HP announces Envy ultrabooks and 'sleekbooks,' starting at $599

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Hewlett-Packard is lightening up and slapping a new name on a line of laptops.

The PC maker has introduced new Ultrabooks that challenge the weight and size of its earlier entrants into the market. And it has also unveiled a new line of "Sleekbooks" that undercut the price of Ultrabooks and, in some cases, use chips from Advanced Micro Devices, therefore excluding them from the Ultrabook family.

First, there's the Envy SpectreXT, a follow-up to the Envy Spectre 14 Ultrabook. The Envy Spectre 14 is more of a premium Ultrabook, due to its glass coating, $1,400 starting price point, pre-installed Adobe and antivirus security software packages, and the fact that it weighs just under four pounds.


The SpectreXT, in comparison, is 13.3 inches, weighs just 3.07 pounds, is 14.5mm thick, and has an all-metal body. It comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor and, like the Spectre 14, claims a long battery life of up to eight hours.

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HP also introduced new Envy-branded Ultrabooks, available in larger 14-inch and 15.6-inch models, also with Intel's latest processors. The laptops are, at their thickest, 19.8 millimeters and come with a choice of solid-state or hybrid hard-disk drives.

What's more interesting is this new category of Sleekbooks. The only notable difference between Ultrabooks and Sleekbooks, aside from price, is their chip sets. The former are thin and lightweight laptops, categorized as such due to an Intel-driven set of technical specifications. The H-P Sleekbooks are also thin and light, but feature chips from AMD.

The new 14-inch Envy Sleekbook will ship on May 9 for $700; the 15.6-inch model is just $600 -- less than half the price of some other Ultrabooks on the market, and significantly less than the starting price of $999 for Apple's MacBook Air.