Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Ultrabooks From HP and Lenovo That Are (Kinda, Sorta) Different

As we expected, Ultrabooks are everywhere this week. And despite will.i.am’s proclamation yesterday at Intel’s press event that they’re the new ghetto blaster, many of them seem indistinguishable from each other.

So HP and Lenovo have added some features to their Ultrabooks to set them apart from all the ultra-noise.

Lenovo's IdeaPad Yoga

The Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga is named as such because of its flexibility. The 10-finger touchscreen has a full range of motion at the hinge, so when fully folded, the laptop turns into a 13.3.-inch tablet. And it can be propped up in tent mode — or, in this case, downward dog. I could see this being useful for entertainment viewing at home, as well as in small spaces, such as on an airplane.

Other laptops have shown this range of motion before — remember the Dell Inspiron Duo? — but adding this feature to a super-slim, touchscreen Windows 8 laptop is a nice touch.

The Yoga’s cover is solid aluminium; it measures 16.9mm thick and weighs 3.1 pounds. It is, of course, powered by an Intel Core processor, with 8 gigabytes of RAM and a 256GB solid-state drive. Lenovo claims the battery lasts up to eight hours.

Since the IdeaPad Yoga runs the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, the laptop likely won’t be available until the second half of the year. A representative for Lenovo said the company hopes to price it around $1,300.

Gorilla Glass is what makes the HP Envy Spectre 14 stand out. The ultra-thin, chemically strengthened material is what coats the exterior and the wrist rest of this laptop, giving it a sleek, reflective look — albeit one that needs to be wiped with a cloth pretty frequently.

HP's Envy Spectre 14

Yesterday at CES, someone lamented to me, regarding the Envy Spectre 14, “But it’s so heavy.” Weighing in at almost four pounds, the Spectre is a bit heavier than other Ultrabooks, but for comparison’s sake, the 13-inch version of the “regular” HP Envy notebook is just about the same, at 3.68 pounds.

The Spectre is 20mm thin, has a 14-inch screen and Intel Core processors, and supports up to 256GB of storage. It also boasts nine hours of battery life, versus Lenovo’s eight. The Spectre also has a backlit keyboard and proximity sensors which detect when a user is approaching the laptop and light up the keys in advance. And it has HP’s Beats Audio built in.

Another interesting feature of the Spectre is that it’s NFC-enabled; theoretically, users can share data from an NFC smartphone by tapping the phone against the Spectre.

The HP Envy Spectre is expected to launch in early February, and will cost around $1,399.

Neither of these Ultrabooks have DVD slots, but the HP Envy Spectre 14 has an expandable Ethernet port, USB 3.0, HDMI and Mini DisplayPort, while the IdeaPad Yoga has USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and an SD card slot.

A fun side note about the HP Envy Spectre 14: A company representative says HP actually first displayed a prototype of this Ultrabook last fall, during New York Fashion Week. But it was a “bejeweled” version, with Swarovski crystal designs by Marchesa, and fashion-focused reporters barely batted an eye at the thing. Who knew they were missing one of this season’s biggest CES trends?

(Images courtesy of Blogeee/Flickr)

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