We recently went out to San Francisco to take a look at HP's winter product refresh and meet with their representatives, and there were a couple of interesting new pieces of technology along with some healthy refreshes on display. We'll start at the bottom and work our way up to their new ultrabook, dubbed Folio.

As far as 3D displays go, HP is throwing their hat into the ring with the new 2311gt 3D monitor, a 23-inch LED-backlit display that uses passive 3D technology rather than active and employs TriDef's Ignition to handle 3D for gaming. MSRP is $299 and it's available now. They're also updating their TouchSmart 610 (recently reviewed here) with the new 620 3D Edition; TriDef is again employed for 3D gaming, but unfortunately HP's TouchSmart software still remains very much 2D.

For consumers, the ENVY 15, ENVY 17, and ENVY 17 3D are all seeing updates. The ENVY 15 is now available with a Radiance IPS display, but ENVY 17 fans unfortunately get the short end of the stick there as the Raidance display used there is still a TN panel. When I asked HP's representatives, they pointed to a difficulty in sourcing good notebook displays, a problem I'm sure we can all relate to. The review units were all using the next generation of AMD Radeon HD mobile graphics but unfortunately I don't have any more details than that. Finally, HP is again employing Beats Audio in their ENVY lineup, even adding a small red trim around the interior of the keyboard and an analog volume dial in the top right corner; pressing in the top of the dial opens up the Beats Audio Manager. The ENVY 15 is starting at $1,099, ENVY 17 at $1,249, and the active 3D enabled ENVY 17 3D at $1,599. All ENVY notebooks are expected to be available on December 7th.

HP's Pavilion dm4 line is also being updated, but the update there is a milder one. Beats Audio and subwoofers are being included in both the regular dm4 and the dm4 Beats Edition, which comes in a sleek new black chassis with red accents and a slick-looking red-backlit keyboard. The dm4 series will also be upgraded to optional AMD Radeon HD 7470M graphics. The regular dm4 will have a starting price of $699; the Beats Edition at $899. Both are expected to be available on December 18th.

Finally, the papa bear of the notebooks on display is HP's first ultrabook, the new Folio 13. At 18mm thin and 3.3 pounds, it's actually a little heftier than Toshiba's Portege Z830, but HP elected to include as much connectivity and battery capacity as possible. As a result you have a 13.3" ultrabook with full-size ethernet, USB 3.0, and a 128GB SSD standard, and HP claims the battery life can be up to nine hours. It also comes equipped with Intel Core i3 or i5 processors; in our experience the i5 is going to be worth the upgrade. The Folio 13 is expected to be available on December 7th starting at $899.

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  • ananduser - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    True it is similar but only through convergent design. A clone implies active copying, The Envy, all HP's Envy-s are descendants of Voodoo's Envy. They upped the original Voodoo masterpiece and arrived to a similar macbook look - although the original Envy's carbon finish was kinda blocky. Reply
  • Kougar - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Love the look of that new dm4 line.

    The Folio at least sounds exactly what I'm looking for... an ultrabook with a focus on battery capacity to deliver extended mobility. The SSD is a big plus, and the price looks good too. Now just to see about that display they used... can't wait to see how much better the battery life gets with an Ivy Bridge chip, should be awesome.
    Reply
  • KPOM - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    To me, the Folio 13 has real promise in the enterprise, since it has an attractive price ($899 for a 1.6GHz i5) and feature set, including a 9-hour battery. HP is respected in the enterprise, and if they could get an "Elitebook" branded Folio 13, my guess is it would start appearing on corporate approved lists, and perhaps start replacing the 4.5-5.5lb standard issue enterprise notebooks. Reply
  • leegroves86 - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    First: "The review units were all using the next generation of AMD Radeon HD mobile graphics but unfortunately I don't have any more details than that"
    ....
    Then: The dm4 series will also be upgraded to optional AMD Radeon HD 7470M graphics

    Hmmm, next generation Radeon 7 series revealed...
    Reply
  • Dug - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    I would like to know about that too. Reply
  • tmensonides - Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - link

    Any word on an update to the 14? That is the sweet spot for me if they could get a better, higher res, screen in it.... Reply
  • Nancymbsmo - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    This <a href="http://www.techiecop.com/hp-stepped-into-ultrabook... Folio 13 is designed to take full advantage of the touch capabilities featured in Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. What else we need?? just we need to wait till December. Reply
  • EthanW - Thursday, November 17, 2011 - link

    I like the look of the Folio, but they need to lose the trackpad. Given that it looks exactly the same as the current Pavilion DV line, I'm going to assume it's the same one. In which case, the texture is great, but the buttons just suck. Sure, you'll be tap-to-click-ing most of the time, but until such time as they get smooth two-finger right-click gestures up and running, people will still need to use that right-click button - don't make them hate using it.

    And the screen isn't up to par at 1366x768. They can and should use a higher-res display, even if it costs more. The whole point of the ultrabooks is that people are prepared to pay a little more for the quality. This isn't the budget consumer market. HP has a trend of building PCs the a price rather than engineering a good product and pricing accordingly; they are going to need to fix this if they want to revive their long-lost reputation in the consumer market.

    Almost there, HP. Just don't be afraid to turf your old designs and build something from scratch, without cutting corners. Make your premium line stand out from the budget crap and people will be less likely to tar them with the same brush.
    Reply
  • Penti - Friday, November 18, 2011 - link

    I'm interested in how the screen quality will turn out, I would need the 1920x1080 option as the standard "HD" 1366x768 is way to low for a real desktop replacement machine.

    I guess the upgrade option would be too costly though thanks to the (rumored?) IPS panel, and to add to that HPs is usually a pain to get customized/bto or in different configurations at least here in Sweden. Retail won't really carry the radiance 1920x1080 version and if they do it probably still won't be specced out to your wishes or will end up way high in cost.

    I like it that HP is one of the few that really pushes for mini/DisplayPort on most products though, missing that like many other brands especially in the consumer line make it impossible to say hook it up on your desk to a 2560x1600 screen. Or anything over 1920x1080/1200 for that matter. DP, USB 3.0 and discrete graphics will get any products a long way in my book any way might still be downsides to consider and reject the products though. Nothing is perfect and it all depends on your current needs, demands, wants and budget and how you plan to use it. Interesting to see what they can make off it.
    Reply

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