In a somewhat lackluster showing for the tech giant, HP's biggest product announcements at CES this year concerned its new line of PC monitors. Not PCs, or slates, or notebooks -- monitors.
That's not to say they aren't nice monitors. The 27-inch Envy IPS Monitor is almost beautiful in its slim elegance, with a refined, mature design that will look good in any home or office. Its rather pedestrian 1920x1080 resolution and lack of multi-touch support (no touching Windows 8's lovely interface, sadly) are offset by Beats Audio, which HP claims is a first for a standalone monitor and will offer significantly improved sound over standard monitor speakers, and the IPS technology in its display, which offers 178 degrees viewing angles, rich color and deep contrast ratios. It has an edge-to-edge glass display, and is just over half an inch thick at its thinnest point. Also included are a headphone jack, digital audio out, and a subwoofer to give proper bass to the sound it produces. Available worldwide on Feb. 2 for $499, it's an interesting, if slightly underwhelming, proposition.
Also launched were a line of Pavilion monitors, in 20-, 22-, 23-, 25- and 27-inch varieties, all with 1920x1080 IPS displays -- except for the 20-inch model which makes do with 1600x900 -- and VGA, HDMI and DVI connectivity. Available Jan. 20, they range in price from $130 to $340.
HP also introduced the U160 portable display, essentially a second screen for your laptop. Intended for commercial use -- such as displaying powerpoints and presentations -- it connects to a user's laptop via USB, drawing both video and power from the USB port, and offers 1366x768 resolution, 180 nits of brightness and a 15.6-inch LED-backlit display. At over 3l pounds it's no lightweight, and with limited 90 degrees viewing angles it's not the greatest display you'll ever encounter, but for extending your laptop onto a second screen it offers up some intriguing uses. Helping matters is a relatively low $179 asking price when it launches this month.
In terms of actual PCs, HP had two AMD-powered Pavilion Sleekbooks, both with 15.6-inch 1366x768 displays, with the Pavilion Touchsmart Sleekbook featuring a 10-point multi-touch display for interacting with Windows 8. It has an AMD A10 quad-core APU, and starts at $649. It ships Feb. 3. The non-touch Sleekbook has an AMD A8 APU, a multi-touch trackpad supporting Windows 8's gestures, and ships Jan. 13 for $479.
For HP, CES was a very poor showing. Here's hoping the company Meg Whitman is trying to revitalize can find its voice and bring its A-game to the next tech show, and, y'know, maybe focus on the thing it's known for -- PCs.
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