HP Outs New Spectre 13, Motion-Controlled HP ENVY 17, HP Pavilion 11 x2 and HP Pavilion 13 x2 (Hands on Preview)

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In addition to the spectacularly silent HP Spectre 13 x2, the company unwrapped a number of new notebooks this morning. Some of them,  like the Spectre 13 follow in the same trend with elegant and unexpected color combinations, while others rely on something more in your face – like mid-air gesture control.

HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook

HP ENVY 17, HP Spectre 13, HP Pavilion 11 x2, Pavilion 13 x2The new HP Spectre 13 sounds like another model HP showed off – the Spectre 13 x2. That x2 makes all the difference in the world, however, as the x2 model is a convertible notebook/tablet hybrid, while the ‘regular’ Spectre 13 is just your traditional notebook. Still, with a 1920×1080, touch-capable display and an Intel Haswell Core i5, there’s a lot to love about the PC.

You’ll get your flash storage and RAM, too, all in a package just over half an inch thick, and tipping the scales at three and a quarter pounds. At least some of that weight appears to have gone toward supplying the Spectre 13 with an ample battery, as HP is promising around nine hours of battery life on the notebook.

It also features HP’s patented new Control Zone trackpad, which might make Windows 8 gestures easy for new computer users (and/or new Windows 8 users).

Like the other Spectre, this notebook feels great in the land, and looks really great, especially when sitting next to traditionally silver PCs, and the displays on both offer great viewing angles thanks to the IPS technology involved.

HP Pavilion 11 x2 / HP Pavilion 13 x2

HP ENVY 17, HP Spectre 13, HP Pavilion 11 x2, Pavilion 13 x2Like the earlier Spectre x2, both of these models will split from traditional notebook form factors to become both notebooks and tablets at the same time. The 11-inch model is going to be HP’s version of the 2013 netbook, with users able to choose from intriguing color names like Pearl White, Flyer Red, and Sparkling Black (all featuring HP’s pretty cool imprint technology to give it a bit of flair as it catches the light). It also comes with 1080p webcams on both the front and rear of the machine, so you shouldn’t have to worry about missing a beat.

The Pavilion 13 x2 pulls ahead by packing more technology inside. You can expect a full 1080p IPS touchscreen on this model, along with built-in compatibility for Intel’s wireless display standard, WiDi. If you’ve got a WiDi-equipped television nearby, you’ll be able to shoot content straight from the notebook without having to stand up.

HP ENVY 17, HP Spectre 13, HP Pavilion 11 x2, Pavilion 13 x2

Unlike most of the other devices on offer today, the Pavilion 13 x2 will be coming in both Intel and AMD flavors – either Haswell or the new-ish AMD A6, respectively. I’m not certain which chips were in the machines on demo, but regardless, they all felt quite speedy, so even these more afforable models won’t stand in the way of most work.

Despite being made of plastic, or polycarbonate, or whatever other fancy name manufacturers decide to call their polymers this week, the notebooks feel pretty great in hand – that’s something that HP has always done pretty well with in the low-to-midrange 11- to 13-inch notebook segment. The tablets themselves are pretty light, though you’re still looking at something about as heavy as a 10-inch iPad.

HP ENVY 17 Leap Motion Special Edition (SE)

HP ENVY 17, HP Spectre 13, HP Pavilion 11 x2, Pavilion 13 x2Leap Motion came on the market just a few weeks ago, to critical, well, confusion. While the hardware itself, as well as the underlying technology, seem to be on the ball, the software has lived up to its potential. That might change with this new ENVY 17, however, as the Leap Motion and HP engineers have worked together to shrink the Leap controller down and embed it into the wrist rest of the new notebooks.

Aside from the Leap controller, this is a pretty standard big-screened ENVY: 17.3-inch, 1920×1080 display, Haswell Core i7 CPU, big hard drive or SSD, and NVIDIA discrete GPUs. Big and silver, pretty solid, backlit keyboard; you’re getting the idea.

Still, the controller makes it a pretty special notebook. Set on the right hand side, all you need to do is wave your hands or fingers within the range of the field, and you’ll be able to fly with applications like Google Earth with just a few flicks of the wrist.

HP ENVY 17, HP Spectre 13, HP Pavilion 11 x2, Pavilion 13 x2

It’s impressive, when it works. Unfortunately, that’s not really all of the time, but I’m hopeful that by embedding this technology into shipping mainstream notebooks, we’ll see more developer and engineering support go into making it work as well as it looks like it should.

The new Pavilion 11 x2 and 13 x2 will be HP’s cheapest convertible notebooks on offer, coming in at $599.99. Not quite as cheap as the ASUS Transformer Book T100, but these are a definite step up in quality. They’ll be available in the States starting on November 17th.

Despite the addition of a unique new motion-sensing component, the ENVY 17 Leap Motion SE will be hitting shelves pretty soon – with pre-orders starting on October 16th, interested parties can expect to shell out $1,049.99 (a Leap controller on its own will run you $80).

The ‘Truffle’/’Champagne’ Spectre 13 Ultrabook will hit pre-order status on the same day, but is expected to start a bit cheaper at just $999.99.

Check out our image gallery below for more pictures from the event.

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