HP is announcing a bunch of really nice new Windows devices today, but it's also announcing one really weird one: the Envy Note 8. The Envy Note 8 is an 8-inch Windows 10 tablet that's pretty unremarkable on its own. It has a dull 1920x1200 display, a generic black front, and an Intel Atom x5 processor — a low-end tablet by all means. But what's interesting about the Envy Note 8 is that it can be bundled with a keyboard dock, and that dock is way bigger than the tablet itself.
HP's keyboard props the tablet up and stores it for transportation
While the keyboard dock is by no means enormous — it's not even a full-size keyboard! — it still kind of dwarfs the tablet itself. The keyboard is about 10 inches on a diagonal, and it also includes a wide trackpad on the bottom. HP calls it the Envy Note Keyboard Folio, and as far as typing goes, it's supposed to offer 1.5mm of key travel, which is what HP says is standard on its top-of-the-line notebooks. There's also a little loop on the side of the dock to hold a stylus, which is included with the tablet.
The keyboard also has one other function: holding the tablet, both for transportation and while it's in use. When you're using the tablet, it can be slotted into a thin space running behind the keys. You literally just place it in there — there's no connector or anything, so it can be turned in either direction. Placing it horizontally looks the most normal, but you can also put it in there vertically if you want to learn what using Windows 10 on an 8-inch vertical display is like.
It comes with Verizon LTE and gets six hours of battery life
Flip the keyboard dock over, and you'll find another slot carved out on the back for holding the tablet during transportation. The tablet doesn't fit in perfectly; rather, it becomes an additional chunk mounted behind the keyboard. It sounds worse than it is; it should make for a perfectly sensible way to transport the two pieces of the Envy Note 8. If this concept — and execution — sound similar, you must have been checking out 8-inch Windows tablets around the time that Windows 8 launched, too. HP's Envy Note 8 is very much following what Acer's Iconia W3 did two years ago.
The Envy Note 8 supports an LTE connection, but only on Verizon. It also has a microSD card reader and a micro USB port, although the latter is mostly for charging. On the back is a 5-megapixel camera and on the front is a 2-megapixel camera. The tablet is supposed to get just over 6 hours of battery life.
The Envy Note 8 will be sold with and without the dock, but why would you want to live that less interesting, dock-free lifestyle? The base model sells for $329 and includes a stylus, while the $429 model also includes the keyboard dock. Sales in the US start November 8th.
HP is also updating another piece of inexpensive Windows hardware: its Stream Notebook. The new Stream Notebook has a slightly thinner and lighter design, and its battery is supposed to last a bit longer. There are also some new color options, but you're largely just looking at a refreshed version of the design that's already out there. It's still offering options for 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch displays with Intel Celeron processors. Sales in the US start October 18th, at $199.99 for the smaller model and $229.99 for the larger model.