Last year, Hewlett-Packard decided to unify the design of every thin and light laptop it sold, applying the same basic curves across every keyboard, touchpad, hinge, lid, and frame. This year, it's not just thin-and-light laptops getting the treatment: according to company representatives, CEO Meg Whitman has now mandated a unified design language across HP's entire portfolio of consumer machines. "She took a look at our portfolio and said, ''I don't know what's HP.'" Now, recessed hinges, revamped touchpads, and slim wedge designs — or at least the illusion of a slim wedge design — will be more or less standard across the company's lineup.
Don't call it a netbook
Of course, that means it's harder than ever for any individual HP computer to stand out, but two manage it anyhow. First, the $399 HP Pavilion TouchSmart 11 uses AMD's new low-power Temash processors to power a classy little 11.6-inch touchscreen machine, which still manages to house a full keyboard, a two-button touchpad, and a full array of ports, including three USB sockets, an HDMI port, VGA, Ethernet, and a SD card slot into its fairly minuscule frame. HP expects it to ship on June 26th.
Second and perhaps more exciting is the HP Envy 14 TouchSmart Ultrabook (pictured first in the gallery above) which appears to be trying to ape the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It starts at $699 with a low-res 14-inch, 1366 x 768 screen, mind you, but it can be optionally upgraded to 1600 x 900, or an unprecedented 3200 x 1800 resolution screen which should be available sometime later this summer. Edge-to-edge glass touchscreens come standard on the Envy 14 TouchSmart, and its bigger brother the HP Envy 15 TouchSmart Notebook as well.
Why "notebook" instead of "ultrabook"? The 15-inch model has a cheaper $529 starting price because it comes with AMD processors and no solid state storage by default. They both have fingerprint readers though, a feature that's now going to be standard across all of HP's Envy laptops. The Envy 14 TouchSmart is also coming June 26th, while the 15-inch model is due June 5th as of now.
If you're looking for a little more power under the hood, HP will also ship heftier Envy 15 and Envy 17 laptops without the "TouchSmart" or "Ultrabook" monikers, trading the touchscreen for faster processors, more storage, more speakers, and discrete Nvidia graphics options. We don't have all the details yet, but the Envy 17 will start at $699 on June 5th.