini line gets a redesign here: the body is redone to be more easily upgradeable, and they’ve improved the keyboard. You’re looking at a dual-core Atom N455 (you can get a N550) and a max of 1GB of RAM. Yeah, that sucks, but you’ve also got a 7200RPM 250GB HDD, which is great for storage, but bad for battery life (opt for the 6-cell). It comes in many colors, because you’re shallow. $329 to start.
The new dm3 has a lot going on. It’s of the ultraportable variety, and at 13.3″ and less than 1″ thick, it’s pretty portable. It’ll come with a dual-core U5400, but you should be able to upgrade to a Core i3. That’ll make some heat, but fortunately the dm3 is sporting HP’s new CoolSense technology, which includes a totally new internal layout and fan setup, and software that keeps track of temperature and load to keep things frosty. Starts at $549 with 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD. I like it. I want it. I’m gonna review it.
Envy 14 Beats Edition
This is really just the existing Envy 14, but with a menacing red and black look and some audio optimizations. It comes with a pair of Beats. They did this to the Envy 15 a while back. At $1249 I find this a hard one to recommend.
Envy 17 with ATI 3D
I can’t be the only one who thinks this looks like a knockoff MacBook Pro. It’s the hinges on the screen, they make it look cheap. But! That is an illusion. It’s not actually cheap, and it’s a powerful piece of kit. Aluminum, baby. The biggest change is the display, though: it’s 1080p native, and goes to 120Hz, so it’s 3D compatible. The laptop comes with ATI 3D glasses of the active shutter variety. It’ll sport a quad-core i7, ATI discrete mobile graphics… and that’s pretty much all we know. Pricing and other specs are a mystery, though HP did say it would be under two grand. Wow, thanks a lot!
It’s a pretty solid lineup; I think the dm3 is easily the best buy, as long as you upgrade the processor. I’d hold off on netbooks until I see whether the new crop of tablets is going to be a suitable replacement for them. As for the bigger laptops — well, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether 3D displays and Dr. Dre branding are worth the extra cash. I wouldn’t spring for them, personally.
As usual, these laptops are buried deep in HP’s site. Go if you dare. I got scared.