With the month of December comes a whole bunch of deals to tempt your wallet. Microsoft is getting in on the action, too, and the first of its 12 days of end-of-year bargains is a pretty decent saving on a pretty decent everyday laptop from HP.
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Last week, we reported that HP had released firmware for some of its inkjet printers that blocked the use of replacement third-party replacement ink cartridges. Consumer advocacy group CHOICE even launched an investigation into whether HP broke Australian Consumer Laws with this move. Now HP has come out to apology to customers, not for making its printers unusable with unofficial cartridges, but for not being upfront about it. The company also plans to release firmware to remove the block on third-party catridges. Here are the details.
Remember when laptops were laptops and tablets were tablets? Well, those days are gone, replaced with acrobatic foldables, detachables, and liquid-cooled enigmas. Buying a new computing machine has never been such a strange decision as it is today, so we decided to round up the very strangest hybrid devices out there and see if they really were the next evolutionary machine of the laptop genus.
Image Cache: Built by the custom gaming PC team at Maingear, this unique cross-shaped PC case for HP's high-performance Omen X is a water-cooled, SLI graphics card, factory-overclocked, custom-painted monster. If you have the free desk space for it, it'll make a lasting impression — and you can make it yours for as little as $US3000.
HP's newest laptop is also its thinnest. It's the world's thinnest, actually. At only 10.4 millimetres thick, it's almost 30 per cent thinner again than the already seriously skinny Apple MacBook, and it's thinner even than most of the standalone tablets with detachable keyboard — like HP's own Spectre X2. But it doesn't use some super-low-voltage processor and battery-sipping hardware to get there.
The 13.3-inch Spectre's big claim to fame here is its minuscule size and the amount of power its able to pack inside that tiny frame. Normally, as computers devolve from gargantuan machines to teeny laptops, you start seeing performance trade-offs. A processor is be first to downgrade — see the case of the Apple's MacBook — because a low-power processor means no heat sinks or cooling fans. The result? Maximum thinness.
With the new Spectre, HP decided to eschew traditional design and stick with the powerful Core I Skylake chips — the best Intel processors found in most high-end laptops — yet still keep that impressively small and lightweight figure. In fact, it comes in at 10.4mm thick — almost 3mm thinner than Apple's MacBook, which we already called "Stupidly Thin".
HP's Spectre is the thinnest laptop in the world. At 10.4 millimetres thick at its maximum, and built from aluminium and carbon fibre and finished in satin black and burnished copper, this is one seriously premium notebook, but that thin design doesn't mean it's entirely short on power. Instead of using Intel's lightweight Core M chips the Spectre is a Core i7-powered beast, with fast solid-state storage. And it's out today in Australia.
Got a shiny new Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? Then you need a powerful gaming-ready computer that can run your VR headset's demanding high-res, high-refresh displays. But there's a problem — your big, bulky PC isn't exactly portable, and VR requires cables. Enter HP's new concept Omen X, a gaming PC stuffed into a laptopesque form factor, moulded to wear as a backpack, and fitted with hot-swappable batteries.
As enthusiastic gamers, we don't usually give a lot of attention to pre-built gaming machines, especially desktop PCs — they're often out of date before they're launched, with inferior graphics and CPU options. HP's new Omen gaming desktop and laptops, and an accompanying 32-inch monitor, though, are impressively modern and might just make sense if you're looking to pick up a new PC to handle the next few years of gaming.
Video: I've been looking for a new thin, powerful, USB Type-C-powered laptop for quite a while now, but I seem to have missed HP's early-April announcement of the new Spectre: a 13-inch laptop that's barely over 10 millimetres thick, but that still has Intel's excellent Core i5 and Core i7 processors inside. This laptop looks beautiful, and it wants to dethrone Apple's MacBook as the high-flying business exec's super-luxury gadget of choice.
The EliteBook Folio is thin. Super thin. Apple MacBook thin. And light. When you're working all day in places other than your office, that can be really convenient, as long as it doesn't get in the way of actually getting that work done. Despite sharing the same Core M processor line with the MacBook, the new HP EliteBook Folio packs a lot more power, including a double complement of USB Type-C.
One of our favourite Windows machines from last year was HP's incredibly limber Spectre x360, a 13" laptop that could backflip into a tablet if need be. Now, HP's expanding on the idea, literally, with an all new 15" Spectre just announced at CES in Las Vegas.