Just when we thought HP dropped the near perfect laptop on our laps in the HP Envy 15, they come out with another stunning piece of machinery, the HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook. For the first time you get to use such an extensive use of the scratch resistant gorilla glass not just on the screen, but on the casing of the machine itself. The palm rest, lid and the HP ImagePad (read: track pad) are all covered in the special glass. They also managed to very cleverly fit a 14″ screen in the body of a 13.3″ notebook. How’s that for being creative?
The Envy 14 Spectre pushes the definition of an Ultrabook with its weight (a little under 4 lbs or 1.8 kgs) and display size. But we don’t care. The display resolution is 1600 x 900 pixels (and it is gorgeous), you can either get it with 4 or 8 GB RAM, and a 128 GB or 256 GB SSD. Standard features include the very suave HP Radiance backlit keyboard which senses your approach and gradually lights up every row, a Beats Audio system with 2 high-performance speakers and subwoofer (if you read our earlier review on the Envy 15 – this is probably the best system available on a notebook), a mini DisplayPort, a USB 3.0 port, an HD webcam and a microphone-in/headphone stereo-out jack combo. Also included is the old school volume knob similar to the Envy 15. You also get a battery than will last you the better part of 9 hours (this is currently the best in the market), complete versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements software and 2 free years of Norton Internet Security 2012. We just wish for the price (which is not cheap and is our only gripe), HP gave the option of a separate dedicated GPU (video card) instead of integrating it with the core processor.
If the prior versions of the Envy are any indication, it would seem we have an absolute winner on our hands. Looks like Apple (with the MacBook line) finally has worthy opponents in HP and Dell (with the XPS 13 Ultrabook). It will be interesting to see the next iteration of Apple’s notebooks especially considering their new retina technology display that was introduced in the new iPad.
The HP Envy 14 Spectre Ultrabook goes on sale in India on April 10, 2012 with a starting price of Rs. 99,999 (~$2000). And just FYI, it starts off in the US at $1,400. That makes us sad 🙁